toyama-nagatani-kawashima-chew-dresserThe Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute on May 14 hosted “Heiwa no Kakehashi” (Bridge of Peace), which continued the legacy of Sadako Sasaki, whose origami cranes became international symbols of peace. The program included Keiko Kawashima’s reading of “Sadako’s Story” by Masahiro Sasaki, whose younger sister died of leukemia 10 years after being exposed to radiation from the Hiroshima bomb. Pictured from left: Tim Toyama, event coordinator; Scott Nagatani, music director, and Kawashima, vocalist, of the Grateful Crane Ensemble; Rachel Chew of First Chinese Baptist Church, conductor of the Wings of Peace Choir; and her husband, Mark Dresser, who co-leads her Sunday School class.

choir“Inori” (Prayer), written by Yuji Sasaki, Sadako’s nephew, was sung in Japanese and English by the Wings of Peace choir and guest artists.
crane boxesAbove and below: Kids made crane boxes out of recycled paper made from orizuru (paper cranes) offered to the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima, and folded cranes to be sent to Nobori-Cho Elementary School in Hiroshima, which Sadako attended.

origami cranes

film directorMiyuki Sohara (right), director of “Orizuru 2015,” spoke with Miyako Kadogawa providing English translation. The short drama about reconciliation between people from both sides of the Pacific was showing at the Laemmle Royal in West Los Angeles and other venues. For more information on the film, visit

paper domeA paper model of the Genbaku Domu, a building gutted by the atomic blast and a monument to peace, with copies of Masahiro Sasaki’s “Sadako no Senbazuru” and Ken Shimizu’s “Silent Witness: Hiroshima’s Hibaku Jizo.”

Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo

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