Desire for peace represented by paper cranes conveyed to next generation

Record of interaction with family members of 9/11 victims: Japanese resident of New York writes non-fiction book

by Sakiko Masuda, Staff Writer

Conversation with brother of Sadako Sasaki included

Family members of victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States have been brought together by folded paper cranes, and a non-fiction children’s book about their interaction will go on sale on July 6. Titled “Kiseki wa tsubasa ni notte” (“A Miracle on Wings”), the book is being published by Kodansha.

The large-format book will be 160 pages and cost 1,155 yen. The author, Kazuko Minamoto, 50, a resident of New York, works for a non-profit organization that promotes exchanges between Japan and the U.S. Based on records she posted on Mixi, a social networking site, Ms. Minamoto, a native of Nara Prefecture, wrote the book in simple Japanese that can be easily understood by upper-grade elementary school students.

In 2007 she learned that about 10,000 paper cranes were on display at the site of the World Trade Center memorial in New York as a symbol of the desire for world peace. Ms. Minamoto, who had escorted groups of American teachers to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park every year, asked to give a lecture on paper cranes at the New York memorial, and her request was approved.

As a result she became acquainted with various people. Under Ms. Minamoto’s auspices, one of the paper cranes folded by Sadako Sasaki, who died of leukemia 10 years after the A-bombing, was donated to the memorial by Sadako’s brother, Masahiro. Mr. Sasaki also met families of the victims of the terrorist attacks and communicated with them.

Then in 2010 he met Clifton Truman Daniel for the first time in the U.S. Mr. Daniel is the grandson of President Harry S. Truman, who ordered the dropping of the atomic bomb. Ms. Minamoto accompanied Mr. Sasaki to their meeting and interpreted for him. An account of their conversation on that occasion is included in her book.

“Paper cranes can comfort those who have been hurt and inspire them to action,” Ms. Minamoto said. “I would like people to understand that and to consider how they can bring about a peaceful world.”


September 11 terrorist attacks
On September 11, 2001 four commercial aircraft in the United States were hijacked with the intention of crashing them into important buildings serving as financial and political centers. In this large-scale terrorist attack, two jets crashed into the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center, which collapsed. Another crashed into the Pentagon, site of the offices of the Department of Defense, on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. The fourth jet crashed in a rural area in Pennsylvania. Approximately 3,000 people were killed in the attacks.

(Originally published on July 1, 2013)