Origami Day

November 11 is Origami Day. Nobody knows for sure when origami was invented. The invention of paper is credited to Ts’ai Lun of China in 105 C.E. Some believe that paper folding must have happened soon afterward. Paper was introduced to Japan in the late 6th century by Buddhist monks and paper folding was brought along with them. But wherever it was created, most agree that the art was perfected by the Japanese. In fact, it was incorporated into Shinto ceremonies, and the designs are still used today.

One reason we don’t know exactly when this art started is that for a long time the instructions for designs were passed on orally from one generation of a family to the next. The first written instructions appeared in 1797 with the publication of the Senbazuru Orikata (Thousand Crane Folding). Today there are instructions for many different forms which may be folded.

One of the most famous stories about origami comes from World War II. Here is how Wikipedia explains this well-known event. “One of the most famous origami designs is the Japanese crane. The crane is auspicious in Japanese culture. Legend says that anyone who folds one thousand paper cranes will have their heart’s desire come true. The origami crane (orizuru in Japanese) has become a symbol of peace because of this belief and because of a young Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki. Sadako was exposed to the radiation of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as an infant, and it took its inevitable toll on her health. She was then a hibakusha — an atom bomb survivor. By the time she was twelve in 1955, she was dying of leukemia. Hearing the legend, she decided to fold one thousand origami cranes so that she could live. However, when she saw that the other children in her ward were dying, she realized that she would not survive and wished instead for world peace and an end to suffering.” She did not live long enough to finish her thousand cranes, but others did it for her and they were buried with her.

There are many places to find instructions for creating origami. Here is a link to one such place.


Quotes about origami

After staring at origami directions long enough, you sort of become one with them and start understanding them from the inside.–Zooey Deschanel

Origami is a metamorphic art form, you got that piece of paper, you don’t add to it you don’t take away from it , you CHANGE it,–Micheal Lafosse

Origami is an art, not a technique.–Eric Joisel

Many design rules that on the surface apply to rather mundane aspects of folding, for example, the most efficient arrangements of points in a base, are actually linked to deep mathematical questions.–Robert Lang

Don’t take a model for granted. Just because you’ve folded a crane a thousand times doesn’t mean all creative possibilities have been exhausted.–Leyla Torres

Paper is a wonderfully tactile substance, and so we fold it!–Michael LaFosse

Although you may not be very artistic, by following the rules you create something beautiful.–Coco Sato

Origami is balanced between art and game. It’s an art governed by rules as strict and simple as a game, or it’s a game which can produce a work of art.–Samuel Randlett

Seeing the world in a piece of paper. It’s like magic! Imagine… Almost everything can be folded from a piece of paper. A piece of paper, no more, no less. The material is so simple, but the possibilities are endless.–Dinh Truong Giang

Even a simple piece of folded paper can create a range of dramatic emotions.–Karlen Chang

There is an art to everything – from choosing the paper to shaping the final fold.–Anita Raj

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