sadako sasaki's cranes - 644


On that hot summer morning, she was at home near the Misasa Bridge, 1.6 kilometers from the hypocenter.  

The blast blew her out of the window. Her mother ran out, fearing she was dead. 

But she found her. 

It was August 6th, 1945. Sadako Sasaki, a two year old girl from Hiroshima, survived the A-bomb. 

She seemed one of the luckiest children in this unhappy city. 

When the war ended, she lived a happy, healthy childhood: she was a good student and an avid athlete. 

May 2015, Hiroshima, Peace Memorial Museum: a girl looking at tiny paper cranes that Sadako Sasaki made out of medicine labels  shortly before she died. 

In November of 1954, the girl fell sick. At first, her parents took it for a regular cold, but after a few months she was taken into a hospital and diagnosed with leukemia,  „A-bomb sickness.” Doctors gave Sadako one year to live.

Her best friend Chizuko, visited her in the hospital and brought some origami paper. She reminded Sadako of an old Japanese legend about a crane, a sacred bird in Japan, who lives for a hundred years:  if a sick person folds 1,000 paper cranes, they are going to get well.

Sadako started folding cranes.

When she ran out of  origami paper – in the bleak post-war decades it was in short supply -  she would use small labels from her medicine bottles to produce tiny, miniature cranes. 

She managed to fold 644, before dying in October of 1955.