Flying Origami Tsuru: How a giant Origami Crane was made

Flying Origami Tsuru (the flying crane)

Origami (折り紙, from ori meaning “folding”, and kami meaning “paper”; kami changes to gami due to rendaku (Japanese Speech) Watch our Flying Origami Tsuru video below, followed by the project’s pictures at the bottom of this article:




Origami was introduced to Japan by a Priest in 600 AD from China where it originated in the first or second century. This form of art became popular and developed in the cultural heritage of the Japanese people. One of the most popular Origami folding is the crane. The crane has carried a lot of messages throughout the Japanese history and culture. An example of these messages can be seen in the story of Sadako and 1000 cranes, where the message was world peace. In 2005, Touch of Creation Cultural Events (formerly East Meets West for Women) constructed their first giant Tsuru (over 6ft) while working on a City of Phoenix event called, Japan Night.

East Meets West Culture presentation created the first giant origami crane in Hawaii, carrying a message of friendship and peace. After moving to Arizona on 2005, East Meets West brought the Giant Tsuru and its story to the Phoenix Japanese Friendship Garden. Keiko Conn, President and Founder of TCCE, envisioned bringing to life the novel Tsuru no Ongaeshi (The Crane that Said Thank You) by taking this fairy tale and accomplished it by using the Giant Origami Tsuru. Our mission was to combine the story, history of Japan and origami, to send a message of peace to the world’s communities.

The Arizona Museum for Youth and Touch of Creation Cultural Events worked together during a special event called the “Jump to Japan” exhibition. They had been working on the Giant Origami Tsuru project since October of 2010, shortly after the “Jump to Japan” exhibition. We began planning on the new project right away to be able to complete it soon and bring a bright new start to 2011. We delivered the giant Tsuru on January 14th, and the Arizona Museum for Youth will be exhibiting it as a chandelier at their lobby starting February 15, for their opening of their “Once Upon A Time Fairy Tales, Frogs and Fables” and as part of their NASA Art Exhibitions. The first Japanese woman to write a novel was Murasaki Shikibu who wrote Bamboo Princess (a novel about flying to the moon).

With this new 2011 project we wanted to break our own record, and we were successfully able to double its size (12ft-wing span 6ft high) making it the largest Flying Origami Tsuru (Crane).