• Kyodo

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Folk singer Kosetsu Minami, who has donated proceeds from concerts for atomic bomb survivors, will reunite his folk group Kaguya Hime on Saturday to continue his campaign against nuclear weapons.

The concert on the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima will be held at a hall in the city’s Nishi Ward.

Minami, 56, said he was moved when visiting ailing atomic bomb survivors at a nursing home in Hiroshima.

“It would be scary if young people associate wars and nuclear weapons only with animated cartoons,” he said. “I felt it was necessary to communicate the war’s agonies directly to the audience.”

Minami said he developed an interest in Hiroshima in the 1970s when his band released a series of hits, including “Kandagawa” and “Akachochin.”

Although he thought about starting charitable work then, Minami said he hesitated because he thought it would be hypocritical.

His hesitation, however, evaporated when he visited a nursing-care facility for atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima, where the conditions appalled him. There, he saw the survivors squeezed into a room full of beds, treated like “a nuisance to society.”

Minami, Kotaro Yamamoto and other musicians held 10 concerts from 1986 to 1995 to raise funds for a new nursing-care facility for the atomic bomb survivors.

More than 100 musicians, including Yutaka Ozaki, who died in 1992 at the age of 26, joined the events, which succeeded in raising 160 million yen for the cause.

Minami’s enthusiasm prompted the city to open a third nursing-care facility for the survivors in 1992.

The remaining proceeds were turned into a 110 million yen fund for purchasing medical equipment.

Minami continues to visit the three nursing homes and performs for the residents. His concerts are highly appreciated by the survivors, who say they feel at ease with Minami.

“You are sending the message of peace by being alive today. Please stay well,” Minami tells the survivors at the end of every concert.

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