The Last Paper Crane

The Last Paper Crane

Hot Key Books
April 2nd 2020
July 17, 2022 July 18, 2022
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One thousand paper cranes to achieve your heart’s desire.

1945, Hiroshima: Ichiro is a teenage boy relaxing at home with his friend Hiro. Moments later there is a blinding fl ash as the horrifi c nuclear bomb is dropped. With great bravery the two boys fi nd Hiro’s fi veyear-old sister Keiko in the devastated and blasted landscape. With Hiro succumbing to his wounds, Ichiro
is now the only one who can take care of Keiko. But in the chaos Ichiro loses her when he sets off to fi nd help.

Seventy years later, the loss of Keiko and his broken promise to his dying friend are haunƟ ng the old man’s fading years. Mizuki, his grandaughter, is determined to help him. As the Japanese legend goes, if you have the patience to fold 1,000 paper cranes, you will fi nd your heart’s desire; and it turns out her grandfather has only one more origami crane to fold...

Narrated in a compelling mix of straight straight narrative,
free verse and haiku poems, this is a haunting and powerful novel of courage and survival, with full-page illustrations by Natsko Seki.

About the book

Like all stories about the atomic bomb, this was also very touching. I always want to know more about the subject and have an innate desire to know what happened in those first moments.

What I think

The story is short, too short maybe, but still reaches the heart of those who read it. Walking with Ichiro and his friend who wants to find his little sister is an exciting journey. You’re there, you already know how it ends, but you always have that hope that everything ended well. I had the same feeling in Ghosts of the Tsunami when I already knew about the school children, but deep down there was a hope of finding some of them alive.

The only flaw, but this is me who doesn’t forgive, because on one hand I also liked it, is that Ichiro falls in love with his Japanese-American nurse. I know that the Japanese are a very polite population, but honestly (and I have also said this in other reviews on the subject of the atomic bomb) I cannot understand how they can forgive the Americans for what they did to the two cities. And I know the Japanese weren’t “good” during the war, but we’re talking about civilians here and two entire cities destroyed to the ground. There is a lot of talk about nuclear power plants and their radioactive pollution. Didn’t the two bombs pollute the environment anyway? (and I know they were dropped in the air to limit their environmental impact, but are we really sure that was the reason?) Or because it was the Americans who dropped them, are they allowed to do everything? No, because there is still this wrong mentality that Americans are the best. Never mind if they allowed Trump to come to power…

Be that as it may, I was saying, on the one hand I like Ichiro falling in love with his nurse, it’s a cliché but I can overlook it, on the other hand, for the fact that she is American, I don’t like it at all.

However I recommend it to anyone who is passionate about Japan and history.

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