Sadako Sasaki

In literacy this week we watched the video embedded below. We’ve done some fabulous writing around this and, as a class, we ended up emailing Jeffery (the video and art creator).

Extremely exciting that a man in Philadelphia took the time to email the students and with such care and precision with his answers. The last email we emailed was this:

Thanks for your kind words!

Here are some answers to the questions posed:
How did you feel that your second wish has come true?
It was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It further enforced my belief that hard work and patience always pay off.
How long did it take to create one crane?
When I got in a rhythm, I averaged about 1 minute, 40 seconds per crane.
Why did you decide to create this tribute to Sadako?
I always had a love for origami growing up. I also like to be creative and create art from different objects and mediums; besides paint, clay, etc. I wanted to combine the two by using cranes to create a portrait. After doing some research, I came across Sadako’s story and was really moved by it. I knew I had to make it for her.
Why was it Sadako that inspired you and not other victims of war?
Sadoko’s story is somewhat well-know (especially in Japan) and went well with theme of cranes. There are many people affected by the horrors of war all around the world, and hopefully her story will help bring light to the consequences of such actions.
Have you got any emails from famous people saying that they have been inspired by your work?
No, but I have been emailed by teachers from a few different schools like yours all around the world that have told me my art has inspired their classes. To me, that’s so much more rewarding than if a famous person liked it.
Was the art work next to the statue? Are you happy with it here?
NO, the artwork wasn’t next to the statue. I was offered to have it displayed in one of the glass cases around the statue, but there were a few problems. It wouldn’t fit very well, it wouldn’t be very secure, it would be affected by weather, it could only be there for a few weeks at most, and afterwards would be burned or donated somewhere. So, I didn’t think it was a good ‘permanent’ fit. It is now at the Honkawa Kindergarten in Hiroshima, and occasionally gets taken out to be displayed at different events and festivals around Hiroshima, so I’m very happy with where it ended up.
How hard was it to get the art work to Hiroshima?
I tried for many years emailing many organizations and institutions in Hiroshima with no luck. Last October though, I won an art contest and got a trip to Jim Henson studios in New York City. I met some people there that eventually put me in touch with the Honkawa Kindergarten. So a lot of it was just luck; being at the right place at the right time.
Why does Sadako have her eyes closed in the artwork?
It might look like it, but her eyes aren’t actually closed. Her neck and face were swollen at the time though, due to her disease. Here is a link to the reference photo that the portrait is based on:
It was taken by her teacher at the time, in her new kimono.
When your art work was accepted, how did you feel?
It was a relief to know that she would finally be where I always imagined her ending up. Many years of hard work had finally paid off and I was ecstatic. I did however have to scramble and figure out how to build a large shipping crate!
Did you have to learn Japanese to get the artwork to Hiroshima?
No I didn’t. There are many people in Japan that know some English, so the language barrier wasn’t too horrible. Also, Google translate helped some when going back and forth with emails in Japanese. I’m actually taking a trip to Japan in August to meet with the principal of the kindergarten and see the artwork in the school, so I am trying to learn some Japanese now.

Thanks for all the questions!


This was in reply to an email which we wrote as a class: 

This email is to thank you for writing to us and making a video that inspired us all. You haven’t just inspired us, you’ve inspired many other people in the world! You are smarter than us by making this incredible creative artwork in the memorial of Sadako Sasaki; it means you really want to make a dent in the universe. Our school motto at Simon de Senlis is to “make a dent in the universe” – you have definitely done this!

Congratulations for completing your second wish and we hope that it will help the first wish come true. Your quote truly made us think and we realised that the world would be a better place if this wish came true.

And the aforementioned questions.