Fold paper cranes for peace
The story of Sadako, the 1000 cranes, and the Children’s Peace Memorial
The story begins with the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. Among those caught in the attack was a two-year-old girl named Sadako. In the years after the war, Sadako initially seemed to have survived without adverse effects; then, despite being an active, athletic young woman, she developed leukemia. The illness was assumed to have been directly related to the effects of atomic radiation exposure. While under treatment for her illness, she began folding origami (folded paper) cranes. Amassing one thousand such cranes was assumed to ensure the granting of a wish – and Sadako desperately wanted to live. Unfortunately, despite reaching her goal, she died at sixteen.
Her classmates and friends continued folding cranes in her honor, then dedicated them as a prayer for peace. Eventually, a Children’s Peace Memorial, using a model of the folded paper crane as one of its central motifs, was dedicated in Hiroshima’s Peace Park to the hundreds of child victims of the atomic bomb as an eternal prayer for a peaceful future world. Thereafter individuals and groups from around the world began bringing their collections of a thousand paper cranes to the monument as a concrete expression of their own personal or collective prayers for peace.
Your cranes can unite with thousands of others hanging near the Children’s Peace Memorial in Hiroshima to honor children killed by the atomic bomb with a prayer for peace.
we are here by grace
we are meant to love
we will walk with hope
we will live for peace
Send Your Cranes To Hiroshima
To send a thousand cranes to the Children’s Monument in Hiroshima’s Peace Park, string them on garlands of 100 cranes each, and mail them to:
Office of the Mayor, City of Hiroshima
1 Chome Naka-ku
To string the cranes, attach a string to a long needle, push it through the hole in the bottom of each crane, and bring it out through the point in the center of the crane’s back. Be sure to tie a knot at the end of the string. To separate the cranes on the string, add a 1/4″ piece of a plastic straw or coffee stirrer between each crane.
Before sending them to Hiroshima, here are some other ways you can share the story of Sadako, the legend of the crane, and your beautiful display of paper cranes:
- Hang them in a school or a public library, and ask the librarian to make a display of books related to Sadako, Japan, World War II, leukemia, and peace.
- Take them to a nursing home or hospital with instructions for folding the cranes; it’s a beautiful activity to share with others.
- Ask your local newspaper to publish a story about why you folded the cranes, along with a picture of all the people who participated.
- Look for someone traveling to Japan who would be willing to go to Hiroshima to personally place your cranes at the base of the statue. It could be a business person, a student, or someone visiting a relative. Call travel agents to see if they are booking people on flights to Japan, and ask them to help you find someone who might take on your crane mission.
Whether they are sent to Hiroshima, the President of the United States, the mayor of a small town, or a sick person recovering from an illness, the gift of a thousand paper cranes is a powerful gesture of caring, devotion, and love.