Paper cranes exhibition resumes at the Hiroshima Branch of the former Bank of Japan

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

On October 25, the City of Hiroshima resumed the exhibition of paper cranes at the Hiroshima Branch of the former Bank of Japan, replacing the venue of the former Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium, which will be demolished this year. The City is now studying the feasibility of a new large-scale facility to display and preserve the cranes, an idea that has met strong opposition from the city council. For the time being, the City plans to use the former Bank of Japan as an exhibition space.

At the Hiroshima Branch of the former Bank of Japan, 12 million paper cranes that were made as offerings in fiscal year 2009 are being displayed on the second and third floors. About 5,000 clusters of paper cranes that were donated by schools, both in Japan and abroad, are hanging in alphabetical order according to the school names. The other paper cranes, including the cranes from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who attended this year's Peace Memorial Ceremony, have been laid out for display.

Each year, paper cranes weighing a total of more than 10 tons are sent to the Children's Peace Monument in Peace Memorial Park. Since fiscal year 2002, the City has preserved the cranes in such places as warehouses rather than incinerating them. Some of the cranes were then put on display at the Hiroshima Branch of the former Bank of Japan. Since May 2009, after the new Mazda ballpark opened, the former Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium became the venue, instead of the bank, for exhibiting the paper cranes. The cranes were displayed at the stadium until the end of August, when the facility was finally closed.

The City has included the cost to study the concept of a "Paper Cranes Museum" (tentative name) in this fiscal year's budget. The idea of displaying and preserving the cranes in such a facility for the long-term is now being discussed. However, more than a few members of the city council have voiced criticism of the concept, saying, "There is little need for a museum of this kind." It is unclear, therefore, whether or not the idea for a "Paper Cranes Museum" will ultimately be realized.

(Originally published on October 26, 2010)