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New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities II (HUM): Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors


Making Paper Cranes:
In Memory of Sadako Sasaki

Sadako Sasaki PaintingAt the time of the explosion of the Hiroshima bomb, 2 year-old Sadako Sasaki was at home, about 1 mile from ground zero. By some miracle Sadako survived. But by November 1954, chicken pox had developed on her neck and behind her ears. Then on January 1955, purple spots had started to form on her legs. Subsequently, she was diagnosed with leukemia, which her mother referred to as "an atom bomb disease." She was hospitalized on February 21, 1955 and given, at the most, a year to live.

On August 3, 1955, Chizuko Hamamoto — Sadako's best friend — came to the hospital to visit and cut a golden piece of paper into a square and folded it into a paper crane. At first Sadako didn't understand why Chizuko was doing this but then Chizuko retold the story about the paper cranes. Inspired by the crane, she started folding them herself, spurred on by the Japanese saying that one who folded 1,000 cranes was granted a wish.

Ten years after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Sadako Sasaki died as a result of the leukemia. Sadako’s determination to fold one thousand paper cranes, symbolizing her hope for peace and her courageous struggle with her illness, inspired her classmates. After her death, they started a national campaign to build the Children’s Peace Statue in memory of Sadako and the many other children who were victims of the bombing of Hiroshima. To this day, in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the statue of Sadako is beautifully decorated with thousands of paper cranes brought and sent by people around the world.

We encourage classes from New York to make paper cranes to send back to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.



Recommed Books in the Library

Who are the Hibakusha

There are still people alive today who survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. In Japanese, the atomic bomb survivors are called: HIBAKUSHA (hee, ba, coo, sha). Many Hibakusha have dedicated their lives to peace and although they are growing old, they continue to work for nuclear disarmament. They tell their stories in order to help people understand the true reality of nuclear weapons. It is a rare opportunity and an important responsibility to learn about the effects of nuclear weapons by listening to Hibakusha testimonies.

Recommended Books:

940.54 H  Hersey, John.  Hiroshima  c1946           

362.1 I  Ishii, Takayuki  One Thousand Paper Cranes: The Story of Sadako and the Children's Peace Satue.  c2001

Shigeko Sasamori

Hiroshima A-bomb survivor

Shigeko SasamoriShigeko was 13 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Hearing the sound of a plane, she looked up to see a B-29 flying overhead — seconds later she was knocked unconscious by the blast. When she came to, she was so badly burned that she was unrecognizable. Shigeko repeated her name and address over and over until she was finally found by her father. Years later she would travel to the United States in 1955 as part of a group of young women known as the Hiroshima Maidens. While in New York, she underwent numerous plastic surgery operations and met her adoptive father, Dr. Norman Cousins. Her story is featured in Steven Okazaki’s award winning film White Light Black Rain.

Here are some links to learn more about the life and work of Shigeko Sasamori:

Memoirs of an Atomic Bomb Survivor: Shigeko Sasamori

YouTube: Shigeko Sasamori - surviving an atomic bomb

Dr. Cynthia Miller

Meet Dr. Cynthia Miller

First American-born Fellow of Hibakusha Stories

Cynthia MillerDr. Cynthia Miller has become Hibakusha Stories first American-born Fellow.  She is an artist, photographer and survivor of radiation and plutonium poisoning whose vision is to advance planetary peace. Her father worked as an engineer alongside Dr. Robert Oppenheimer on the Manhattan Project (the project that envisioned and created the atom bomb) and he was eyewitness to the explosions of 131 atomic and hydrogen bombs. Reconciling bombs, atomic radiation, nuclear fallout, and war has been Dr. Miller’s life-long focus.  Dr. Miller’s story is about the effects of radioactive isotopes at all levels of production and deployment.  Please visit Radiance Project website to learn more about her and her work.


This information was partly came from Karen Levy New Visions Libguide

What is Hibakusha Stories

Youth Arts New York provides experiences in the Arts that engage youth in building a peaceful and sustainable future. We sponsor in-class educational experiences, after-school workshops led by master artists, hands-on ecological projects and field trips that fulfill our mission. We create safe environments where underserved New York City public school children can express themselves, share their experiences and learn about their responsibilities as members of civil society and as stewards of our planet. In addition, Youth Arts seeks to identify, develop and support teachers and administrators who promote peace and sustainability through multicultural, interdisciplinary, global curriculum for the school children of New York City.

World Book Online

World Book Web

Hibakusha Stories Website