The Grateful Crane Ensemble will tell the story of Sadako Sasaki and her 1,000 origami cranes on Sunday, Aug. 3, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center’s Doizaki Gallery in Little Tokyo.
Grateful Crane’s presentation is part of the second annual “Remembering Sadako: Folding for Peace,” a three-day event presented by the JACCC to promote peace through art and culture.
Directed by Darrell Kunitomi with musical direction by Scott Nagatani, the short theatrical presentation tells the real-life story of a 12-year-old Hiroshima girl who folded over 1,000 paper cranes with hopes of defeating the “atom bomb disease,” which she contracted ten years after the bombing.
Sadako’s wish, however, did not come true as she succumbed to leukemia at a Hiroshima Red Cross hospital in October 1955. But her story of determination, perseverance and hope has lived on to inspire children and adults around the world, and the origami paper crane has become an international symbol of peace.
Also featured in the program will be the telling of the classic children’s story “The Tortoise and the Hare,” as well as the singing of “book songs,” including “You Are My I Love You” and “Where Does the Wind Blow?”
Cast members in the show include Haruye Ioka, Keiko Kawashima, Darrell Kunitomi, Helen H. Ota and Shaun Shimoda. Nagatani will accompany the group on keyboard.
Other events during the weekend include a special tea ceremony dedicated to peace at the JACCC’s Tea Room on Friday, Aug. 1, at 1:30 p.m. On Saturday, Aug. 2, Sadako’s older brother, Masahiro Sasaki, will speak about his sister’s life from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Garden Room. At 7 p.m., the “Concert for Peace” at the Aratani Theatre will feature Grammy Award winner Melissa Manchester, musicians David Lindley and Justin Klunk, and a special bilingual performance of “Inori — Sadako’s Prayer” by Sadako’s nephew, Yuji Sasaki, along with Kawashima, Nagatani and a youth choir called the Wings of Peace.
On Sunday, Aug. 3, Grateful Crane’s programs will take place in the Doizaki Gallery at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. along with origami crane folding workshops from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. An interfaith “Ceremony for Peace” will remember victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings at Koyasan Buddhist Temple, 342 E. First St., beginning at 2 p.m.
All programs, except the “Concert for Peace,” are free and open to the public. The JACCC is located at 244 S. San Pedro St. in downtown Los Angeles. For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.jaccc.org/concertforpeace.php.