"And I will write PEACE
on your wings and you will fly all around the world" -
Sadako Sasaki


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The Paper Crane Story
In 1945 the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Many people became very sick years later with leukemia and other cancers. One such girl was named Sadako Sasaki. When she found out that she had the disease in 1955, she began to fold paper cranes.

It is Japanese legend that folding 1000 cranes (senbazuru) so pleases the gods that the folder is granted a wish. Sadako wished to get well. So, after hearing the legend, Sadako decided to fold 1,000 cranes.

When she died she had folded 644 cranes. Her story had such a profound impact on her friends and classmates that they completed her thousand cranes and raised enough money to build a statue to honor Sadako and all the children affected by the bomb.

Sadako statue

Today, in Hiroshima’s Peace Park, there is a statue of Sadako standing on top of a granite pedestal holding a golden crane in her outstretched arms. At its base a plaque reads:

This is our cry.
This is our prayer.
Peace in the world.

Sadako wrote in her journal:
"I will write
on your wings and you will
fly all around the world."

Every year, children from around the world fold cranes and send them to Hiroshima where they are placed around the statue. Because of Sadako, the paper crane has become an international symbol of peace.

The paper origami crane is given as a prayer for recovery and good health as well as a way to celebrate a new marriage.

Real Cranes ... from Eggs!
Crane - The Bird of Happiness
Possibly the oldest bird on earth, real cranes - the kind that come from eggs - are known for being especially long: long-legged, long-necked, long-billed, and long-lived. In Japanese legend they are said to live for a thousand years. There is fossil evidence that cranes inhabited the earth 60 million years ago. The Sandhill Crane is the oldest living species of bird and has been virtually unchanged for 9 million years.

Cranes mate for life and are devoted to their partners in all seasons. Female and male share equally in caring for their young. Throughout Asia, the crane is a symbol of eternal youth and happiness and has inspired poets and artists for centuries.

There are fifteen species of cranes on five continents. The Japanese crane is among the most majestic, standing nearly five feet tall with its red crown, large white body, and wingspread of more than six feet. Most cranes breed in wetlands and build their nests in remote marshes.

You Can Help Save The Cranes
Today, seven of the fifteen species are threatened with extinction largely because of the destruction of their habitats. Since 1973, the International Crane Foundation has been dedicated to studying and preserving the world's cranes.

For more information about cranes, beautiful crane photographes, captive breeding methods, and how you can help, write to the

International Crane Foundation
E-11376 Shady Lane Rd.,
Baraboo, Wisconsin 53913.

Ask about their Adopt-A-Crane Program.
Their web site addres is:


All images and text on this website are copyrighted by Rhett Regina Owings.
All rights reserved. For authorization to reproduce any of the images or text, please contact the artist