US ambassador Caroline Kennedy’s Hiroshima Visit

US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy was in Hiroshima yesterday on her third visit to the city, and her second as ambassador.

Kennedy said that she was honored to return to Hiroshima, the city to which she had visited when she came to Japan for the first time, and that she has been inspired by the city ever since.


Kennedy first visited back in 1978 with her uncle Senator Edward Kennedy.

Carloine Kennedy (right) visiting Hiroshima in 1978 wth her uncle Edward Kennedy

Ambassador Kennedy offered a wreath and bowed before the memorial cenotaph for the Hiroshima’s atomic bomb victims, in Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. Although she attended last year’s August 6 commemoration ceremony, this was the first time she had laid a wreath at the cenotaph in an official capacity.



carloline kennedy at hiroshima peace museumHiroshima Peace Culture Foundation chair Yasuyoshi Komizo guided her around the Peace Museum. The Mainichi newspaper reports that she wrote in the visitors’ book that she

appreciates the leadership of the people of Hiroshima and their moral courage


and the Asahi

anyone in our troubled world who visits this place cannot help but feel a renewed desire to work towards peace (GetHiroshima translation)


She then planted two flowering dogwood trees in the grounds of the park. The dogwood tree is a symbol of US-Japan amity – dogwood tress were sent to Japan in return for the 3000 cherry trees Tokyo gifted to Washington DC in 1915. Kennedy said

I hope that these trees will be reminder of the friendship between the people of the US and Japan. (GetHiroshima translation)


and according to the Chugoku Shimbun

This gift commemorates 70 years of peace and friendship between our two countries. The courage, resilience and commitment to peace and nuclear non-proliferation has been a great inspiration to the rest of the world. (GetHiroshima translation)


The two trees planted yesterday are one of 70 gifted to Hiroshima on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the A-bombing and Nippon TV quotes Kennedy as saying

I hope that as these trees grow people of all generations will enjoy the beautiful blossoms every year. (GetHiroshima translation)


Following the tree planting she spoke with 11 students at Hiroshima University’s Kasumi campus about the importance of overseas study in fostering global talent.

On a lighter note, Kennedy threw the first pitch at Mazda Stadium where the Hiroshima Carp were playing the Chunichi Dragons.

Kennedy is a professed Red Sox fan, but seemed happy enough to play catch ball with Hiroki Kuroda who return to play for Hiroshima this season after 8 years with the New York Yankees. Japan’s sports press and baseball fans in Mazda Stadium seem to have been quite impressed by the ambassador’s form on the mound and the strength of her pitch.

kennedy gets some grip tips from kuroda

kennedy plays catchball with kuroda

Carloline Kennedy's pitch in Hiroshima

Other than an official announcement on nuclear weapons reduction, testing or an upcoming visit by the US president, there is probably little more that the ambassador could have done to make a bigger impression on the average Hiroshima-ite.

Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of and loves running in the mountains.