Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes


Eleanor Coerr

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Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes: Epilogue Summary & Analysis

After Sadako’s death in October of 1955, her classmates at school folded the remaining 356 cranes needed to reach one thousand. After her funeral, her class collected Sadako’s letters and journals and published them as a book which they called Kokeshi. In 1958, after young people all over the country heard about Sadako’s story and started a collection, a monument to her life was constructed in the Hiroshima Peace Park. The statue of Sadako depicts her holding a golden crane in her hands. On August 6th of every year, Peace Day, visitors to the Peace Park place origami cranes at the base of Sadako’s statue, just beside the inscription at its base which reads This is our cry, this is our prayer: peace in the world.
Though Sadako’s story has finished on a tragic note, Coerr includes an epilogue to comfort her readers and remind them of the vast impact Sadako’s story has had not just in Japan but in the rest of the world. Sadako has become a beacon of hope, pacifism, and cultural memory. In remembering and sharing Sadako’s story, and in participating in her practice of making cranes, those values she both espoused and inspired continue to live on in the minds and hearts of all children and adults who encounter her tale and find their own strength and peace in her story. Further, because Sadako’s hope and perseverance came in the face of suffering that afflicted her as the direct result of war, Sadako’s legacy has become not just of facing affliction with strength but, rather, of facing and refusing to accept the legitimacy of the wars and violence that create such afflictions.
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History, Family, and Tradition Theme Icon
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