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Yasue Sakaoka

"I should show you and, probably, you’d like to copy photographs of one thousand cranes.  And there is a practice of folding one thousand cranes to make a wish.  And I remember, at my grandmother’s house, I had three grandparents.  When she was going to visit Manchuria, community people got together and made one thousand cranes for her safe return.  And it was hanging in her Buddhist’s alter.  She was a local physician’s wife and uh, she had many friends.  I remember that.  Also, at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, I have photographs.  People bring thousands of cranes from all parts of the world.  You can’t believe it.  It’s just heaps and heaps."

Born in 1933 in Japan, Yasue Sakaoka began learning arts and crafts as part of her formal education system. She quickly realized that she loved Origami, the art of paper folding that was a highly valued social activity in Japanese culture. After graduating from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo (1953), she attended Reed College in the United States, graduating with a major in Art and minor in Social Science (1959). On a return trip to Japan in the 1970s, Sakaoka was inspired to take up Origami again after seeing a display in a Tokyo department store. Afterwards, she creatd her first large-scale Origami exhibit at the Ohio University Library in Athens. Her exhibits often reflect both Japanese and American artistic styles. Some of her installations have used paper cranes representing the Japanese legend of the Thousand Cranes, which provide happiness, prosperity, and safe travels. Breaking from traditional Origami practice, Sakaoka tends to use white rather than colored paper because it offers less visual confusion. Sakaoka is also an active participant in the Ohio Arts Council's Artists in Schools program. She offers a range of workshops for children, teaching them how to make holiday paper decorations or paper kimonos. Sakaoka believes that artwork brings communities together. Through teaching, public exhibitions, and apprenticeships, Sakaoka continues to share her traditional artform with Dayton, columbus, and the greater Ohio region.

Yasue Sakaoka's Traditions episode

"Local Artist Yasue Sakaoka expands on traditional origami"

"Origami has been a lifetime love for Yasue Sakaoka"

Contents of the Collection

  • Photos of Sakaoka teaching oragami to young children
  • Photos of gallery exhibits
  • Video of Sakaoka cutting and folding paper