“Remembering Sadako: Folding for Peace,” a series of events marking the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, included storytelling by the Grateful Crane Ensemble on Aug. 3 at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Little Tokyo. The story of Sadako Sasaki, who died at age 12 after being exposed to radiation from the Hiroshima bomb, was acted out by Helen Ota as Sadako, Shaun Shimoda as her brother Masahiro, who attended the performance, and Haruye Ioka and Darrell Kunitomi as her parents.
Yuji Sasaki, Masahiro’s son and Sadako’s nephew, joined Keiko Kawashima (right), Ota and other cast members in singing “Inori: Sadako’s Prayer” in English and Japanese. “Sadako’s Paper Cranes and Lessons of Peace” was produced by the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE), developed by Naomi Funahashi, illustrated by Rich Lee, and directed by Kunitomi with additional scenes by Soji Kashiwagi, musical direction by Scott Nagatani, and video projection by Ping Wu.
Also at the JACCC, Patti Nagano (pictured) and other volunteers taught visitors how to make origami cranes, which are a symbol of peace because Sadako folded them just before her death. The completed cranes were strung and displayed at the Call for Peace ceremony later that day. Other Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemorative activities included a talk by Masahiro Sasaki and the Concert for Peace on Aug. 2.
Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo