A descendant of Sadako Sasaki, a victim of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima known for her paper cranes, is spreading a new message of peace with a grandson of the man who approved the nuclear attack.
Yuji Sasaki, 50, Sadako’s nephew who lives in Tokyo’s Nakano Ward, is producing a documentary film detailing her story.
Under the plan, the film, tentatively titled “Orizuru no Kiseki” (Miracles of paper cranes), will be created with the assistance of Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of Harry Truman, who was the U.S. president when the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.
The film is expected to be released in theaters next year.
Yuji and his father, Masahiro, 79, an older brother of Sadako, founded nonprofit organization Sadako Legacy in 2009 to distribute paper cranes in and outside Japan in their calls for peace.
Through the mediation of Daniel, 63, an origami bird was reportedly contributed to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in autumn 2013 for a memorial service.
At the ceremony, Yuji met Lauren Bruner, who was a crew member of the USS Arizona battleship that was sunk in the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese military.
Bruner told Yuji that one of his associates at the time of the attack was a woman of Japanese origin and said he did not hate Japanese. He also promised to work with Yuji to promote peace.
Daniel is expected to appear in the film to describe his grandfather and other topics.
In response to an email inquiry by The Asahi Shimbun, Daniel noted that he received an origami crane from Yuji.
“That crane carried me and my family to the memorial ceremonies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2012 and meetings with more than two dozen survivors,” he recalled. “I have since worked with Masahiro and other survivors on reconciliation and disarmament and am honored to call him and many others my friends.”
Daniel added, “Masahiro and Yuji continue to use Sadako’s cranes in the way she herself intended, as messengers of peace.”
The documentary will also feature an atomic bomb survivor, a second-generation hibakusha, retired U.S. military personnel and others who have received origami cranes from Yuji.
Yuji and locals are organizing a memorial event scheduled for Dec. 7, or Dec. 8 Japan time, to mark the 80th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Yuji sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama in 2016 through Caroline Kennedy, then U.S. ambassador to Japan, to express his appreciation for his visit to Hiroshima. He is considering inviting Obama to the ceremony.
On Jan. 7, the birthday of Sadako, Yuji started a crowdfunding campaign for the film project.
For more details, visit the website at (https://orizuru.world).