The Japanese crane, a strong symbol in Japan

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Since the beginning of time, nature has never ceased to inspire the cultures of the world. This is especially true in Japan, where flora and fauna figure prominently in myths and legends. Shinto beliefs, yokai worship… animal symbolism It is very present in Japanese folklore and arts.

In addition, the Japanese crane is one of the most emblematic creatures of the archipelago. A true muse, she is prized for her beauty and spiritual significance.

Discover this mysterious young woman who is so popular in Japan!

? The Japanese crane, a majestic bird

japanese crane

With its wings of more than two meters, the Japanese crane is one of the the largest birds in the world. It is recognized for its a long timeson white plumage edged with black I heal you Red stain in the head. Red-crowned crane, also known as red crowned crane or crane ManchuriaIt is a very elegant animal. This large wading bird of the order Gruiforme is part of the family of cranes (large land birds).

Every year, Japanese cranes migrate north and travel many miles to Siberia. There, they will reproduce and hatch their eggs. This species is known for its seduction dance incomparable during the breeding season in the spring. Particularly graceful, with its long legs and slender silhouette, it parades with jerks, majestically unfolds its wings and delicately stretches its neck while singing.

Did you know that these monogamous birds they often choose their partner for life… isn’t that romantic ❤️? Also, pairs build their nest together in marshes and wetlands, before giving birth to pimples ?. Cranes usually lay two or three eggs, and sadly, only one young survives.

In the past, the Japanese crane almost disappeared due to hunting and urbanization. However, thanks to species preservation measures, Japan now has more than a thousand individuals. With His grace, its rarity et his long lifethis endangered bird has inspired many Japanese legends.

? The symbolism of the Japanese crane.

Japanese crane on a branch - ohara koson

Japanese Crane on a Pine Branch by Ohara Koson, 1900-30, Japanese print, color woodblock print

The crane has a positive image In many cultures except India where she represents the treason. In China, for example, it embodies immortality, in Germany it is the emblem of the messenger of God and in Greece, the crane represents purity.

In the Land of the Rising Sun, the Japanese crane symbolizes peace, luck and longevity. Also, this sacred animal is associated with fidelity and wisdom. Thus, many beliefs and superstitions emanate from this bird of happiness called Tsuru:

It is said that a crane can live for 1000 years or that a pair of cranes heralds a happy marriage. It is also said that it is necessary to double 1000 paper cranes to see your wishes come true. Note that this requires one hell of a patient ?! Finally, the return of this migratory bird represents the soul of the ancestors.

Japanese crane prints… patterns for traditional fabrics, this friendly animal appears regularly in Japanese art and folklore.

➡️ See our collection of Japanese paintings.

? Japanese crane tattoo: what does it mean? japanese crane tattoo


Due to its strong symbolism and its majestic silhouette, the crane is a very popular tattoo in the archipelago. For good reason, this bird borrows many spiritual meanings: longevity, fidelity, beauty, perseverance, and even good fortune. Adopted by both men and women, a Japanese crane tattoo on the back, shoulder or other part of the body brings good luck to the wearer.

? Japanese origami crane

japanese crane origami

The Japanese are masters of the traditional art of folding or origami. “oru” means “fold” and “kami” means “paper”. This ancient practice was originally reserved for religious ceremonies. Additionally, folding techniques can be found in the Hiden Senbazuru Orikata, a manual dating from the Edo period. In the archipelago, the origami crane, a symbol of luck, is a great classic.

? The legend of the thousand cranes

In Japan, it is common to give garlands of paper cranes (without waste) to people who are suffering to help them heal. Its manufacture must be done according to the rules of the art: the garland must be made by praying and all the cranes must be linked together. This popular belief is associated with the story of Sadako Sasaki and the legend of the thousand cranes.

Every year in Hiroshima Peace Park, the statue honoring Sadako Sasaki is covered with origami Japanese cranes to carry a message of hope. The monument recalls the sad and moving story of a girl who suffered from leukemia as a result of the radiation from the atomic bomb that devastated the place on August 6, 1945.

Sadako Sasaki had made a garland of 1,000 origami cranes in the hope of being cured. Unfortunately, she died of illness at the age of 12 without having had time to finish her work. When she died, her companions folded the last 356 cranes.

? How to make an origami crane?

The paper crane called orizuru in the Land of the Rising Sun it is relatively easy to achieve. Do you want to do a creative workshop? Universe of Japan offers you a small tutorial to help you :

  • Choose square, colored, or patterned paper.
    (Origami paper, tissue paper, kraft or crepe paper…)
  • Fold the sheet in half in one direction and then in the other direction to make the creases.
    Unfold, you get a cross
  • Then fold in half to make a triangle and repeat on the other side.
    Deploy, you get an asterisk. (These folds will help you do the following)
  • Fold the sheet in half to make a triangle, then in half again to make a smaller triangle.
  • Fold the top down to get a square (origami kite technique).
  • Flip your work over and do the same on the other side to get a square
  • Fold the tips of the top along the diagonal.
  • Fold and unfold the top to make a crease.
  • Start from the square obtained earlier and raise the upper corner up.
  • Flatten, following the folds from the previous step.
  • Flip your work over, and then repeat the step.
  • Take the outer corners and fold them over the center line.
  • Flip the origami over again and repeat this step.
  • Fold the ends up to make two pleats and pull them in.
  • Pull the wings out and abracadabra… the crane appears!

In addition to being a cute animal, the Japanese crane has a strong meaning in Japanese culture. Emblem of peace and hope, this lucky bird will bring you luck and longevity.

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