Internationally acclaimed, Hawaii-based recording artist, composer and activist Makana recently released “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,” a new song in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan that occurred on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, respectively.
The story of Sadako is world-renowned. A native of Nagasaki, she was only 2 years old at the time of the bombing. She miraculously survived and grew into what seemed to be a healthy youngster at the age of 12. One day, while running track and field at school, she collapsed. Doctors determined she had leukemia from exposure to radiation caused by the atomic bomb.
While in the hospital, Sadako was inspired by a traditional Japanese belief that said one’s wish would come true if they were to fold 1,000 origami paper cranes. She used all her will and strength to fold as many cranes as she could, until she passed away. Her schoolmates completed the 1,000 cranes in her honor, and eventually her story reached her town and the entire nation. Hiroshima city honored her with a statue that stands to this day, and Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes has become a children’s story known throughout the world as a tale of hope and peace for a world without the threat of nuclear war.
Makana is a master of the Hawaiian slack key guitar. From this musical heritage, he creates transcendence of genre and trend, inviting influences from global cultures and traditions. His interest in nuclear nonproliferation began in 2018 when Hawaii experienced what turned out to be — after a terrifying 38 minutes — a false nuclear missile alert/ attack.
This inspired Makana to become curious about “why there was even an extant threat of nuclear war in this day and age.”
His questioning has led him to Russia, where he filmed “Mourning Armageddon” (https://vimeo.com/310276887) in a recently declassified nuclear bunker in Moscow (a music video in a Matrix movie-like scene shot in one take 150 meters underground), and to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where he was honored to meet and interview Hibakusha (atomic bombing survivors) as part of his research for the composition of “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.”
While in Nagasaki, Makana performed a concert live on Japan’s NHK TV network at Kwassui Girls School, a school that focuses curriculum on world peace studies.
“Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” was composed by Makana and Kayko Tamaki and features a heartwarming performance by the Kwassui Girls Choir, conducted by Takafumi Iwanaga. It is a bilingual lyric with the verses in English and the choruses in Nihongo (Japanese). It is available on most streaming and download platforms as a single release, with accompanying lyric video on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and other visual platforms.