Sadako and the Thousand Cranes

Sadako SasakiAnyone who studies Hiroshima and the atomic bombing is likely to encounter the story of a girl named Sadako.

Sadako Sasaki experienced the atomic bombing at the age of two. Struck by leukemia ten years later, her short life ended. Sadako was one of the many children who suffered and died because of the atomic bomb.

On the morning of August 6, air-raid sirens sounded just after 7:00 a.m. After a while, the all-clear sounded, and people began to move about their daily lives again. Sadako, her grandmother, her mother, and brother Masahiro were eating breakfast together.

The walls of the house toppled, and Sadako and the others were thrown. Masahiro and grandmother were injured but, miraculously, Sadako and her mother were unharmed. Somehow, all escaped from the collapsed house and fled toward the river. Along the way, Sadako’s grandmother turned back to get something from the house. She was never seen again.

Someone helped the family into a small, decrepit boat to save them from the fires. Though only four at the time, Masahiro remembers desperately bailing water. While the family was on the boat, rain began to fall. The rain left black splotches on Sadako’s clothes.

Black Rain

The war ended. Gradually, buildings were erected and people returned to the city where the rumor had spread that “nothing will grow for 75 years.” The Sasaki family reopened their barbershop in the heart of Hiroshima.

Ten years after the atomic bombing, life returned to normal for Hiroshima City and its people. However, something was wrong with Sadako’s body.

Though an atomic bombing survivor, Sadako had a healthy, energetic child who never missed a day of elementary school due to illness. She was a gentle caretaker of her younger sister and brother. She loved singing and sports-in fact, Sadako could outrun anyone in her class.Soon after winning the relay on Field Day, there were signs that something was wrong with Sadako. She caught a cold and felt a stiffness in her neck. When the cold went away, the stiffness stayed. By early 1955, Sadako’s face looked swollen.

After undergoing various tests, the doctor told Shigeo in February, “Sadako has leukemia. She has a year left at the most.” Sadako was admitted to the Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital.

In August, 1000 paper cranes folded by high school students in Nagoya were delivered to the patients in the hospital. Sadako’s room, too, was brightened by cellophane cranes folded in many colors.

CraneReceiving those cranes and hearing the legend, “Fold 1000 paper cranes and your wish will come true,” Sadako began to fold paper cranes herself. She threw herself into the task, folding into each crane the desire: “Let me get well.”

On the morning of October 25, Sadako’s life finally ended. She was 12 years old. It was exactly a year since the her Bamboo class had won the relay on Field Day.

Sadako’s former Bamboo classmates began a movement to raise funds for a monument. Their call elicited a huge response that they had not anticipated. More than 3000 schools around Japan sent money and letters saying, “Please use this to help build the monument.” In January 1957, it was officially decided to build the Children’s Peace Monument in Peace Memorial Park. The statue was completed on Children’s Day ( 5 May ) in 1958, two years after Sadako Sasaki’s death.

Though Sadako and the other children who had passed away would not return, the inscription carved into the stone in front of the monument at least carried the hope, “Let no more children fall victim to an atomic bombing.”

This is our cry.
This is our prayer.
For building peace in the world.

Hiroshima Lanterns

My necklace, Steel Sakura, began with polymer clay beads from the very talented jewellery artist, Christine Damm at Stories They Tell.

They were inspired by an antique kimono. Christine made the earrings, combining her polymer clay oblongs with silver blossom beads from Lynn Johnson at Artful Market. I added  the same silver beads to the necklace, with brass chain from AD Adornments and a silver toggle from La Perlerie, to give the piece the strength of a samurai. The pendant was made in Heather Bell Denison’s art clay silver class at BeadFX.

Story source: Sadako and the Atomic Bombing.


24 responses to “Sadako and the Thousand Cranes

  1. i really admire sadako sasaki’s story a lot! i wish im as strong as her,


  3. Sadako and the thousand paper cranes that is a story that touches your heart and makes you have a tear or two.

  4. i admire Sadako’s life very much…even though she did not belive in it, she still made the 1000 paper cranes and sadako has a good spirit

  5. i read your book and i think sadako shouldn’t have died because she wanted to live out a happy life. Sadako has inspired me to make a thousand cranes to represent sadako so on october 25th i will make a crane and wish to live a happy for sadako.

  6. I love this story! and i feel sorry for sadako! but i hate the most was when our class had to read it and do a summary! i hate doign summary! i fell sorry for you sadako

  7. I feel really bad for Sadako. I think she should live. Our class studied about Japan and sadako.
    Our school is making 1,000 paper cranes because of Sadako! our school is [ richlands elemantry school in richlands North Carolina.

  8. i felt very sorry to sadako.if i had made a 1,000 cranes i wish i could see her again and meet her.i wish she could be alive today.she look pretty too. -cries-

  9. i love sadako story,but then i am too weak to be like sadako.i am so sad

  10. I LOVE THE STORY! And just today (3/6/09), my teacher read the book to our class. Sadako was a very brave girl, and I cried while my teacher was reading it. :’)
    If you haven’t read the story, you HAVE to read it!

  11. i cried when i heard the story;(

  12. so sad story she died so your age

  13. I’m happy adout sadako it was sad story when she died. In kingfisher lake it fun to play hockey and to play games.

  14. That’s not fair!
    We still need you,Sadako.
    We miss you.
    We can’t forget you,and we won’t forget you.

    And,so,you must always remember..
    We still love you.
    I’m sure you,little angel,now,you can see we cry.

    Angel,we love you.<3

  15. The story is sad about Sadako and how she suffered and died. It was for peace that she died. She died because her government chose to bomb Pearl Harbor Hawaii in America and killed so many men women and children who were there is Hawaii. If America didn’t drop the Atomic Bomb when it did then thousands upon thousands of Americans, Japanese and many other peoples would have died because the Japanese people believed their emperior was a god and would fight to the death for him. Sadako is a testimony of how innocent people had to die to stop an imperialist government in Japan like Hitler had to be stopped in Germany. So sad that innocent people suffer for the terrible hearts of the military leaders who want to rule the world.


  16. so sad about sadako sasaki’s story

  17. I am in year 7 and i read this in year 4 and me and the 30 kids in our class studied this book all year and we made a tree with 1000 cranes on it and we were going to send it to Hiroshima but we couldn’t afford it so now we have it in our office so everyone can look at it and remember Sudako in a way that is memorable we are so very sad for your loss of that beautiful girl and her grandmother, we were very certain that she was going to survive leukemia but we were wrong i hope this is a message you will never forget and if i was going to rate this out of 10 i would rate it 10 this is one of my favorite books in a life time and i am only 12 i hope

  18. Sasaki-san is such a brave girl. I respect her so much. I have someone precious than anything in this world, but she’s now in the heaven. I try to make those and folding 1000 of them. Wishing for her happiness. Oh, this is stupid to talk in my own. Sorry.

  19. this is a very sad stiry about hirshima and sadako when they had a bombing aye





    SAD STORY!!!!!!!



  22. im so sorry because when the bomb drop on the vidio i felt sad and this is for this pirson


  23. this story is very touching. and i really admire sadako, because although she was not well she did not give up, she kept on folding paper cranes. <3

  24. im reading the book sadako and i love it she was soooo brave .

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