Senbazuru or a thousand folded origami cranes are seen throughout Japan at temples and shrines and places of remembrance and atonement such as the Atomic Dome in Hiroshima or the Daihonei tunnel complex in Nagano built by forced labor during World War II. The cranes may also be offered at weddings to wish the happy couple everlasting happiness or on the occasion of the birth of a child.
The folding of a thousand cranes relates to the legend that if a person undertakes such a task they will be granted a wish by a crane - considered a mythical bird possessed of special powers in Japan.
Nowadays, special origami sets for making the cranes can be bought in shops and department stores.
In literature, the most famous reference to the 1000 cranes is Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by American novelist Eleanor Coerr. The book tells the tragic story of Sadako Sasaki, who died from leukemia in 1955 brought on by radiation poisoning from the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008