Hiroshima Peace Forum and Exhibition Coming to Mount Union College

May 25, 2010

Mount Union College will host a Peace Forum featuring a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing on Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20.


Emiko Okada, survivor of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima at the age of eight, will be giving three presentations. On Friday, October 19 sessions will be held at 9 a.m. in the Dewald Chapel and at 3 p.m. in Bracy Hall Room 04. On Saturday, October 20, an additional session will be held at 9 a.m. in Bracy Hall Room 04.

Hiroshima is a city dedicated to the promotion of peace worldwide. Okada has worked as a 'Peace Volunteer' there since 1999, providing guided tours of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Peace Memorial Park. She has also been sharing her experience with museum visitors since April of 2000. In 2005, she traveled to India and Pakistan as a member of the Hiroshima World Peace Mission. Accompanying Okada will be Steven Lloyd Leeper, chairman of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and Chikage Sakamoto, Hiroshima city official.

In conjunction with these presentations, The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Overseas Exhibit will be on display October 15-18 from 11 a.m. ' 1 p.m. in the West Room of the Hoover-Price Campus Center. This exhibition includes posters of the destruction and aftermath of the bombing and a display of 1,000 paper cranes from Hiroshima Jogakuin High School as well as paper cranes with peace messages and other materials to hand out to those visiting the exhibit.

The old Japanese legend of the paper crane states that anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes will be granted a wish. In 1954, Sadako Sasaki, an atomic bomb survivor at the age of two, was diagnosed with leukemia. She began folding paper cranes hoping that the gods would grant her wish to get well. She spent 14 months in the hospital, folding more than 1,300 paper cranes before dying at the age of 12. Inspired by Sasaki's courage and strength, her friends and schoolmates rallied the children throughout Japan to raise funds to build a memorial to her. In 1958, a statue of Sasaki holding a golden crane was unveiled in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. People throughout the world still fold paper cranes and send them to this monument. For more information on the paper cranes, visit http://www.sadako.org/sadakostory.htm.

All sessions as well as the exhibition are free and open to the public. These events are being coordinated by Keiko Miyahara, a senior at Mount Union majoring in physics and astronomy from Hiroshima, who initiated this project as a way to help promote peace worldwide. For more information, contact Dr. William Coleman, assistant to the president for diversity affairs at (330) 823-3864 or colemawe@mountunion.edu.

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