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The Origami Crane (TSURU): Symbolism and Folklore



A Symbol of Hope and Peace
The paper crane became a symbol of hope and peace through the story of a little Japanese girl.  Sadako Sasaki was exposed to radiation as an infant when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima during World War II. Although she survived the bomb, she was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 12. Some say she decided to fold 1,000 cranes, hoping that her wish to live would come true, but sadly, Sadako never reached her goal, and later passed that year. She was buried with a wreath of 1,000 paper cranes, and she became a symbol of hope and peace. At the Hiroshima Peace Park, where a statue of her holding a giant crane called the Children’s Peace Monument, Sadako is forever memorialized. Her story of hope spread throughout the world, and her paper cranes became known as a symbol of peace. These paper cranes bring hope to the world as every year, children from around the world will fold cranes and send them to Hiroshima where they are placed around a statue of Sadako.


It is said that paper folding first began in China for ceremonial purposes. Later it was introduced to Japan when Buddhist monks from China carried the paper during their travel. Others believe that paper folding ran parallel in both countries. But it was the Japanese who first discovered thepossibilities of using paper as a medium for art and what is known today as origami (folding paper). In Japanese folklore, the crane (or Tsuru inJapanese) is a strong majestic bird that mates for life and is said to live for a thousand years. It symbolizes honor, good fortune, loyalty, and longevity. These formidable characteristics give the crane such special meaning and why the Japanese believed that anyone with the patience and commitment to fold 1,000 origami cranes would be given good fortune and granted a wish.


A Hawaii Tradition
In Hawaii, folding origami cranes has been an island tradition symbolizing long life, happiness, and good fortune. Adapted from Japanese customs, many wedding preparations include the folding of 1001 cranes. The bride enlists the wedding party to fold 1,000 cranes and the groom offers one extra crane to increase good fortune. This custom extends not only to weddings, but birthdays, anniversaries, and other grand celebrations.


In celebration of Asian Pacific AmericanHeritage Month,
fold a crane to be added to our 1,000 crane display, as a symbol of hope and peace, March 16 through April 10.


Park Library 2nd Floor
View Step-by-step Instructions

Park Library 2nd Floor

MON (APR 4) 8:00am - 11:00am
TUES (APR 5) 3:30am - 4:30pm
WED (APR 6) 3:00pm - 4:00 pm
THURS (APR 7) 2:00pm - 3:00pm





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