I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world–Sadako Sasaki
The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant has embarked on a journey of a thousand miles with a single fold. We have set our sights on completing 1,000 origami cranes by year’s end. So far we have shown much more dedication than to our annual vows of more exercise and less food. Bless our hearts.
The Rant has recounted before how we first became enchanted by origami from the television show Zoom. How we longed to be a ZOOMer and speak Ubbi-Dubbi. The ZOOMers always showed you how to do cool things, and one week they demonstrated how to fold a paper balloon that you inflated upon completion. We have used that balloon to snag a job offer, to teach composition, and to stave off the encroaching miasma of ennui. Versatile little fellow, that balloon.
The most iconic object in origami is the paper crane.1 In Japanese mythology cranes transport souls to the next life, so they have always been revered as a sacred animal, believed to live as long as a millennium. A tradition developed that the folding of 1,000 cranes would grant a wish. In Japanese this ritual is known as Senbazuru, with the cranes generally being strung together and presented as gifts.
At age two, Sadako Sasaki survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, even after having been blown through the window of her house. Intelligent and athletic, Sasaki had a happy childhood until the bomb extracted its toll and she developed leukemia at age 12. When a friend told her about Senbazuru, she set about folding 1,000 cranes for peace and her recovery. She would only reach 644 before her death.2 Her mourning classmates finished the ritual for here, and the story led to an outpouring of support that would eventually become the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima. A statue of Sasaki forms the center of the monument and thousands of cranes are left there in her honor.
The Rant has grown tired of all the chattering heads telling us what we have to absolutely believe or the world will implode and who we have to be and how the dark presence of an Other just around the corner awaits to destroy us and drown our pets and generally wreak havoc upon society.
We are going to fold and fold and fold our way back to contentment. Shiny advertisements and angry editorials and too-skinny models and photos of our heroes have all been transformed into cranes ready to carry our burdens away. 1,000 beautiful cranes to transform 1,000 grievances and sorrows and fears.
- You can learn more about origami here. The proceedings of The Rant grow so voluminous, we can now reference ourselves.
- This has always been the traditional story told of Sasaki. Recent research has posited that Sasaki and a friend at the hospital completed 1,000 cranes and her friend miraculously recovered. Upon her second effort at Senbazuru, she tragically fell short of her goal