“Peace On Your Wings” is the first original production of Ohana Arts, a performing arts organization which is dedicated to cultivating an international family (ohana) in the Pacific, and to spreading peace through the universal language of the arts. Over the years, Ohana Arts cofounders Jenny Taira, Cari Chung, and Laurie Rubin have become more and more inspired by the immense talents, the infectious spirit, and the vast capabilities of the students who have come through their training programs. In 2013, they received a special request from Bishop Eric Matsumoto of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, asking Ohana Arts to put together a touring show with a Buddhist message which could travel to the neighbor islands. This request triggered an idea by Jenny Taira who in addition to being a co-founder of Ohana Arts, serves as music director and conductor of many of its main stage productions. It had been Jenny’s dream for some time to write a musical, and in working with the talented youth who inspired her so much, she thought that telling the story of Sadako would make a perfect musical to empower youth and would speak to an important youth cause. Ohana Arts applied for a commissioning grant from the Mayor’s Office on Culture and the Arts that same year to write this musical. The grant application was successful, but the stipulation was that the work would have to be created within the year. Jenny and Laurie quickly got to work, embarking on a journey of research that deeply inspired the course of their writing. They quickly assumed their role of servants of Sadako’s story, doing everything they could to do justice to her incredibly rich and many-layered story. Jenny began composing the music, Laurie began writing lyrics, and they both started writing the book. They decided to write Sadako’s true story while also creating a fictional account of her friends to underscore the importance of peace on both a micro and macro level. A fictional story also would help keep the story current and relevant to today’s youth. Through the process of their writing, they became aware of a powerful Buddhist phrase and philosophy which directly reflected Sadako’s spirit and journey, “Ichigo-ichie” meaning, “Today is the first and last day of your life.” This another major theme in the show.
“Peace On Your Wings” premiered on Oahu in 2014 with a local cast of youth, many of whom had participated in Ohana Arts programs. Since that time, the show has toured ten cities in eight years on the neighbor islands and the contiguous US. The show has had three casts from Hawaii and Northern California. Over the years, we have seen the impact on cast members and audience members alike as Sadako’s message and story touches people on such a universal level. From tearful standing ovations to witnessing Sadako’s real life brother holding the cast member who originated the role of Sadako and saying, “arigato” many times, to watching the transformative reactions of school audiences seeing actors their own age on stage, we realized that Sadako’s story and message was taking flight through the power of theater.
Over the past nine years since “Peace On Your Wings” was born, the show has undergone many edits, revisions, and a complete production redesign. The show was raised up by a grassroots effort from the multiple communities nationwide who have rallied around the show. Everybody from the production team to the design team has worked with the same goal in mind, to tell Sadako’s story in the most effective way possible. And now we are about to realize a dream for the show that everyone involved with it has had from its humble beginnings. We are bringing the show full circle to where Sadako’s story took place. Hiromi Peterson, co-author of best selling Japanese textbook, “Adventures in Japanese,” saw “Peace On Your Wings” in Hawaii several years ago. She has dedicated her life to spreading peace. Over the past six years, she has been dedicated to making it possible to bring this musical to Hiroshima. She began to assemble a very influential executive committee, chaired by the Mayor of Hiroshima, Kazumi Matsui, to begin raising money and making plans to bring the show and a new cast to Hiroshima to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing in 2020.
After three years of being postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic, are plans are back in full swing. In June 2022, the Hiroshima executive committee approached Ohana Arts, announcing that Hiroshima would be hosting the G-7 Summit. They felt that the summit would create the perfect climate for Hiroshima to receive Sadako’s message. We also began rekindling conversations with one of our most loyal presenting partners, the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center who have been hoping for the show’s return to commemorate Hiroshima Peace Day the weekend of August 5th-6th.
"JACCC is proud to be the only West Coast venue for this production of Peace On Your Wings. Especially as anti-Asian hate crimes are spiking throughout our state and war continues in Ukraine and elsewhere, we draw inspiration from the musical’s youth actors, who are relying on all of us to become ambassadors for peace." - Pat Wyatt, President, Japanese American Cultural and Community Center
“Peace On Your Wings” is scheduled for performances the weekend of August 4-6, in Los Angeles at the Aratani Theatre in partnership with the JACCC, and at Aster Plaza in Hiroshima the weekend of September 2-3 in collaboration with an executive committee chaired by Mayor Kazumi Matsui.
In a recent meeting with our cast, Hiromi Peterson said:
“The story you are telling is not only Sadako’s story. This is the story of many who died of Leukemia because of the atomic bomb, including many members of my family. That’s why your musical means so much to me.”
We are appealing to you, our friends, our supporters, our ohana to please help us bring this incredible professional caliber cast of local youth from Hawaii to Los Angeles on Hiroshima Peace Day and to Hiroshima where many living relatives and friends of Sadako still live. Please help to match the efforts of a committee of Hiroshima residents who have raised enough money for theater costs, hotel rooms, equipment rentals, meal costs, and who have made it possible for this show to spread this message of world peace to international audiences. Please match the efforts of organizations like the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii and the Buddhist Churches of America who have invested love, in-kind, and financial support to make it possible for this show to tour in many cities around the US.
If we meet our financial goal, our cast of Hawaii students will sing the very last lines in the show’s finale, side-by-side with with the current students of Nobori-cho Elementary School (the elementary school that Sadako and her friends attended):
“LET'S HONOR SADAKO AND SO MANY MORE,
WHO LOST THEIR LIVES TO SOMEONE ELSE'S WAR.
THIS IS OUR CRY, THIS IS OUR PRAYER:
PEACE IN THE WORLD"
This event will help to pass down Sadako’s legacy from generation to generation, and continue the movement of her friends who led the efforts to have her monument built.
Thank you for your consideration. Every donation, large or small, will be a step towards achieving this goal. Please join the movement!
CHECKS MAY ALSO BE MADE PAYABLE TO:
P.O. Box 894755
Mililani, HI 96789
(Please write in the MEMO: Peace On Your Wings World Tour)
Ohana Arts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (Tax ID 27-2668775). All contributions to Ohana Arts are tax-deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law.
For sponsorship opportunities with BENEFITS, please download the following sponsor packets:
Peace On Your Wings - Hiroshima Sponsorship Packet:
Peace On Your Wings - Los Angeles Sponsorship Packet: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WEamqz45v9gYTdutAr6JAV3KWmMmpql3/view?usp=share_link