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Origami (折り紙 origami?) (literally meaning "folding paper") is the art of paper folding. The goal of this art is to create a given result using geometric folds and crease patterns. Origami refers to all types of paper folding, even those of non-Japanese origin.

Origami only uses a small number of different folds, but they can be combined in a variety of ways to make intricate designs. In general, these designs begin with a square sheet of paper whose sides may be different colors. Contrary to most popular belief, traditional Japanese origami, which has been practiced since the Edo era (1603-1867), has often been less strict about these conventions, sometimes cutting the paper during the creation of the design (Kirigami 切り紙) or starting with a rectangular, circular, triangular or other non-square sheets of paper.

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Modular origami, otherwise known as unit folding, is a form of origami involving the use of several pieces of paper to create one model. Each individual sheet of paper is folded into a module or unit, and then the pieces are assembled into a flat shape or three-dimensional structure by inserting flaps into pockets created by the folding process. This process creates tension in the model allowing this units to remain together. Modular origami can be viewed as a sub-set of multi-piece origami, and therefore the rules of origami still apply.

The first historical evidence for a modular origami design comes from a Japanese book by Hayato Ohoka published in 1734 called Ranma Zushiki. It contains a print that shows a group of traditional origami models, one of which is a modular cube.
Sadako Sasaki (Japanese:佐々木 禎子 Sasaki Sadako, January 7, 1943 – October 25, 1955) was a Japanese girl who lived in Hiroshima, Japan. When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Sadako was only a mile away. On February 18, 1955 she was diagnosed with leukemia. The doctor ordered immediate hospitalization, and stated that she would have, at the most, a year to live. In response to her sickness, a gift of one thousand origami paper cranes that were donated to the hospital from the people of Nagoya. She was inspired by the cranes, and became one of the many patients who began to fold the origami cranes. At the time of her death, she had folded over a thousand cranes.
Two variations of kusudama.
The Japanese kusudama (薬玉; lit. medicine ball) is a paper model that is created by sewing several pyramidal units together through their points to form a spherical shape. Occasionally, a tassel is attached to the bottom for decoration. They originate from ancient Japanese culture, where they were used for incense and potpourri. The word itself is a combination of two Japanese words kusuri, Medicine, and tama, Ball. They are now typically used as decorations, or as gifts.
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This collection of paper cranes was created for the prayers for peace foundation in Hiroshima, Japan. Hundreds of children and parents alike folded the paper cranes, and they were all combined to form this magnificent peace of art.

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Did you know?

  • ...that Akira Yoshizawa is credited with raising origami from a craft to a living art?
  • ...that "rigid folding" is the use of sheet metal in place of paper, and hinges in place of the crease lines?
  • ...that "kami" (Japanese for paper) is one of the most predominant kinds of paper in Japan?
  • ...that the earliest known traditions of paper folding were of ceremonial origin?
  • ...that "origami" itself is a compound of two smaller Japanese words: "oru", meaning fold, and "kami", meaning paper?
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