Junior Writers Reporting

Junior writers in Hiroshima exchange views with girls in Turkey through paper crane project

by Rie Nii, Staff Writer

Junior writers from the Chugoku Shimbun and girls in Turkey, who took part in a project called “Sadako Sasaki and the Thousand Paper Cranes” in Istanbul, exchanged views on peace activities via video chat over the Internet.

Three junior writers, first-year and second-year students in junior high school, and three 12-year-old girls living in Turkey engaged in the exchange. Prior to this meeting, a coordinator in Turkey had explained the project and six Turkish girls had listened to the story of Sadako Sasaki and folded a thousand paper cranes. Sadako was a girl who experienced the atomic bombing when she was two. Ten years later, she developed leukemia as a result of the bomb’s radiation. Until her death at the age of 12, she persistently folded paper cranes from her hospital bed, hoping that her wish to recover would be granted if she made one thousand paper cranes. The Turkish girls reported, “We felt so sad when we heard Sadako’s story, but we’re glad we were able to take part in this project for the sake of people in Hiroshima and children suffering from war all over the world.”

In response to a question from a junior writer, about current issues involving peace in Turkey, they responded, “The terrorism by illegal Kurdish groups in Turkey, and the civil war in Syria, are now threats to Turkey’s peace.” They added, “We constantly pray for safety. We folded these paper cranes with a wish for a peaceful world.”

The junior writers described their activities, which include conducting interviews with A-bomb survivors, and shared the fact that elementary school children often fold paper cranes as the A-bomb anniversary of August 6 approaches each year. Miki Meguro, 12, a first-year junior high school student, said, “One day, when they have a chance to come to Japan, I’d like to interview them together with the A-bomb survivors.”

These are impressions from the junior writers after speaking with the girls from Turkey:

★I was surprised to learn that only six girls folded a thousand paper cranes. They made a lot of other things with origami, too, which showed that they’re interested in Japanese culture. When they have a chance to visit Hiroshima someday, I’d like to talk to them directly about culture and peace. (Miki Meguro, 12)

★I was most impressed by the fact that the Turkish girls were folding the paper cranes and wishing for peace under dangerous conditions. They also said they want to visit Hiroshima and meet us again. I was happy to hear that because it seems they’re continuously wishing for a peaceful world. I think we, too, have to consider what we can do to make a peaceful world. (Yukiho Saito, 13)

★It was surprising to me that the Turkish girls have been thinking about Hiroshima and the atomic bombing even though they face danger in their own lives. But I thought that this is why they’re more interested in peace and want the world to be a peaceful place. I wish everyone in a country suffering from conflict or war would think like these girls. (Ai Mizoue, 13)

(Originally published on September 7, 2015)