Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat, who served in 1939-1940 in Kaunas as vice consul for the Japanese Empire. During the Second World War, he saved about 6,000 lives of Lithuanian, Polish and German Jews by issuing ‘Visas for Life’ to Japan without official approval of the Japanese government. Many of the Jews called the gates that were earlier at the house, the ‘Gates of Hope’ to Japan. The diplomat was still writing the so-called ‘Visas for Life’ even after the closure of the consulate, and continued this work until the very last moment, till his train left Kaunas station. The last visas signed by him were thrown out of the departing train window.
On 16 October 2020, in the heart of Kaunas, near Laisvės Alėja, a bronze sculpture commemorating the brave consul was unveiled. The almost 4-meter-high work “In Memory of Chiune Sugihara” by the sculptor Martynas Gaubas depicts origami-shaped cranes made of platinized bronze, in a circle, heading towards the sky. The base of the sculpture represents the stamp of Chiune Sugihara, and the words “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire” which define the activities of the Japanese consul.