What does the pink crane scarf in A Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata symbolize?

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The pink scarf is decorated with a thousand-crane pattern, white on a pink background.  The colors and the cranes in Japanese culture signify "a long and happy life".

The crane-embellished scarf is wrapped around a bundle carried by Yukiko Inamura, a tea ceremony student and potential bride introduced to the central character, Kikuji Mitani, by a surrogate mother figure, Chikako Kurimoto.  Chikako has invited Mitani to a formal tea ceremony at Engakuji Temple, for the purpose of introducing him to Yukiko.  Yukiko is "graceful and charming", and at first it looks like a good match could be made between the two, and that they might indeed be able to secure a long and happy life together. 

Sadly, the uninvited intrusion of another character, Mrs. Ota, and her daughter Fumiko, presents an obstacle to the peaceful and apparently positive possibility of a union between Mitani and Yukiko.  Mrs. Ota has a powerfully symbolic artifact of her own in an ancient Shino tea bowl, and her constant presence makes the promise for Mitani and Yukiko as suggested by the pink crane scarf impossible to realize.

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