2015 / With Hiroshima children, Los Angeles artists compose a song for A-bomb victims


From Keiko Kawashima

At long last, our “Inori ~ Sadako’s Prayer” YouTube video has been completed.  It has been a meaningful journey, and labor of love.  I was honored to be a part of this important work, and I hope Sadako Sasaki’s wish for peace in the world, as symbolized by her determination to fold 1,000 origami cranes will continue to grow.

This song was composed by Sadako Sasaki’s nephew, Yuji.  Special thanks to Yuji for agreeing to the idea of making a bilingual recording of his song.  I hope it will help non-Japanese speaking individuals understand its meaningful message.

The initial concept of a bilingual arrangement of Yuji’s song was Scott Nagatani’s idea. In the Fall of 2013 during a trip to Tokyo, we proposed the idea to Yuji, and he was very enthusiastic about it.

In 2014, we recorded our vocals here in Los Angeles.  Then, we began the process of gathering and recording the children’s voices. We recorded the Wings of Peace (a youth chorus here in L.A.) first. Then in the Fall of 2014, we made the trip to Hiroshima, where we recorded the chorale students at Nobori-Cho Elementary School.

The audio recording was completed in December 2014. And now, the video has been completed, thanks to Scott’s long hours and efforts.  We are very thankful to all the artists who contributed to this project.  It has been a very emotional, meaningful and creative process – from beginning to end.

Craft and photo exhibition of Ken Shimizu in Hiroshima

Craft and photo exhibition of Ken Shimizu in Hiroshima

I was lucky enough to be in Hiroshima on June 2, 2015 to attend the opening of a photo and crafts exhibit that was conceived by photographer Ken Shimizu.  Sadly, with his unexpected passing, he was unable to see his exhibit come to fruition, but I believe he was present in spirit.

Students of Nobori Cho School

Students of Nobori Cho School

His Jizo statue photos and paper craft boxes were displayed at the Former Hiroshima Bank Building (now a center for exhibits and events connected to Hiroshima’s history).

The paper craft boxes were decorated with peace messages and drawings by the students at Nobori-Cho Elementary School – where Sadako Sasaki attended up until her hospitalization and subsequent death from radiation exposure from the A-Bomb. Later this year, the same paper craft boxes will be delivered to the U.S., and distributed to children here.

Our hope is that this song’s message will resonate globally, and in some small way, help the world find a way to sustain itself in peace.  For the children… for all people… forever…

Thank you for viewing this video.