What Do Origami Cranes Symbolize?

This bird represents peace, happiness, good luck, as well as the protection of the family and the weakest.
What Do Origami Cranes Symbolize?

Last update: 14 December, 2021

Japanese culture is full of ancient traditions related to animals. In this article, we’ll tell you what Origami cranes symbolize, their history and why they’re so famous.

The meaning of Origami cranes

Origami is the art of making objects with paper and is thousands of years old; however, the Origami crane we know so well was ‘invented’ less than a century ago.

It all happened in the 1940s, during the Hiroshima war, which resulted in the explosion of an atomic bomb. At the time, a girl named Sadako Sasaki was very sick due to radiation exposure.

While she was in the hospital, her friend Chizuko advised her to make paper cranes, because if she reached 1,000 she could make a wish. Of course, hers would be to be cured of the disease that afflicted her, but she also wanted the war to end.

Paper cranes.

The little girl wasn’t able to finish her goal, as she sadly died after making the 644th, but her friends continued with the ‘mission’ that would become known throughout the world and that would symbolize peace from that moment on.

In honor of the girl, a statue was built where she’s seen with a crane in her hand. Every August 6th, children from all over the country and the world send their origami creation as an offering and respect.

In Japan, Origami cranes are given as a gift to wish the other person health, happiness, well-being, and prosperity. For example, when a couple gets married, when a baby is born, or when someone is sick. They can also be given to a person we love very much.

The crane as a Japanese symbol

Beyond the meaning of the Origami crane, it’s good to know more about the symbolism that revolves around this bird with long legs and neck. In Japanese culture, it’s associated with loyalty and honor, as well as strength. For this reason, it has been chosen by the samurai caste to decorate their weapons and shields with its image.

When someone sees a crane in the Far East, it’s considered a good omen. It’s called ‘the bird of peace’ or ‘the bird of happiness’, thanks to Origami. It even appears in the movie saga Kung Fu Panda!

Grulla japonesa: simbología

According to legend, this bird protects the weak with its large wings and transports people to higher spiritual grounds. When someone dies, it’s said that they carry their souls to paradise.

The Japanese crane is a black-and-white-feathered wader that is known for its elegance, agility and ability to react to danger. It’s also one of the longest-lived birds: it can live for 40 years, although a Japanese myth claims that it can live up to 1,000 years. For this reason, they’re associated with wise elders and the search for the spiritual path in Buddhism.

It lives on the island of Hokkaido and protects its nest with a fierceness not known in other birds of its family. For this reason, it’s also a symbol of protection in the family and the bearer of good fortune.

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