Barbara Reynolds began her activism with “the forbidden voyage” she took with her family into the US Pacific Proving Grounds, disrupting the nuclear weapons testing there as she and her family returned to Hiroshima from a trip around the world. They had been inspired by the Golden Rule ship and the four Quaker antiwar activists who had intended to sail it to disrupt the weapons testing themselves. But with the Golden Rule crew monitored and twice arrested by the US Coast Guard, it was Barbara and her family who completed the mission and made news around the world for their daring act of protest. But their renown was especially strong in Hiroshima, which the family learned when they finally returned to the city. Over the next few years, Barbara Reynolds organized the 1962 Peace Pilgrimage and the 1964 World Peace Study Mission, which brought hibakusha atomic bomb survivors around the world to share their stories and sue for peace. In 1965, Barbara Reynolds founded the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, in part to share the stories of hibakusha first-hand.
Now a part of a greater network of organizations in Japan and around the world, the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima is still in operation. While the number of surviving hibakusha dwindles, there is still much to learn from the personal testimonies they have left. Below is the account of one hibakusha, Miyoko Matsubara, who traveled with Barbara Reynolds around the world for both the 1962 Peace Pilgrimage and the 1964 World Peace Study Mission. Miyoko Matsubara was a young student at the time of the bombing. She passed away in 2018.
Warning: the following includes graphic descriptions of extreme burns and other injuries, as well as other upsetting imagery.
You may read the accounts of other hibakusha at the link below.
We at VPT are planning for the arrival of the Golden Rule in New London, CT in June. As the world’s first modern protest ship and a vessel originally operated by the CNVA, the Golden Rule has strong historical ties to VPT. To stay in the loop about these events, sign up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/Oqf99
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Matsubara, Miyoko. “The Appeal of a Girl Survivor.” World Friendship Center. https://www.wfchiroshima.org/english/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/09/MatsubaraStoryE.pdf
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