Peace Day Lantern Ceremony

In collaboration with Masanari Kawahara.

This event commemorated the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 to honor the people that perished in these bombings and in all wars. The ceremonial performance will feature floating lanterns, large lantern puppets, movie-screen-sized shadow puppetry, a children’s Butoh troupe, large video projection onto Powderhorn Island and live acoustic/electronic music. Peace Day Lantern Ceremony will be based on the ancient lantern ceremonies celebrated in many Asian countries, and will honor the intent with which the ceremony is currently celebrated in Japan.

Since the world’s first atomic bombings of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, the lantern ceremony has taken on a new meaning in Japan. Japan’s Buddhists believe the souls of their ancestors visit them every year; they put out lanterns to guide the spirits, and when the visit ends the lanterns are set adrift to light the souls’ path back to heaven.

Now every year on August 6, the lantern ceremony not only commemorates those who died in the world’s first two nuclear attacks, it also honors all those killed in past wars and is an expression of hope that nuclear weapons will never be used again.

Performed in Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis, August 2009 & 2010, September 2013.

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Bart Buch is a fiscal year 2013 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.