Japanese Peace Bell
The Japanese Peace Bell is a United Nations peace symbol. Cast on November 24, 1952, it was an official gift of the Japanese people to the United Nations on June 8, 1954. The symbolic bell of peace was donated by Japan to the United Nations at a time when Japan had not yet been officially admitted to the United Nations. The Japanese Peace Bell was presented to the United Nations by the United Nations Association of Japan.
The Tada Factory in Japan completed the bell on United Nations Day. It was cast by Chiyoji Nakagawa, and was modelled on the Banzai Bell of Peace that he created for Uwajima Temple. Nakagawa subsequently founded the World Peace Bell Association. The bell went briefly to Osaka, Japan as part of Osaka Expo 70 and was later returned to its permanent location in New York City at 42nd Street and First Avenue, inside UN territory grounds.
Renzo Sawada, the United Nations Japanese Observer, presented the bell to the United Nations Organization. At the time of the presentation, Sawada commented that "The bell embodies the aspiration for peace not only of the Japanese but of the peoples of the entire world. Thus it symbolized the universality of the United Nations."
The bell weighs 116 kg (256 lb), with a height of 1 meter (3 ft 3 in), and 0.6 meters (2 ft 0 in) in diameter at the base. The metal in the bell itself was obtained from coins donated by delegates of 60 nations who were attending the 13th General Conference of United Nations Associations held in Paris, France in 1951. The coins were collected from the delegates by children.
A wooden hammer was presented to the United Nations in 1977. A bell cord blessed by Shinto priests was also presented to the United Nations on Earth Day, March 20, 1990.
The Japanese Peace Bell of the United Nations headquarters in New York City is housed in a Japanese cypress wooden structure resembling a traditional Shinto shrine. The whole structure is supported by a base of stone donated by Israel.
Events and function
Sounding the bell
Traditionally, the Japanese Peace Bell is rung twice a year. It is tolled on the first day of Spring at the time of the vernal equinox, in celebration of the annual Earth Day ceremony initiated by Earth Day Founder, John McConnell.
It is also tolled on every opening day of the UN General Assembly's yearly session in September, coinciding with the International Day of Peace established by the General Assembly in 1981. This occasion is observed by the Secretary-General.
The Bell is infrequently tolled on other special occasions.
Earth Day Celebrations
On Earth Day every year the Earth Society Foundation (founded by John McConnell), is responsible for the Earth Day celebrations that take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Each year different Honorees are selected to ring the Japanese Peace Bell as part of the celebration.
|1971||U Thant, Secretary-General, United Nations|
|1972||Kurt Waldheim, Secretary-General, United Nations|
|1973||C.V. Narasimhan, Chef du Cabinet, Under-Secretary-General for Inter-Agency Affairs and Co-ordination, United Nations|
|1974||Bradford Morse, Administrator, United Nations Development Program (UNDP)|
|1975||Genichi Akatani, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations|
|1976||Robert J. Ryan, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations|
|1977||Margaret Mead, world renowned anthropologist|
|1978||Margaret Mead, Earth Day Chairperson|
|1979||Dr. Estefania Aldaba-Lim, Special Representative (Assistant Secretary-General), United Nations|
|1980||Dr. Edward Gibson, American Scientist-Astronaut, scientist-pilot Skylab 4|
|1981||Dr. Arvid Pardo, Malta, United Nations Ambassador, founder of the Law of the Sea Conference|
|1982||Mrs. René Dubos, wife of the renowned scientist, humanist and Professor Emeritus of The Rockefeller University|
|1983||Reverend Percival Brown, Trinity Church, Wall Street, New York|
|1984||Paul McRae, Member of Parliament, representing Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Canada|
|1985||Dr. Robert Muller, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations|
|1986||Dr. Robert Muller, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations|
|1987||Chester Norris, U.S. Mission, Minister Counselor, Deputy U.S. Representative to UN Economic and Social Council|
|Valentin Karymov, Senior Counselor, USSR Mission|
|Sheik Ali Mukhtar, Deputy Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, Mecca, Saudi Arabia|
|1988||Edward Abramson, New York State Majority Whip, Earth Day Chairman|
|Reverend Umberto Mullare|
|Francis McCullough, Cardinal Krol Center, Philadelphia, PA|
|1989||Dr. Noel Brown, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)|
|1990||David Dinkins, Mayor, City of New York|
|Cynthia Lennon, artist, the United Kingdom|
|1991||Antoine Blanca, Director-General for Development and International Economic Co-operation, United Nations|
|1992||Joseph Ciccipio, former hostage in Beirut, former acting comptroller of the American University|
|Anicetas Simutis, Ambassador, Lithuania|
|Aivars Baumanis, Ambassador, Latvia|
|Paul Luedig, Counsellor, representing Ernst Jaakson, Ambassadore, Estonia|
|1993||Rigoberto Menchu Tum, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, human rights activist, Guatemala|
|1994||Nasir Obeid, young boy from Palestine|
|Daphne Tenne, young girl from Israel|
|1995||Edwina Sandys, artist, and granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill, the late Prime Minister of the United Kingdom|
|1996||Richard Butler, Ambassador, Australia|
|Anna McConnell, wife of John McConnell, Earth Day founder|
|1997||Razali Ismail, Ambassador, Malaysia, and President of the General Assembly, United Nations|
|1998||Gillian Sorensen, Under-Secretary-General for External Relations, United Nations|
|Kensaku Hogen, Under-Secretary for Communications and Public Information, United Nations|
|1999||Brother Ignatio Harding, Franciscans International Lama Gangchen, Monk, Tibet|
|2000||Gerhard Pfanzelter, Ambassador, Austria|
|2001||Mary Catherine Bateson, author and daughter of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson|
|2002||Mrs. Lisbet Palme, Swedish Committee for UNICEF, and wife of Olof Palme, the late Prime Minister of Sweden|
|2003||Pete Seeger, legendary folk musician and environmentalist|
|2004||John McConnell, founder of Earth Day and co-founder of the Earth Society Foundation|
|2005||Aye Aye Thant, daughter of U Thant, UN Secretary-General|
|Don MacKay, Ambassador, New Zealand, and Acting President of the General Assembly, United Nations|
|Eduardo J. Sevilla Somoza, Ambassador, Nicaragua|
|2006||Lars Hjalmar Wide, Ambassador/Chef de Cabinet, Office of the President of the 60th session of the UN General Assembly|
|Ambassador (& Mrs.) Shinichi Kitaoka, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN|
|2007||Aye Aye Thant, daughter of U Thant, UN Secretary-General|
|2008||Anwaral Chowdhury, Ambassador, Bangladesh|
|2009||Pete Seeger, legendary folk musician and environmentalist|
|2010||Children, including the Tarumi Violinists, surrounded by the children and grandchildren of Earth Day Founders and early supporters|
|2011||Solange Muller, daughter of the late Dr. Robert Muller, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations, and renowned peace educator|
|Aye Aye Thant, daughter of U Thant, UN Secretary-General|
|Naima Chikhi, UNESCO Representative|
|2012||Ambassador Anwaral Chowdhury, Bangladesh, Senior Special Advisor to the President of the UN General Assembly|
|2013||Nikhil Seth, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)|
|2014||Helen Garland, Chairperson Earth Society Foundation and children of the Tarumi Violinists|
|2015||Members of the Earth Society Foundation in New York|
|2016||Ricardo de Guimaraes Pinto, UNESCO New York Liaison Officer|
- "Whenever it has sounded, this Japanese Peace Bell has sent a clear message. The message is addressed to all humanity. Peace is precious. It is not enough to yearn for peace. Peace requires work -- long, hard, difficult work."
A stamp series of the Japanese Peace Bell, designed by Ole Hamann of Denmark, was issued in 1970 as part of the United Nations Postal Service's Art at the United Nations series. The stamps were printed by the Government Printing Bureau of Tokyo.
Other Japanese Peace Bells
More than twenty Peace Bell copies were donated by the Japanese World Peace Bells Association around the world:
- Cape Sōya, Hokkaidō, Japan, 1988
- Ishigaki Island, Okinawa, Japan, 1988
- Ankara, Turkey, 1989
- Berlin, Germany, 1989
- Warsaw, Poland, 1989 (stolen in 2002, replaced 2015)
- Osaka, Japan, 1990
- Tacubaya, Mexico City, Mexico, 1990
- Cowra, New South Wales, Australia, 1992
- Ulan Bator, Mongolia, 1993
- Quezon City, Philippines, 1994
- Vienna International Centre, Austria, 1995
- Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 1996
- Brasília, Brasil, 1997
- Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1998
- Quito, Ecuador, 1999
- Los Angeles, California, USA, 2001
- Alcobendas, Community of Madrid, Spain, 2003
- Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 2003
- Amagasaki, Japan, 2005
- Christchurch, New Zealand, 2006
- Mount Hiei, Ōtsu, Japan, 2007
- San Francisco, Argentina, 2014
- "World Peace Bells". World Peace Bell Association. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- "A World Peace Bell for Christchurch, New Zealand" (PDF). resources.ccc.govt.nz. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- Margaret Bell Thomson. New Zealand - Country Of Peace. Xlibris Corporation. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-4797-1263-2.
- "International Day of Peace celebrated with Peace Bell ceremony in Ankara". United Nations Newsletter, Turkey. United Nations. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- Wallach, Ruth. "The World Peace Bell". Public Art in Los Angeles. USC Libraries. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- "Earth Society Foundation - Peace Bell Honorees". earthsocietyfoundation.com. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
- "Earth Society Foundation - SourceWatch". www.sourcewatch.org. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
- Brief History Of The Original Peace Bell In New York City
- Japanese Peace Bell, United Nations, UN.org, 2001
- Kitaro Shikoku Peace Bell Project
- Bells & Gongs for Peace