Building bridges to peace

LIHUE — There is always hope for world peace, said Nicole Sakurai of El Cantare Foundation.

Sakurai spearheaded the effort to bring “Hope Riding On,” an art exhibit from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, to Kauai for Saturday’s bridge of peace festival. The event unfolded at the Happiness Planting Center, in the tranquil garden setting of the former Immaculate Conception School grounds in Lihue.

Sakurai only recently returned from accompanying the display to and from New York City, where it was on exhibit.

“Did you see the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum?” said Colleen Morinaka. “They have actual artifacts from the dropping of the atomic bomb on the city. You know you’re growing old when you start looking at history. This place is where I went to school. My eighth-grade class is over there.”

A steady stream of people flowed through the exhibit, with more waiting to see the 10 Feet documentary film.

“At first, I was hesitant about bringing my grandchildren, ages 3 and 6 years old,” said Suzanne Kashiwaeda. “But they need to see the reality of war, so I brought them.”

Kamalani Goo, a seventh-grade student from the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, silently studied the posters.

“This was very interesting,” the middle school student said. “It was very educational. I got to see how children are affected by war, and when they dropped the atomic bomb.”

The art exhibit was the highlight of the event. A variety of vendors, including one who sold various kimono, obi and other Japanese clothing, lined the corridors of the center.

“I come to buy for my daughters,” said Jessie Miyazaki, who had her daughters and grandchildren in tow. “I don’t dance at bon dance, but they do, and this is where you can get some of the kimono and hair pieces.”

Demonstrations such as mochi pounding, sushi rolling, floral arrangements and other cultural demonstrations were offered.

“This is heavy,” said Angelica Luna who took her turn at pounding mochi and getting a briefing on how to wield the wooden mallet from Kyle Chew. “It feels good, though. But it’s still heavy.”

Sakurai said the display was only available for viewing during the festival.

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