Golden Rule Project Manager Tours Japan

By Helen Jaccard
Disarm/End Wars Issues Committee of WILPF, Veterans for Peace Golden Rule Project Manager

The Golden Rule peace boat will be in Japan during July and August 2020 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I toured Japan Dec 2-21, 2017, in preparation for this historic occasion.

In 1958 a Quaker crew sailed the Golden Rule toward the Marshall Islands in an attempt to interfere with atmospheric nuclear bomb testing. When she was stopped in Hawaii, the Phoenix of Hiroshima completed the voyage. Two years later, the Phoenix captain, Dr. Earle Reynolds, was acquitted and the family returned to Hiroshima where the Phoenix was built and where Dr. Reynolds had spent three years studying the effects of radiation on children.

Now, nearly 60 years later, the Golden Rule Project is preparing to represent both boats in an historic voyage to End the Whole Nuclear Era, starting in Japan. Many people in Japan had never heard of the Golden Rule and now they are very excited about our upcoming visit!

This was an educational tour, for me and for the peace community of Japan.

More From My Trip

World War II

Helen Jaccard with HabakushaI received quite the education about World War II. I visited and cried at the Hiroshima and Nagasaki memorials, heard a Chinese woman whose mother survived 37 stab wounds and a miscarriage of her seven-month fetus during the Nanjing massacre, learned how the story of the Comfort Women is being used to destroy the sister city relationship between Osaka and San Francisco, and learned about the horrors of the napalm bombing of Japan through the eyes of a survivor at the Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage. Read my detailed report.

Three Hibakusha who survived the Hiroshima nuclear bomb told me their stories during the course of my visit in Japan.

Three Sisters: Golden Rule, Phoenix of Hiroshima, and the Lucky Dragon 5

There are really three sister ships in the 1958 story, the third being Daigo Fukuryū Maru, the Lucky Dragon 5, a tuna fishing boat which was exposed to the Castle Bravo nuclear bomb fallout on March 1, 1954. Twenty-three of its crew became severely ill with radiation sickness and one died within a month. It is a sister ship because the crew are also considered “Hibakusha” (radiation survivors) and because the focus of the museum in Tokyo is about much more than the Lucky Dragon 5—it is about all of the nuclear bomb tests and their effects on the people. It is also about nuclear bombs in general, so it tells the story of the nuclear era quite well. Read the rest of this story in my report.

Golden Rule and Phoenix of Hiroshima Presentations and Meetings

I gave nine PowerPoint presentations all over Japan—in Fukushima, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Yokohama, and Ehime. We viewed the movie, The Phoenix of Hiroshima, A Voyage Interrupted, at four of the presentations. I also showed the PowerPoint presentation at meetings of a few people each. Thanks to Rachel Clark, the PowerPoint presentation is in Japanese and on the website so that other people may download and use it. 

I’m working on a script to go with the PowerPoint presentation in English so that anyone can take it, modify it, and be an ambassador to End the Whole Nuclear Era!

CodePink Osaka came to the Kyoto event! They had met my partner, Gerry Condon, at the 2015 “Peace & Planet” pre-NPT review conference, so it was really nice to meet them!

VFP Japan paved the way!

Before my tour, Mike Hanes of VFP gave presentations at many of the same venues about the No Bases campaign, work to stop the new Hanoko base in Okinawa which threatens the Okinawan dugong, and about Mike’s research and choices for an agricultural, sustainable lifestyle. This made it all the easier for Rachel and me to schedule events throughout Japan and have many excited people come!

Protest Against Hanoko Base in Okinawa

I was only able to participate in one protest. I stayed with Joe and Yukari Essertier in Nagoya and he took me to their weekly protest and the next day to the Nanjing Massacre presentation.

Meetings to Plan the 2020 Golden Rule Voyage and Visit in Japan

Thanks to Rachel’s position as a volunteer interpreter and presenter with the huge Japan Peace Boat, we were able to meet with two of the directors and discovered that the Peace Boat will be in Japan during July and August of 2020 so that some of the employees and volunteers can attend the summer Olympics! They are excited about the two peace boats doing things together during that time!

In Nagasaki, I met with two of the main activists planning the 2020 events and one of them invited me to return in 2018 for a university speaking tour—he will organize the event in Nagasaki for me. The other will propose help from the City and Prefecture of Nagasaki to help with the Golden Rule’s expenses in 2020.

Also in Nagasaki I met with the two directors of the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki University. They, too, will help with the 2020 Golden Rule events in Nagasaki and my speaking tour in 2018.

We met with Kazuyo Yamane at the Kyoto Museum for World Peace.

In Conclusion

The Golden Rule story and nuclear abolition presentations need to be heard all over Japan—presentations by non-Japanese are welcome and people are very open to sharing their stories about Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima. They want their stories to be heard in Japan and in the rest of the world! The people of Japan will welcome the VFP Golden Rule Project with open arms in 2020.


Inset Photos:

  1. Helen Jaccard with Shiraishi Tetsuzo, survivor of Tokyo napalm bomb raid.
  2. Professor Takao Takahara, six of his students from the International and Peace Studies programs at Meiji Gakuin University, Masato Nakamura and Yuri Kadoya-Ogata from Veterans For Peace Japan, and my interpreter, Rosemary Soliman, went with me to The Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage and the Lucky Dragon 5 museum.


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