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Healing from World War 2

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Healing from World War 2 Documentary on PBS

Watch the PBS Documentary Sakura & Pearls; Healing from World War 2 now on PBS:The wounds of World War 2 run deep. The Lost Generation had fought in World War I like the author Hemingway depicted in his book A Farewell to Arms. By World War II, the Lost Generation (born 1883-1900) were the commanders and leaders as the Allies took up arms against the Axis of Evil. The soldiers were of the Greatest Generation (born 1901-1927), a.k.a. The GI Generation because they came into adulthood just in time to fight in WW2. The next generation, The Silent Generation (born 1928-1945), were just children when the second world war broke out in Europe and they lived through the chaos of the Great Depression and the bombings of World War II. Learn more about these generations and your generation at

A special meeting at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center in Hawaii brought together Japanese Atomic Bomb survivors (Hibakusha) from Hiroshima and US Pearl Harbor survivors to tell their stories. What happened when these former enemies from the Greatest Generation and Silent Generation met face to face? The PBS documentary Sakura and Pearls; Healing from WW2 documents this rare encounter to see if forgiveness had happened more than 80 years later.

Top 5 WW2 Documentaries on PBS

There are many PBS Documentaries on WW2 to choose from, each with their own merits.The top PBS documentary list includes:

  1. The War, a PBS Documentary Series by director Ken Burns
  2. D-Day
  3. Pearl Harbor: Into the Arizona
  4. The Bomb
  5. Sakura & Pearls; Healing from World War II

What sets the Sakura and Pearls; Healing from World War II documentary apart is that the historic footage recounting each attack is shown as each World War II survivor is telling their story of survival. It was truly heart-warming to see these former enemies embrace each other in forgiveness of the past, a courageous act of cross-cultural sharing.

WW2 Documentary

The best WW2 movies are true to life. This is why I believe that the best world war 2 movies are ww2 documentaries that highlight a specific event of the second world war such as the Pearl Harbor Attack, the atomic bomber called the Enola Gay which dropped the first atomic bomb Hiroshima, the atomic bomb attack on Nagasaki, and the Holocaust. Stephen Spielberg founded the Shoah Foundation with the proceeds of his movie, Schindler’s List, which captures the interviews of the Holocaust Survivors of Auschwitz, Dachau, and several other concentration camps. The best ww2 documentaries tell the uncomfortable moments of human history, a complete history that covers what happened in the East as well as the West in both Europe and American history. The Best documentary is a personal opinion that depends on what event during the second world war you find most moving. Quality World war II documentaries can also be found on YouTube with many WW2 videos showing actual footage of Pearl Harbor and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.ww2 videosworld war 2 videos

Attack on Pearl Harbor

War in Hawaii was unthinkable before the Pearl Harbor Attack, however on Dec. 7th, 1941, a multi tiered attack began early that Sunday morning. The coordinated Attack on Pearl Harbor began with the airfields at Wheeler Airforce base in Mililani on Oahu. It also included attacks on Kaneohe Bay on the leeward side of Oahu to cripple the air defenses as the Japanese Zeros dive bombed the Joint Base at Pearl Harbor, including Hickam. Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day fills the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, the USS Arizona Memorial, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum with visitors from around the world.

Atomic Bomb

The Manhattan Project was the code name given by the US in the development of the first atomic bomb. The atomic bombs were developed with the support of Oppenheimer and Albert Einstein who both feared that Adolf Hitler would build an atomic bomb first. The bombs were tested out in

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki occured on August 6th, 1945 and August 9th, 1945 respectively. Many still believe that the atomic bombs ended the second world war. However, Brien Hallet, the Director of the Matsunaga Institute for Peace at University of Hawaii disputes this claim in his interview during Sakura & Pearls; Healing from WWII. He clarifies that it was Stalin’s choice to switch sides to the Allies that ended the war, because Hitler was already dead and Nazi Germany had fallen. So Imperial Japan was surrounded 360 degrees once’s Russia didn’t renew its Friendship Treaty with Japan. The Atomic bombs were also significant, however the war was already coming to an end and General Douglas MacArthur was against the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing plan as he wished to end the war through the efforts of the Navy and Army. Survivors from Hiroshima and from Nagasaki are called hibakusha in Japanese’s, which means atomic bomb survivors. The children who survived the atomic bombs were from the Silent Generation while the young adults were from the Greatest Generation and the elders were from the Lost Generation. One particularly heart-felt story is of a child hibakusha named Sadako who’s story is shared in Sakura & Pearls; Healing from WWII by her older brother Masahiro Sasaki.


Sadako Sasaki survived the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb, however she later died from radiation exposure at the Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital. Before she died, here father told her that if she folded 1000 origami cranes, her wish would come true. She wished to survive the radiation exposure, so she folded over 100 Peace Cranes. Unfortunately, she passed away at only 11 years of age, but her peace cranes were donated to many museums, including the 9-11 Museum in NYC, the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, and the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center on Oahu, Hawaii. To honor Sadako and those who did not survive the atomic bomb, a Sadako Sasaki statue was created as Hiroshima Peace Memorial. It still stands in the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park in Hiroshima, Japan today.


How many people died in WW2?

Estimations of the amount of people who died during the World War II are between 70-85 million people which equals approximately 3% of the world’s population at the time.

How many people died in Hiroshima?

Approximately 140,000 people died in the Atomic Bomb Attack on Hiroshima during WWII out of 350,000 residents, killing about 39% of the population including those who died of radiation sickness much later. only about 20% of the casualties were soldiers, with approximately 80% being civilians who were mostly women and children. 12 American prisoners of war and many Koreans were also killed in the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

How many people died in Nagasaki?

Approximately 74,000 people died in the Atomic Bomb Attack on Nagasaki during WWII which was about 32% of the population. A munitions plant was destroyed and the majority of the casualties were civilians, including Christian communities that were first founded in Nagasaki, Japan.

How many people died in Pearl Harbor?

The official death toll of the Attack of Pearl Harbor during WWII was 2,403 people including servicemen and civilians. Additionally, 1,178 people were wounded and 129 Japanese soldiers perished.

How to Stream Sakura & Pearls on PBS

Starting from the Premiere on Oct. 28th 6pm PT/9pm ET, you can stream Sakura & Pearls: Healing from World War II on PBS in two ways: PBS Video App or on a Web Browser through PBS Livestream. Click Here for Details


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Sakura & Pearls; Healing from World War II

Sakura & Pearls: Healing from World War II

Sakura & Pearls: Healing from World War 2, is a cutting edge PBS documentary about a special meeting between the Japanese Survivors of the Atomic Bomb and the US Survivors of Pearl Harbor. This remarkable and intense exchange between former enemies is sparking dialogue about how we can resolve conflict without repeating the painful experiences of our ancestors. Written and Directed by G. K. Hunter.

Video Interviews & Talks

Equal Lives: The Story of a Child Survivor of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb

Hear a talk at the Univ. of Hawaii’s  Matsunaga Institute for Peace by G. K. Hunter.

Sakura & Pearls: The Inspiration for the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center Meeting

Listen to the original inspiration for the special meeting between Japanese Atomic Bomb Survivors and the US Pearl Harbor Survivors. See this past talk given for Pacific Historic Parks as part of the the History Talks series.

KSFR 101.1 FM Radio: Living From Happiness with Dr. Melanie Harth PhD

Hear about how an unexpected documentary, Sakura & Pearls, found me while I was visiting Hiroshima, Japan. CLICK HERE

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Production Photos

G. K. Hunter interviewing Shigeaki Mori-san after he embraced former U.S. President Barack Obama at the Hiroshima memorial service. Mori-san was gracious enough to do this interview in his Hiroshima home before he addressed the United Nations.

Pearl Harbor Survivor (U.S.S. Pennsylvania) & Educator Everett Hyland with director G. K. Hunter.

Sakura & Pearls: Healing from World War II is currently being submitted to film festivals around the world.

Please visit G.K. Global Tour for the most updated information on screenings and public talks.