The crane is considered a holy creature in Japan.
The paper crane is a traditional form of Japanese origami. Ancient traditions states that if a thousand paper cranes are folded, then a crane will grant them a wish.
Following the recent tragedy in Japan, the people there need any wish or piece of luck they can get. The Japanese and Korean clubs at UVU spent a week raising money and folding these cranes to send some luck and well wishes to Japan.
The club folded over 6,000 cranes and let anyone that donated a dollar to write their name on the back of a crane to be part of the wish. Students in the club spent their Spring Break folding the cranes.
As of Friday at deadline there was $5,511.74 donated with a check for $400 in the mail. The goal was to get a dollar from every student or a goal of $30,000 dollars.
Having 1,000 real cranes fly by is an ancient show of good luck in Japan. The crane is an endangered animal, making the rarity of their appearance all the more special.
“Cranes are so beautiful,” said Tenkai Kawazoe, the president of the Japan Club. “We can’t see 1,000 cranes in one place anymore.”
The cranes are folded and strung together. The club will have them folded and tied, and then hold them until they can get them over to Japan.
Kawazoe said that they can’t send them right now because the mail isn’t really working over there, but Junko Watabe, the club advisor, will go over there in the coming months to deliver the cranes personally.
Once over there they may be placed on the graves of those who have passed away or strewn across the land.
This has been a tradition for thousands of years and the cranes have been created for any reason and for any number of people.
The uplifting spirit that is brought from the cranes is generally used for more personal reasons than the large tragedies.
“It changes how you feel when you are sick,” Kawazoe said. “It gives hope and cheers [you] up.”
The story of Sadako Sasaki has become the prime example in Japan of the hope that comes from the cranes.
Sasaki was a twelve-year-old girl that lived through the bombing of Hiroshima. She started folding cranes after suffering a number of radiation related illnesses.
She never made it to 1,000 due to a lack of paper and, eventually, a lack of time before her death. There has since been a statue put up of Sasaki and the cranes have become a symbol of peace throughout the world.