Saturday, December 09, 2006

Meaning Behind Heroes Crane

If you haven't noticed symbolism runs rampant through the lives of our heroes. I've read a lot of conversation about Hiro's paper crane and what it means. I'll try to present historical and story context of the events surrounding Hiro's paper crane.

Hiro's grandparents were victims of the devastation of the Hiroshima atomic bombing of WWII. Hiro was named after the city ("Hiro"shima) in hopes they would never forget the devastation and suffering that ensued.

In an attempt to teach him the importance of acting to confront evil and the difference a single person can make in the world, his Grandfather gives him his personal copy of Action Comics #1. (The first comic featuring Superman.) Sadly, Hiro loses track of the lessons personified in the character Superman. Hiro grows up and reflects Clark Kent, a weak, spineless man, incapable of standing up for himself let alone standing up against evil.

After Hiro discovers his super powers he tears up his comic book collection and finds Action Comics #1 at the bottom of his stash, reflective of the place he has put the qualities of Superman in his life. He suddenly has a great appreciation for the things his grandfather was trying to teach him. Realizing he has failed to make a difference in the world he rips the cover off Action Comics #1 and folds it into a paper crane.

Paper Cranes are associated all over the world with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and peace because of Sadako Sasaki. Sadako developed leukemia as a result of the bombing and died very young. When she was close to death she heard legend that said folding a 1000 paper cranes would grant a single wish. She raced to fold 1000 cranes and wished for an end suffering. She died after folding about half. The rest were folded by her classmates who buried all 1000 paper cranes with her.

Today, there is a memorial to Sadako with the words "This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world." In the final scene of "The Crane" Hiro is seen kneeling at the bottom of a statue with these very words inscribed and innumerable paper cranes surrounding his.

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