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The Mainichi holding new int'l essay contest on Hiroshima A-bomb play 'The Face of Jizo'

A still photo from the film "The Face of Jizo" (Image courtesy of The Face of Jizo Partners, 2003)

The Mainichi is holding a new international essay contest on the theme of the play "The Face of Jizo," penned by the late Hisashi Inoue about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, for our young readers around the world. Beatrice Fihn, the Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), is encouraging youths worldwide to take action toward a world free of nuclear weapons by using the play and the contest to spark their imagination and motivation. ICAN won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for its major role in realizing the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in July of the same year.

The full script of the four-act play will be made available on The Mainichi website from Aug. 6 through Oct. 31, courtesy of copyright holder Yuri Inoue and Roger Pulvers, who translated the work into English. One act per day will be posted beginning on Aug. 3, making the entire play available by Aug. 6.

"The Face of Jizo" is considered a theatrical masterpiece of postwar Japan. After reading the accounts of several hundred atomic bomb survivors or hibakusha, Inoue decided to write the play not as a tragedy, but as a comedy, in order to convey the horror of the atomic bomb to as many people as possible.

The Mainichi Editorial Office shares Inoue's wish, and hopes that as many people as possible will read the script so that the tragedy endured by Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be remembered and never happen again.

The essays on the play must be no more than 1,000 words in English, and from readers between the ages of 13 and 23. The essays can be submitted to jizo@mainichi.co.jp. Entrants must include their name, address, date of birth, school, and school year, and the subject of the email must be "Face of Jizo Essay" followed by the entrant's name when submitting an essay. Submissions are limited to one per person.

The deadline for submitting the essays is Oct. 31, 2018, and entries will be judged by a panel including writer and film director Roger Pulvers, former Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba and The Mainichi Editor-in-Chief Hiroaki Wada. The winning essays will be announced via The Mainichi website on Dec. 1, 2018, and prizes worth 100 U.S. dollars each will be awarded to the top three essay writers. The contest is supported by Kyoto University of Foreign Studies and Sophia University.

(Please note the copyright for the winning essays will be transferred to the organizers of the contest.)

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