The Gift of the Cross: Exchange, Peace, and Friendship from Nagasaki’s Atomic Ruins

The Gift of the Cross: Exchange, Peace, and Friendship from Nagasaki’s Atomic Ruins
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

A wooden cross, originally taken by a U.S. soldier from the ruins of the old Catholic Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki, was repatriated in August 2019. The cross, now named the “Atomic Bombed Cross,” was given by Bishop Yamaguchi Aijiro of Nagasaki to Walter G. Hooke, a Catholic Marine from New York, in the context of a friendship they developed during the early months of the U.S. occupation. In this paper, I juxtapose the two men’s divergent, and yet respectively significant, career paths: a Japanese Catholic bishop who devoted himself to the post-war reconstruction of Nagasaki and a progressive American Catholic, nearly twenty years younger, who devoted himself to civil rights and anti-nuclear activism. I further examine a chain of exchanges, memories, and friendships that the Atomic Bombed Cross’ journey across the Pacific has transpired through, and beyond, the two men’s friendship. Together, a particular brand of Catholic cosmopolitanism and universalism enacted and experienced by the two friends and associated forms of Catholic relationality and connectivity across divides, including life and death, afford an opportunity to theorize friendship, not so much in relationship to kinship, as to peace.

Hirokazu Miyazaki is the Kay Davis Professor and Professor of Anthropology, Northwestern University. He is also Professor (Special Appointment), Hiroshima University. Miyazaki’s scholarship has focused on theories of exchange, money, futurity, hope, and peace. His major publications include The Method of Hope: Anthropology, Philosophy, and Fijian Knowledge (2004), Arbitraging Japan: Dreams of Capitalism at the End of Finance (2013), Economy of Hope (2013), and Nuclear Compensation: Lessons from Fukushima (2021). Miyazaki is currently completing a book manuscript on a variety of forms of peace activism and citizen diplomacy in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Cosponsored by the Japan Institute

Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 812 1179 0732
Password: 968025

Date & time

Mon 27 Feb 2023, 3–4pm


Rm 3.369 HC Coombs Building ANU


Hirokazu Miyazaki, Northwestern University


Natasha Fijn


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