Hikari no utsushie. Hiroshima Hiroshima Hiroshima.
(German:Die schwimmenden Laternen von Hiroshima.)
English edition: Soul Lanterns.
Delacorte Press 2021
Twelve-year old Nozomi lives in the Japanese city of Hiroshima. She had not yet been born when the atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Every year Nozomi and her family take part in a ceremony during which lanterns are set out on the Ōta River in memory of the victims of the bombing. People write the names of their deceased relatives and messages of peace on the paper lanterns. Nozomi notices that her mother has put a lantern without a name onto the water. Then an older woman speaks to her mother because she believes she recognizes in her someone who had disappeared. Nozomi is confused and begins to ask questions. She encounters long-buried fates of loss, mourning, pain, and loneliness. Together with friends she finds a creative way to approach this historical trauma.
Soul Lanterns is not only about one of the worst crimes against humanity in history, but also poses timeless questions about the guilt and innocence of the victims of war and is thereby sadly still of great topicality. (Age: 14+)