On July 26, 2016, a man attacked a center for people with disabilities in Sagamihara in Japan, killing 19 people and seriously injuring 26.
This July 26, 2017, L’Arche International is launching the 9th film in its #AsIAm web series, filmed at L’Arche in Japan, in homage to the victims of the Sagamihara massacre.
A year ago, Satoshi Uematsu, 26, attacked the Tsukui Yamayuri-En centre, where he had worked for 4 years. He reportedly told police that he did this because “it is better if people with disabilities disappear”. This was how he confessed to one of the bloodiest massacres perpetrated in Japan since the Second World War.
He had announced his intention in a letter sent to the President of the Japanese Parliament: “Thank you for reading this letter. I can make a total of 470 people with disabilities disappear. People with disabilities can only bring misfortune. Thinking of the tired faces of the guardians and the lacklustre looks of the carers, I decided to act…”
In this 9th film in the #AsIAm collection, “Nineteen Paper Cranes” we meet Sachiko, a woman with experience of living with an intellectual disability and a member of L’Arche in Japan. There, Sachiko (her name means “child of happiness”) is making recycled paper, as she does every day. However this time, with her community, she is recycling the paper on which the murderer justified his actions. She tears it into strips, pulp it and rolls it…. And uses it to make nineteen Origami cranes!
According to Japanese tradition, the cranes’ task is to carry souls to paradise.