HIROSHIMA – An origami crane made by Sadako Sasaki, a girl from Hiroshima who died of leukemia 10 years after the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of the city, was returned to her elder brother by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on Friday.
It is one of some 110 cranes made by Sasaki that were donated to the museum by her family. The crane is a symbol of longevity in Japan. While hospitalized, Sasaki continued making origami versions, pinning hopes on the traditional Japanese belief that 1,000 such cranes can cure disease.
Her elder brother, Masahiro Sasaki, 71, plans to send the tiny paper crane to the city of Okinawa in September as a symbol of wishes for peace.
“Hiroshima and Okinawa both suffered hugely in World War II and therefore have the same sorrows. I hope the cranes will enable us to share this grief and help spread peace with the sense of sympathy that Sadako put into it,” he said.
Sadako Sasaki was 2 years old when the U.S. A-bombed Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. She was hospitalized in February 1955 after developing leukemia.
Praying for her recovery, Sasaki started making the origami cranes in hospital and crafted more than 1,000 in total. She died in October 1955 at age 12.
To remember Sasaki and other children who died of illnesses caused by the atomic bombing, the Children’s Peace Monument was established at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in 1958.
By sending the returned crane to Okinawa, the brother hopes to deepen relations between the city and Hiroshima. The crane will be displayed to the public at Okinawa City Hall.