Hiroshima Snapped!

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Colourful paper cranes at the Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students

The SIA Brat – In Hiroshima

In Week 11’s Look Up, Look Down challenge I posted a photo from my one month Japan tour. And since then, all through my Abu Dhabi trip, I have thought a lot about this photograph I took during that trip and how much I wanted to write about it.

Now that I’m back from my awesome Abu Dhabi adventure, here’s the post…

Prior to this trip to Japan, I had been to the Land of the Rising Sun a number of times already. However, this trip was really an eye opener. It was the once in a lifetime journey that turned Japan into more than a holiday destination with awesome food, perfect service, and a unique culture. This is one of the reasons why…

Hiroshima was one of the stops we made in the month we spent in Japan. The highlight of our visit to Hiroshima was the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. While we had fun walking the grounds of the memorial park, it also turned out to be a very emotional visit. Needless to say, it is because of Hiroshima’s place in history that affected me the most.

Hiroshima is the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack and the purpose of the Peace Memorial Park is not only to ensure future generations will always remember the victims, but also to establish the memory of nuclear horrors and advocate world peace. Aptly, this Japan tour was an international group of young men and women from across the globe – Singapore, Hong Kong, France, America, Saudi Arabia, Norway, New Zealand, and of course, Australia.

Now the reason why this photograph is more than a close up shot of paper cranes is because of a little girl called Sadako Sasaki. She was 2 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped near her home in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. She survived the bomb. However, she developed leukemia from the radiation of the atomic bomb. In the hospital, she started making origami cranes in the hopes of being cured by the gods.

How would making origami cranes help her be cured of leukemia?

According to an ancient Japanese legend, anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. Some stories believe that instead of getting just one wish, folding a thousand cranes will allow you to have a long life or recover from illness or injury.

Why the crane?

In Japan, the crane, like the dragon and tortoise, is a mystical or holy creature that is said to live for a thousand years. That is why for the wish to come true, one must make a thousand cranes, one for each year.

And Sadako’s wish was simple. She wanted to live.

According to the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes written by Eleanor Coerr, Sadako only managed to fold 644 cranes before she became too weak to fold any more. Sadly, Sadako passed away on 25 October 1955 in the morning. I read her story while touring the main building of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. I was so touched by the true story of Sadako Sasaki that I bought the book as a keepsake. One of the few items I splurged on during that trip.

After we left the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, we walked around the park. And when I came across this colorful array of paper cranes at the Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students, I was reminded of the story of Sadako. It was so beautiful, yet so sorrowful at the same time. It reminded me of the horrors that World War II inflicted on everyone around the world.

And that is one of the reasons why I’ve always loved this image…

What do you think?
Have you ever heard of the story of Sadako Sasaki? What are you thoughts and feelings about Sadako’s story? Most countries that have been touched by the horrors of war or an attack will have a memorial park in honour of those who lost their lives, which memorial has the most impact on you? Which memorial is a must see in your opinion?

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One response to “Hiroshima Snapped!

  1. Pingback: Thousand Paper Cranes | Travel with Intent·

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