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Hiroshima - A city of Peace?

Hiroshima - A city of Peace?

by Doug Strable -
Number of replies: 3
Background and Challenges. 

 I'm working with a group of educators who are creating an updated open textbook (OER) about the Asia Pacific region's history from 1868 (the start of the Meiji era in Japan). One of the challenges I am encountering is creating discussion prompts for controversial topics. I understand the prompts need to be as neutral and inclusive as possible, so we've tried to include stories from people living in the region. Does this discussion prompt compel yourself, as a university student studying the history of the Pacific to engage or avoid this discussion? Further on in the book we will talk about the importance of reconciliation of the past.

 Please share any ideas you may have experienced that we could make controversial (emotional) topics more inclusive and advance learning, not only one's emotions.  

Draft Discussion Prompt (Example) 

August 6, 2020, was the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing over Hiroshima. To many, this image of the dome building in 1945 is a symbol of the devastation that occurred on the August morning that ended the war with Imperial Japanese forces. The building is part of the international peace memorial in Hiroshima. 

How would you feel about portraying Hiroshima as a city of peace if you knew the dome building housed Imperial Headquarters from 1894 that instigated attacks China, Taiwan, and Korea and continues to grow as a military base as the port of Kaga, Japan's new aircraft carrier and US Marine Corps Iwakuni, largest airbase in East Asia, the MSDF Kure base for the new Helicopter carrier Kaga the US Army Akizui Ammunition Depot, and GSDF Haramura Training Grounds?  

In reply to Doug Strable

Re: Hiroshima - A city of Peace?

by Norma Sherret -

Hi Doug,

Your prompt is certainly compelling and I think the use of the visual aid is a great addition to the prompt. And I learned something just from the prompt itself...thanks!

I wonder if your prompt would be more powerful if you broke the question in the prompt down a bit. For example, could you ask the "How would you feel..."  question as it currently is posed and then provide the details of the use of the building. You could then ask students to consider how this information changes their perspectives/feelings about the building as symbol of peace.



In reply to Norma Sherret

Re: Hiroshima - A city of Peace?

by Doug Strable -

Hello Norma, 

That is a great idea! I see how breaking the question in the prompt would connect better to the feelings of students. It would also make the tone lighter which I am concerned about. I'll rework the prompt this way and post an update. 

It always amazes me how discussion forums can create very helpful information as the article Khairunnisa Ali posted in the Open Forum. 

Thanks for inspiration today, 


In reply to Doug Strable

Re: Hiroshima - A city of Peace?

by Barbara Mauter -

Hi Doug

Would it be too far a stretch to post the photo,  then ask students to speculate about this building? As to its history and or prior use? Current use?

No matter how "neutral" the course material is, there may likely be some strong "feelings" the are present.

In your course you might want to include some information/ video on the fact it is "okay" to feel strong emotions when learning this material. Individuals may react / respond differently and honestly not know why they are struggling with these feelings. They may need some guidance in this area. It is possible for some it is still very painful.

Best of success in your course!

Babs/ Barbara