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September 1998

Akita Residents Make World's Largest Paper Crane

Residents of the city of Odate, Akita Prefecture, earned a place in the record books when they folded the world's largest origami crane in August 1998.

Nearly 200 residents, ranging in age from 6 to 77, pitched in to make the crane to celebrate the first anniversary of Odate Jukai Dome, one of the world's largest wooden domed stadiums.

The crane has a wingspan of more than 63 meters (69 yards) and organizers said they'll apply to have it registered in the Guinness Book of World Records.

They used a square piece of paper measuring 64.77 meters (71 yards) a side. Because of the huge size, participants used rollers to make the creases, being careful to let the air out of the folded parts as they went along. The crane took seven and a half hours to complete.

"It was a lot of fun," one boy said, "but it was much harder than I thought." Other participants said the process was more like grappling with paper than folding it. When they were finally finished and the wingspan was measured, confirming that the crane was the biggest ever made, everyone cheered and showered it with numerous small origami cranes.

The Odate Jukai Dome is an all weather arena built with around 25,000 locally grown cedar trees. With a capacity to seat 10,000 people, the oval stadium is capable of holding various events, including baseball games. With an area measuring 12,915 square meters (14,124 square yards), it's almost as big as other domed stadiums in Japan that are used for professional baseball games.

Photos: (Top)The completed crane (The Odate Jukai Dome); (above) Akita Prefecture is located in the northern region of Honshu, Japan's biggest island.