Origami of the Soul

Peace Crane

Every day, the Peace Crane Project is celebrated all over the world. For some, September 21 is the date chosen to coincide with United Nations International Day of Peace. This project is inspired by the story of Sadako Sasaki.

The Story:
Sadako was only a small child when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. She survived, but at age eleven, she developed leukemia due to radiation exposure from the atomic bomb.

According to a Japanese legend, a person who can fold 1,000 paper cranes will have his/her wish granted. With this thought in mind, Sadako wanted to get well and live. She attempted to fold 1,000 cranes. She managed to fold 644 before she died on October 25, 1955.

Her family, friends, and classmates folded the remaining 356 cranes.  It was a moving tribute to Sadako, and these cranes were buried with her.

The Monument:
Sadako’s story became known that people from around the world began folding origami cranes and sending them to The Children’s Monument in the Hiroshima Peace Park as a wish for peace that war would never happen again to end suffering. Sadako’s personal wish became a wish for world peace.

“This is our cry. This is our Prayer. Peace in the world.” Inscription at the base of Japan’s Children’s Monument.

The Instructions:
Folding a paper crane involves many steps into a three-dimensional bird. Some of the steps may be difficult at first. Once it’s done, it is a beautiful thing. The average size of the paper is 6 by 6.

Peace Crane Instructions

When I was a child, I remember learning how to fold papers taught by older siblings to create dimensional paper boats, hats, ball, birds, and stars using newspapers. The process produced a lasting impression on me and passed the activity to the younger ones. As I grew older, I wrote love letters, birthday wishes or get well notes on the paper before folding it. Most of the time, I made these pease cranes as a sign of peace or forgiveness to others.


Once I joined the Vancouver Public Library for the crane project. Making just a few were not sufficient for me, so I used a thick book of yellow pages. With all the cranes donated by those who participated, a murmuring of colorful cranes covered the ceiling of the library as you enter the building. It was a sight to see.

Peace Cranes

11 thoughts on “Origami of the Soul

  1. Good morning, Perpetua. I love paper cranes. I learned how to make it long time ago, but I don’t remember how now, so I am so glad to see the instruction 😉
    Have you read that people who live in flooded Japanese towns had received so many paper cranes that they begged people not sending anymore? It was an interesting story (Hope I remember it right…)
    Have a great day.

  2. That’s a beautiful story and makes the library friendly and inviting – you can almost imagine the story each crane could tell of its maker. A friend of mine whose husband died unexpectedly was remembered a year later with family and friends folding 1000 paper cranes.

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