Kauai celebrates International Day of Peace

LIHUE — Jim Jung of the Interfaith Roundtable of Kauai said when 12-year-old Sadako Sasaki embarked on her dream of creating 1,000 paper cranes, she used whatever paper she could find in the hospital.

Sadako was dying from cancer that resulted from the bombing of Hiroshima, and inspired to create the paper cranes, or tsuru, when someone told her that if she created 1,000 cranes, her dreams would come true. Sadako was 2 when the atomic bomb was dropped.

“Nicole Sakurai of Happy Science and El Cantare Foundation was sitting right there,” Jung said of fellow volunteers manning the Unlikely Liberators exhibit at the Kauai Veterans Center. “She had a book about Sadako and the paper cranes at the Hiroshima exhibit.”

Jung bought the book and was inspired to create paper cranes as a symbol of peace from that time.

“I’ve done about 7,000 cranes,” Jung said. “We’ll have cranes at the Kauai International Day of Peace at Lydgate on Sept. 17. I saw Nicole trying to sell cranes, teach people how to fold cranes, and in the crowd, there was a young girl in a kimono clutching a kokeshi doll. My tear ducts went into overdrive. I sat three or four nights with Janice Bond at the Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair trying to teach her how to fold cranes.”

Annaleah Atkinson said Saturday and Sunday will be a peace weekend on Kauai with two events celebrating peace and the people’s wishes for peace in the world.

“Aunty Paki said ‘The world will turn to Hawaii in search for peace because Hawaii has the key,’” Jung said. “The key is aloha.”

On Saturday, the El Cantare Foundation is hosting a community peace building event, the Bridge of Peace Festival, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kauai Veterans Center. It will feature a peace exhibition by the Hiroshima Peace Museum, vendors, Japanese foods, and a special entertainment group, The Hawaii Gagaku Society, performing at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

“It’s very important to create bridges in these days and times,” said Nicole Sakurai of El Cantare Foundation. “Bridges of peace, bridges of understanding, and bridges connecting different cultures. Come join us at our bridge — Bridge of Peace Festival. Hawaii is a great model for world peace because we integrate a lot of races and cultures.”

Other highlights include performances by the Joyful Noise taiko ensemble under the direction of Aki Conquest, as well as an art exhibition of “The Kojiki” by Yuka Tsukamoto, an artist from Japan.

“We have a special entertainment group performing ancient Imperial Court music on Kauai for the first time,” Sakurai said. “The Hawaii Gagaku Society will perform music which is more than 1,300 years old and is known for its solemn, elegant, and purifying effects.”

Atkinson said on Sunday, there will be birds flying, everywhere at Lydgate Park from 2 to 4 p.m. when Kauai celebrates Pathways for Peace, Kauai’s International Day of Peace celebration.

“Sadako never finished her 1,000 cranes, but her friends did it for her,” Atkinson said. “We wanted to make 1,000 cranes for peace as a physical representation of peoples’ desires for peace on Kauai. Gerald Hirata and the Soto Zen temple made about 200; Jim Jung, who tells the Sadako story everywhere, made 150; Manfred Burmeier of Ecknakar made more than 100. These each have prayers with them.”

Artist Nona Morgan took on the task of putting all the cranes together into a dove shape designed by Atkinson, and presented by Jung.

“This is a light-hearted, fun day with a puppet show, live music, including Cindy Combs opening the event, refreshments, non-violent communication taught by Isa Marie, and multi-cultural prayers,” Atkinson said. “Tulsi Gabbard will have a message which will be read by Kaulana Finn. Jim will be making cranes, and there will be flying birds, and a dove release. Birds will be everywhere.”


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