Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Candles exchanged between London and Hiroshima were lit to remember when the first atomic bombs were dropped seventy years ago. In silence, music and poetry, lives lost were remembered.

Japanese candle on table
A candle lit to remember Hiroshima. Photo credit: Quakers in Britain

Quakers in Britain marked 70 years since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with an interfaith service at Friends House, London. The service commemorated the lives lost and reaffirmed the joint commitment to work for a nuclear-free world.

"like the sun was falling on my head"

A survivor, Emiko Yamanaka, spoke of the moment she saw a flash, “like the sun was falling on my head", and the panic as the city started to burn. Her experience made her granddaughter determined to work for world peace.


Quakers are reaching out to those of all faiths to come together in reflective commemoration of the lives lost to nuclear weapons in Japan in 1945. Our common belief in the preciousness of every human life is something which draws us together and strengthens our commitment to learning from the past so as to help to build a more peaceful future for the world.

- Helen Drewery, General Secretary, Quaker Peace & Social Witness


Many different faith groups were gathered together and readings from each faith were presented. A period of silence was held in the Quaker tradition and some of those present gave individual ministry

The commitment

Jehangir Sarosh, executive director of Religions for Peace UK, read a statement signed by UK faith leaders and representatives. The statement says:

"Nuclear weapons are by their nature indiscriminate in their effect. Any use of nuclear weapons would have devastating humanitarian consequences, be incompatible with International Humanitarian Law and violate the principle of dignity for every human being that is common to each of our faith traditions. Our world faces many challenges including oppressive poverty, climate change, violent extremism and emerging national rivalry. Addressing these challenges requires strong relationships across nations, founded on mutual co-operation, trust and shared prosperity. Security policies based on the threat of the use of nuclear weapons are immoral and ultimately self-defeating.

"We must move beyond the division of our world into nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states and ensure that all states make good their commitment to negotiations on the universal, legally verifiable and enforceable elimination of nuclear weapons. We call on all nuclear weapon states to join in this endeavour. We urge these states and the international community to develop a robust plan of action that will lead us to a world free of nuclear weapons."

Add your signature to the statement