18th Annual Sadako Peace Day Ceremony
Celebrate the story of Sadako Sasakithe and the lives of victims on the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, featuring a talk by Kikuko Otake, author and survivor of the U.S. atomic bombing in Hiroshima.
When: Monday, Aug. 6, 2012, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: La Casa de Maria, 800 El Bosque Rd., Montecito, CA
Age limit: All ages
Presented by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
This year’s program will feature keynote speaker Kikuko Otake who was five years old and lived just over a mile away from the hypocenter when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Her father, most of her uncles and a number of cousins were killed in the bombing. She sustained a wound to her head, barely escaped death and suffered greatly from “atomic bomb syndrome.”
Ms. Otake came to the United States in 1968 after graduating from Tsuda College in Tokyo. In 1987, she earned an M.A. in education from California State University at Los Angeles, and was an assistant professor of Japanese before retiring. She is an award-winning haiku, tanka and senryu poet and the author of Masako’s Story, a collection of prose poetry that recounts her family’s tragic experience of the atomic bombing. Ms. Otake will be available to sign copies of Masako’s Story after the ceremony.
The ceremony will also feature poetry readings by four local poets: Bettina Barrett, author of several poetry books, including Heartscape; Perie Longo, Poet Laureate Emerita of Santa Barbara; Isabella Robarge, winner of the Foundation’s 2011 Peace Poetry Award for youth; and Paul Willis, the current Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara. Bob Sedivy, a Komuso monk, will provide beautiful, evocative music on the shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese bamboo flute. There will also be musical performances by Carol Ann Manzi and Thomas Heck.
Many people know the story of the brave, athletic Japanese girl named Sadako. She was only 12 years old when she was diagnosed with leukemia. Having been exposed to radiation from the Hiroshima atomic bomb at the age of two, Sadako had intimate knowledge of the costs of war and nuclear attack. Her health was waning, yet her wish was to spread peace.
She started folding origami paper cranes after a friend reminded her of a legend: if a person folds a thousand cranes, he or she will live to be very old. As Sadako folded the cranes, she would say the words “I will write peace on your wings, and you will fly all over the world.
Sadako set out to fold 1,000 cranes. There are differing accounts of how successful she was. One book states that she folded 644 before dying. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum says she folded 1,000 and began work on another set of 1,000. However many cranes Sadako folded, students in Japan were moved by her story and began to fold cranes, too.
The paper crane has become a global symbol of peace, and a statue of Sadako now stands in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
Pictured: Folded paper cranes in Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park. Photo credit: Chelsea Lyon
Event posted July 19, 2012
Last updated Aug. 1, 2012