I am dedicated to the goals of this group, to keep alive the memory of the horrors of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to work towards a world free of nuclear weapons and nuclear power.
I am a long time social justice activist and get a lot of strength from my mother and the family who I never knew.
Being a ‘Sansei’ (third-generation Japanese American) and growing up in the United States, I did not have firsthand knowledge of the horrors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, however, one of my grandfathers came from Kure, a village on the outskirts of Hiroshima.
I grew up in New York City, knowing that if there was a nuclear war, we would be a top target. Some are trying to push nuclear energy as a solution to climate change. Peace Crane Project is a way to push for positive changes on these issues
Now that I am a grandmother I have more reasons to help create a peaceful and sustainable world for my grandchildren and beyond.
These trees are powerful symbols of man-made destruction and nature’s resilience. Perhaps they can express people’s desire for peace more effectively than we can ourselves.
These trees, which can live up to 3,000 years, carry in their DNA the memories of the horrors of war and speak powerfully of resilience and hope for the task of building a peaceful world.
April 18, 2021
Sonoma County Peace Crane Project members visit seedlings sprouted from seeds of a tree that survived the nuclear bombing in Hiroshima. It is cared for at Sonoma Botanical Garden
On Friday April 16, members of the Sonoma County Peace Crane Project visited Sonoma Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen to see some special Ginkgo saplings, sprouted from seeds of a tree that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
The group plans to plant the Ginkgo trees on the grounds of Sonoma State University to memorialize the victims and the survivors of the nuclear bombings, nuclear tests, accidents, and contamination. The group conceived this project in partnership with Green Legacy Hiroshima, which has sent seeds to many organizations around the world.
During their visit, the group met with Michael Wenzel, Curator of Living Collections at Sonoma Botanical Garden (formerly Quarry Hill Botanical Garden), who showed off the ten robust saplings planted in 1-gallon pots. The Botanical Garden planted the seeds shipped from Hiroshima in July, 2019 and has cared for the saplings since then.
“These trees are hardy, and often used in urban landscaping because they can survive challenging conditions,” Wenzel said, noting that Gingko trees survived atomic bombing, one of the most devastating events in human history. The Gingko biloba, an ancient species known for its longevity, can live over 1,000 years.
When the United States bombed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, over 100,000 people perished instantly, mostly civilians and children. Countless more died from radiation poisoning, cancers and the utter devastation of the means of survival.
Miraculously, in the midst of such desolation a few hundred trees survived. People collected, nurtured, and propagated the seeds and trees grew again, witness to their strength, and the hope and perseverance of the human spirit.
“We are very excited to visit these special trees, which will be the central feature of a memorial to victims of the atomic bombing and their descendants,” said Sachiko Knappman, a member of Sonoma County Peace Crane Project from Rohnert Park.
Green Legacy Hiroshima is a non-profit organization, founded to safeguard and spread seeds from Hiroshima survivor trees as a message of peace. Sonoma County Peace Crane will join the 110 other communities in 36 countries in nurturing these trees as they communicate their hopeful message worldwide.
“We are very grateful to Sonoma Botanical Garden for providing the perfect environment to grow the seeds entrusted to us, direct descendants of the trees that survived the bombings. The Botanical Garden has years of experience growing Asian trees and plants, which makes it an ideal place for the Hiroshima seeds,” said Robert Doane of Petaluma.
Plans are underway for trees with interpretive signs and educational events.
“We are especially excited to have the opportunity to locate the gingko trees near the existing Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Grove, which has at its heart a mature horse chestnut grown from the tree that Anne Frank could see from her place of hiding,” said Jay Pedersen from Sebastopol, a retired landscape department staff member at Sonoma State University.
The Sonoma County Peace Crane Project, founded over 35 years ago, is an all-volunteer community group with a vision of creating a world free of nuclear weapons, where people can learn to live together in harmony and peace. To raise awareness about nuclear issues, the group has organized exhibits, cultural events, youth essays and art contests.
In spite of the pandemic and the obstacles it has brought, planning and preparation for the creation of a Peace Tree memorial dedicated to a nuclear free world are ongoing by the dedicated volunteers.
August 5, 2020
This August marks 75 years of peace since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
To commemorate this important milestone, Sonoma County JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) is promoting a project called “Let’s Ring Bells of Peace”. It is spearheaded by Sebastopol World Friends (SWF), Sebastopol’s sister city organization. The project is asking the public across the U.S. and Japan to ring a bell simultaneously on the date and time when the atomic bombings happened 75 years ago.
In solidarity with SWF, Sonoma County JACL will be hosting two Zoom events for our members and friends at the following dates and times:
- Wednesday 8/5 Zoom starting at 4:00 PM Bell ringing at 4:15 PM (US PDT) – to coincide with the actual date and time the bomb fell on Hiroshima (8/6 at 8:15am in Japan)
- Saturday 8/8 Zoom starting at 6:45 PM Bell ringing at 7:02 PM (US PDT) – to coincide with the actual date and time the bomb fell on Nagasaki (8/9 at 11:02am in Japan)
During the bell ringing, you are welcome to ring your own bell at home. Before and after the bell-ringing, we will have selected speakers. The two events will have different programs and you are welcome to join just one or both.
Anyone wishing to attend the JACL Zoom sessions, please email Phyllis Tajii at email@example.com and indicate which session you would like to attend. We will send you the Zoom link prior to the event.
Commemorating this important moment, at different locations but together in spirit, will be a powerful gesture of our commitment to world peace. Your participation would be meaningful and greatly appreciated. Together we can show the world hope, especially during these uncertain times.
For anyone who would like to commemorate the anniversary individually, please send your videos and/or photos of your commemoration to Sebastopol World Friends! See SWF’s facebook page for more information.
Please let your creative and artistic friends and students know about this contest. Download flyer here.
Winners of 2018 Youth Art Contest
Last year, Peace Crane Project launched a poster art contest in hopes of engaging the younger generation on nuclear issues.
Jr. high and high school students throughout Marin/Napa/Sonoma Counties were invited to submit their original artworks for this poster art contest.
The contest was juried by artists and community leaders including Elizabeth Clary and Michael Cheney from Alchemia Gallery and Studio, John Bertucci of Petaluma Public Access Media and Fukushima Response, Mario Uribe, an artist based in Santa Rosa, and Lina Hoshino and Phyllis Tajii of Peace Crane Project. The submissions were evaluated based on the artists’ technique, originality, theme and expression.
See who won here.
Enter 2019 contest here.
Save the date: Join us on August 4, 2019 at the Nuclear Remembrance Day
Sonoma County Peace Crane Project presents Nuclear Remembrance Day: Picture a World Free of Nuclear Weapons on August 4, 2019. The event will happen in Helen Putnam Plaza, downtown Petaluma, from 11:30-3:30 pm. Admission is free and donations are appreciated.
Many activities will be offered during the day: Interfaith opening prayer and incense offering; music performance by Elliot Kallen; dance performance by Ten Ten Taiko; Japanese Tea Ceremony by Sachiko Knappman; free origami workshop; Hiroshima Mayors for Peace Exhibit; Japanese Prayer Plaque Workshop (Ema); the folding of a 6’ origami crane; and an awards ceremony celebrating the high school and middle school winners of the Peace Crane Project’s youth poster art contest, with the theme, Picture a World Free of Nuclear Weapons.
This event occurs during this period of heightened tension and fear of nuclear war.
It commemorates the 74th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
“Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are not utopian ideals.
They are critical to global peace and security.”
— Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations
Artwork must be original, submitted by the artist. File type: JPEG, PNG or PDF (11” x 17”) vector art or 300 dpi file accepted. File size must not exceed 10 megabytes. Art must be two dimensional, created using either traditional methods (pencils, paint, etc) or digital. Up to two entries are allowed if concept posters differ from each other.
To apply you must be a student (grades 6-12) in Napa, Sonoma or Marin Counties.
Middle School (grades 6 – 8)
First Prize: $150
Second Prize: $75
High School (grades 9 – 12)
First Prize: $200
Second Prize: $100
June 15, 2019
HOW TO ENTER
Local artists will judge entries on creativity, theme, composition and technique. Awards will be presented on August 4, 2019 at a Peace Crane Project event in Petaluma near the anniversary of the US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
For questions about the contest, email firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT PEACE CRANE PROJECT
The Peace Crane Project is a Sonoma County peace group, that aims to raise awareness of the need for nuclear disarmament and to inspire people to add their voices to promote a world free of nuclear weapons.