The older brother of Hiroshima peace icon Sadako Sasaki will be traveling from his home in Fukuoka, Japan to share the words, thoughts and feelings of his12-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, August 2 in the Garden Room at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Little Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles.
Presented in the voice of his sister, Sasaki will talk about surviving the atomic bombing, and Sadako’s care and compassion for others, despite her struggle with leukemia at the Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital.
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 August 1 to August 3 at the JACCC.
On Saturday, August 2, the Masahiro Sasaki event at the JACCC’s Garden Room is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., along with the “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 at 7 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, Honolulu, among others. Last year, Sasaki also donated a crane to the JACCC at the first “Remembering Sadako” event.
According to Masahiro Sasaki’s son, Yuji, 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.
The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center is located at 244 South San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90023. All events, except the “Concert for Peace,” are free and open to the public.
For more information, call the JACCC at (213) 638-2725 or visit www.jaccc.org
(Source: the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center and The Grateful Crane Ensemble)