Hiroshima committee holds first meeting to discuss "Paper Cranes Museum"

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

The City of Hiroshima has embarked on a study for the concept of a "Paper Cranes Museum" (tentative name) to preserve and display paper cranes that have been sent to the Children's Peace Monument from across the world. On September 30, the initial committee to study this idea, comprised of experts, was held at City Hall.

Among the eight committee members are Haruko Moritaki, co-director of the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (HANWA), and Michiko Kitagawa, director of the Nippon Origami Museum (Naga, Ishikawa Prefecture). The committee chose Shinichiro Kurose, Chancellor and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Hiroshima Jogakuin, to serve as chair.

At the start of the meeting, Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba spoke and stressed that "A facility where paper cranes received over the past 20, 30 years can be seen in one place is absolutely necessary." The committee members then voiced such opinions as: "How about using one of the former Faculty of Science buildings on the old Hiroshima University campus?" and "I hope the facility becomes a place of exchange between Hiroshima citizens and those from other cities and nations who come to the city to study peace."

More than 10 million paper cranes, weighing nearly 10 tons, are sent to the monument every year. Since 2002, the City has preserved and displayed the cranes at several locations, including the Hiroshima Branch of the former Bank of Japan, rather than incinerate them. As of the end of fiscal year 2009, there were 95.6 million paper cranes, weighing 81.2 tons. The committee is scheduled to meet three more times by the end of this fiscal year. At these meetings the committee members will discuss ideas for displaying the paper cranes and possible locations for the museum, then submit a report to Mayor Akiba.

Meanwhile, the budget for fiscal year 2010 to study the museum concept was cut back because of strong opposition from the city council with regard to preserving the cranes.

(Originally published on October 1, 2010)