Paper cranes have special power in Japan, something people the world over are familiar with from having heard the story of Sadako, the little girl who died of cancer due to exposure to radiation from the bombing of Hiroshma. She aimed to fold 1000 paper cranes so that her wish to live would come true.
Although the book on Sadako says that she was unable to finish folding the cranes before succumbing to leukemia, her family says she completed the 1000 and then some, though sadly, her wish was still unfulfilled.
Cranes are folded and hung at temples and shrines as a wish for peace. They hang until they begin to fall apart and disintegrate, the colours fading into tatters.
This particular bunch of cranes hangs at Kamakura’s Zeniarai Benten shrine, famous for money washing. No—not laundering, just washing. It’s said that if you wash your money in the water inside the cave, your riches will grow.