鶴 – Tsuru – Crane

The Tsurui Village, which is the habitat of Red-crowned Cranes in Hokkaido, is written as “鶴居村” in Japanese. 鶴 (Tsuru) means ‘Crane’ and 居 (Iru) means ‘inhabited’, so the village name actually represents ‘The Village of Cranes’.

In Japan, it has been believed that cranes live for a thousand years, and they have been respected and loved as the bird of happiness and long life.

They appear frequently in paintings, sculptures, and literature, and are also widely used in the design of kimonos, buildings, tools, and daily necessities.

There are many other place names with the letter “鶴” such as 鶴岡 (Tsuruoka, Yamagata-Pref), 鶴ヶ島 (Tsurugasima, Saitama-Pref), 鶴見 (Tsurumi, Kanagawa-Pref), 真鶴 (Manazuru, Kanagawa-Pref), and 舞鶴 (Maizuru, Kyoto-Pref).

Since “鶴” is a congratulatory character, it is not limited to place names. It appears in the names of famous Japanese sake brands such as 千歳鶴 (Chitosezuru), 白鶴 (Hakutsuru), and 加茂鶴 (Kamozuru). 竹鶴 (Taketsuru) is used for whiskey, and 鶴屋 (Tsuruya) for department stores and confectionary shops. When in Japan, be sure to look for the character “鶴” that brings good luck.

Takayuki Musha