One Thousand Cranes...One Wish.
PEACE ON YOUR WINGS is inspired by the real-life story of Sadako Sasaki and her one thousand paper cranes. Set in post-war, 1950’s Japan, the musical follow the lives of middle school students in Hiroshima. When one of them falls seriously ill, the childrens’ lives and their tenuous bonds with each other seem to unravel. But one girl‘s struggle and dreams for a better tomorrow teach the children---and the world---about courage, love, and peace.
The play’s original musical score, written by Ohana Arts’ co-founders Jennifer Taira and Laurie Rubin, combines modern pop with Japanese influences to create a unique, uplifiting, and inspiring show. According to Japanese legend, anyone who folds 1,000 origami paper cranes is granted one wish. Having survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima at the age of 2, Sadako grew up to be one of the best athletes and most popular students in her middle school. At age 11 she was diagnosed with leukemia, or the “A-bomb disease “ as it was then called, and given just one year to live. Hoping to be cured, Sadako Sasaki and her friends began making hundreds of origami cranes out of needle wrappings, medicine labels, and any other paper they could find. When she reached 1,000, she continued folding for herself and others till she died at age 12.
Sadako has come to symbolize the effects of the peace movement, as her death inspired a youth movement to have a Hiroshima memorial built in honor of the child victims. "Peace on Your Wings" features an all-youth cast, and addresses universal themes present in young people's lives, while sharing the buddhist message ’Ichi-go Ichi-e’ meaning, ‘Today is the first and last day of your life.’"
’Peace On Your Wings” had its world premiere in 2014 on Oahu at Leeward Community College to a weekend of consistent, sold out houses and enthusiastic responses from audience members. It subsequently toured the neighbor islands of Kauai, Maui, an the Island of Hawaii in January and February of 2015, and had its West Coast premiere in Los Angeles in partnership with the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center at the Aratani Theatre in September 2015. In September 2016, the show performed its East Coast premiere at New York’s Lincoln Center at the John Jay College's Gerald W. Lynch Theater. In 2017, the show traveled to Northern California where a brand new cast of youth was assembled, comprised of children and teens who hailed from Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Ramon, and Hawaii. The show had a weekend run of performances in October in San Francisco at the Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason, and at the Hammer Theatre in San Jose. In March 2018, the show was performed in Sacramento at the Benvenuti Arts Center.
In July and August 2020, “Peace On Your Wings” will embark on a multi-city tour to include, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Denver, and Hiroshima, Japan. A Hawaii based cast of youth ages 7-18 will train and rehearse the show during the Ohana Arts annual summer program prior to performances in Honolulu and the subsequent tour. The tour will launch at the University of Hawaii’s Kennedy Theatre the weekend of July 24th-26th for a total of four performances. “Peace On Your Wings” will be presented on August 6th - 9th at the Aratani Theatre in Los Angeles, on August 14th - 16th in Denver, Colorado, theatre to be announced in the near future, and on August 29th - 30th at the Aster Plaza, in Hiroshima, Japan.
In just a short time, “Peace On Your Wings” has already received many awards and recognitions, including a Certificate of Commendation from the City Council of Honolulu, an award from the United Nations Association of Hawaii, and a proclamation from Mayor Caldwell, who announced August 6th, 2015 as “Peace On Your Wings Day” prior to the opening night performance at Hawaii Theatre. “Peace On Your Wings” has also been the subject of two mini-documentaries by NHK (Japan’s national news network), and has been featured on KTLA news, Broadway World, Huffington Post, and MidWeek (cover story) amongst others.
MORE THAN A PLAY
“Peace On Your Wings” is more than a musical theater play. It is part of a continual movement to educate children and adults alike about the important global message of peace. It is a way to get people to connect with an under recognized piece of history more than any textbook could convey. Through the journey of performing and touring “Peace On Your Wings,” it became evident that audience members around the country were not aware of the longterm effects of the atomic bombings on the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, such as the brutal and severe illnesses caused by the radiation which have affected them as well as several generations that succeeded them. In a time when nuclear weaponry is being used as a threat by leaders of many nations including our own, it is crucial that we educate the future generations about the dangers and consequences nuclear warfare would cause on a global scale.
Music is a universal language everyone understands which touches people’s deepest vulnerability and emotions. Music has been utilized for centuries as the most visceral way to personally connect people with current events and past atrocities so that history will not repeat itself. Responses to the world premiere of “Peace On Your Wings” have been overwhelmingly touching and positive. Audience members who were not familiar with Sadako’s story have now taken her message to heart. Other audience members were victims of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki themselves, and were moved deeply by our cast of children, saying that they truly paid homage to Sadako and others like her who suffered the after effects. Many audience members were children, and we were told by their parents that the musical both entertained and moved them.
The goal of “Peace On Your Wings” is to bring Sadako’s story to many more audiences, to show how it is the little gestures that make a big difference, and to teach the lesson, “Ichi-go Ichi-e.” It is a show that will educate audiences of children and adults alike around the world about a piece of history which greatly affected those in Hiroshima. Upon discovering the legend of the origami crane in the hospital, Sadako was quoted to have said, “I will write peace on your wings, and you will fly all over the world.” Our show’s title signifies the importance of spreading Sadako’s profound message of peace, and its mission is to help realize the dream of having her story and message travel to audiences all over the world.