If you've ever been to Japan, you've seen the colorful garlands made from stringing thousands of folded paper cranes together. A uniquely Japanese symbol of peace, the origami crane adornes all places that have since become shrines, places like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as Pearl Harbor.
But have you seen where the cranes (the non-paper kind) actually migrate every winter? That would be the small town of Izumi in Kyushu's southern most prefecture of Kagoshima. Not surprisingly, the town has branded itself as the home of cranes and symbol of peace. Besides the nearby bird sanctuary where the actual cranes can be seen in the thousands, the train station is filled with cranes: crane gifts, crane candy, crane buns, crane statues, crane tiles, and, yes, a giant John Lennon, made by the local 8th grade class at Takaono Middle School — using 10,656 folded paper cranes.
Isn't it interesting that in 2012 John Lennon is the image chosen by 8th graders in remote Japan as a symbol of peace, and that these 8th graders actually folded 10,656 cranes, diligently blew prayers for peace into each one, and put their installation up in the local train station to try to get their message out as far as possible? Here's a translation of the touching note they composed as a subtext to their work:
Imagine all the people living life in peace
Imagine all the people sharing all the world
These are the lyrics of John Lennon's "Imagine." We, the 8th grade class at Takaono Middle School, have recently been studying the importance of peace. We went to Nagasaki for our graduation trip and learned the horrors of nuclear weapons and war, and have thought a lot about how important peace is. We decided to make this installation to express our deepest wish that we may create a world where all people can live in peace and feel secure. John Lennon was an activist for peace and human rights, and was able to communicate his message through music. We have blown a prayer for peace into each of the 10,000+ cranes we folded to create his image. We pledge to continue deepening our appreciation of life, human rights and peace, and hope that, like the cranes that return to Izumi every year, our aspirations for peace may travel accross oceans to the far reaches of the world.