Senbazuru: Have You Ever Folded 1000 Cranes?

Why Would Anyone Want To Do This?

According to the Japanese legend, anyone who folds one thousand cranes is granted one wish. Whether this is true or not is debatable, however, the origami crane has become a symbol of hope to the sick, a symbol of peace, good fortune, and love to those for whom the cranes are folded.

Where Did This All Begin?

According to history, the crane has been a symbol of good fortune for as long as there are records of Japanese culture. The origami crane, however, became famous by a little girl of twelve who was trying to fold 1000 to get her wish. She had leukemia as a result of exposure to radiation from the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II. She was only two when the bomb dropped, but the cancer developed and became lethal when she was twelve. She never finished folding her cranes. She had 644 cranes when she died. Several of her friends completed the rest of the cranes which were buried with her. Today there is a monument with a statue of Sadako Sasaki, this brave little girl, as a reminder of the tragic effects of war on children. The monument is called the Children’s Peace Monument. Around Sadako’s likeness are thousands of cranes. Children from all around the world often fold cranes and send them for display there.

Other Uses for Cranes:

As the cranes became popular they were also used in weddings and other special occasions. The reason I folded them was for my Granddaughter’s wedding this summer.

Consider the Time!:

If you decide to try to fold a thousand cranes, consider the time it will take you to finish the project. It took me fifty three hours to complete the task. That’s quite a commitment of time. Fortunately, I am retired and origami is my hobby. In fact, I’ve always wanted to try it!

Many Ways to Fold Them:

As you can see in the photo above, there are a lot of different folding models of cranes. If you look at those in the box at the top of the page you can see the traditional crane. Some people stack them in this flat position on strings.Others fold out the wings in one of two ways. You can just bend them down or you can pull outward on the wings and flatten the top of the bird. You can see both of these in the picture above. I also included in the group two flying crane models at the bottom of the group. These cranes actually flap their wings when you hold the bottom and pull back on the tail.

How to String Them:

There are also a number of ways to string them. You will need a large needle, some string or fishing line, and maybe some beads. Run the string up through the hole on the bottom of the crane and out the top of the back. You can stack them with, or without beads, however, the beads hold them farther apart. I think this makes them appear more like a real bird. They stand out more when there is space between them and actually look like they are flying when strung this way.

Create A Pattern:

As you can see in the photos, you can create interesting patterns by alternating colors and textures and print patterns. The colored cranes in these pictures were folded from three by three inch squares from origami paper with nature prints. Some strings have beads, others don’t. Consider how many you can place on a string for the space available to hang them. Fishing line works well for supporting the weight and also is invisible so it does not distract from the pattern. If you use colored string, make sure the color goes well with the cranes. Some people hang several strands of cranes in a circle pattern. Others suspend them evenly spaced and use them as a backdrop behind the stage for photo opportunities. Some just place the cranes on table tops in various patterns. Be creative! Make your display unique to your purposes.

You Can Also Use Fewer Cranes!:

If you want to try folding cranes, don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the time or patience to fold 1000. Many people use far less than 1000. Some people just buy them already folded….but where’s the fun in that? And believe it or not, they are not cheap! Check it out on line and see what I mean!

Lessons to Learn:

As I folded the cranes I thought of how hard it is to create so many birds of the same pattern. Then I thought of how awesome it is that God created so many different kinds of creatures and things by just speaking them into existence. Wow! I can only make a crude likeness of a creature. He made each creature alive with everything it would need to survive and reproduce itself. Just think of how complicated even the simplest form of life actually is. I am so glad He created all things, including me!

It Shows Love !

As I made cranes because I love my Granddaughter and wanted to wish her well in her wedding, I was reminded that God has demonstrated His love to all of us in His Creation. It is just one of the ways God demonstrates His love to us. Even greater is that He gave His own Son to pay the price for our sins so we could be free from guilt and shame and be united with Him by accepting this free gift, Jesus Christ, as our Savior and LORD.

John 3: 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

 

Other Interesting Origami Crane Facts:

A group of 1000 origami cranes is called Senbazuru.

Cranes are often folded and given to those who are ill as a token of good will and hope for recovery.

Origami cranes are often used in religious ceremonies in Japan.

At several monuments for peace around the world cranes are given as a symbol of individual prayers that have been offered for peace. The more cranes, the more prayers.

The Japanese space agency JAXA used the folding of 1000 cranes as one of the test for its potential astronauts.

There is some controversy about the number of cranes Sadako actually folded. Some say she not only finished the cranes but also folded more because she did not get her wish.

Every year on Obon Day, people fold and leave cranes at the Hiroshima Peace Park in honor of the lives lost on that tragic day.

A fictionalized version of Sadako’s life story is a popular book entitled “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes”. You can probably find it at the library in the children’s section. The author is Eleanor Coen.

The average amount of time needed to fold 1000 cranes is around 50 hrs. (if you can fold 20 in an hour. ) This does not include packing them or stringing them, which can take much longer.

Note: The size of the paper used can change the amount of tine it takes to fold a crane. I used six inch squares for my thousand white cranes. Using three inch squares is much faster.

Here is number 1000 of the white cranes.