About Tsuru Project
The earthquake that hit Japan on March 11th, 2011 caused an insurmountable amount of destruction to the lives of many Japanese people, causing a powerful tsunami that wiped out beautiful coastlines and landscapes in an instant. This catastrophe caused the loss of countless lives, houses, whole towns, and survivors are still suffering and grieving deeply from this loss. In addition to these natural disasters, the nuclear crisis of raising radioactive levels in Fukushima continues to threaten the lives of the people. The invisible, yet continuously leaking radiation, the non-stopping aftershocks, and the difficulties associated with long-term evacuation, are some of the many challenges the survivors must face as they anxiously look to an unknown future.
This disaster has awakened us to rise to the challenge, asking of us what we can do to bring a better tomorrow for Japan. The Tsuru Project is made up of New York based Japanese artists with a mission of supporting Japan in its recovery, and from across the vast ocean, we are sending a message of hope and courage. We want sakura blossoms to bloom again in our home country.
Since the earthquake, the Tsuru project has held interactive workshops every month with the children of New York to make origami cranes together. The workshops are spreading awareness of Japan’s recovery progress and stimulating discussions on what we can do. It provides a valuable opportunity for the families of New York to interact with the Japanese culture. The Tsuru Project is a place where both children and adults meet and connect, and the partnership between Japan and New York is cultivated. By raising awareness and connecting people here in New York, we are sending love and hope to the people affected by the crisis and supporting Japan’s cultural recovery.
PROJECT 1: Wishing Tree-Tanabata Festival in New York
The Tsuru Project has a dream, a dream that we believe can become a reality. This dream is to realize a Tanabata Festival in New York City.
The Sendai Tanabata Festival is held every summer in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, one of the cities hit by the recent earthquake and tsunami. The Tanabata Festival has its roots in ancient Chinese rituals imported into Japan and influenced by Japanese folklores and traditions. In present times, the Tanabata Festival is known as a festival where people celebrate together by writing wishes on pieces of paper and tying them to tree branches to bring fortune. The Tanabata Festival in Sendai is one of the top three festivals in the Tohoku Region, drawing people from all over Japan with its beautiful, massive, hand-made decorations and ornaments. However, because of the recent catastrophe that hit the region, it is still unknown if Sendai City will be able to hold its festival this summer.
Our dream is to recreate and hold the Sendai Tanabata Festival here in New York City this summer. Through many interactive workshops where people, especially the children of New York, fold origami cranes, we will create large ornaments like the ones they have in Sendai. Individual origami cranes will be strung one by one on long strings, constructing a large ornament. And during the festival, participants can write their wish on pieces of paper and tie them to bamboo branches. In order to make Tanabata Festival in New York a reality, we will need the support and participation of thousands of New Yorkers. We are also reaching out to New York based artists for their involvement in the workshops.
In addition, for the following year (2012), we are planning to gain support from the city of New York and other non-profit organizations for grants and monetary aid, to produce a festival that is linked and connected to the festival in Sendai. This project will offer a valuable cultural exchange for the children of New York.
In order to make the Tanabata Festival in New York a reality, the Tsuru Project will have to create tens of thousands of paper cranes. We want the people of America to experience the beauty of creatively expression that can be communicated with just one piece of paper.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Tsuru Project with any inquiries that you may have about our proposal and request. We look forward to communicating with you soon.
The Tsuru Project