Hiroshima Girl’s Paper Cranes May Be Nominated For UNESCO Memory of the World

The Yomiuri Shimbun
One of the origami paper cranes made by Sadako Sasaki

Paper cranes made by a girl who died at the age of 12 in 1955 from leukemia after being exposed to the 1945 atomic bombing in Hiroshima may become a candidate for the UNESCO Memory of the World (MoW) Register.

The family of Sadako Sasaki and others applied to the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO on Monday, seeking the nomination of the cranes and other possessions to the MoW Register.

They are hoping the items will be added to the MoW Register in 2025, the 80th anniversary of the atomic bombing.

Sadako is the model for the Children’s Peace Monument at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Children’s Peace Memorial at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

The application was made jointly by a council promoting the item’s registration and a Brazilian hibakusha group, to which one of the cranes made by Sadako had been donated. The council’s member entities include the Hiroshima prefectural government, the Hiroshima municipal government and the general incorporated association Sadako no Orizuru, which was formed by Sadako’s bereaved family and others.

According to Sadako’s nephew, 53-year-old Yuji Sasaki, the application covers about 100 origami cranes made by Sadako and eight other items including her handwritten notes on a blood test result and a pair of zori slippers she used.

“I’m relieved that we’ve made the application,” said Masahiro Sasaki, 82, Sadako’s elder brother. “I hope Sadako’s wishes will spread to the world through the cranes.”

According to the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, at which the headquarters of the national commission for UNESCO is located, nominations to the MoW Register will be discussed at a liaison meeting of officials from relevant ministries and agencies in mid-November. If Sadako’s cranes and other items become a national candidate, the nomination will be submitted to UNESCO by the end of November.

An international advisory committee on MoW would then discuss the nomination and decide whether the items will be included on the MoW Register in spring 2025.