The Japanese crane is a large species of crane with white fur, its wings on the back and the head are black. The adult crane at the top of the head has a long red patch of hair. In addition to the name of the Japanese crane, this crane also has many other names such as the red-headed crane and the red-headed crane because of a long red streak on its head, the Japanese also call this crane Tancho.
The Japanese crane is known as the second largest and rarest crane in the world. In Japan, the red-crowned crane is the largest bird in this country. On average, the adult Japanese crane is 1.4m high, weighing from 7.7 to 10 kg, and even some cranes are recorded to 15 kg. This species often lives in marshes, eating small amphibians or fish or insects. In Japan, the red-headed crane lives in Kushiro in Hokkaido, if you want to see this crane, you can take high-speed train across the sea from Tokyo to Hokkaido in just 1 hour.
Why did the red-headed crane become a symbol of Japan?
There are many reasons why this particular bird becomes a symbol of Japan as it symbolizes longevity, loyalty, honesty, and luck:
Longevity: The red-headed crane has an average life of 30-60 years and is the longest-lived bird, so it represents longevity.
Loyalty: the red-headed crane will mate for the rest of its life for one pair, if one of them dies the other will not mate with any other in its lifetime. Therefore, it is considered by Japanese to be a symbol of fidelity and the red-headed crane is also often embroidered on Japanese Kimono costumes.
Luck: Have you ever heard of the legend if folding 1,000 paper cranes and hanging on a big tree and praying will your wish be come true? The Japanese believe that the crane is a symbol of luck, the red-headed crane is also the largest bird in Japan so it is also considered by people as a special symbol of nature.
Honesty: originating from the legend of the “gift of the crane” in Japan, it was a cranes in distress saved by a couple and a short time later a girl came to the couple’s house and asked to stay avoid snowstorms. During that time, the girl only stayed in the weaving room, and soon she gave the couple a beautiful cloth to thank. The couple was so curious that they peeked at her weaving, turned out to be a crane, and plucked every single feather on her body to make a cloth for the couple. After being discovered, the crane say goodbye to the couple and flew away on a snowy white sky. From this legend, the crane has become a symbol of honesty and uprightness.
You can see images of red-crowned cranes in many places in Japan such as the logo of the national airline of Japan, on the 1000 yen bill, new year cards, embroidery on kimono, Japanese language school logo, postage stamp …