Life Arises from Hiroshima: Sadako Sasaki & the 1,000 cranes

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Life Arises after Hiroshima
Sadako Sasaki

Sadako Sasaki

From Dr. Wayne Baker:
Since I created OurValues, we have published thousands of columns that have sparked conversations both in the U.S. and abroad. This week, as the world remembers the bombing of Hiroshima, I hope you will widely share this series by international peace trainer and author Daniel Buttry. Here is the first part of Dan’s series …

August 6 and 9 mark the 70th anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These cataclysmic events marked the end of World War II and the beginning of the nuclear arms race and Cold War.

We look at the questions of values transformation that saw life, hope, and new questions arise from the ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


Sadako Sasaki was a 2-year old in Hiroshima when the first A-bomb exploded. Like thousands of survivors, her health was threatened years later.

Cover One Thousand Paper Cranes about Sadako Sasaki

Click the cover to visit this book’s Amazon page.

In summer 2015, Japanese newspapers are reporting that two thirds of descendants of families who lived near Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 believe that their health has been, or still might be, negatively affected by the radiation.

When Sasaki was 12 she developed leukemia—but she drew hope from Japanese folk wisdom that if a person folded 1,000 paper cranes they would be granted a wish.

Hoping to live, Sadako began folding origami cranes, but she died after folding 644 cranes. Her friends finished the 1,000 cranes to be buried with her.

Sadako’s story inspired people far and wide to fold cranes in her memory and in the hope of peace.

A statue of Sadako was sculpted in Hiroshima’s Peace Park with a girl holding up a large paper crane at the very top of the monument. Thousands of cranes are left at the base of the statue, and millions more have been folded to express the hopes and prayers of people around the world.

At the base of the Sadako’s statue a plaque reads:

This is our cry.
This is our prayer.
Peace in the world.

Have you ever struggled to bring hope out of a desperate situation?

Was there a symbol into which you invested your hope?

How do the symbols of hope for others speak to you?

What is your cry and prayer?

Want to know how to fold a paper crane? The Origami-Fun website shows you how.

Looking for a book on Sadako for your family? If you have small children and the book, above, seems to mature for them—consider this book for younger readers.

START A CONVERSATION … You are free to share, repost or print out these columns to start a discussion with friends or in your small group. You may also want to share this new column about worldwide responses to the 70th anniversary.

Care to read more?

Cover Blessed Are the Peacemakers by Daniel ButtryThe Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Buttry is one of the world’s leading peacemakers. He made history as the first full-time, global peace trainer and negotiator employed by a mainline denomination: American Baptist Churches (ABC), which counts the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as its most famous pastor. You can read more about his work and three of his most popular books here.

In addition, Buttry edits his own online magazine, where you fill find more than 100 inspiring profiles of men and women daring to make peace around the world. This week, as part of his special series on Hiroshima, he has published a special multi-media column that includes six Hiroshima-related music videos.

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