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Eric Martin Translates & Sings “Inori” in Commemoration of Sadako Sasaki

Sadako Sasaki lived in Hiroshima and was just two years old when the city was destroyed by the atom bomb on August 6th 1945. She survived the bombing, but nine years later she contracted leukemia, caused by exposure to radiation from the atom bomb.

While in hospital she started folded paper cranes after hearing an old folk tale that promises that a wish shall be granted to those who fold a thousand paper cranes. It is said that Sadako folded over a thousand cranes, but she succumbed to the disease and died at the age of twelve.

Some years later, Sadako’s nephew, Yuji Sasaki (born 1970) wrote a song, titled Inori (Prayer), to commemorate his aunt. It became a big hit in Japan in 2010 and Yuji sang the song at the commemorations of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 2010, as you can see in the video, below.

Yuji explains that when he was a child living in Fukuoka he didn’t feel that the story of Sadako and the atom bombing had anything to do with him. However, his attitude changed when he moved to Tokyo his father, Sadako’s elder brother, visited and gave a lecture at a high school about Sadako. He was challenged by some of the high school students and teachers to compose a song about Sadako as he shared her DNA. That insight helped him to feel closer to Sadako, and he accepted the challenge and wrote the song. He explains,

Despite facing death, Sadako always showed a brave smile to her family. I tried putting myself in her place to compose the lyrics.

Source: Hiroshima Peace Media

Inori Translated Into English & Sung by Eric Martin

Yuji Sasaki’s song was translated and performed by Eric Martin,  who fronts the hard rock/glam metal band Mr Big.


Inori (Prayer)

lyrics by

Eric Martin

Though she knew the end was near still she never gave up hope

In the power that she believed from the old stories told

Of a thousand paper cranes that were folded every day

They would give her wings to fly and live for ever more

All her family gather round, and held her tenderly

And took away the fear, for a while she was free

And secretly she cried to god above

To keep her safe at home where she belongs in the arms of love

Say a prayer, say a prayer save the souls that have gone

A memory, a memory lives on in everyone

Inori, inori, inori, for peace on earth

In the eyes of every child we find salvation


As she folded the colorful cranes tears start to fall

And she struggled deep inside to make sense of it all

When it seems like all is lost, dreams could come true

And that after every storm there’s a light that’s shining through

One courageous little girl calling out to us

So no one will forget all the innocent

There are lessons we can learn that she left behind

About a hopeful message she gave to the world to make a better place and time

Say a prayer, say a prayer for the souls that have gone

When you wake up to the morning and a new day has begun

Inori, inori, inori, for peace on earth

In our hearts a dedication to what tomorrow brings


There is sadness in the world on this very day

And the echo of her voice when the children play

There’s a change in the season when the flowers bloom

And after all is said and done we’re always thinking of you

Say a prayer, say a prayer, save the souls that have gone

A memory, a memory lives on in everyone

Inori, inori, inori, for peace on earth

In the eyes of every child we find salvation

Say goodbye, say goodbye say goodnight and go to sleep

There’s a spirit in the sky an eternal prayer for peace

Heaven’s wish, heaven’s wish, heaven’s wish a chance to live

In the heart of every one there is salvation

In the heart of every one there is salvation


“Day Open Heart”: August 6th Marked At Tver State University Botanical Garden, Russia

Dr. Yurii Naumtcev, Director of the Botanical Garden of Tver State University, Russia, writes to inform us that on August 6th 2014 a ceremony was held in the botanical garden in memory of the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, 69 years ago.

The ceremony was attended by members of the Japanese community who live and work in Tver, and other Japanese visitors.

We are grateful to Dr Naumtcev for sending us this report, and especially so because he tells us that on that day, named “Day Open Heart,” a very special ginko-bilboa sapling was planted by a 12-year-old Japanese girl called Hitomi-san. It is the first sapling that the botanical garden has grown from seeds obtained from Hiroshima through the Green Legacy Hiroshima initiative. :)

Hitomi plants the ginko-bilboa sapling.

Hitomi plants the ginko-bilboa sapling.

Hitomi prepares to release a dove.

The full report of this event can be found at:

On behalf of Green Legacy Hiroshima we extend our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Yurii Naumtcev and the staff of the Tver State University Botanical Garden and all who participated in, supported and attended “Day Open Heart.”




Hiroshima Mudslide Disaster Report & Information For Volunteers

Torrential rain fell on Hiroshima all through the night of 19th-20th August, depositing more than a month’s rainfall in a few hours. The hills above Asaminamiku and Asakita to the north of Hiroshima city had already absorbed a lot of water during a very wet summer season. At least three major landslides occurred between 3:20 a.m and 4:00 a.m. hitting the suburbs of Yagi as well as Midori and Yamamoto, burying dozens of people under mud and debris, and washing others away.

Nineteen houses have been completely destroyed, 31 half destroyed, forty partly damaged and nearly 200 invaded by mud and sludge.

So far, 71 people are known to have died and at least 15 people are still missing. We ask for your prayers for the victims.

As for the clean-up operation, emergency services and personnel from the Self Defence Force are working as hard as they can, as well as many volunteers both Japanese and foreign residents of hiroshima.

Here are some photos taken by which give you some idea of the scale of the disaster and how volunteers are working to help clean up the area…

Hiroshima mudslide disaster area

The main force of the mudslides struck here.

Emergency vehicles at the scene of the Hiroshima mudslide disaster

Emergency vehicles at the scene

Shovels and bags of cleared mud where volunteers have been working

Shovels and bags of cleared mud where volunteers have been working

Volunteers at work clearing drains of rocks.

Volunteers at work clearing drains of rocks.

Just one of many damaged properties

Just one of many damaged properties

Mud and rocks piled up by volunteers for the buldozers to remove.

Mud and rocks piled up by volunteers for the bulldozers to remove.

Source: Photos available under a Creative Commons licence at:

Foreign Resident Volunteers’ Experiences

You can read about the experiences of a couple of long-term foreign residents of Hiroshima who volunteered to help with the clear-up one week after the mudslides struck:

If you are in Hiroshima and want to volunteer…

Here is the Japanese site for Hiroshima landslide volunteers:

Do not go directly to the disaster zone. You must first visit the volunteer registration centre at Asa-minami-ku to register, get volunteer insurance and equipment.

Asa-minami-ku Volunteer Center Asa Minami Ku, Nakasu 1-38-13

Tel: 080-2931-3142 and 080-2931-3242

Fax: 082-831-5031

Asa-kita-ku Volunteer Center Asa-kita-ku Social Welfare Center 3-19-22 Kabe, Asa-kita-ku

Tel: 080-2931-4242

Fax: 082-814-1895

Both centres are open from 9am to 5pm.

Here is the location of the disaster area:


When Time Stood Still: A Hiroshima Survivor’s Story Presented by the BBC

Earlier this year we posted a book review of Rising From the Ashes, A True Story Of Surviaval And Forgiveness From Hiroshima by Dr. Akiko Mikamo.

In her book, Dr. Mikamo uses a vivid narrative style to tell the story of what happened to her family when they were caught up in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The story is narrated by her father, Shinji Mikamo, who was a teenager at the time of the bombing.

Last month the BBC published Shinji Mikamo’s experience in the form of an “immersive story” in the magazine section of their website under the title, When Time Stood Still .

The story is based on conversations between Dr. Akiko Mikamo and her father, Shinji and features some extracts from Dr. Mikamo’s book, Rising from the Ashes.

Click the screenshot of the BBC website, below, to access the BBC Magazine story:






Hiroshima A-Bomb Survivor Tells His Story on 69th Anniversary Of Atomic Bombing

Sixty-nine years ago at 8:15 a.m. on 6th August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

Destruction from the bomb was massive. Shock waves, radiation and heat rays took the lives of some 140,000 people — nearly half of the town’s population. Three days later, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing another 74,000.

A-bomb survivor Koji Hosokawa, who was 17 years old at the time, tells his story. Hosokawa spoke to a Democracy Now! team next to the A-Bomb Dome, one of the few structures in the city that survived the blast.


KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] I was, at one point, three kilometers away to the northeast from this area. I was exposed to the bomb there. And there was a building, which was a very stout building. And so, miraculously, I survived.

AMY GOODMAN: How old were you?

KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] Seventeen years old.

AMY GOODMAN: What were you doing in that building?

KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] I have to explain about it. Around the end of World War II, men throughout Japan were drafted and sent to battlefields, adult men, so there was a labor shortage. And so, in order to have some people working in various places, 12-year-olds or 13-year-olds or older than these students were mobilized and worked at various places, so they could not study. And so, I was one of the mobilized students, and I was working at that building. That was a communication bureau. And today it is now NTT, a telephone company. And people thought the imminent landing of the U.S. forces, Allied forces. And I was there in order to have some communication lines established. And so, I miraculously survived.

But my younger sister, she was also mobilized to work at some place. And she was at 700 to 800 meters away from the hypocenter, very close to the hypocenter, and she was exposed to the bomb there. And she was with a teacher and the students, the other students. And in all, 228 people were there together with her. And all of them were exposed to the bomb. And my biggest sorrow in my life is about my younger sister died in the atomic bomb.

AMY GOODMAN: On that day, on August 6?

KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] Yes, she died on that day. But in many cases, the relatives or family members could not find their children’s bodies even. But in my sister’s case, fortunately, she was carried to a relief station outside Hiroshima City, and she could receive some care. And she died there. Many people were missing. But I thought it was very fortunate that we could have her body. So, at that time, that was a fortunate case.

AMY GOODMAN: How old was she?

KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] Thirteen years old. She became 13 very recently at that time.

AMY GOODMAN: She died of radiation sickness after or the actual effects of the blast on August 6th?

KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] In those days, we didn’t know it was an atomic bomb. Nobody knew it was an atomic bomb. And so, I was around this area because I didn’t know about the bomb, so I was very close to the hypocenter, but I stayed around that area. The Japanese people in those days knew nothing about atomic bomb. If I had known that, I would have fled from the city to as far as possible.

AMY GOODMAN: Where were your parents?

KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] They were outside Hiroshima, suburbs, Miyajima. Do you know? Miyajima island. So the house was OK.

AMY GOODMAN: How did they find you?

KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] I walked. The next day, I walked all the way home. There was nothing here. I walked through the burned-out city, walked through the city.

AMY GOODMAN: What did your parents say when they saw you?

KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] My mother was away to the relief station. And so, soon after that, my sister came home in a coffin. She was burned all over her body, but fortunately, her face was OK. She was almost naked. Aside from her face, she was almost naked, and almost all her body was burned. This is only one of the cases, just one case of many. Many people experienced a similar situation.

AMY GOODMAN: This is almost 69 years later. It was the United States that dropped the atomic bomb. How do you feel when Americans come here to Hiroshima?

KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] I hate war, rather than the people of the United States. I hate war. War makes everyone crazy. So, in the war, innocent people are killed. And the ultimate case, I believe, is A-bombing.

AMY GOODMAN: Mr. Hosokawa, as a hibakusha, as a A-bomb survivor, do you feel the United States should apologize for dropping the atomic bomb on your city?

KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] The A-bomb was dropped in Hiroshima and also one in Nagasaki. And I think that atomic bombs were dropped not just on our cities, but on the whole human beings. And so, I have many things to talk about, about my experience of the A-bomb, but if the next one, the third A-bomb is to be dropped, then the Earth will be annihilated. I want people to understand, this is going to be—you know, the Earth is going to be annihilated. So whenever I talk, I want them to understand this.

The Peace Memorial Park, until the A-bomb, people lived here. Everything was destroyed. Everyone died around this area. The Peace Memorial Park is a beautiful park today, with so many trees. But later, they planted small trees, and after decades these trees became bigger, and now a very beautiful park today. So, I tell the visitors about this, too. I want them to understand people lived here. Please tell the people that people used to live here. War makes everyone crazy.

AMY GOODMAN: Hiroshima survivor Koji Hosokawa. He was speaking at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. His 13-year-old sister’s diary has been published as a book; it’s called Yoko’s Diary: The Life of a Young Girl in Hiroshima During World War II.

Special thanks to Naoko Koizumi for translating the interview and Makiko Nakano of Democracy Now! Japan, as well as John Hamilton and Denis Moynihan. If you’d like to see our three days of coverage from Japan, go to:

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