Ohana Arts presents the New York premiere of Peace On Your Wings, co-sponsored by the Japanese American Association and the New York Buddhist Church. Peace On Your Wings is a new musical inspired by the life of Sadako Sasaki, a 12-year old girl who died from leukemia resulting from radiation caused by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. She was made famous for having folded over a thousand paper cranes to fulfill an old Japanese legend that would grant one wish to anyone who would fold one thousand cranes. To this day she is a reminder of innocent victims of war, and her story of her thousand paper cranes have inspired a movement of folding cranes for peace. The musical juxtaposes Sadako’s true story and the events leading up to her death in November 1955 with a fictional story about a group of her friends who rallied support from around Japan to have a monument built in Sadako’s memory to honor the children victims of the atomic bomb.
Set in post-war 1950′s Japan, Peace On Your Wings explores the lives of students at a middle school in Hiroshima as they face the terminal illness of their friend amidst their own adolescent drama. The musical score combines modern musical theater, 1950’s boogie-woogie and rock and roll, and Japanese styles, including taiko, to create a unique, uplifting, and inspiring show. While Sadako remains optimistic in the hospital, determinately folding origami cranes to fulfill the Japanese legend promising one wish and long life to the folder of a thousand, her friends grow distant as they deal with their own self identity, bullying, and the growing pains of becoming teenagers. Though the students have to grapple with issues of terminal illness and death at such a young age, they also learn the power of their own strength, and their ability to connect deeply with others who remain positive, focusing on living every precious moment of their lives to the fullest. “Peace On Your Wings” teaches the lesson, “Ichigo Ichie,” meaning “Today is the first and last day of your life.”