Global Voyage for a Nuclear Free World - Peace Boat Hibakusha Project
Since 2008, Japan-based international NGO Peace Boat has invited Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to participate in the "Global Voyage for a Nuclear-Free World: Peace Boat Hibakusha Project." As of 2016, over 170 Hibakusha have travelled around the world giving personal testimonies about the effects of the atomic bombs and calling for nuclear abolition. The messages from Hiroshima and Nagasaki have the potential to deeply move people around the world who are affected by war, violence, poverty and environmental issues. This project is held annually onboard Peace Boat's global voyages. As the average age of the Hibakusha is now close to 80 years old, the time remaining for them to directly send out their urgent message is very limited.

"Global Voyage for Nuclear Free World": Disarmament Education
Peace Boat's Hibakusha Project means Hibakusha can share their testimony around the world, including with schools, governments and the media. Students, educators, mayors, diplomats, policy makers, civil society representatives and Nobel Peace Laureates have joined this project, in ports and onboard the ship. Two documentary films on the project, by young filmmakers from Costa Rica and Japan, are screened internationally and, as tools of value for disarmament education, are available for purchase on Amazon here: English and Spanish.

Global Voyage for a Nuclear Free World" working with other victims and survivors
Hibakusha from South Korea, Canada, the United States and Brazil have also joined the project.
Peace Boat's programs link the issue of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Japan's wartime behavior, bringing issues about historical recognition and the Asia-Pacific into disarmament education.
The Hibakusha meet with other victims and survivors of war, including Holocaust survivors in Auschwitz and people affected by Agent Orange/Dioxin in Viet Nam, to share their experiences and explore how to pass their knowledge on to future generations and prevent the recurrence of such tragedies.


Current Activities - the 10th Hibakusha Project

In April 2017, the 10th Hibakusha Project will depart from the port of Yokohama, Japan to travel around the world (April 12, 2017 (Wed) - July 25, 2017 (Tues)) on Peace Boat's 94th Global Voyage. On this voyage, three Hibakusha (two from Hiroshima, one from Nagasaki) will visit 23 ports in 22 countries around the world, where they will share their testimony of the experiences of the atomic bombing and appeal for nuclear weapons abolition. They will be joined by two second generation Hibakusha. While second generation Hibakusha do not have direct experience of the atomic bombings, they are experienced in sharing testimony through the stories of their family members, and training conducted by the City of Hiroshima. Furthermore, two "Youth Communicators for a Nuclear-Free World" will also join the delegation, actively working towards the realization of a nuclear-free world. These participants are all to be officially designated by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs as "Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons" and "Youth Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons" respectively.

The theme of this voyage is "For we shall not repeat the evil: Civil society banning nuclear weapons". Building upon the international momentum regarding the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, negotiations for a treaty banning these weapons will begin in March 2017 at the United Nations. The voices of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are now linking to global rules. Yet, the current world situation remains unpredictable. With Hibakusha now more than 80 years old in average, memories of the atomic bombs and war are fading. Nuclear proliferation is progressing, and the cycle of conflict and violence continues. States are becoming more inward-looking, rather than seeking international cooperation. As we lose those who have experienced the suffering of World War II, dangerous trends towards war and militarism are beginning to appear. Through sharing the voices and experieces of the Hibakusha, countries around the world will be called upon to participate in and contribute to the negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. In ports around the world and also onboard Peace Boat, signatures will also be collected for the "Hibakusha Appeal," the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivor-led signature campaign calling for an international treaty to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons.

An overview of the 10th Hibakusha Project can be dowloaded here.

Profiles of the participating, Hibakusha and Youth can be dowloaded here.

Updates on the activities in ports and onboard are available on the 94th Global Voyage page and Peace Boat's Facebook page .



Past Activities

The 9th Global Voyage for a Nuclear Free World took place between Japan on 18 August 2016, and 30 November 2016. On this voyage, 5 Hibakusha (2 from Hiroshima, 3 from Nagasaki) visited 25 ports in 21 countries around the world and were joined by one second generation Hibakusha and one "legacy messenger." While these participants do not have direct experience of the atomic bombings, they are experienced in sharing testimony through the stories of their family members and training conducted by the City of Hiroshima to nurture legacy messengers, known in Japanese as "keishosha," or one who passes on the memory and message. Furthermore, two "Youth Communicators for a Nuclear-Free World" also joined the delegation, both active working towards the realization of a nuclear-free world. These 9 participants were all officially designated by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs as "Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons" and "Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons" respectively. The theme of this voyage was "Sharing the Testimonies and Message of the Survivors, Building the Momentum to Ban Nuclear Weapons."

An overview of the 9th Hibakusha Project can be downloaded here and the profiles of participating Hibakusha and youth here.
Reports on activities onboard and in ports are available on the 92nd Global Voyage Reports and on Peace Boat's Facebook page.

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The 8th edition of the Peace Boat Hibakusha Project returned to Japan in July 2014, after taking place onboard the 87th Global Voyage, from April-July, 2015. Marking the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this voyage included a special project being held in collaboration with Mayors for Peace: "I was her age." Events held in host cities around the world which are members of this global network consisted of encounters between child-survivors of the atomic bombings and local parents with children who are now the age the survivors were in 1945, specifically between 5 and 11 years old. When a parent understands that what happened to the Hibakusha could happen to their child, they will hopefully be motivated by their powerful instinct to protect their child to join the global effort to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons. Read more about the project on the Mayors for Peace 2020 Campaign website here.

Further information and photos from the voyage can be seen on the I Was Her Age Project Facebook here, and further reports are available on the 87th Global Voyage page here.

The full voyage report is also now available online here in English or in Japanese (PDF).
The full report on activities which took place in ports in collaboration with Mayors for Peace and local civil society organisations is now available here in English (PDF).

Other documents:
General overview of the project
Profiles of participating Hibakusha and accompanying youth


A 30 minute documentary was also produced by British filmmaker Emma Baggott, following the Hibakusha on their journey around the world. It can be viewed in full or downloaded here:

I Was Her Age Documentary from Peace Boat on Vimeo.


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The seventh Hibakusha Project was held onboard the 83rd Global Voyage from March-June, 2014. Eight survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, accompanied by two youth communicators for a world without nuclear weapons, gave testimonies onboard and in ports around the world, with highlights including visiting Auschwitz, where they met with Holocaust survivors and local students to compare history education in Japan and Europe, and learn about ways to look at and to pass on the experiences of war to future generations, and Tahiti, where participants shared their awareness about the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons with survivors of French nuclear testing and exchanged opinions with local youth to support the movement toward nuclear abolition. Read more about the project onboard the 83rd voyage here, including the overview, and the profiles of the Hibakusha and accompanying youth here.


Volunteer Web Reporter for the project onboard the 80th Global Voyage, Ari Beser also maintained a blog about the Hibakusha Project's activities on the web site of the Breaking the Nuclear Chain campaign, coordinated by the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) together with Peace Boat and IKV-Pax Christi. Read his reports and learn more about the campaign here.



*** Download the Peace Boat Hibakusha project brochure here in English and Spanish.