5.31.16: One Thousand Cranes

Today was a good day but also a very sad one as today we went to Hiroshima. It was an early morning; we were up by 7 and on the Shinkansen by eight. When we got to Hiroshima, we immediately walked along a route called “The Promenade of Peace” towards the area where an atomic bomb was dropped on the city at 8:15 am on August 6, 1945. We first went to the Cenotaph (a curved structure with the names of all the victims) and then to the Children’s Memorial. The Children’s Memorial shows a girl and an origami crane on top of a rock. The monument is dedicated to a girl named Sadako Sasaki who was diagnosed with leukaemia ten years after she was exposed to the radiation of the Hiroshima bombing. When she was in the hospital, she set a goal to make 1000 paper cranes– a symbol of joy and longevity– because she heard that if someone made 1000 cranes, they would be granted a wish and her wish was to be cured. Although she reached her goal, her wish did not come true. Sadako died on October 25, 1955 at the age of 12. But Sadako’s spirit lives on through the thousand cranes her classmates made in her honor and the thousands and thousands of cranes people all over the world continue to make and send to Hiroshima in her memory. After that, we went to the “Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims” a tearjerking place for remembrance and contemplation with a beautiful fountain, lists with names of all the known people exposed to the nuclear blast, testimonies from surviving victims and much more. After lunch, we  went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, another heart wrenching space with items such as the scorched watches and clothes from the bomb’s victims, as well as maps and images of the devastated city. The  Memorial Monument “expresses the spirit of Hiroshima – enduring grief, transcending hatred, pursuing harmony and prosperity for all, and yearning for genuine, lasting world peace.” On our way back to Kyoto, I wondered when this genuine, lasting world peace will come.



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