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Pictures From A Hiroshima Schoolyard

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Catalogue Number:  TVP059
Producer:  Video Project, Inc.
Subject:  Arts, Canadian World Studies, Documentary, Global Studies, Guidance, History, Social Sciences, World History
Language:  English
Grade Level:  Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin:  United States
Copyright Year:  2015
Running Time:  58:00

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Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard presents the aftermath of the first atomic bomb through the remarkable drawings and stories of surviving Japanese school children who were part of an extraordinary, compassionate exchange with their American counterparts after the war.

In 1995, a parishioner of the All Souls Church in Washington, D.C., discovered a long-forgotten box containing dozens of colorful drawings made by Japanese children from the Honkawa Elementary School in Hiroshima just two years after their city was destroyed. The surprisingly hopeful drawings were created and sent to the church nearly 50 years earlier in appreciation for much-needed school supplies received as part of the church’s post-war humanitarian efforts.

The Honkawa school was just 1100 feet from ground zero on August 6, 1945. Nearly 400 children died in the schoolyard that fateful morning. Surviving students and teachers describe the horror of that day and reflect on their difficult lives amidst the rubble of their decimated city, as well as the hope they shared through their art.

Classes resumed soon after in the window-less concrete shell of the remaining Honkawa school building to provide some sense of normalcy. The film features recently found archival footage that shows what life was like in the weeks and months after the bomb fell and how Hiroshima gradually recovered.

The rediscovered drawings were restored by members of the All Souls Church, who several years later embarked on an emotional journey to Japan to exhibit the artwork at the Honkawa school and reunite the surviving artists for the first time with the drawings they created as children.

The artists and church members reflect on the lessons that resulted from a compassionate exchange nearly 70 years ago between American and Japanese children following a bitter and devastating World War.


Washington West Film Festival
Global Peace Film Festival

Recommended. Explores an act of kindness from American school children to their Japanese counterparts, and the simple, joyful gift given in thanks during the period after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.“ – Educational Media Reviews Online

"This well-made documentary would be an excellent resource for high school classes studying history and social studies and is recommended for public and school libraries. The brightly colored images of children at play in fields of flowers, a stark contrast to their war-ravaged home, speak movingly of the children's hopefulness and resilience.“ - School Library Journal

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