Last week we had the chance to learn from our host families the tradition of Japanese origami. Because we were visiting Nagasaki to meet a survivor for the WWII bombing our goal was to collectively make 1,000 cranes in his name. This tradition symbolizes a hope for peace through a lady named Sadako Sasaki and her unforgettable story of perseverance. She was diagnosed with leukemia after being exposed to the radiation after the bombing of Hiroshima she then became determined to fold 1,000 cranes in hopes of recovering to good health, happiness, and a world of peace. Although she completed 644 cranes before she died, her classmates folded the remaining 356 to honor her. There is a statue in honor of her at the Hiroshima Peace Park.
For a lot of us this was our first time making cranes and after making the first one the thought of making 999 more did not sit so well in our heads. Luckily we had great host families and little siblings to help us along and be patient for when we made a mistake, I now know I will never forget how to make paper cranes. It is also a tradition to make cranes when someone is suffering from illness, as a prayer for their recovery, as a wish for happiness, and as an expression of sympathy and peace. You are supposed to focus on why you are making them while folding. All and all it was a great connection to make them with our host families and talk about the rich history of this story and be making them for someone that was about to share his story.
FUN FACT: The word Origami in Japanese means (ori- to fold) and (kami – paper)
(Brandon Serna – External Relations Manager for Summer ‘11 Road Team)