Volunteer Spotlight: WBW Japan Chapter Member Sumie Sato

Each month, we share the stories of World BEYOND War volunteers around the world. Want to volunteer with World BEYOND War? Email greta@worldbeyondwar.org.



How did you get involved with anti-war activism and World BEYOND War (WBW)?

My parents, especially my mother, were involved in labor rights activism, and as a young girl who often tagged along after my mother, I was surrounded by adults who were discussing social issues. Anti-war messages were often part of the adults’ conversations and I had abundant materials at hand, so the idea of anti-war activism came to me naturally as I became an adult myself.

I attended college in the United States, and whenever I had a chance, I sought and participated in anti-war rallies.

When I had my first daughter, I realized that being a mother was the most meaningful task I could fulfill in life. I decided to become a full-time mother as I felt it is the best contribution I could make towards a more peaceful world.

What urged me to get involved in the anti-war activity again and consequently World BEYOND War was the Ukraine war. When the conflict broke out, I was very worried about the future of humanity, but I tried to stay optimistic while thinking that it would soon be resolved diplomatically. In fact, I realized that I was too naive and that if we the citizens let our leaders take control, they will not only continue the war but escalate it. I then felt that it was my duty as a mother to get involved in taking direct action and to raise my voice.

What kinds of WBW activities do you work on?

I help with Japanese/English translations and have written a couple of reports for events I participated in, such as the bicycle caravan WBW members held while G7 was in Hiroshima this past summer. I am also helping with communications for upcoming events.

What’s your top recommendation for someone who wants to get involved with anti-war activism and WBW?

Having the desire to get involved and the energy one brings to the movement is half the battle and whatever talent, passions or support you can provide will be a tremendous help. I would then add that we also need to work on building peace from within each of us by engaging in day-to-day activities that involve caring for ourselves, and then extending to family, friends, neighbors, communities and our planet earth.

Some people might think it is counterintuitive and that it is too slow for our movement, but if we want to create an outcome that is truly sustainable in the long-term, we must simultaneously work on building healthy relationships on a personal level while pursuing non-violent resistance on a global level.

What keeps you inspired to advocate for change?

What keeps me inspired is children. They are the reason why I imagine and advocate for a better world. I know as a mother that no child comes into this world wishing for the violence, misery and destruction brought by war. I truly believe that if we adults put trust in them and fully support them so that their potential can freely express itself, they will inherently want to create a world beyond war, and my role is to lead by example.

Posted October 2, 2023.

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