Tuesday, 8 August 2017

1,000 Cranes

Photo:  Bored Panda

When I saw these wonderful models of bonsai trees, made by  artist  Naoki Onogawa, which each incorporate 1,000 origami cranes, I thought I'd do one of my quick 'ooh ahh, aren't these lovely' type of posts and that'd be it.  Little did I know that if I delved I'd discover the significance behind this feat.

There's even a  word for folding 1,000 origami cranes, 'Senbazuru'.   Ancient legend has it that if you achieve this the gods will grant you a wish.   I should jolly well think so!  Kits to make them are sold in Japan, complete with strings to hang them on.   Traditionally a set of 1,000 cranes is given by a father at a wedding to bring one thousand years of prosperity and happiness on the couple.  But making them is not a feat for the faint hearted.  JAXA, the Japanese space agency set this as a task for budding astronauts.

There's a statue in Hiroshima to commemorate Sadako Sasaki, who suffered leukaemia because of atomic fallout.  She died after folding 644 cranes during a hospital stay and her classmates completed the task.   Cranes are often left at temples to disintegrate as the wish manifests.

So after finding out all these stories I love the imagery that this beautiful art evokes.  Perhaps we need to start a similar tradition in the Western World?


  1. I remember Sadako Sasaki; I wonder how long ago that was?

    1. I think she passed in the mid '50s. Does that fit with your recollections? xx

  2. Probably, my memory banks are depleting fast! xx