In front of Tokyo’s Ōimachi Station stands a bronze statue of a woman, with one arm holding a little boy’s hand and the other raising toward the sky. On her raised hand, a bird perches with what seems to be a sprouting plant between its beak. Most passersby are likely to pass it by without a second look, but recently it has gained some renown and popularity, albeit for an unexpected reason.
If you look closely at the bird, you may notice its resemblance to Twitter’s logo (whose name happens to be Larry). Hilariously, this caused the Japanese internet users to interpret the whole work as a mother taking Twitter away from her son.
But what does the sculpture really signify? Move your gaze from the bird to its pedestal, and you’ll see its title: Heiwa no Chikai, or Oath of Peace. It was created in 1986 by the artist Ikuhisa Koganemaru in celebration of a one-year anniversary of Shinagawa City’s “declaration of a non-nuclear peace area.” It depicts a dove carrying away a nuclear bomb. The statue’s pedestal was inspired by a mushroom cloud seen in Hiroshima.
The sculpture is not the only thing that represents peace. The street lamp standing next to it was lit using the fires from lamps in peace memorial parks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The flowerbed that surrounds them is filled with canna, the first flower to grow on the soil of Hiroshima after the 1945 bombing, further symbolizing the anti-war, anti-nuclear sentiments.