Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
|Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes|
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
|Original title||サダコと千羽鶴 (Sadako to senbadzuru)|
|Subject||Sadako 1000 Paper Cranes|
|Genre||Children's non-fiction literature|
|Publisher||G. P. Putnam's Sons|
|Media type||Print (Paperback, Hardcover)|
The book has been translated to many languages and published in many places, to be used for peace education programs in primary schools. Sadako's story was also dramatized at the opening ceremony of the Goodwill Games 1990 in Seattle wherein Seattle schoolchildren, working from the 644 cranes sent by Japanese schoolchildren, completed the unfinished 356 cranes for Sadako, and sent them aloft into the skies in honor of Sadako and world peace.
Based on the true story of Sadako Sasaki, who lived in Hiroshima at the time of the atomic bombing by the United States, Sadako was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945, near her home by Misasa Bridge in Hiroshima, Japan. She was at home when the explosion occurred, about one mile from Ground Zero. In November 1954, Sadako developed swellings on her neck and behind her ears. In January 1955, purple spots had formed on her legs. Subsequently, she was diagnosed with leukemia (her mother referred to it as "an atom bomb disease"). She was hospitalized on February 21, 1955, and given, at the most, a year to live.
After being diagnosed with leukemia from the radiation, Sadako spent her time in a nursing home folding origami paper cranes in hope of making a thousand of them. She was inspired to do so by the Japanese legend that one who created a thousand origami cranes would be cured by the gods. Her wish was simply to live. However, she managed to fold only 644 cranes before she became too weak to fold any more, and died on 25 October 1955 in the morning. Her friends and family helped finish her dream by folding the rest of the cranes, which were buried with Sadako.
After her death, Sadako's friends and schoolmates published a collection of letters in order to raise funds to build a memorial to her and all of the children who had died from the effects of the atomic bomb. In 1958, a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane was unveiled in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, also called the Genbaku Dome, and installed in the Hiroshima Peace Park.
At the foot of the statue is a plaque that reads: "This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace on Earth." Every year on Obon Day, which is a holiday in Japan to remember the departed spirits of one's ancestors, thousands of people leave paper cranes near the statue.
Addition to Eleanor Coerr's story first published in 1977, Sadako's story has become familiar to many school children around the world through the novels The Day of the Bomb (1961, in German, Sadako will leben) by the Austrian writer Karl Bruckner. Sadako is also briefly mentioned in Children of the Ashes, Robert Jungk's historical account of the lives of Hiroshima victims and survivors.
A motion picture tentatively entitled Sadako and the Magic of Paper Cranes focuses on a true story written by two-time Academy Award winning producer, director, and documentarian Malcolm Clarke about chronicling a group of fifth grade students from Albuquerque, New Mexico when inspired by their teacher, make their dream of building a monument come true, to honor the legend and spirit of the young girl Sadako Sasaki.
There is also a statue of Sadako in the Seattle Peace Park. Sadako has become a leading symbol of peace that is taught in Japanese schools on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. In dedication to her, people all over the world celebrate August 6th, as the annual Peace Day.
- Thousand origami cranes
- Sadako Sasaki
- Children's Peace Monument
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
- Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- Hiroshima Witness
- Peace Park (Seattle)