A selection of incredible sculptures of bonsai trees by Tokyo-based artist Naoki Onogaw. He uses hundreds of tiny paper cranes, which symbolize the state of peace, like the leaves of the trees.
I have long found the practice of folding origami (folding paper) cranes for the sake of peace to be a peculiar custom. I often hear people refer to origami cranes as a symbol of peace. Since the end of World War II, people from all around are said to ship paper cranes to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Even now, apparently people continue to send exorbitant amounts – several tons – of cranes to both cities every year. What strikes me as odd about these paper cranes is how they function as a vessel for people’s unrequited emotions – and how their makers, almost by habit or instinct, choose to fold them over and over again. I have great reverence for the act of praying for peace. But in this dynamic, I felt that there was nothing there that connects me to the cranes – and that the cranes are, at least in my mind, not where they were supposed to be. In my youth, origami – or the art of paper folding – was a passion of mine. Among the forms you can find in origami, the origami crane stands apart as a particularly famous, traditional form of the art. Within the cranes I see a central point of reference for myself, together with a special “something” – a special quality.Naoki Onogawa