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


Exhibitions of Youth Messages for Peace: “How Can We Create Peace Together?”

An Exhibitions of Youth Messages for Peace will be held in Korea in September 2014. It is being organized by the Global Campaign for Peace Education, Japan, and supported by the New English Teachers’ Association and the Japan Education and Resource Network.

As Ms. Malala Yousafzai said in her speech at the UN assembly,

“Our words can change the whole world.”

Expressing your ideas to create peace will help you take action for peace and inspire others to cooperate. This is not a contest. It is an exhibition of ideas. The exhibition will be held during the 8th International Conference of Peace Museums to be held in Korea in September, but it will be shared with various conferences for peace education as well.

The messages will be on the project website, and you can share your ideas for peace at any time with people around the world. The website is here:


1. Raising student awareness of peace creation
2. Inspiring adults to greater efforts for peace with young people’s sincere messages
3. Suggesting to peace museums around the world that they hold more exhibitions or contests of student peace work
4. Publicizing current international exhibitions or contests of student peace work
5. Promoting international communication among students who join this event

Theme: “How Can We Create Peace Together?”

How can we stop thinking only about peace for “myself, my hometown, and my country” and start thinking about how to create peace for everyone on this planet? Please imagine a peaceful world for all and describe the steps required to realize it. Let’s share our ideas for peace!

Messages for Peace can be submitted as essays, poems, picture books, short novels, songs, dance, plays, pictures, photos, and any other form of art or communication

For entry guidelines see



Book Review: Rising From The Ashes, by Dr. Akiko Mikamo

product_thumbnailDoctor Akiko Mikamo was born in Hiroshima in 1961, the daughter of two atomic-bomb-survivors. Her book, Rising from the Ashes: A True Story of Survival and Forgiveness from Hiroshima, is a moving account of one family’s experience of the atomic bomb, the suffering, death and destruction it wrought, but it also tells of the resilience and determination to start new lives and ultimately to forgive and move on.

The story is narrated by Doctor Mikamo’s father, Shinji Mikamo, in the first person singular, which informs the account with a dramatic sense of immediacy.

The A-Bombing of Hiroshima

Doctor Mikamo’s future parents were both teenagers at the time of the bombing and both were badly injured by the blast.

Her mother, Miyoko, was working in the Postal Savings Center, just 700 metres from the epicenter, when the bomb exploded. She dived under her desk and was protected from the intense heat by the building, but sustained deep cuts in her back and shoulder from shards of flying glass.

Doctor Mikamo’s father, Shinji, was pulling tiles from the roof of  family home in Kamiyanagi-cho, near Sakae Bridge, to prepare it for enforced demolition, a measure that was supposed to prevent the spread of firestorms should Hiroshima be an air-raid target as many other cities on the Japanese mainland had been. The house was about 1,500 metres from the epicentre and when the atom bomb exploded Shinji suffered severe burns all down the right side of his body. He was pulled out of the ruins of the house by his father, Fukuichi Mikamo.

Fukuichi Mikamo

It quickly becomes evident that Fukuichi Mikamo is the true hero of the story. A kind, resourceful man, “forward thinking, practical and rational,” with a sharp sense of humour who, the narrator observes, was possibly the only atomic bomb victim to “laugh sarcastically” that at least the Americans had saved him the arduous job of dismantling his house.

In the immediate aftermath of the bombing it is Fukuichi who forces Shinji to keep going in spite of the intense pain of his burns and injuries. They head east, over Sakae bridge and seek shelter in Toshogu Shrine. The next day Fukuichi insists that they must return to their home rather than wait for death to overtake them. They are repulsed by two heartless young soldiers. Every step in sheer agony, stepping with burnt feet on the dead and dying, or on rubble, splintered shards of wood and other debris, the scorching August sun playing on their burnt and exposed flesh.

Nevertheless, Fukuichi drives his son on until they reach their home. There, they are aided by the kindness of some neighbours, who give them each a bowl of miso soup – their first victuals in two days. They are eventually rescued from the city by a friend of Shinji’s who went to their house in search of them.


Shinji, as a skilled civilian employee of the army, has the status and privilges of a gunzoku – one who “belongs to the military” – and is taken by the army to a military hospital on one of the islands off the south coast of Hiroshima. Shinji’s father, who is not a gunzoku, is not allowed to accompany him and he never sees his father again.

The harrowing story of Shinji’s survival, his intense sufferiing in hospital, his eventual discharge, also include many intriguing details which are mentioned in passing and add greatly to the interest of the book. For example, that able-bodied adult residents of Hiroshima were not allowed to leave the city without a permit during the war; that when the war was over, and Shinji asked one solder if Japan had won or lost, he replied that he was not sure…

After he is discharged from hospital, Shinji must find a way to make a living. He encounters both meanness and generosity in his struggle to survive. As the only one of his immediate family to have survived, he is reduced to the status of a “street rat”.


He observes that, with the loosening of government regulation, black markets flourished, prices soared and criminal gangs, whose activities had been severely curtailed during the military dictatorship, established themselves once again in the post-war era. The yakuza offered many young men in desperate circumstances an alluring way out of poverty. (For a flavour of Hiroshima’s criminal underworld in the immediate post-war era, see the film series Battles Without Honor and Humanity [仁義なき戦い Jingi Naki Tatakai].)

At the same time, legitimate businesses also began to appear, such as Daichi Sangyo, an electronics company. While one of Shinji’s friends chose the path of the yakuza, Shinji himself dedicated himself to his work as a radio technician, working in a small room in his in-laws’ house.

As Hiroshima emerged from devastation, the city was designated by the Japanese government in 1949 as an International Peace Memorial City, a policy which Shinji, and his daughter wholeheartedly endorsed.


The last section of the book before the Afterword contains the most powerful lesson for the author and ultimately for us, the readers. It is a lesson which Doctor Mikami’s father, Shinji, learnt from his own father, Fukuichi, which is the importance of empathy.

In the Afterword, the author writes that we, as human beings, have a choice to “react” (I would prefer to use the word “respond” in this context) to negative experiences with compassion and forgiveness and to see how the other side views things. Her comments here echo those of Viktor Frankl, the German Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, who wrote, in Man’s Search for Meaning, that,

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

For Doctor Mikami, the appropriate response is the “surprisingly powerful and liberating” one of empathy because with empathy “you allow yourself room and energy to grow and heal”.

For the author, the very fact that she is alive today seems somewhat miraculous, and her life is informed by a deep sense of purpose, which is to convey the message that yesterday’s worst enemies can be today’s best friends.

As we observe the current civil war in Syria, that may seem unlikely, but Doctor Akiko Mikami, who lives and works in San Diego, is herself a living testimony to the realism of such a belief. In 2011, following the devastating earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear disaster that struck Japan, the USA launched “Operation Tomodachi” – “the single largest humanitarian relief effort in American history”.



Tomoko Celebrates Her Birthday In Good Company!


L to R: Tomoko, Louise Marie, Nassrine Azimi, Masami Yamamoto


Tomoko celebrated her birthday at the ANT-Hiroshima office last Thursday. She was joined by Louise Marie from Rwanda, Nassrine Azimi and Masami Yamamoto. Tomoko also received a lot of messages by email and on Facebook from her friends and helpers around the world.

In response to the messages Tomoko said,


I was very happy and moved to receive so many messages of congratulations from everyone on my birthday. I was born and raised in Hiroshima and have worked here all my life. As we mark both my 60th birthday and the 25th anniversary of ANT-Hiroshima, with renewed spirits and cheerful smiles, I think we can look forward to another 25 years of energetic activity! Your support is greatly appreciated.

Tomoko Watanabe


79% Of Single-Trunk A-bombed Trees In Hiroshima Lean Towards The Hypocenter

At the 76th UNITAR Hiroshima Public Session held in collaboration with ANT-Hiroshima on 23rd October 2013, it was revealed that most of the trees which survived the atomic bombing of 6th August 1945 lean towards the hypocenter.


Professor Suzuki discusses his findings.

The discovery was made by Masakazu Suzuki, professor of landscape architecture at the University of Tsukuba, Nagisa Owaki, a student at the University of Tsukuba’s Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, and Chikara Horiguchi, a tree surgeon who lives in Hiroshima.

The researchers believe that the trees lean towards the hypocenter because the cells on the side of the trunk facing the hypocenter were damaged by the heat  and radiation of the bomb, causing that side grow more slowly than the other.


The location of the studied trees, and the direction in which they lean.

Fifty-six of a total of about 170 survivor trees with single trunks up to two kilometers from the hypocenter were selected for the study. Of these 56 trees, twenty-seven were excluded from the study as they had either been relocated or the trunk had been too severely burned. Of the remaining twenty-nine trees, twenty-three leaned to some degree towards the hypocenter.

The findings were covered in a report by Sakiko Masuda, Staff Writer of the Chugoku Shinbun.




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