As a symbol of reconciliation between the United States and Japan, a paper crane made by Sadako Sasaki, an atomic bomb victim from Hiroshima, is on display at the visitor center at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visit Tuesday local time.
The story about Sadako Sasaki, who continued making the origami birds in her hospital bed for a decade until she died in 1955 at age 12, inspired President Barack Obama to offer paper cranes he made when he visited Hiroshima in May.
The paper crane showcased at the Arizona memorial was presented by Sadako Sasaki’s nephew, Yuji Sasaki, 46, and other bereaved families in 2012 with hopes of helping Japan and the U.S. overcome the history of the war and strengthen bilateral ties.
A grandchild of Harry Truman, the president who in August 1945 gave the order to drop the atomic bombs on Japan, helped the Japanese families’ efforts, asking the memorial to display Sadako Sasaki’s paper crane.
Students of Punahou School, where Obama graduated from, and Japanese-Americans in Hawaii also helped raise the necessary funds to set up the exhibit.
To appreciate the cooperation of the U.S. side, Yuji Sasaki is planning to deliver more paper cranes to the memorial next month, with thousands already made by junior high school students and hibakusha living in Japan.
Abe and Obama are scheduled to meet Tuesday after the two countries earlier this month marked 75 years since Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
Yuji Sasaki said he hopes the two leaders will “remember the war victims of both countries and create an opportunity to move toward future.”
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