Origami is one of Japan’s traditional paper-craft arts. You can make many shapes simply by folding a small square of paper. Children are taught how to make origami by their parents or grandparents. Sometimes they learn in kindergarten or preschool.
If you’ve ever tried origami before, then you know how difficult it can be. It seems simple enough in concept—just fold a piece of paper a bunch of times and you’re done—but the reality is often quite different.
Unfortunately, it is not clear when origami in Japan first originated. However, what is known is that from old, letters and paper to wrap items in were folded.
Buddhist monks brought paper to both Korea and Japan from China around the sixth century. While it’s believed that Japan’s tradition of folding paper began shortly thereafter, it’s unknown whether this was based on an earlier tradition from China.
For the next thousand years, Japanese paper folding was largely restricted to religious ceremonial use, as paper was expensive.However, during the Edo Period (1603-1868), making paper plentifully available and inspiring recreational forms of origami.
The modern popularization of Japanese origami is largely attributed to Akira Yoshizawa, who is credited with tens of thousands of original designs.
In 1954, he published Atarashi Origami Geijutsu (New Origami Art), which laid the foundation for what is now known as the Yoshizawa-Randlett system of notation for origami folds, now the de facto standard, which uses dashed and dotted lines to represent mountain and valley folds, respectively.
Nowadays, origami most typically uses a single sheet of paper, to create a representative shape such as a crane, frog or flower using only folds and no glue or scissors. However, this has not always been the case, and there are other techniques that allow cutting in particular, while some methods involve the combination of multiple sheets of paper.
There are many different types of origami, and there is no single “correct” form per se. People continue to both pass down longstanding designs and create new ones as the art continues to develop and adapt to modern interests and needs.
Left: This origami figure is of Sanada Yukimura, the samurai hero of the Sengoku Period. It’s a single piece of 92-centimeters by 92-centimeter (26-in by 26-in) paper without any cutting.
Right: This amazing origami chicken took a creator over a year to perfect. Remember, all of these are made from one single piece of paper.
Feeling up to a challenge? You can follow along with this video to make your own origami! 😀
The way the light passes through each hand-cut panel is simply gorgeous!😊
I feel that origami is something that one can never lose interest in and the further one delves in it, the more one finds there is no discover.
Another great pleasure I have gained from continuing to be involved in origami is meeting many different people. The people I have met through origami are now part of my circle of friends, people who have become very special to me.