Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy 101st Birthday to Akira Yoshizawa - Origami Grand Master

Thank you to Google for its March 14, 2012 Google Doodle that reminded me of Akira Yoshizawa's 101st birthday. Though I've always enjoyed origami, before today, I never really thought about who inspired its popularity.

Happy birthday, Yoshizawa-san!

Thinking about origami reminded me of a trip my mother, sisters and daughter took to Japan a few years ago.

There, we visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.

Of course I'd read the history of Hiroshima. But, even six decades later, the vision of what remains of the damage is startling. My first reaction was to deny to myself that our nation could have been responsible for such destruction. But of course, how could I deny it?

As we walked around the memorial site, a group of Japanese boys approached us, and asked if we would let them walk with us and answer any questions we might have about the memorial. It was a part of a school project they said.

At first, it was difficult to communicate, as they knew little English, and we knew even less Japanese. But as we walked around, I was surprised to find how much we were able to communicate with gestures and expresssions.

We came upon a beautiful memorial called the Children's Peace Monument, also known as Tower of a Thousand Cranes. We read the information and the boys further explained its story.

Sadako Sasaki was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Ten years later, she died of leukemia.  During her illness, she folded origami cranes in hopes they would help her recover from her illness. After her death, the Children’s Peace Monument was built. In the years since, thousands upon thousands of visitors from all over the world have  hung origami cranes, each a wish for peace.

Click here for more information on the Children’s Peace Monument  at Hiroshima.
Today, when I found these reminders of origami, I wondered why I hadn't included anything about origami in Broken Dolls

I guess that's one good thing about it not being published yet. It's not too late.


  1. But we in the U.S. enjoy our violence, and regard cranes as prey:

  2. Now, ed_quixote, don't go bundling all of us Americans together that way.