Origami – The Japanese art of paper folding

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Origami [折り紙] is the famous Japanese art of paper folding, the word literally means [折る] to fold [紙] paper. With this art, people are able to transform a simple paper into a crane (tsuru) in just 12 steps.

Origami has its landmark in history and is known worldwide. Today it is used in many professional fields like architecture, where professionals use the basics of origami to develop their projects. Origami has also been used by healthcare professionals as an effective rehabilitation exercise for the elderly and disabled.

Origami - the Japanese art of paper folding

Origin of Origami

The origin of origami is somewhat unknown, it is said to date back to ancient times when formal documents were elaborately folded and refolded. It is believed that it was in the Edo Era (1603-1867) that origami became a form of leisure.

This art has been passed from generation to generation by the country and grandparents, many children are amazed to see the country transform a simple role into great goals.

Origami can be divided into 2 categories the traditional and creative. Traditional origami involves folding paper into the shapes of birds, frogs, balloons, boats, insects and plants. Creative origami emerged in 1950 and was conceived by Akira Yoshizawa, it consists of creating more elaborate objects and animals using more than one paper or other techniques.

There is also an art called Kirigami [切り紙] which means to cut paper. It's similar to origami, except the paper can be cut to create more elaborate designs. Kirigami are made from a single piece of paper without glue.

Origami2

The Legend of Tsuru

Sadako Sasaki is a girl who as a child was hit by radioactive rain from the atomic bomb of Hiroshima, and this resulted in leukemia. On August 3, 1955, Chizuko Hamamoto, a friend of Sadako's, visited her in the hospital and made her an origami of a Tsuru.

Her friend told her the popular Japanese legend where whoever makes a thousand origami Tsurus is entitled to a wish granted by the gods, since then, every day Sadako started to make her Tsurus always with the same request, heal and go back to live normally, like her illness was caused by the bomb, she also asked for the peace of humanity.

Sadako managed to make 646 Tsurus out of paper and after her death, her friends made 354 more, so she would be buried with the thousand Tsurus. Sadako died on October 15, 1955, her friends erected a monument in her memory in the Peace Park (in Hiroshima), and there engraved the following words, “This is our cry, this is our prayer. Peace on earth!". This legend and story moved and reached the whole world!

If you want to know more about the Tsuri, read our article: Tsuru the Japanese Origami Crane.

Want to learn how to make a Tsuru? See the video below:

Tips for making your origami

Anyone can create their own traditional origami, without being a professional and without having to take courses. You need a lot of attention and be observant. You need the proper paper and have knowledge of the folding rules that are:

  1. Work on a flat and smooth surface;
  2. use thin paper if you are a beginner in this art or if you are going to make a model with many folds;
  3. Cut the paper accurately;
  4. Make the folds very carefully;
  5. To accentuate the creases, swipe the inner part of the index finger;
  6. keep the clean hands not to dirty your origami;

There are other rules, and you don't have to just use origami paper. You can use any paper you have available, including newspaper, advertising sheets, or wrapping paper. You decide the size, quality and color of the paper according to what you want to do. In case you want to make a professional art we recommend the Japanese craft paper called washi.

Origami - the Japanese art of paper folding


For most figures, it is essential that the paper is a perfect square, to know if it is perfect, just fold it into a triangle shape and find out. To get a great result, you should fold it in a way that it is completely aligned with the edge and the corners, and don't forget to tighten the folds well.

In some origami it is necessary to fold and unfold the paper, making a crease in it. Sometimes it is necessary to roll, twist, pleat, force, squeeze, blow open and turn the paper inside out causing different effects.

Making origami is very good and fun, you can do it anytime and anywhere, just have a paper! You can see other Japanese arts by reading our other article clicking here.

Anime Character Origami

Origami can even become anime characters. Some people end up making cuts on the paper to create its shape, it doesn't mean that the art is no longer origami, depending on the cut it can be called kirigami the art of cutting paper.

The arts in this article should not be confused with Papercraft or pepakura which are printed sheets with definitions to cut and fold to form three-dimensional objects. In this article, we are going to see some origami arts inspired by anime and manga.

Below we will appreciate the arts made of origami and mention the characters present in it:

  • Kaede Nakamura from Rozen Maiden;
  • Kinomoto Sakura from Cardcaptor Sakura;
  • Vocaloid Hatsune Miku;
Origami anime
  • Suigintou de Rozen maiden;
  • Code Geass Zero;
  • Flandre Scarlet from Touhou Project;

To keep the art a little more traditional, some artists prefer to stick to a single color of paper, crumple or fold it instead of using cuts or other sheets to form parts of the hair, mouth and eyes.

Origami anime
  • Maid (maid);
  • Chibi character dressed as Santa Claus;
  • Date Alive's Kurumi Tokisaki;
Origami anime
  • Doraemon;
  • Pokemon Pikachu;
  • Luffy from One Piece;
Origami anime

The characters that we just saw in the image above are completely made with the junction of several origami. You can see in high quality other origami from anime, manga and games on the website origami.me which was the source of some images in this article.

Where to buy origami paper?

There are papers for making origami. They are already cut and to the exact size, in addition to being colorful and more resistant. You can buy these papers in several places on the internet, we will leave a catalog below for you to buy your origami paper:

Where to learn to make origami?

There are books that teach people how to make origami step by step. Below we will leave some recommendations of some books from Amazon Brazil. Hope you like the recommendations. If you liked the article, share and leave comments.

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