About Origami (折り紙)
Origami is one of the Japan’s traditional paper craft arts that uses paper to create various shapes of plants, animals, and household objects.
If you are Japanese living in Japan, there are probably not many people who have never folded Origami or don’t know about Origami.
Origami, which can be folded from a sheet of paper, such as a beautiful flower or a cute animal, has been loved by many people since ancient times in Japan. Origami has many possibilities for hobby, education, and rehabilitation, and is now being applied to industrial products.
The beginning of Origami
It is said that the art of making paper was introduced to Japan around 610 in the Asuka period.
About 100 years later, Japanese washi was made from unique Japanese raw materials. The thin and strong Japanese paper was also suitable for wrapping gifts, and so a variety of folding methods were devised to match tea, brushes, charcoal, and other items.
It was during the Edo period that people began to enjoy Origami as play. In 1797, the world’s oldest book on Origami was published, showing how a single sheet of paper was cut and tied together into multiple Origami cranes.
In the Meiji era (1868-1912), Origami was incorporated into kindergarten education, and it became increasingly popular in elementary schools, where it was also taught in handicrafts and drawings. Nowadays, Origami has spread all over the world, and a number of Origami enthusiasts’ organizations have been established and are actively involved in the field.
The Difference Between Origami and Chiyogami
In the old days in Japan, the paper was called Chiyogami, and folding Chiyogami to make various shapes was called Origami.
・Origami・・・made of western paper
・Chiyogami・・・made of Japanese washi paper
Sometimes we make a strict distinction between “Origami” and “Chiyogami”, but in general, it should be remembered that they are all Origami.
Chiyogami has been used not only for Origami but also for the decoration of crafts and the costumes of paper dolls. It is also said that women in the samurai family used Chiyogami for wrapping sweets and gifts.
November 11th is considered to be Origami Day. It was established by the Japan Origami Association in 1980 because it is World Peace Memorial Day and because four 1’s combine to form a square in the shape of an origami paper.
A thousand cranes, Senbazuru, flitting into the world
The symbolic bird of Japan is the crane. Since ancient times, cranes have been revered as a symbol of longevity, and Origami cranes have been passed down through the generations as a representative of Japanese origami culture.
The modern Senbazuru, a thousand cranes, is a symbol of peace, hope, requiem, good luck, pure love, and other words that have permeated the image of people all over the world.
In addition, “Origami”, one of the traditional cultures of Cool Japan, has become a universal language and is spreading its wings around the world.
Interesting spot “Origami Kaikan“
If you want to learn more about Origami, please visit Origami Kaikan in Ochanomizu, Tokyo.
At the Origami Kaikan, you can see the history of Origami, the different types of Origami, and various works of art. It is very interesting to watch the artisans dyeing the Japanese washi.
Admission is free. There are also workshops using seasonal Origami, so check in advance to participate. There is also a shop selling Origami and Origami goods.
Origami Kaikan, Address: 1 Chome-7-14 Yushima, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 113-0034
・Hina Doll’s Origami
The current Origami
It is said that Origami is popular and appreciated abroad and has a worldwide following. And Origami is a simple, graceful and delicate combination of traditional Japanese culture.
Origami, which comes in a variety of patterns and colors, is a creative play that can be enjoyed anywhere. It makes you want to fold the paper in your hand a little.
Origami is a game that can be enjoyed by everyone, from children to older people. We hope you’ll give it a try!