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What Is Origami? Japanese Traditional Paper Folding Art

Japanese Traditional Paper Folding Art

Origami (折り紙) is a well-known Japanese traditional art of paper folding. Origami has grown into a key medium for creative expression, with prominent artists converting simple geometric patterns into awe-inspiring inventive creations. Individuals intending to learn Japanese or explore Japanese culture are mesmerized by the beauty of this art.

Origami has a long history and is well-known all around the world. Today, it’s applied in various industries, including architecture, where specialists use origami’s core notions to construct their creations. Interestingly, health practitioners have also employed origami as a helpful rehabilitation practice for the aged and crippled.

The following article helps you understand the art of origami from the initial days of its beginning to the present.

The Origin Of Origami

Even though the primary roots of origami remain uncertain, it is said to have originated in the seventh century, when the art of papermaking reached Japan from China, and official manuscripts were folded and refolded in a complex manner.

Due to the expensive material cost, initial origami masterpieces were mainly for religious offerings to the Gods. It didn’t take long for origami to spread throughout Japan and become a traditional cultural activity. Heian nobility secularized the habit of folding papers by gift-wrapping them with gorgeously rendered chiyogami (千代紙), washi paper that has been hand-painted or embossed with vibrant, colorful Japanese – style flower motifs.

It is thought that origami became popular as a hobby during the Edo Period (1603-1867).

Adoration Of Origami’s Aesthetic Value

Despite its pervasiveness, few people identify origami’s distinct aesthetic philosophy as a factor in its attraction. Origami, for example, honors the value of simplicity in the artwork. Origami is often commended for changing an unremarkable object into something exquisite, as reflected in the term shibumi (渋味), which alludes to a type of subtle beauty or simplicity. Another aspect of Japanese aesthetics is seen in the washi used in origami.

Paper, like life, is delicate and transient, yet origami artists try to condense it into a distinct, solid shape in the hopes of producing something meaningful. Japanese origami artists tend to resemble natural items, such as flowers and wildlife, rather than non-living elements, which are more prevalent in other paper-folding cultures.

Contemporary artists now create unique origami that is both expressive and lifelike, employing this form of pure Haute artistic expression, influenced by Japan’s uniquely rich aesthetic legacy.

Types of Origami

Traditional, static origami pieces are the most well-known, but as origami’s popularity has grown so has the complexity of its patterns. The term “action origami” refers to origami that moves. The following are some popular known types of origami.

  • Modular Origami

This entails putting together several pieces to create a complete model.

  • Wet-Folding

This is a sculptural way of constructing designs with soft curves instead of dimensional creases and smooth surfaces.

  • Kirigami

While origami is the art of paper folding, kirigami, on the other hand, is the art of cutting paper. Paper snowflakes are a popular form of kirigami.


From religious practice to creative invention, the technique of paper folding has evolved into a significant aesthetic expression in its own right, influencing anything from design to fashion.

Actually, modern master origami experts will continue to build amazingly unique paper structures that surpass the essential craft’s traditional embodiments and carry it well beyond child’s play.

With its potential to give simplistic yet creative pleasure for youngsters and a profound and meaningful canvas for artists. Origami will continue to influence people from around the world for many coming years.

If you ever decide to visit Japan, try to take an online Japanese language course. It will help you strengthen your understanding of the origin while acknowledging the history that surrounds origami. Make your trip entertaining and educating.

Consult with Oku Sensei’s Japanese to learn Japanese through Japanese Semester Courses with exceptional proficiency!

Oku Sensei's Japanese

Oku Sensei’s Japanese is an online Japanese language academy that offers an inclusive range of Japanese language and culture courses at an affordable price. With Oku Sensei, you get the perfect opportunity to take your Japanese proficiency to the next level from the comfort of your home.

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