This is not my usual format, but I am sharing a collage of books on Japan | the Hiroshima Bombing, 1945 and then other books on the folded paper cranes (the art of origami). All in all, they are very connected.
A bit of background:
Thousand Origami Cranes (千羽鶴 Senbazuru) is a group of one thousand origami paper cranes (折鶴 orizuru) held together by strings. Ancient Japanese legends promise that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish or receive eternal good luck, including healing from disease. *
The crane in Japan is one of their mystical creatures, is said to live for a thousand years. That is why 1000 cranes are made, one for each year.
The orizuru (折鶴 ori- “folded”… tsuru “crane”), or paper crane, is a design considered the most classic of all Japanese origami. It is a representation of the Japanese Red-Crowned Crane which has a special significance in Japanese culture. **
The Red-Crowned Crane is among the rarest cranes in the world. They are on the endangered species list. There are only 2,750 in the wild, including about 1,000 birds in the resident Japanese population (the non-migratory cranes). The remaining 1,750 migrate from Korea, China, and Taiwan to Siberia, China, and Mongolia. Normally the crane lays 2 eggs, with only one surviving. ***
The Crane myth is all positive—it mates for life (loyalty), and flies high for miles without tiring (strength.) It is known as a symbol of luck, longevity and fidelity.
I recently reviewed “The Last Cherry Blossom” by Kathleen Burkinshaw, revealing the memories of a twelve year old when the atom bomb destroyed Hiroshima, mostly based on the real life of Mrs. Burkinshaw’s mother.
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr shows two covers above (pink and green) which are the same book. This book is written for the middle grades and is 80 pages long. The book entitled Sadako is also by Eleanor Coerr but is 48 pages, written for the 4 – 8 year old. It is beautifully illustrated by a Caldecott Medal winner, Ed Young.
The story is about Sadako Sasaki who was two years old when the atom bomb destroyed Hiroshima. It is a true story. Sadako, at twelve, got Leukemia from the fallout of the bomb. She resided in the hospital at the end of her short life. A friend made a crane from paper using origami. The remainder of Sadako’s days became paper-folding ones. Her family and friends hoped that she would be healed when they reached that thousand-crane mark. Her courage changed many lives after she passed away.
The versions are the same story…told at two different age levels.
One Thousand Paper Cranes by Ishii Takayuki is another story about Sadako Sasaki. After her death, her friends and family started a national campaign to build the Children’s Peace Statue, remembering Sadako and the many other children who were victims of the Hiroshima bombing. On top of the statue is another statue…of Sadako, holding a large crane in her outstretched arms. Today in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, this statue of Sadako and the area around is beautifully decorated with thousands of paper cranes made and given by people around the world. Many cities around the world have statues or monuments dedicated to Sadako and the other children, each dedicated to peace in this world.
The Paper Crane by Molly Bang retells an ancient Japanese folktale, illustrated with paintings and cut-paper collages. It is for the 4 – 8 year old.
Tree of Cranes by Allen Say is also for the 4 – 8 year old. At Christmas, a young boy, sick with a cold, has his mother to tend to him. She goes into the garden to dig up the pine tree that was planted when he was born. She brings it inside for the boy’s first Christmas tree. She decorates it with paper cranes and candles. The story is beautiful, surrounded by Say’s fine illustrations.
Yoko’s Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells is geared for the 3 – 7 year old group. Yoko lives in the United States after moving from Japan. She misses her grandmother, Obaasan, whose garden is visited each year by migrating cranes, and her grandfather, Ojiisan, who showed her how to fold cranes out of paper. Yoko sends Obaasan some origami cranes for her birthday, folded just as Ojiisan had taught her. The greeting with the gift is, “Soon I will come back to Japan, just like the cranes,” reminding children that a grandparent’s love is enduring no matter how far apart they live. The art is colorful and filled with patterns of fabric.
A Thousand Cranes: Origami Projects for Peace and Happiness by Florence Temko is for ages 10 and up. A strand of one thousand origami cranes is an international symbol for peace, happiness, and health. The book contains forty-eight tear-out sheets of colorful chiyogami (origami paper) for folding cranes and other things. Included is the story of Sadako of Hiroshima. There are suggestions for how to use the subject of cranes in the classroom and hospitals; making the crane can be used as gifts and by people everywhere to demonstrate their commitment to world peace.
*Wikipedia on “One Thousand Cranes”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_thousand_origami_cranes
**Wikipedia on orizuru: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orizuru
***Wikipedia on “The Red-Crowned Crane”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-crowned_crane
Photos of The Children’s Peace Monument (原爆の子の像 Genbaku no Ko no Zō – “Atomic Bomb Children Statue”) is a monument for peace to commemorate Sadako Sasaki and the thousands of child victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. This monument is located in Hiroshima, Japan… https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=sadako+childrens+peace+park&FORM=HDRSC2