Published On: Fri, Dec 12th, 2014

The Great Art of Japanese Origami



Origami is the art of folding paper to various shapes without the use of scissors or glue. The usual folding objects include flowers, animals, boats, planes and flowers. The most well known shapes among them is the crane, which is the symbol of longevity. It is even said that folding a thousand cranes could make one wish come true. That is why there is a custom in some countries to a give a thousand cranes to sick people as a wish for them to have a fast recovery. Additionally, the crane also has become a symbol of peace. For instance, there are a large number of folded paper cranes are laid down on the monuments that are build to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombing.



Origami is originated from the word “ori” meaning “folding”, and “kami” meaning “paper” the word kami changes to gami because of the rendaku. The paper folding art is oftentimes associated with the Japanese culture. Even so, in the modern day, the “origami” term is used for all kind of folding practices, regardless the culture‘s origin. Transforming a simple flat sheet of paper to a finished sculpture by sculpting and folding techniques is the main goal of this art..


Today origami practitioners usually try to avoid the use of glue, cuts, glue, or even any markings on the paper. That’s why instead of origami, most origami folders would use the word “kirigami” when referring to designs that uses cuts, though cutting is closer to the characteristic of Chinese paper crafts.




The number for basic origami folding is small, yet they could be combined in numerous ways in order to create intricate designs. The finest well known origami model is possibly the Japanese paper crane. Generally, these designs start with a sheet of square paper whose sides could be in different prints or colors. The traditional Japanese origami that has been practiced and developed since Edo era (1603–1867) has oftentimes been less strict regarding these conventions. Sometimes they even use non square shapes of paper sheets to begin with or cut the paper. The basic principles of origami are common being used in packaging, stents as well as other engineering applications.



In China, the traditional funerals oftentimes include burning some folded paper, which usually represents yuanbao or also known as Chinese gold nuggets. The burning representations paper practice started from the Sung Dynasty, though it’s not exactly clear the amount of representations involved. Before that Chinese people burn full-scale clay or wood representations instead of folded paper representations. During the Cultural Revolution, Chinese funeral practices were banned. Therefore most of Chinese paper folding traditions that we know of comes from the today’s paperfolding practices in Taiwan.


The Pink Rhino Origami

The Pink Rhino


There have been some documentations by historians that there are distinct traditions of paper folding arose in China, Japan and Europe. So, until the 20th century, the traditions of paperfolding seem to be separated according to its origins. In Edo period of the Japanese culture, paper folding art are used in some of the ceremonial functions. For instance, the noshi that were attached to gifts, just like greeting cards we used nowadays. Later on, Origami in Japan developed into a recreational activity.

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- the man who love japan , culture, people ^_^

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