A 10 year old girl and 8 year old boy came to our store with their mother buying up so many of our origami paper set. The amount they purchased was a bit unusual, we thought, so we asked the children what they were going to use the origami paper set for. They told us that they were going to fold 1,000 paper cranes and they were serious about it. Wow! We were quite surprised to hear the answer, but sensing our bewilderment (did we say they were smart, too?) they offered up an explanation that they became truly inspired by the story they read from a children's book titled "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes" written by Eleanor Coerr.
The book tells the true story of Sadako Sasaki. She was a Japanese girl who was only two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945, near her home by Misasa Bridge in Hiroshima, Japan.
At the time of the explosion Sadako was at home, about one mile from Ground Zero. By November 1954, chicken pox had developed on her neck and behind her ears. Then in January 1955, purple spots had started to form on her legs. Subsequently, she was diagnosed with leukemia, which her mother referred to as "an atom bomb disease." She was hospitalized on February 21, 1955, and given, at the most, a year to live.
On August 3, 1955, Sadako's best friend Chizuko Hamamoto came to the hospital to visit and cut a golden piece of paper into a square and folded it into a paper crane. At first Sadako didn't understand why Chizuko was doing this but then Chizuko told her the story about the magic of paper cranes: that one who folded 1,000 cranes was granted a wish. Inspired by the story, she started folding them herself wishing for a cure. Despite her tenacity, she unfortunately fell short of her goal of folding 1,000 cranes, having folded only 644 before her death. Her friends eventually completed the 1,000 and buried them all with her. Sadako's famous writing on some of the paper crane was "I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world." Sadako has since become an enduring symbol of peace throughout the world.
Amazing story. No wonder the children were inspired.
Sadako Sasaki memorial in Hiroshima, Japan surrounded by paper cranes