Cycling with the Flame of Hiroshima from Kyoto to Matsumoto in the Japanese Alps
From August 5-11, 2019, to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Earth Caravan launched its Japan Summer Peace Pilgrimage in Kyoto, Japan. The goal of the pilgrimage was to share the global wish for peace and to spread the vision that a peaceful and just world without nuclear weapons is possible.
Throughout the 7-day pilgrimage, the Earth Caravan was welcomed by mayors and religious leaders in every city along the way. At the opening ceremony in the Dannou Horinji temple in Kyoto, the Caravan received the blessings of His Holiness Miyagi Geika.
“My feeling about the tour is gratitude,” said Alice Schmitzhofer from Austria. “It’s a rare chance to live my dream for the world.”
The Hiroshima Flame Inspires Thousands
Since 2015, Earth Caravan has traveled around the globe with the Hiroshima Flame. The Hiroshima Flame has constantly been burning since the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in August of 1945. It is to be extinguished only when the threat of nuclear war and nuclear weapons are gone.
On March 20th, 2019, the Vatican received the Earth Caravan, and Pope Francis blew out the Hiroshima Flame to foretell a future free from nuclear war and all weapons. News of this event made headlines around the globe.
Pope Francis is expected to visit Nagasaki, Japan later in November 2019 to solidify his commitment to a nuclear-weapons-free world. The Vatican was one of the first countries to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in July 2017.
Young People Send a Global Message for Peace
The Japan summer pilgrimage included 12-year-old peace activist Mirjam Schmitzhofer from Austria and 15-year-old Shoichiro from Kyoto. The two young people carried the Hiroshima Flame and asked mayors and religious leaders along the way to blow out the Flame and to write messages of their wish for peace for the world.
“I’m thrilled that I joined this peace cycling because I really love cycling and I had so much fun! said Mirjam. “Everyone showed their happiness, and that made me really happy too. Everybody had so much fun and was so motivated to cycle. I hope other people can have as much fun as we did and that more and more people will make our world a better place.”
In Takayama, the Caravan was invited to ring the city’s Peace Bell, and in the town of Matsumoto, mayor Akira Sugenoya held a special ceremony in front of the Peace Well and the city’s Peace Flame monument.
Music concerts by Aminadabu and peace talks were held at the famous Temple of Kannon-Shoji in Shiga Prefecture, in Nagoya, in the Jodo Shin Bedsuin Temple in Takayama, and the Cultural Center Vio Park in Matsumoto.
Transforming Past Suffering into a Peaceful Future
After praying for Peace with Pope Francis in March 2019, the Earth Caravan created the “Flame of Hope” to symbolize the transformation of past suffering into future peace. The Flame of Hope wishes to change the world by lighting the spark of hope for peace in children’s hearts.
The Flame of Hope represents a global prayer for peace, a prayer that symbolizes the common wish of all human beings. Working hand in hand, the Flame of Hope aims to spread this wish around the world.
On September 28, 2019, the Earth Caravan will take the City of Nagasaki’s “Flame of Commitment” to Urakami Cathedral. Urakami Cathedral was rebuilt after having been destroyed by a nuclear bomb in 1945. Following a special ceremony, the Flame of Hope will be officially launched.
People of all faiths will be invited to add their wishes and prayers for peace to the Flame. The Flame will then journey to different places of worship as well as to festivals and schools to add more prayers and wishes for peace to it.
Earth Caravan journeys are an excellent place to share and to develop your potential to change the world into a better place. Every year, Earth Caravan’s prayers and activities inspire thousands of people all around the globe to work for the bright future that we all share.
“I was very much impressed by how much power people have and can move something,” said Eiko Masuda Mogi. “Even though our numbers are small compared to bigger organizations, what we did as Earth Caravan was huge. I hope many people recognize what they can do to make the world better.”