Teaching Resources for Hiroshima

2015 was the 70th Anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Here are some ideas from Australian teachers that can be used in the classroom to bring awareness of the day and to spread the universal message of peace.

  • Sadako Sasaki is the ‘face’ of the Hiroshima story, with many books published about her life. 81RD3DNXY8L Sadako-and-the-Thousand-Paper-Cranes-733x1024From one teacher; ‘Sadako as a story from the library. Make cranes. War details might be a bit full on for younger children, so the story might be a better way to approach it.’
  • Making origami cranes for peace and to remember Sadako. By making 1000 cranes, the gods can grant a wish. Sadako actually made over 1000 cranes (different from thCrane-2e version in the books which have her passing away before she reaches 1000).
  • From various teachers; ‘Can we all not perpetuate the myth that Sadako didn’t reach the target of 1000 cranes. Her own family say that she made well over a thousand. Also Mieko and the Fifth Treasure is about the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. I have also used the book Shin’s Tricycle – though I omit a couple of pages that are a bit too descriptive. If students are already familiar with Sadako’s story, it’s worth bringing some other books into the discussion.’
  • From a teacher who lived in Hiroshima for a number of years; ‘I often went to the Peace Park museum. One year there was a special exhibition dedicated to Sadako Sasaki which included a video interview with her father. He said that Sadako made well over 1000 paper cranes, but the American author who wrote Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes thought it would be more poignant if the story had Sadako dying before she reached a thousand. Different versions of the story have different numbers that she’s supposed to have reached, but all the authors have her dying before she reached a thousand. The Hiroshima Peace Park Museum website says she folded over 1300. http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/…/exh0…/exh01075_e.html These days even Wikipedia says she made well over a thousand in real life.
  • ‘I tell my high schoolers that she folded over a thousand (after I visited the Peace Park), but maybe the “her friends folded the rest” makes it easier for littlies to believe in wishes?’
  • Another teacher writes; ‘I’ve had little ones colour in pictures of origami cranes. (These can then be cut out and strung up or stuck to windows?) Also colouring/decoratinpeace2g kanji for Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Peace works well. And there are lots of versions of the Sadako story – you’ll find something for everyone, I think.’
  • There are many YouTube clips. One teacher says; ‘Just be careful showing any YouTube clips with actual photos in them as there are photos of Sadako’s corpse in most of them. I also tend to focus on the “bomb” and peace and try to avoid the “cancer”topic labelling it as “radiation sickness” to be more sensitive to families currently experiencing cancer. With respect I had to skip the story one year as a younger sibling was in hospital for cancer so it pays to check with whole staff first. There are some nicer animated versions which are better I believe. I also believe making cranes is quite hard for children if they have never done origami before but if you have a few helpers you could achieve the 1000 cranes by making them at lunch or sending home requests for help. This clip doe sn’t Kids Peace Stationreally mention death so the younger students could watch it safely and the older children would “get” it http://youtu.be/nKr-KshtF2I
  • ‘I like the colouring of pictures of cranes for younger kids. I do easy doves instead of cranes.’
  • Here is a great site called KIDS PEACE STATION
  • There is a picture story book called THE FAITHFUL ELEPHANTS, OR かわいそうなぞう。it tells of the fate of elephants at Ueno zoo during the war. There is a memorial to these elephants in the zoo. Not Hiroshima but a beautifully sad tale.11707499_1448696795432581_7397083582127598334_n
  • Another teacher shared; ‘I love the fact that Sadako’s brother has donated one of the family’s remaining Sadako origami cranes to the 9/11 Memorial in New York – proof that her message of peace is still as relevant today as it was 70 years ago. http://edition.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/12/17/origami.gift/  The regular Sadako display at the Peace Park Museum doesn’t mention the number that she made (I was there last year and it made no mention). It was a special exhibition devoted to Sadako Sasaki in the basement of the museum years ago where I saw the video interview with her father, and he said she made well over 1000. The story is sad enough without over-sentimentalising by saying she died before she could reach the thousand in my opinion.’
  • ‘I tell the Sadako story one year and another one the next year “My Hiroshima” by Junko Morimoto.’
  • ‘Perhaps a cut out crane picture made into a mobile (using coathangers) would work well with younger ones.’
  • Here is the site for the 70th anniversary of the bombings 70th Anniversary sitesadako_postcard2-1024x725Cranes-posterClick here for the link to the Sadako story.
    Sadako Sasaki