LIHUE — Sadoko Sasaki was in the sixth grade when she contracted leukemia.
Admitted to the hospital for treatment, Sasaki received multi-colored folded paper cranes from school friends, the cranes representing their wishes for recovery from this disease which was connected to the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.
“This is the 70th anniversary of post World War II,” said Rev. Nicole Sakurai of Happy Science and president of El Cantare Foundation. “People are still discovering and asking how to get peace in the world, and how do we not make the same mistakes that had such devastating consequences.”
A special free exhibit, “Hope Riding on the Wings of Cranes,” combined with an artistic animation piece, opened Monday and will run through Wednesday at the Kauai Veterans Center from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. The exhibit will be joined by more pieces and the showing of “Hiroshima: A Mother’s Prayer” at the Happiness Planting Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
“Peace is a global movement,” Sakurai said. “In previous years, exhibits on Hiroshima were not allowed in Washington, D.C., but now, on the 70th anniversary of post war, there is a similar exhibit by the Hiroshima Peace Museum.”
The exhibit is an effort to raise peace awareness for the upcoming generations by providing visitors an opportunity to learn more about the effects the atomic bomb has on humanity.
“We created this exhibit in hopes to awaken our community to a greater love which in turn inspires us to forgive our past and unite all people on this earth,” Sakurai said. “I contacted the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum about the same time U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy visited it in March, and received these for our exhibit.”
Susan Hamada was one of the early viewers through the exhibit, noting she was grateful for having seen the play presented earlier by the hongwanji church.
“This was really good,” Hamada said. “It helped that I saw the play when it came through because I was able to understand more. The video is also very good.”
During her battle with leukemia, Sasaki befriended her roommate who kindled her interest in the greater world, corresponding with penpals found through magazines and through the paper cranes she kept receiving.
Her cranes, which have become symbols of forgiveness, strength, and hopes for peace, have since been distributed throughout the world, including the World Trade Center Tribute Center as the ability to shift away from hatred, to let go of the past and move forward.
The video, “On a Paper Crane,” is scheduled to run at 11:40 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and speaks on the importance of peace, based on Sasaki’s story.
The exhibit is sponsored by the El Cantare Foundation, the Hiroshima Peace Museum, the Kauai Veterans Museum and the Kauai Veterans Center, and the Happiness Planting Center.
“When I got these pieces, I wasn’t sure how many people would be interested,” Sakurai said. “But as I researched, I discovered there were many who want to know about peace.”