The Red-Crowned Crane in the fabric of Japanese culture

Cranes living in Japan

Speaking of Japanese cranes, popular species are the red-crowned crane, their habitat is Kushiro Marshland and neighboring areas in Hokkaido, as well as the hooded crane and the white-naped crane, coming flying as migratory birds in winter to Shunan City in Yamaguchi Prefecture and Izumi City in Kagoshima Prefecture. They all have been designated as a natural monument in the country. We, in Japan, can see red-crowned crane, hooded crane, white-naped crane, common crane, sandhill crane, siberian crane and demoiselle crane, but the latter four is rarely seen. Red-crowned cranes usually live in the eastern part of Hokkaido and don’t migrate.

Cranes pass the winter mainly in the city of Izumi, Kagoshima in the Kyushu region, and Yashiro in the city of Shunan City in Yamaguchi, but there is a record that only a few passes the winter in Kochi and Tokushima Prefecture in the Shikoku region, as well as Fukuoka in Kyushu and so on. The first party comes flying to Japan early in October using a northwest seasonal winds.

Japanese Crane Dance??


Tsuru no Ongaeshi, a Japanese folklore

There is a very popular folktale in Japan in which a crane plays an important role. Roughly speaking, the story is that an old man saved a crane and it appears before him as a girl to return a favor. There are many other variants of the story such as a crane became a daughter of an elderly couple, a crane became a wife of a young man (he saved the crane in this story), and a crane married a young man and even had a child.

Although it is said that the folklore originated in the northern part of Japan such as Niigata and Yamagata Prefecture, similar tales can be heard across the country. Tsuru no Ongaeshi is a very famous folklore that was passed down from long ago in Japan.

Paper Crane

Origami is one of the Japanese traditional plays in Japan. A square sheet of paper with various patterns is folded to make the shape of animals and flowers. Among a variety of origami designs, a paper crane is a standard artwork.

Photo by skeeze,Hans

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