Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 2, June 2011

Andrew Shattuck McBride
Bellingham, Washington, USA


Folding Paper Cranes

Hiroshima, Japan ~ August 6, 1945 and aftermath

a day with two suns—
shadows burned
into concrete

In the Sasaki household, within a kilometer of what would become known as Ground Zero, the toddler Sadako and her mother were hibakusha— survivors. A significant portion of the city was incinerated by the atomic bomb blast and firestorm which followed.

In 1955, in her 13th year, Sadako suffered from strange ailments. Sadako was admitted to the hospital and was diagnosed with leukemia. She would never leave.

One day Sadako's best friend Chizuko visited. Chizuko began folding a piece of gold paper. While Chizuko folded a paper crane, she told Sadako the Japanese legend that a person who folded one thousand paper cranes would be granted one wish.

After Chizuko's visit, Sadako began folding paper cranes. Paper was very scarce. Sadako would visit other parts of the hospital and even other patients to ask for paper. She folded paper cranes continuously.

Accounts vary as to how many cranes she folded—under a thousand or over a thousand—before her death. Ultimately, Sadako and paper cranes came to symbolize peace, in Japan and around the world.

her spring—
leukemia, paper cranes
and, finally, peace







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