December 9, 2022

Junshin Choir from Nagasaki, Japan. Photos courtesy of JoAnn Blatchley, Convener, Minneapolis St. Paul Hiroshima Nagasaki Commemoration Committee, and Vice President, St. Paul Nagasaki Sister City Committee.

AAP staff report

Twin Cities (August 8, 2010) – The 2010 Hiroshima Nagasaki Commemoration events featured visitors from Nagasaki and dancers from Minnesota Collaborate at the annual commemoration to pursue peace and mourn the two atomic bombings that took place in August 1945. This was a special year as it is the 55th anniversary of the sister city relationship between St. Paul and Nagasaki – and the 65th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

High school and university students from Junshin in Nagasaki, Japan, under the direction of Yuko Matsumoto, sang at the Ceremony of Eleven Bells at the Lyndale Park Peace Garden in Minneapolis on August 6, and again after the noon service at St. Paul Cathedral on August 8. They also performed at Bethany Convent in St. Paul on August 9.

The commemoration events included the KAIROS Intergenerational Dance Theater, ages 4 to 94, that performed as the 18 Junshin Chorus girls sang the Nagasaki peace anthem at the Global Harmony Labyrinth at Como Park on August 8. The purpose was a performance to symbolize peace, reconciliation and hope for the future.

The Junshin Chorus is led by Sister Yoko Hamada. They were sponsored by the St. Paul Nagasaki Sister City Committee, the Minneapolis St. Paul Hiroshima Nagasaki Commemoration Committee and several grants from Japanese sources.

There was a tea ceremony at Lyndale Park Peace Garden with guests from Kenya and Japan participating. There was also the Thousand Paper Cranes ceremony by Patricia Katagiri, Jack Satell, and Karen Sontag-Satell.

Minneapolis Mayor Donald Fraser as keynote speaker and the Legend of Sadako and the 1,000 Cranes told by grandmother-granddaughter team of Elaine Wynne and Renee Weeks-Wynne. Music was provided by Kathleen Olsen and Mary Preus.

The Ceremony of Eleven Bells, a project of the Veterans for Peace organization, was joined this year by the Women in Black of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

After the bell was rung 11 times, the Women in Black and the Junshin girls each formed a semi-circle around the Spirit of Peace sculpture at Lyndale Park and responsively recited the Sadako prayer ­– this is our cry, this is our prayer, peace in the world ­– in English and Japanese.

Then Junshin students performed a song that was written for the by a hibakusha, the name given to survivors of the atomic bombs in Japan. Wristbands with names of hibakusha and places for people to write their peace mentors were available at all the events. www.wilpfmn.org/hn and www.stpaulnagasaki.org.

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