Origami - The Japanese art of paper folding

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

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

Origami - the Japanese art of paper folding


The origins of origami are a little unknown, they say it comes from ancient times when formal documents were folded and refolded in an elaborate way. It is believed that it was in the Edo Period (1603-1867) that origami became a form of leisure.

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

Origami can be divided into 2 categories: traditional and creative. Traditional origami involves folding paper into the shapes of birds, frogs, balloons, boats, insects and plants. Creative origami appeared in 1950 and was designed 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 is similar to origami, except that the paper can be cut to create more elaborate designs. Kirigami are made from a single piece of paper without gluing.


The legend of the tsuru

Sadako Sasaki is a girl who in her childhood was hit by a radioactive rain from the atomic bomb of Hiroshima, and this resulted in leukemia. On August 3, 1955, Chizuko Hamamoto, Sadako's friend, visited her at 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 fulfilled by the gods, since then, every day Sadako started making her Tsurus always with the same request, to heal and return to live normally, 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 another 354 so that she could be buried with the thousand Tsurus. Sadako died on October 15, 1955, his friends erected a monument in his memory, in Peace Park (in Hiroshima), and there recorded the following words, “This is our cry, this is our prayer. Peace on earth!". This legend and history touched 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? Watch 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 right role and be aware of the folding rules that are:

  1. Work on a flat and smooth surface;
  2. Use thin paper if you are new to this art or if you are going to do a model with many folds;
  3. Cut the paper accurately;
  4. Make the folds very carefully;
  5. To accentuate the creases, pass the inner part of the index finger;
  6. Keep the clean hands so as not to dirty your origami;

There are other rules, and you don't just need to use origami paper. You can use any paper you have at your disposal, including newspaper, advertising sheets or gift paper. You decide the size, quality and color of the paper according to what you want to do. If you want to make a professional art we recommend the Japanese handmade 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 in a triangle shape and find out. To achieve an optimal result, you must fold in a way that is completely aligned with the edge and corners, and be sure to tighten the folds tightly.

In some origami it is necessary to fold and unfold the paper, making a crease in it. Sometimes it is necessary to roll, twist, fold, 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 in the paper to create their 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 art of this article should not be confused with Papercraft or pepakura, which are printed sheets with definitions for cutting and folding to form three-dimensional objects. In this article, we will see some origami arts inspired by anime and manga.

below we will appreciate the arts made of origami and quote the characters present in it:

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

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

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

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

Where to buy origami paper?

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

Where to learn how 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. I hope you like the recommendations. If you liked the article, share and leave comments.

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