Sand, Paper and Song

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“Remembering Sadako: Folding for Peace,” a series of events commemorating the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, included a variety of activities on the weekend of Aug. 3-4 at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Little Tokyo. Above: The Grateful Crane Ensemble performed “Sadako’s Paper Cranes and the Lessons of Peace” and sang “Inori” (Prayer). The cast: Haruye Ioka, Keiko Kawashima, Kurt Kuniyoshi, Helen Ota (as Sadako) and Shaun Shimoda.

Above and below: Sadako Sasaki folded origami cranes as she tried to recover from the leukemia that resulted from her exposure to radiation during the bombing of Hiroshima. Volunteers taught visitors how to fold paper cranes, which were then strung together and displayed on Aug. 5 at the “Call for Peace” ceremony in JACCC Plaza.

An elaborate sand mandala, an ancient art tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and a symbol of a world in harmony, was created by visitors with the guidance of Tools for Peace, a nonprofit group based in Pasadena. During the peace ceremony, the mandala was destroyed in a ritual that represents the impermanence of life.

Above and below: Photographer Ken Shimizu (left), pictured with “Remembering Sadako” sponsor Dr. Ernest Nagamatsu, presented “Silent Witnesses: Hiroshima’s Hibaku Jizo” in the JACCC North Gallery from Aug. 2 to 6. The exhibition was shown the following weekend at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley. Shimizu is a Hiroshima native whose mother, aunt and grandmother are hibakusha. His photographs document statues of Jizo, a protector of children, that were damaged by the atomic blast — in some cases left headless or faceless — but remain standing. “Hibaku Jizo,” which even many people in Hiroshima were unaware of, represent the damage that was done to humans, but in a less graphic way, Shimizu said.

Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo

 

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