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Hiroshima and The Cranes of peace

Recently children and a few adults spent time at the Crocker Art Museum folding origami cranes. They were aiming to make 1,000 paper cranes.

50 cranes per string. A needle and fishing line strings them together. Each string is put on an oval ring and 20 strings of cranes are mailed to the chosen destination.

This project is spearheaded by a two-year-old nonprofit group called kidsforpeaceandgrownupstoo.com.

Kazuyo Morishita, CEO, kidsforpeaceandgrownupstoo.com strings them during the evenings when she comes home from work.

"She spends hours stringing these together," volunteer Kate Woolley explained. "And when they’re ready, when we have 1,000, we pick a place in the world that has been suffering war or a place like Sandy Hook shootings."

Adults and children hold 200 cranes that were strung together
early in the day.

They deliver them to these places so that the people know they’re not alone.

"There are children and adults in Sacramento who care about them and are offering this symbol of peace," Woolley explained. "This is based on the story of Sadako, who was 10 years old when the Hiroshima bomb dropped. She became very sick with leukemia."

There’s a Japanese legend that says if you fold 1,000 cranes, you will be well. The Gods will make you well.

Many cranes strung together.

"Sadako completed the 1,000 before she died of the disease," Woolley said. "Her family buried 1,000 cranes with her."

Since then it’s been a symbol of peace and it is an honorary day in Japan, Aug 6. That was when the atomic bomb fell in Hiroshima.

"There is a statue of Sadako holding a giant golden crane in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park," said Woolley.

"We are continually making these, because we are sending, like Kate has stated, we send them to various places where events have happened that are hurtful," volunteer Wanda Shiromaka explained.

One of the group’s board members is taking 1,000 cranes to Egypt. This group of cranes will be hung up in a museum in Cairo.

"Sometimes they take them to schools, government buildings and sometimes Kazuyo will mail them to places like Thailand or Laos," Shiromaka said. "And we sent them to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen shot by Taliban because she wanted to go to school."

"It’s wonderful because kids from elementary and high schools, as well as college, participate and they are on-board with this universal, international outlook of peace," Woolley said. "So the kids who are participating, we talk about things that are going on internationally and they know they are doing something for someone else around the globe."

They’re thinking outside of their little world, thinking about kids and people that have been harmed. Children from four high schools, as well as children from elementary schools came and went during the day of making 1,000 cranes at the Crocker.

"The young people are our future," Shiromaka explained. "We are like mentors for these kids that will carry on."

Morishita’s organization’s mission is to "foster leadership among youth in promoting peace by teaching the legacy of Japanese crane-making and using this experience to learn, discuss and practice peace and non-violence in our lives, our community and our world."

The Crocker has an upcoming exhibition, Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami, opening June 30.

1,000 cranes on display will symbolize a collective wish that the arts have a strong future and help our community thrive. The display will be up between July 2 and September 29.


Songwriter Fred Small wrote a song Cranes over Hiroshima, in honor of Sadako’s story. To read the lyrics, CLICK HERE

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