World Scout Jamboree 2015

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Written by Adam Blakey

Sadako Sasaki was a Japanese girl who was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945, in Hiroshima. In November 1954, Sadako developed swellings on her neck and was subsequently diagnosed with leukemia and was given, at most, one year to live.

She was admitted as a patient to the Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital for treatment and blood transfusions on February 21, 1955. After two days of treatment, she was moved into a room with a roommate who told her the Japanese legend that promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish. Sadako was determined to reach a self-set goal: to fold a thousand origami cranes. Though she had plenty free time during her days in hospital to fold the cranes, she lacked the paper, and used medicine wrappings and whatever else she could scrounge up.

Unfortunately, Sadako’s condition worsened and she later died on October 25, 1955, at the age of 12, after folding only 644 cranes. Since Sadako’s death, the folding of a thousand paper cranes has become an international symbol of peace.

Each UK unit attending the 23rd World Scout Jamboree has been asked to fold 1,000 paper cranes (25 per unit member) in the form of a countdown calendar to promote further the symbol of international peace and unity.

With 4 full days before the jamboree remaining, I have folded all but 4 of the paper cranes. I can’t quite believe that we are leaving on Saturday morning!

UK contingent logo for the 23rd World Scout Jamboree.

UK contingent logo for the 23rd World Scout Jamboree, which includes an origami crane.

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Adam Blakey

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