Musical Showcases Inspirational Life Of Sadako Sasaki

The inspirational story of Sadako Sasaki comes to life in Peace On Your Wings, playing Nov. 20-22 at Leeward Community College Theatre.

Sasaki was a symbol of peace following her death at the age of 12 from leukemia, brought on by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima when she was only 2 years old.

Composer Jenny Taira and lyricist Laurie Rubin created Peace On Your Wings based on their book of the same title. According to Rubin, the story explores the lives of students at a middle school in Hiroshima as they face the terminal illness of their friend amid their own adolescent drama.


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Students dance together in the obon scene of 'Peace On Your Wings,' playing Nov. 20-22 at Leeward CC Theatre. Photos by Cyd Shizuru.

“We decided to make it more of a fictional story,” explained Rubin. “It gave us an opportunity to incorporate other issues like bullying and self-identity issues.”

Students in the musical must learn to cope with death, even at a young age, and learn the power of their own strength in order to remain positive and live life to its fullest.

For composer Taira, it was difficult to decide what type of music to showcase.

“A lot of people would expect traditional Japanese music, but as I was doing more research, we found that there was a really strong American influence in the ’50s,” she explained. “The musical takes place in the mid-1950s, 10 years after World War II. The score has ’50s influences, but the chorus is still kind of in the pop musical theatre genre of today.”

The cast of Peace On Your Wings features performers from Ohana Arts, founded by Taira, Rubin and Carolyn Lee.

“What’s exciting for us is that the mission of Ohana Arts is to promote peace through the universal language of the arts,” Taira said. “We really feel like the arts is something that connects people.”

Showtimes for Peace On Your Wings are 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20, 21 and 22, as well as 2 p.m. Nov. 22. Tickets, which can be purchased online at, cost $15 and $10 for students. Tickets at the door will cost $20/general and $15/students.

To keep up with Ohana Arts and its productions, visit