Arts & Design Culture

Origami: The Japanese Art of Paper Folding

Origami is a traditional Japanese art of making different beautiful creature by folding a piece of paper. People of Japan know how to worship and respect this art that has been practicing by the numerous unknown artists from a long time ago.

Origami is fun to learn, this is what I believe. What do you think of it? Have you ever tired to origami? There are few simple origami techniques you can learn online. In fact, I will show you the right path so that you could successfully make few origami.

Origami Cranes. Photo Credit: Dennis Tang at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Origami – Word Meaning

The word “ORIGAMI” comes from the “Oru” which means “To fold” and Kami simply means “Paper”. If we aggregate both words in one form then we get this one “Folding paper”. This precious Japanese art shows you many cute objects that are made of paper only. It is not a miracle but a piece of real Japanese art!

Many Colorful Origami Cranes! Photo Credit: Shinichi Sugiyama at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Origami History

It is said that Japan is the birth place of Origami. Well, we can’t think of making origami without having its main material. Paper is the main material of making origami object, I think you all know this fact. History tells us that paper making technique first was invented in China then it was introduced to Japan. Here in Japan, origami art had began after Buddhist monks brought paper from China in the sixth century.

Origami Gecko! Photo credit: kallu at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

The use of paper was very expensive at that time. That’s for what only elite family group of people like Samurai used to practice this art. They used to make noshi (little good luck paper charm) attaching it with a gift as a sign of good luck fortune. It has fully developed during the Edo Period (1603-1868). At that time, mass production of paper had begun as a result origami was no longer an art for Samurai family but also for the general people.

The first book “Hiden Senbazuru Orikata” (Secret to Folding One-thousand Cranes) about origami was published in 1797. Once, one of my origami instructors from Tokyo told me this. Do you know who is the modern origami inventor? He is a Japanese called Akira YoshizawaHe was the real artist of present origami and considered to be the grandmaster of origami art.

Origami Spider. Photo credit: Karol K at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Thousands (1000) Origami Cranes (Senbazuru)

I have been fascinated looking at this Japanese art since a long time ago. I did learn the process of making origami crane, flowers, dog face, boat, box and cup. These are very easy to make even for a beginner. I have heard from my parents that 1000 cranes make wish come true and a signal of good luck. It is said that giving Senbazuru (1000 folded cranes) to a sick person means wishing him/her very fast recovery from illness.

Thousands Origami Cranes! Photo credit: Lorena a.k.a. Loretahur at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

To make Senbazuru, one has to use solid color of paper. The standard size of paper for making Senbazuru is 7.5 x 7.5 cm. You need total 25 strings where you will be assembling 40 cranes on each string. Here you have learned about the standard size of paper that is used for making cranes and the strings you need in total.

In fact, here in Japan every child learns how to make a folded paper crane as I did in the past. Children here make different form of objects during many festival times. It is a kind of tradition, no doubt about that. Lately, my little cousin has started making paper crane from my uncle and aunt. It does make me happy!

Origami Roses. Photo credit: Hideyuki KAMON at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Why Origami Crane is Considered to be Good Fortune?

Crane is believed to be a popular theme for various Japanese art. Red-crowned crane/Japanese cranes (Tancho) are native to Japan, they usually live in Hokkaido region. In Japan, this graceful bird is associated with longevity, happiness and good luck.

Believing in this fact, people of Japan consider crane as a symbol of good luck. When we talk about Japanese legends and folklore then we would see this bird has been considered as one of the greatest legends in Japanese folklore. I have read so many Japanese folktale where I have found this aquatic bird such as in the famous Japanese folktale “Tsuru no Ongaeshi” where a crane appears to be a good fortune for a young man.

Origami Making Class. Photo credit: Visible Ink Valley at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

How to Make Origami: Origami Instructions (DIY Project)

Making origami has not always been easy for us such as owl and rose. It is really hard to make an origami owl! I myself needed to take a simple course to know how to make origami Japanese crane just by folding a square paper. I also had time to read few origami books before, that motivated me to make unique origami creation.

It remains to you difficult until you know the basic origami techniques. Please learn origami with step by step instruction visiting the following pages. Get ready with necessary origami paper before you start these courses.

How to Make Origami Crane

How to Hang Origami Cranes

Simple Origami Projects for Different Occasions

How to Make Origami Stars 

Origami Projects for Kids

How to Make Paper Airplanes 

Printable Origami Instructions

Easy Origami Wedding Instructions

Origami Making Guide Book

Hundreds of Origami Cranes at Imperial Palace Park, Kyoto. Photo Credit: Stéfan at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Origami is a Unique Form of Japanese Art Because:

It is created only by folding a piece paper.
The paper must be square not oval, rectangular or something like that.
Crane is regarded as one of the most popular folding objects.
There is no use of glue or scissors, it would be Kirigami if you use them to make an object.
Only a piece of paper is allowed to make an object.

Origami Fox. Photo Credit: elPadawan at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

Popular Object of Origami Are:

Cranes, Flowers, Balloon, Swan, Boat, Stars, Fortune Teller, Fox, Butterfly and Gold Fish.

Sadako Sasaki & My Thoughts

It is true that reading history might amuse you but sometimes it makes you cry and sad. Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl who was a victim of World War II. In her home town, Hiroshima, atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945. She suffered from atomic bomb radiation and died from leukemia at the age of 12, on October 25, 1955. There is a true story book written based on her life called “Sadako and the Thousands Paper Cranes“.

Sadako Sasaki – Innocent Victim of World War II………

Whenever I read this book, I feel pain in my heart. In this book, you will be reading, one of his best friends who often visits her, one day she says to Sadako that making 1000 origami cranes could bring good luck for her. So, Sadako tries to make 1000 cranes in order to get recovered from her illness.

She makes total 644 origami cranes before she dies, then her school friends intend to make rest of the paper cranes on behalf of her. It is a touchy true story!

Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima. Photo credit: Steph Gray at Flickr through Creative Commons Licensing.

The folded paper crane is considered as a symbol of peace in Japan. If you visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Nagasaki Peace Park you will see many folded cranes there as well as the statue of Sadako holding a golden crane with her two hands. I know history is just history, we can’t change it.

I used to hear the atomic bomb dropping story from my grandparents, the story scars me a lot, and it can’t bring smile on my face, never ever! I once made a many folded cranes with my friends just to feel that we can bring peace in this world.

Finally, I just wanted to share my thoughts and knowledge on this art with you. I will surly share my Origami paper works with you in the future, so just wait and see what I could bring for you. I would be happy if you just discovered something new here reading this post. Thanks a lot!