INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI – A paper crane made by Japanese girl Sadako Sasaki, an iconic victim of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, has been donated to a Missouri library housing documents of late President Harry Truman, who authorized the attack.
The origami crane displayed at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, located in the hometown of the former president, is one of more than 1,000 cranes Sadako folded while in a hospital, praying for recovery after she was diagnosed with leukemia 10 years after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in the final stages of World War II. She died at the age of 12 in 1955.
At an event last week to mark the donation of the crane, seen as a symbol of peace, Sadako’s brother, Masahiro Sasaki, said: “I donated the crane in the hope that emotional conflicts between Japan and the United States will come to an end. I have not felt hatred for the United States and I think Sadako felt the same.”
The event was also attended by Clifton Truman Daniel, the eldest grandson of the late president, who has joined calls for the abolishment of nuclear weapons.
He told the audience it was important to understand both his grandfather’s decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and the losses suffered by the Japanese cities.
Many in the United States believe the nuclear attacks were necessary to bring a quick end to the war and saved the lives of many American soldiers.
The United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and the second on Nagasaki three days later. Around 210,000 people are estimated to have died from the attacks by the end of 1945. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15 that year, bringing World War II to an end.
Sadako survived the bombing in Hiroshima about 1.7 km away from the hypocenter but was subsequently diagnosed with leukemia, known to be induced by atomic bomb radiation.
She began making paper cranes inspired by a Japanese saying — if a person folds 1,000 paper cranes, his or her wish will come true — but succumbed to the illness.
Sadako was also the model for the Children’s Peace Monument at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
Her brother has donated the cranes to countries around the world. In the United States, the cranes have been offered to a memorial for the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and a war memorial center at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.