Sadako Sasaki’s Brother to Speak at Peace Event at JACCC

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"Remembering Sadako" to promote peace through art and culture.

The older brother of Hiroshima peace icon Sadako Sasaki will be traveling from his home in Fukuoka to share the words, thoughts and feelings of his 12-year-old sister who became famous for folding over 1,000 origami paper cranes before succumbing to the “atom bomb disease” in 1955.

Masahiro Sasaki, 73, will be speaking to the public on Saturday, Aug. 2, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Garden Room at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) in Little Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles. Sasaki will talk about how his sister survived the atomic bombing and about her care and compassion for others, despite her struggle with leukemia at the Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital.

Masahiro Sasaki holds an origami crane folded by his sister Sadako. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)

Masahiro Sasaki, elder brother of Sadako, holds an origami crane folded by his sister. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)

His talk will end with a plea for peace, and Sadako’s wish that something like this never happens again to anyone.

Sasaki’s presentation is part of the second annual “Remembering Sadako: Folding for Peace” event taking place from Aug. 1 to 3 at the JACCC.

Presented by the JACCC, “Remembering Sadako” is a three-day event to promote peace through art and culture. On Friday, Aug. 1, at 1:30 p.m., a tea ceremony dedicated to peace will take place at the JACCC’s Tea Room. “Concert for Peace,” featuring Grammy Award winner Melissa Manchester, David Lindley Justin Klunk, and a special bilingual performance of “Inori — Sadako’s Prayer” by Sadako’s nephew, Yuji Sasaki, along with Keiko Kawashima and Scott Nagatani, will take place on Aug. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Aratani Theatre.

On Sunday, Aug. 3, storytelling by the Grateful Crane Ensemble will happen at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Doizaki Gallery, along with origami crane folding workshops from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Also on Sunday, 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.

Masahiro Sasaki was 14 years old when his younger sister passed away ten years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. Since her passing, Sadako’s story of perseverance and hope has lived on to inspire people around the world, and the origami paper crane has become an international symbol of peace.

In 2009, Sasaki along with his son Yuji started Sadako Legacy, a Tokyo-based non-profit whose mission is to “create a bright future for children” and “to convey a message of peace through Sadako Sasaki’s omoiyari or compassion for others.”

They do this through education and through the symbolic donations of Sadako’s origami cranes to significant sites around the world. Thus far, Masahiro Sasaki has donated cranes to Ground Zero at the World Trade Center Memorial in New York City and at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, among others. Last year, Sasaki also donated a crane to the JACCC at the first “Remembering Sadako” event.

According to Yuji Sasaki, presenting Sadako’s words and thoughts to an American audience has been a long-time dream of his father’s.

“We are very happy for this opportunity to remember Sadako in this way,” he said.

All events, except the concert, are free and open to the public. For more information, call the JACCC at (213) 638-2725 or visit www.jaccc.org.

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