The City of Coventry has received a special gift from both Hiroshima and the Embassy of Japan to the United Kingdom. School students in Hiroshima have handcrafted 1,000 multi-coloured origami cranes that will form “trees of peace” that will tour Coventry. Thanks to Hideko Okamoto of the Hiroshima Coventry Friendship Club.
More cranes have been handcrafted by Earlsdon Primary School students – taught by Japanese exchange teacher Yuria Aruse. The installation – cranes hanging from the arms of trees with together with two information boards about Hiroshima and Sadako Sasaki – were presented to Lord Mayor Councillor Birdi and Lady Mayoress on 24th January 2024 at Coventry Council House.
More than one thousand students from four Hiroshima schools folded the paper cranes. Each string holds fifty cranes. At each school, teachers talked about Coventry; place, history, Coventry Cathedral, Hiroshima Day in Coventry, and the spirit of Peace and Reconciliation. So it was a good occasion for them to learn about the city of Coventry and its spirit.
Hiroshima students folded the cranes with wishes and prayers. Some of them wrote about their thoughts while folding the cranes, and their messages to the people of Coventry:
I imagined a time when everyone, anywhere in the world, could live their lives with a smile on their faces. It’s the first time I’ve heard of Coventry, but I think everyone has the same thoughts even if we don’t speak the same language.
I want the world to be free from conflict and have peace. May the existence of nuclear weapons disappear from this world.
We, the people who live in Hiroshima, where the first atomic bomb was dropped, must pass on the horror of war and nuclear weapons to the next generation. Let’s continue together talking about the horrors of war and nuclear weapons and create a peaceful world without conflict.
I want the world to become a place where people around the world don’t have to have painful feelings.
It is very sad that even though we swore not to go to war, the war is still going on. I hope that war and nuclear weapons will disappear from this world as soon as possible.
I folded origami crane in hope that our thoughts of peace would be conveyed from Hiroshima to England, which is far away, and that our wishes for peace would be united with those of the people of Coventry.
I hope that our desire for peace will be received to the people of Coventry and that will spread throughout the world.
Today, people around the world are losing their lives due to wars and conflicts. I folded it while feeling grateful for my life where I could go to school, play with friends, and study as normal, and praying that all conflicts in the world would disappear.
Hiroshima is the first city in the world where an atomic bomb was dropped. We can see many scars from the war here. In Hiroshima, we are studying about peace and wars so that this tragic event will not be repeated, while praying for war to end from all over the world.
There are many actual videos and artifacts relating to the A-bombing on display in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Please come and see them when you visit Hiroshima.
The children and teachers of Hiroshima would appreciate any feedback.
Please write your message in the Comments box at the bottom of this page. Thank you very much.
The installation will remain in Coventry Council House for four weeks before leaving to tour Coventry libraries for the rest of 2024. The Embassy of Japan sent a wonderful “Japanese artistic calendar” with thanks to Coventry for promoting friendship links with Hiroshima. This gift will stay with our Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress in their home for 2024.
The intricate paper cranes, that have travelled over 8,000 miles, represent the friendship that has developed between Coventry and Hiroshima over the last 70 years. Coventry Cathedral marks Hiroshima Day on August 6th each year; the people of Hiroshima hold an annual service on the anniversary of the Coventry Blitz.
Coventry has a special link with the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – the two cities were destroyed by atomic bombs and Coventry was destroyed during the Blitz – all these events were part of World War Two.
Coventry Hiroshima and Nagasaki all later became cities of peace. In 2021 Coventry Cathedral ministry of reconciliation gifted a prestigious cross of nails to the City of Hiroshima where the cross is displayed in the council house of Hiroshima.
There is a story “if you make 1,000 papers cranes you will find happiness and prosperity. Sadako folded hundreds of cranes but died before she finished them. After her death her friends finished them off for her and now people from all over the world send cranes of peace to Hiroshima displayed in Hiroshima Peace Park’s monument to Sadako
The Lord Mayor of Coventry Councillor Birdi addressing Coventry Lord Mayor’s Peace Committee said:
“This work with our young people of Coventry schools is vital so our next generation begin thinking about peace and friendship at an early age. Peace and reconciliation starts with our children building understanding that will guide them in later life. Thank you to the City of Hiroshima, the Embassy of Japan and the Lord Mayor’s peace committee for everything you do. We are a city of peace and reconciliation because of our past and those who have gone before – the work of the Peace Committee allows that to continue; to make sure that message is very much a part of our daily life and our future.”