human ecology
Sadako Sasaki (1943-1955)

One thousand cranes

The crane is a symbol of great fortune in China and Japan. To be blessed by one thousand cranes is fortunate beyond belief. Origami cranes have been folded since at least the 1797 when the Japanese book "Sembazuru Orikata" (Folding of a thousand cranes) was published.

I first learnt to fold the crane in Cardiff (1994-95) but I forgot until recently. The "Second World War in Colour" series at TV in Britain recently and the nuclear accident at Tokaimura reminded me of Sadako Sasaki. So I've learnt to fold them again.

I'm not sure about sending one thousand cranes to Sadako's statue - the paper and transportation costs seem high. Sending cranes back to the shrine does not spread Sadako's prayer. Instead, I'm borrowing an idea from Elihu Burritt's "plan of international friendly addresses", I will attempt to send one thousand people a crane each before the 50th anniversary of her death.

Instructions for following a crane can be found in most origami books. I've included some instructions on my website. First you need to fold the preliminary fold, then the bird base, a finally the crane.

Part of the art of one thousand cranes is to fold more than one crane from a single sheet of paper. This is done by cutting the paper into squares, carefully leaving the paper joined at the right places. Cranes can also be threaded on string.

Gay Merrrill Gross, (1993) "The art of origami", Michael Friedman, New York.

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Created 24/10/99