Paper cranes folded by children in Indonesia offered to Children’s Peace Monument

by Shunsaku Iwanari, Staff Writer

October 25 is the anniversary of the death of Sadako Sasaki, the 12-year-old girl who died of leukemia in 1955, thereby inspiring her classmates to campaign for the creation of the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. On this day, paper cranes folded by children at 15 elementary and junior high schools in Indonesia will be offered to the monument. The project was initiated by students at the Hiroshima University of Economics (HUE) who visited the schools and encouraged students there to fold paper cranes.

Twenty-five HUE students visited schools in Bali, Yogyokarta, and Jakarta for about two weeks from mid-August to September 1. They performed a “picture-story show” in classrooms, depicting the story of Sadako who passed away from her radiation-related illness after folding a great number of paper cranes in the hope that this would restore her health. The students from Hiroshima then taught the children how to fold paper cranes and a total of 1,251 cranes were made.

These paper cranes have been glued onto a board, measuring 90 centimeters high and 125 centimeters wide, and produce an image of the flags of Japan and Indonesia. Such messages as “Wishing for world peace,” as well as the children’s names, are also attached to the board.

Keita Senoo, 20, a second-year student at HUE, read out the Sadako story during their “picture-story show” in Bali. “The children there put their palms together in prayer as they folded these cranes,” he said. “We look forward to delivering their heartfelt prayers to the monument.”

(Originally published on October 24, 2008)

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