Come to the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center on Saturday, Aug. 1, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., for a free day of crafts and fun at Remembering Sadako Family Day.
The event, held at the JACCC campus, will feature many fun activities, from learning how to fold origami cranes to having lunch in the plaza from food trucks. The Grateful Crane Ensemble, a non-profit theater troupe, will be performing Sadako Sasaki’s story and sharing how her 1,000 cranes have since become an international symbol for peace.
The program will also feature the “Sembazuru” dance, a new Obon piece created by especially for youth by Nobuko Miyamoto, artistic director and founder of Great Leap. Miyamoto, who has created several Obon songs and dances, including the popular “Mottainai” and “Bambutsu no Tsunagari,” has made “Sembazuru” as an offering of peace, remembering Sadako, as well as all children who suffer from war and violence today. It is aptly dedicated on this 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The idea for the song came to Miyamoto last year in August. “As the memorial was happening, there were children from Honduras risking their life to escape violence. Children in the Middle East were dying from bombings. I felt all young people had the right to live in peace and safety. This song empowers our youth as peacemakers, connecting with all young people in harm’s way.”
A thousand cranes, for all the children of the world
A thousand cranes, each one a prayer for peace
A thousand cranes, see them circle in the sky
Looking over all the children as they fly…
I’m a bird of hope
I’m a song of peace
I’m a link in the golden chain
Shining brightly … Sembazuru!
The spirited song in English and Japanese is performed and recorded with children in the spotlight, featuring Maiya Kuida-Osumi, Sandino Flores, Emi Takara, Keilani Anderson and Sara Aiko Omura; supported by pros Atomic Nancy, Yoko Fujimoto, Tetsuya Nakamura, and more. Producer/arranger Derek Nakamoto has made the music soar with both traditional and contemporary flavors.
The dance, choreographed by Elaine Fukumoto and Miyamoto, is being taught to youth in workshops with Kizuna in Orange County and at Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute, Camp Musubi and San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center. But all lovers of Obon, young and young at heart, are invited to join. Bring a happi coat if you have one.
“Sembazuru” was created with support from Alliance for California Traditional Arts.
JACCC is located at 244 S. San Pedro St. (between Second and Third streets) in Little Tokyo.