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

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