A Woman to Know: Sadako Sasaki

This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world. — inscription at the Sasaki Peace Statue

(image via Wikimedia Commons)

Sadako's roommate at the hospital inspired her project. The two lived out their childhoods under intense medical care, treated for their "atomic disease." The bomb had dropped on Hiroshima when Sadako was just two years old; her entire short life was marred with lesions, radiation sickness and unspeakable pain. Her roommate promised she would find solace in oragami, in the legend that folding one thousand paper cranes would grant the folder any wish of the heart. And so Sadako started: she began asking nurses for spare papers, folding dozens of paper cranes from her hospital bed. Then hundreds. Then, a thousand, just as she had wished to fold before her death at age 12.

Today, her paper cranes sit inside the Hiroshima Peace Museum, where Sadako is honored as a figure of peace. Around the world, children fold cranes to send to Japan, where they are placed at the foot of the Sadako memorial.

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