War weapon makes journey home
As part of this year’s Remembering and Healing Old Wounds event on Anzac Day, a Japanese military sword that’s been in Australia since World War II will begin its journey back to its country of origin.
The sword will be given to Reverend Shigenobu Watanabe, a Japanese Buddhist minister who is travelling from Sydney to attend the peace service.
The sword was given to the Remembering and Healing Old Wounds (RaHOW) organisers by Father Paul Glynn, the brother of the late Father Tony Glynn, who both
worked towards reconciliation between Japan and Australia for more than 30 years.
“The work they have done is remarkable – when I see the emotions that still get stirred in people about the war today I can imagine what it would have been like for them so soon after the war. They were quite daring for their time and very committed to peace between the two countries,” RaHOW organiser Sabina Baltruweit said. “Their work was never confrontational and our group has the same attitude – we want to work towards peace in respectful ways. We have to walk the talk.
“When father Glynn asked us about handing over the sword at our ceremony we thought it was a great idea – it’s a very strong symbolic gesture so it’s a great focus for the service. It’s also an expression that Father Glynn trusts us in our work for peace.”
Reverend Shigenobu Watanabe will return the sword to Japan on his next visit and will search for the family who it belongs to, or have it placed in a war memorial.
The Remembering and Healing Old Wounds event on Anzac Day is not just about reconciliation between Japan and Australia – it is about promoting peace between all cultures and all peoples around the world. It is also an opportunity for people to make a public commitment to peace and non-violence in the future.
“The fact we can come together with more than 35 cultural representatives and make a commitment to peace together really says something about the North Coast,” Sabina said. “We’re a very diverse community and we all contribute in our different ways to make it a vibrant place. The idea is for everyone to bring their stories with them, not sweep them under the carpet, and by talking and sharing we move further towards mutual understanding and peace.”
There are two public RaHOW events this year. The first is on Anzac Day eve (Saturday, April 24) at 5 pm at Lismore Uniting Church, where the Japanese sword will be returned.
The second event is on Anzac Day (Sunday, April 25) at Lismore Peace Park (corner Ballina and Keen Streets). It will be held from midday so as not to clash with the official Anbzac Day program in the city.
For more information, phone Sabina on 6688 6214.