Readers respond to AMICUS student’s Okinawa Memorial Day poem

Readers respond to AMICUS student’s Okinawa Memorial Day poem

Maharo Kitakado poses with the letter and CD in front of the Ryukyu Shimpo special issue featuring her peace poem at AMICUS International School in Uruma City on September 3.

September 10, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Hironori Sunakawa


“We use a special key to open the door to peace.” So begins the poem The Door to Peace, written by Maharo Kitakado, 10, a fifth-grade student at AMICUS International School in Uruma City. The poem was printed in the Ryukyu Shimpo’s June 23 special issue commemorating the 75th anniversary of WW 2. In early August, Kitakado received a CD containing gospel music composed to her poem.


The composer is Tomoko Ishikawa, a Niigata Prefecture resident and an organist at the Niigata United Church of Christ in Japan (Nippon Kirisuto Kyodan). On June 23, her pastor shared with her the poem printed in the Shimpo’s special issue.


A letter accompanied the CD, in which Ishikawa wrote: “I was touched by your wonderful poetry. Your words were simple and warm. It teaches us what we can do for peace.” Ishikawa explained that she began to hear a melody as she re-read the poem over and over again.


In the letter, the organist asked for Kitakado’s permission to perform the song during church service. Kitakado said, “I am happy to know I can touch people’s hearts.”


The two spoke over the phone; Kitakado is a choir member and told Ishikawa she would like to sing the song herself.


Many Shimpo readers responded to Kitakado’s poem printed in the Okinawa Memorial Day special issue; One reader sent Kitakado the poem framed and written in calligraphy.


The poem ends with the line: “75 years since, when will the door to peace open for Okinawa?” Kitakado’s words speak to all who seek peace.


(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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