Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding, a craft that dates back to the late 1400s but really took off during the late 1700s. After the Chinese invention of paper, Japan invented origami as a new medium of art. Traditional Japanese origami is often associated with paper cranes but there are so many shapes that origami can take on. The main principle of origami is that pieces are created only by folding the paper—that means no tape, glue, pen markings, or cuts. Today, you can transform paper into nearly anything, from basic shapes to intricate animals and designs!
There are many different types of origami and the most well-known is stationary origami. This type of origami includes the classic paper crane, which is a singular object made from one piece of paper that doesn’t perform any special action. Alternatively, some origami designs, known as action origami, are designed to move. This type of origami transforms a single sheet of paper into a simple toy, like an origami frog that can be made to jump or one of those little paper fortune tellers you may have made as a kid. Another popular type of origami is modular origami, which uses multiple pieces of paper to create different origami pieces that all come together to form one larger and more intricate piece.
Japanese origami paper was initially very expensive, so origami was only used for religious ceremonies. One great example of how origami was used in this context is in the origami butterflies that adorned sake cups at Shinto weddings. Aside from being a beautiful accent, these origami pieces were meant to represent the bride and groom. As paper became more affordable origami became a commonly used art form in Japan and its popularity spread to other countries as well. Even when used artistically, traditional Japanese origami tends to involve some symbolism. Paper cranes, for example, have come to symbolize peace and hope. One Japanese legend even says that folding one thousand paper cranes will bring one good luck.
While origami can take on great meaning, it can also just be a fun activity and an expression of one’s art. If you’re interested in trying origami for the first time, Japanese origami boxes are a great introduction into the world of origami! These boxes include the supplies and instructions to help you complete specific origami projects. Bokksu’s new Studio Ghibli origami kits are fun and creative Japanese origami boxes that are perfect for fans of the movies!
The Kiki’s Delivery Service Origami Set includes 13 figures from the movie, including iconic characters like Jiji, Kiki’s black cat and his girlfriend, as well as other recognizable items. The kit has a range of easier and harder origami figures, making it the perfect way to ease your way into becoming an origami pro! Another great Japanese origami box is the My Neighbor Totoro Origami Set which includes materials and instructions to make 12 figures from the movie, including Totoro and the Catbus! These adorable Totoro origami figures aren’t only fun to make, but they’re also perfect decorative pieces to brighten up your desk or bookshelf! You can also travel to Japan through origami, with the Tokyo Origami Booklet and the Kyoto Origami Booklet.
Regardless of what type of origami you choose to make or what designs you prefer, origami is a beautiful art form that anyone can learn. If you’ve been considering picking up a new hobby, maybe it can be as simple as picking up a piece of paper!