From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima -Sadako’s memory leads people around the world to peace

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Translation / 翻訳

December 8th was the day when the Japanese navy air-service attacked the US Navy base in Pearl Harbor and the Pacific War had begun, but there are also movements to link that memory to future peace.

The caretaker of the “Blackened Canteen” tradition, Dr. Hiroya Sugano, center, pours bourbon whiskey into the hallowed waters at the USS Arizona Memorial, with a member of the Japanese military and the U.S. Air Force, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 6, 2016. The whiskey is an offering of peace, given from a World War II-era canteen recovered at a crash site in Japan of two American bombers that collided after a raid on the Japanese city of Shizuoka. The aircrews were killed in the June 1945 crash; 2,000 Japanese citizens were killed in the raid. DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando

On September 21, 2013, at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, an exhibition opening ceremony was held for a paper crane folded by Sadako Sasaki, who died of the atomic bombing at the age of 12. Sadako’s older brother Masahiro and Lauren Bruner, a crew member of the battleship Arizona sunk in the attack on Pearl Harbor, joined hands with “we are friends” and renewed our feelings for peace. It goes without saying that the people who promoted this exhibition have a feeling of looking to future peace.

Sadako Sasaki

The USS Arizona Memorial is a memory of “cowardly Japan” called “Remember Pearl Harbor”, and at the ceremony of the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1991, the former President Bush said, “We are ready to proceed to reconciliation.” The call was an opportunity to make a major shift to “Pearl Harbor to Peace” and emphasize “reconciliation”.

Sadako Sasaki, who was exposed to the atomic bomb in Hiroshima at the age of two, died of leukemia at the age of 12 in August 1955, but two months before that, when she was in hospital, a paper crane sent by a high school student in Nagoya. The making of paper cranes by Sadako and other patients in the hospital had begun. It is said that the number of cranes that Sadako folded exceeded 1,000.

The episode of Sadako Sasaki, who was robbed of the future by the dropping of the atomic bomb in an unreasonable war and faced death, but still entrusted her hope to orizuru (paper crane), is widely known in the Islamic world of the Middle East and in Europe and the United States. In the United States, a peace park with a statue of Sadako opened on August 6, 1990 in Seattle, Washington state, and in Santa Barbara, California, the “Sadako Peace Garden”  was opened on August 6, 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of dropping atomic bomb in Hiroshima.

In 2008, Ora McGuire who lives in Walpole, Massachusetts, USA, taught how to make paper cranes to elementary school students while introducing episodes of Sadako. The paper peace cranes made by the elementary school students were presented to the Iranian team at the sports competition held in Damascus, Syria, but the Iranian team members gave it to the children of the elementary school after returning to Iran. At that time, tensions between the Bush administration and the Ahmadinejad government in Iran were rising, and Ms. McGuire gave it to the Iranian team with the hope that the tensions between the two countries would be resolved peacefully.

A paper cranes made by Sadako was presented to the Farabi Cinema Foundation in Iran in 2013 and is exhibited at the Cinema Museum of Iran. Although the United States and Iran are at odds with each other, there is no difference in sympathy for Sadako between the two countries’ peoples. I also hope that one day Sadako will mediate the reconciliation between the United States and Iran.

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Isooda Ajdari, an international student at Hiroshima Jogakuin University, gave the English version of the picture book “Orizuru no Tabi (Trip of Paper Crane)” to a Tehran elementary school in Iran. In response, the elementary school students made paper cranes, dedicating them to the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Ms. Isooda set up a peace circle “Rouyeshe Solh” which means “nurture peace” in Persian, and held a workshop to teach the spirit of peace and cooperation while making paper peace cranes at an elementary school in Iran.

Isooda Ajdari, an international student at Hiroshima Jogakuin University

In 2010, Iranian artist Shahab Mohammadi woven an embroidery to commemorate Sadako Sasaki and presented it to the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima. Mohammadi read her biography at the age of six, and since then, Sadakoi’s episodes of the atomic bombing and fighting illness haven’t left his mind. Mohammadi’s carpet is designed so that Sadako is surrounded by 72 national flags. The feelings of the Iranian people for Sadako must change the view that Iran is a “dangerous country” as the United States and Israel appeal.

Kuwait University launches “Peace Bird Project” after the Gulf War in 1991 to teach “Sadako and Origami Story” at school to heal children injured by the Iraqi army invasion and teach the preciousness of peace However, it is said that the Kuwaiti children who heard Sadako’s story also went to nearby Bahrain to tell her story.

Sadako didn’t want to worry about medical expenses to her parents, so she made  paper cranes with all her might, trying to show that her illness was not serious. Sadako’s bereaved family said that the feeling of compassion for others as Sadako showed leads to peace.

Sadako statue with paper cranes in Japan

Featured image:

FILE – In this Aug. 15, 2015 file photo, U.S. Navy Read Adm. John Fuller, left, Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell, center, and then Nagaoka CityMayor Tomio Mori look on during a celebration marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, in Honolulu. The mayor of Nagaoka, Japan, the birthplace of the man who engineered the Pearl Harbor attack, is joining his counterpart of Honolulu to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the four-year war between the two countries, as friends. Mayor Tatsunobu Isoda and eight other members of his delegation are formally invited as guests of Honolulu at both the main memorial on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, and a separate first ceremony Thursday, Dec. 8, co-organized by Japan and the U.S. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia, File) (The Associated Press)

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