“Origami”, the Ancient Art of Japanese Folding Paper

The Japanese word “Origami” itself is a compound of two smaller Japanese words: “ori” (root verb “oru”), meaning to fold, and “kami”, meaning paper. Until recently, not all forms of paper folding were grouped under the word origami. Before that, paperfolding for play was known by a variety of names, including “orikata”, “orisue”, “orimono”, “tatamigami” and others. Exactly why “origami” became the common name is not known; it has been suggested that the word was adopted in the kindergartens because the written characters were easier for young children to write. Another theory is that the word “origami” was a direct translation of the German word “Papierfalten”, brought into Japan with the Kindergarten Movement around 1880.

Japanese origami began sometime after Buddhist monks carried paper to Japan during the 6th century. The first Japanese origami is dated from this period and was used for religious ceremonial purposes only, due to the high price of paper.

A reference in a poem by Ihara Saikaku from 1680, which describes the origami butterflies used during Shinto weddings to represent the bride and groom.Samurai warriors are known to have exchanged gifts adorned with noshi, a sort of good luck token made of folded strips of paper, which indicates that origami had become a significant aspect of Japanese ceremony by the Heian period (794–1185).

In 1797 the first known origami book was published in Japan: Senbazuru orikata. There are several origami stories in Japanese culture, such as a story of Abe no Seimei making a paper bird and turning it into a real one.

The earliest evidence of paperfolding in Europe is a picture of a small paper boat in Tractatus de sphaera mundi from 1490. There is also evidence of a cut and folded paper box from 1440. It is possible that paperfolding in the west originated with the Moors much earlier; however, it is not known if it was independently discovered or knowledge of origami came along the silk route.

The modern growth of interest in origami dates to the design in 1954 by Akira Yoshizawa of a notation to indicate how to fold origami models. The Yoshizawa-Randlett system is now used internationally. Today the popularity of origami has given rise to origami societies such as the British Origami Society and OrigamiUSA. The first known origami social group was founded in Zaragoza, Spain, during the 1940s.

The Chinese word for paperfolding is “Zhe Zhi” (摺紙), and some Chinese contend that origami is a historical derivative of Chinese paperfolding.

2. Interesting Origami Facts

Origami is a kind of art that you can trace in 500 AD. This popular art is included as part of Japanese and Chinese culture. This paper folding hypnotizes all people in the world. There are hundreds of shapes that you can create from the folding paper. Check the following post for detail info about origami:

Origami Facts 1: the origin

Let’s find out the origin of Origami. It came from Japan, not China. But Chinese people influenced al lot of the concept of paper folding. You have to know that paper was invented from China for the first time.


Origami Facts 2: Who brought origami to Japan?

The Buddhist monks introduced the origami art to Japan. The credit for the birthplace of origami was taken by Japanese people. But you can find many parts of oriental countries such as China like to do origami. This art is very popular among kids and adults. Check Japanese culture facts here.


Origami Facts 3: the largest origami

Many people think that origami must involve with small paper. It is not true. In 1999, the largest crane from paper was created. It was made inside a football stadium with the weight of 1,750 pounds and height of 215 feet.

Origami Facts 4: Akira Naito

Akira Naito was a Japanese person who created the smallest crane paper. He folded a 0.1-by-0.1-mm square of paper to make this crane paper. It is not easy to do it because Akira had to use a pair of tweezers and a microscope.


Origami Facts 5: 50th anniversary of Hiroshima

There were 25,000 paper cranes created during the 50th anniversary of Hiroshima bombing in Japan. It broke the record as the largest number of origami cranes ever made. People placed the origami cranes on the memorial place of the city.

Origami Facts 6: the oldest origami illustration design

The oldest origami illustration design was traced back in 1490. Johannes di Sacrobesco created the illustration in Venice. He illustrated paper boats floating on water.


Origami Facts 7: Christian Dior

Christian Dior was inspired by origami when he created his 2007 Haute Couture collection. Actually this art has inspired a lot of sectors such as fashion, architecture and food. If you visit Japan, you can find a lot of buildings created based on origami style.

Origami Facts 8: popularity

The art of origami also influenced the people in Spain. The moors brought the art in 1100 AD to Spain. But the Spanish people did not use it as an art. They used the origami to understand the geometrical and mathematical concepts.


Origami Facts 9: paper

The popular belief states that origami is created from paper. Actually you can have it made from foil, food, or even coarse cloth.

Origami Facts 10: books and museums

If you want to know the collection of origami masterpieces, you can check them on the museums and books in America and Japan.


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