Children provide teams with a Japanese welcome
© LOC

School children from the five host cities of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Japan 2012 have been busily making their own contribution to the tournament. Co-ordinated by volunteer University students, the children have made 30,000 origami cranes per host city, numbering 150,000 cranes in total (150 bundles each with 1,000 cranes each).

Local children, who will take part in the matches as National Flag Bearers, presented many of these cranes to the participating teams at team press conferences held on 17 and 18 August. Origami cranes have also been featured on the Official Emblem and are a symbol of peace and hope.

The cranes, bearing hope for each team's success on their wings, will be presented to the participating teams as a sign of appreciation. Many countries reached out to help Japan after it was struck by the devastating Great East Japan Earthquake last March.

Reina Sasaki and Natsumi Ohta, two 13-year-old's from Sendai Municipal Nakano Junior High School, was the presenter for Mexico at the Press Conference held on 17 August. After having presented the origami cranes to the head coach of Mexico, Leonardo Cuellar, she explained, “I was so excited to be actually able to hand the coach the origami cranes. I will cheer for the Mexican team even though they will be competing against Japan."

The rest of these cranes will be used as decoration for ceremonies and for the stadia. The origami cranes, which have been handcrafted by a great many people will help welcome players from all over the world and liven up the tournament.