Mancunians commemorate Hiroshima Day 66 years on

By Mary Maguire

Mancunians and Japanese citizens commemorated the days when atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with a poignant horticultural symbol of peace on Saturday.

An orange rose bush, called Souvenir d’Anne Frank, was presented to Hulme Community Gardens for Hiroshima Day by Japanese citizen Kenji Yamamuro.

The rose was developed and sent to Mr Yamamuro’s father in 1972 by Otto Frank in memory of his daughter Anne, the famous adolescent diarist.

It is now cultivated across Japan as a symbol of peace and courage in the face of adversity.

Japanese students Misa and Aki, 15, travelled to Manchester along with their teacher, Yujiro Ojima from Nara City in Japan, and were guests at the event.

Manchester City Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, who leads on Nuclear Free Manchester, said that it was a fitting tribute to the victims of the atrocities, and hoped to have one of the roses planted in the Peace Gardens.

He said: “This is a fantastic way to commemorate Hiroshima Day, made more remarkable by the fact that our visitors have come all the way from Japan.”

He added: ‘It is an honour for Hulme and for Manchester and shows the progress made in the last two decades’.

A theatre production detailing the story of Souvenir d’Anne Frank will premiere in Manchester on Holocaust Memorial Day, at the Zion Arts Centre in January 2012.

Other commemorative events in Manchester include a ceremony which will be led by Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Harry Lyons JP, at the Friends Meeting House on Mount Street tomorrow.

This will include the screening of a documentary, and readings of poems written by survivors of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.

Councillor Lyons said: “After the recent tragic events in Norway, and the various current conflicts around the world, we want to remember in this ceremony all the ordinary people affected by such violence.

“I hope the ceremony allows for us all to reflect of the real cost of all conflicts and honour the ordinary men, women and children who have so needlessly died.”

The ceremony of commemoration will begin at 7pm and is open to everyone.

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