More than 100 people gathered to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the atomic-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki last Thursday evening at Church of the Holy Trinity. The tone was, no surprise, sombre. But in the back of the church, seated at a small folding table beside a small stack of coloured construction paper, sat Joy Sato—alone, and surprisingly chipper.
The 65-year old event volunteer, a member of the Japanese-Canadian Cultural Centre, was happily folding a whole flock of origami cranes.
“The only thing I can say about my skill is that I’ve improved, but by no means am I an expert,” she said, emphasizing the importance of a good, crisp fold. Sato called the bird a “symbol of hope” that has taken on a poignant symbolism for the city of Hiroshima, where a monument of a young girl now stands, cradling the golden bird in her palms. (The night’s musical performers and speakers, like Hiroshima survivor Joe Ohori, were also given a thank-you gift of 1,000 origami cranes—not from Sato, however.)
“You never want what happened to happen again. Some people think very simplistically that [the bombs] ended the war. But the implications of the bombings didn’t affect just Japan,” she said, suggesting that the fallout—psychological and physical—has since spread across the planet. “Everything is airborne.” She flashed a satisfied smile and added another royal-blue bird to her growing menagerie.