08:15am. Monday, 6th August 1945. Hiroshima, Japan.

‘On Hiroshima Day’ by Yoko Ono

To the Family of Peace,

On Hiroshima Day
Let’s: Think Peace, Act Peace, Spread Peace, and IMAGINE PEACE
– so there will be No more Hiroshima or Nagasaki!

Some people are thinking that IMAGINE PEACE is not working.
Well, look around and think how many things are coming out.
Without knowing the truth, we cannot create a truly peaceful world.

It is a blessing that truth is coming out.

Don’t let fear overcome you.
We are all together.

I love you,

Yoko Ono,
New York City.
Hiroshima Day: 6 August 2010.

‘Kurushi’ by Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band

Live at The Royal Festival Hall, London, UK, 14 June 2009.

More videos from the The Royal Festival Hall concert here

‘When Molecules Rise, They Converge’ by Yoko Ono

A playwright. Ron Destro, came to me in 1994 and asked me to write a few songs for his play, ‘Hiroshima’.

He reminded me that 1995 was the 50th anniversary of the Hiroshima tragedy.

In his script there is a scene where a little girl tries to fold 1000 paper cranes. In Japan there is a tradition of folding 1000 paper cranes to make a wish. The little girl dies before she is able to fold all 1000 cranes. I was particularly touched by that scene, and went into the studio.

I first recorded ‘Hiroshima Sky Is Always Blue,’ and realized that it was too long to be in a play. ‘Never mind,’ I thought. ‘I should just keep recording when I’m inspired.’

”I’m Dying’ was the second piece I recorded.

‘Kurushi’ was the third.

Kurushi, in Japanese, means something like ‘tormented,’ ‘pained’ and ‘suffocating.’ In fact, it’s a very Japanese word, and there is no exact translation in English.

When I was recording ‘Kurushi,’ I felt that the little girl was me. Then at one point I heard myself saying ‘Mommy. Mommy, I’m in pain.’ I couldn’t believe it. I’m still calling for my mother? Where did that come from? Then I remembered my son, Sean, crying ‘Mommy’ in the middle of the night when he was in pain. Probably that’s what we all do. But I haven’t called out to my mother for the longest time. In my mind’s eye, I saw a large projection of my mother’s face on a backdrop, while I, as a little girl, kept folding the paper crane. Mother was a projection. That’s why I gave up calling out to her. I thought. In the dark booth of the studio, I felt my soul-antenna reaching for her and touching only emptiness. It was sad, but it also made my head clear. I felt alright.

Then songs flooded into my head, and I kept writing and recording. The memory of being a young child in Japan during the second World War came back to me. I remember being called an American spy by other kids for not singing the Japanese National Anthem fast enough (it’s a slow song, but they suspected that I didn’t know the Anthem too well since I lived in the United States before the war). I remember the severe bombing in Tokyo, hiding in an air-raid shelter listening to the sound of the bombs coming closer and then going away, and feeling that my mother and I lived another day.

I remember when something that seemed like a piece of a B-52’s fuselage fell in our garden with the words ‘piss on you’ scribbled on it. I remember how Count T., my uncle and a Princeton graduate, laughingly said to my mother that he would not translate such a word in the presence of a lady. I remember sneaking into my father’s library and looking in the dictionary to find the word ‘piss,’ without success.

I remember being evacuated to the country; the food shortage, and starving; going to the next village to find rice for my brother and sister; being stoned by the village kids who hated people from the city; getting anaemic and being diagnosed as having pleurisy; being abused by a doctor, and having my appendix taken out without proper anaesthetics because of the shortage of medicine.

I remember how I cried at the end of the war, how bombed out Tokyo looked when I returned from the country on the back of a truck, and what we went through daily reading about the people in Hiroshima. The ones who died of burns went quickly. The ones who died of leukaemia went through a slow and agonizing death. We lived through their death.

Then I realized that there was a striking similarity in what I went through then and what I am going through now. The city is a warzone. And I now have many friends around me who are facing slow death from AIDS. They are suffering low white blood cell counts exactly as the Hiroshima victims were. I am living amongst my suffering friends, listening to them talk about their fear of death, sometimes jokingly, and other times in anger. I live through their nightmares, not daring to voice my own.

The making of the album served as a purging of my anger, pain and fear. I hope it will for you, too.

y.o. ’95

from the sleeve notes of the album ‘Rising’ by Yoko Ono / IMA.

©1995 Yoko Ono

The Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

from Wikipedia, the free encylopedia.

The Children’s Peace Monument (原爆の子の像 Genbaku no Ko no Zō) is a monument for peace to commemorate Sadako Sasaki and the thousands of child victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and is located in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, itself in the city of Hiroshima. Designed by native artists Kazuo Kikuchi and Kiyoshi Ikebe, the monument was built using money derived from a fund-raising campaign by Japanese school children including Sadako’s classmates, with the main statue entitled ‘A-bomb Children’ being unveiled on the 5th of May, 1958, or (Children’s Day in Japan).

Sadako is immortalized at the top of the statue, where she holds a crane.

Thousands of origami cranes from all over the world are offered around the monument on a daily basis, with ancient Japanese tradition holding that one who folds a thousand cranes can have one wish granted. They serve as a sign that the children who make them and those who visit the statue desire a world without nuclear war, having been tied to the statue by the fact that Sadako died from radiation-induced leukemia after folding just under a thousand cranes, wishing for world peace.

Beneath the main structure lies a bronze crane that works as a wind chime when pushed against a traditional peace bell from which it is suspended, the two pieces having been donated by Nobel Laureate in Physics Hideki Yukawa.

At the base of the monument is a black marble slab on which is inscribed in Japanese:

これはぼくらの叫びです これは私たちの祈りです 世界に平和をきずくための

Kore wa bokura no sakebi desu. Kore wa watashitachi no inori desu. Sekai ni heiwa o kizuku tame no.

This is our cry, this is our prayer: for building peace in the world.

How to fold a paper crane

Larger version here.


Peace Memorial Park Virtual Museum web site

The Children’s Peace Monument

Paper Cranes and the Children’s Peace Monument