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Why Do People Make One Thousand Paper Cranes?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0

One of the most popular origami to make is the Japanese paper crane. One of the reasons it is so popular is because the crane symbolizes peace and is traditionally given as a gift to people in tough circumstances.It is given as a group of 1000 paper cranes that are held jointly by strings. It is not only very popular in Japan but also other parts of the world.

The history of thousand paper cranes can be traced from a story that says that anyone who can fold thousand paper cranes will be granted with a wish. Thus, some believe that folding them will give them eternal luck such as long life and recovery from any illness. The wish also inspires them to be frequently given as gifts and decorations by many people.

Paper cranes can be given to a couple as a wedding gift to wish for their prosperity and happiness, although they are most notably given in times of devastation, hardship and loss. The folding of all these cranes was popularized by the story of Sasaki Sadako. Sasaki Sadako was a girl who has leukemia in her young age.

Sadako literally lived in the hospital due to her exposure to radiation after the A-Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II. While laying in her hospital bed, she began to fold thousand origami cranes. However, she only folded 664 before she passed away. In Sasaki’s honor, her classmates folded the remaining paper cranes, and they were buried with her.

In making this amount of cranes, you should allow yourself enough time, perseverance and focus. You can have your own version of thousand paper cranes, and one of the most popular crane creations is the dragon version. 

Paper Crane

Paper Crane Origami
Credit: Christopher D Brown

Making the cranes this way is easy. You just need peices of paper and some string to join them with. Here is an easy way for you to make thousand paper cranes:

1.            Begin your paper crane making with a piece of square paper. Shade the other side of the paper for you to have a guide in folding. Place the shaded part of your paper face down on the table and simply fold the paper to create a rectangular shape.

2.            Open out the paper and turn it above for the shaded part to face upward and fold it facing the south part to create a triangular shape. Open the paper gently and push the non shaded part of the paper. Now, the center piece will be revealed while the other part will bend inward.

3.            Press the center that does not have valleys and then collapse it into a smaller square.

4.            Fold both sides to align in the center together with the top portion. Undo the procedure on step four. Then, lift up both sides and the top portion as well. A diamond fold will be produced.

5.            Now that it looks like a diamond with legs, turn it over and repeat it on the other side.

6.            The created figure will be a fox with pointy ears. Open up the mouth and make it touch the pointy ear.

7.            The crane now has its leg. Pull the narrow part of the base.

8.            Form the head by taking one of the narrow parts and bending it downward and pinching it.

9.            Open the body of your finished crane. 

10.          Repeat one thousand times.


The test of patience and focus is really the skill in making 1000 paper cranes. If you decide to make them for a gift or for a wish, hang them in groups of 40 or so by a string, and in different colours. Displayed this way, they look great and draw peoples eyes. 



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