Next Sketch Outing

Saturday, Dec. 9: Wallingford Center

Thursday, August 8, 2013

From Hiroshima to Hope

8/6/13 Lanterns floating on Green Lake.
n August 2001, I visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. I would imagine that it’s a difficult museum to experience no matter what nationality you are; as a Japanese American, I found it to be emotionally wrenching. I didn’t lose any relatives in the bombings, but I know survivors who – although they have shown no signs of radiation disease – still live in a vague shadow of fear every time they get a medical exam.

After the U.S. dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, most believed that it was a necessary end to World War II, which had certainly taken many, many lives. Seeing photos of the horrifyingly burned children and adults and those who died slowly in the weeks and months that followed, there is no slightest doubt that Japan paid heavily for Pearl Harbor. Twelve years later as I write this, my eyes still fill when I recall those images.

8/6/13 Seattle Kokon Taiko
These were some of my thoughts last night at Green Lake as I listened to blessings sung by Gurudwara Singh Sabha community members, koto and taiko performances, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” played by the Andean musical group Quichua Mashis (whom I sketched in April). Their performances were part of From Hiroshima to Hope, a program on Aug. 6 each year on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing to honor the Japanese victims as well as all victims of violence worldwide.

The program culminates with a Buddhist ritual and toro nagashi lantern floating ceremony on the lake. In Japan and other countries, the same type of ceremony is performed. The lanterns, hand-inscribed with prayers and the Japanese kanji character for peace, symbolize the souls of the dead released to the sea to find rest.

8/6/13 Audience listening to presentations.

During the stage performances and speaker presentations, I had plenty of light to sketch under the cloudless sky. But at dusk I could barely see my sketchbook or much of anything other than the softly flickering light of hundreds and hundreds of lanterns floating on Green Lake.

8/6/13 Members of Gurudwara Singh Sabha singing blessings.
8/6/13 Koto player

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