University students dedicate 18,000 paper cranes to Children’s Peace Monument at 60th anniversary ceremony

by Yuji Yamamoto, Staff Writer

On May 5, a ceremony to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Children’s Peace Monument was held in front of the monument in the Peace Memorial Park, located in Naka Ward. The ceremony was co-organized by Hiroshima Jogakuin University (Higashi Ward) and the Hiroshima YMCA (Naka Ward), both of which are involved in peace-related activities. The university students who attended the ceremony dedicated around 18,000 paper cranes to the monument and renewed their desire for peace.

During the Hiroshima Flower Festival held between May 3 and 5, students from Jogakuin University asked visitors to the festival to fold paper cranes. In all, 8,000 paper cranes made at the festival site, together with 10,000 paper cranes sent to the YMCA from people in Japan and abroad until May 5, were dedicated to the Children’s Peace Monument.

Marina Nagasaki, 21, a fourth-year student at Jogakuin University and one of the leaders of the paper crane project, delivered a speech in which she said, “I’d like as many people as possible to know that May 5 is the anniversary of the Children’s Peace Monument.” After her speech, the non-profit organization (NPO) “I PRAY” staged its original drama on the theme of peace.

The Children’s Peace Monument was raised to fulfill the fervent desire of Noboricho Elementary School classmates of Sadako Sasaki to mourn her passing. Sadako was exposed to the atomic bomb when she was two years old and eventually died of A-bomb-induced leukemia at the age of 12. During her time in the hospital, she folded a large number of paper cranes in the hope that she would recover from her illness. After her death, her classmates launched a campaign to raise the monument and called for the people of Japan to comfort the souls of the children who lost their lives to the atomic bomb. The monument was unveiled on May 5, 1958.

(Originally published on May 6, 2018)