Farewell to Kanako Hasegawa

12 April 2021, 6:15 PM
Marianne Horling, Kananko Hasegawa, Jennifer Taj (left to right)

Marianne Horling, Kananko Hasegawa, Jennifer Taj (left to right)

First, I would like to tell you how I came to know Kanako Hasegawa.

On the occasion of the UN World Peace Day on 21st September 2019, I organized a memorial event in memory of what happened in Hiroshima, telling about my visit there, the museum, the peace park, and the children’s peace monument. The story of the girl Sadako (a victim of the nuclear bomb) was then at the center of my presentation. And our URI Circle at Bonn had folded more than 1000 paper cranes in her honor!

We sent them later to our fellow URI Cooperation Circle ANT - led by Tomoko Watanabe - in Hiroshima.

Three days before our event, I read in the newspaper about the opening of a poster exhibition for Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the Volkshochschule (adult education center) Bonn Bad Godesberg.  This coincidence seemed to me like a miracle. So I went there! And I was deeply impressed by the photos, which sent me back to my experiences I had in the museum of Hiroshima. You will never forget these pictures of horror and death. They make clear the scope of what these weapons cause.

So I wanted to come to know the person who was responsible for this exhibition. And I came to know Kanako Hasegawa.

She was the woman behind it… and she brought on her own account all these posters from Japan to Germany!

I was deeply impressed by her engagement.

Then I told her about my own event three days later, and ad hoc she offered me to take posters to this event. I chose two posters, which showed Hiroshima and Nagasaki right after the bombs and how they are now.

These two posters inspired also my audience to visit the exhibition in the Volkshochschule.

Dear Kanako-san! I am very thankful for what you are doing. To keep in memory the result of the worst bomb humans ever have constructed and which they have “improved” now to have “better effects!” Today we have nuclear weapons to destroy all living beings on this globe.

Can’t we learn from the past? Can’t we make more efforts to make the world better than to destroy her?

Thank You Kanako-san, for giving us the opportunity and minimum to think about.

On March 11, 2021, Kanako Hasegawa came to URI Germany to say good-bye. She was going to move from Bonn - where she had been working at the UN Office for two years - to Washington DC, to start her new job at the World Bank.

Marianne Horling from URI Germany prepared a nice brunch for Kanako. Kanako mentioned that she would take good memories of Germany with her and of meeting people here.

Marianne met Kanako nearly two years ago at an exhibition about the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the atomic bombing in 1945. At that time, Kanako URI offered some of the posters on lend for our event three days later. And she joined us for our event.

One year later, Kanako asked Marianne to speak some words on the occasion of the opening festival on the memorial day, 75 years after the nuclear bombing in Hiroshima. Marianne was present by video and delivered the speech above.

We wish Kanako Hasegawa all the best for her life and wish to see her again! It was a great pleasure to come to know her!