Origami 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.
There is much speculation as to the origin of origami. It is safe to say that most of its development occurred in Japan; however, it all started in China. There have also been less developed paperfolding traditions in Germany and Spain, among other places.
Origami had already become a significant aspect of Japanese ceremony by the Heian period of Japanese history. Samurai warriors would exchange gifts adorned with noshi, a sort of good luck token made of folded strips of paper. Origami butterflies were used during the celebration of Shinto weddings to represent the bride and groom.
Sadako and The Thousand Cranes
One of the most famous origami designs is the Japanese crane. The crane is auspicious in Japanese culture. Japan has launched a satellite named tsuru (crane). Legend says that anyone who folds one thousand paper cranes will have their heart's desire come true. The origami crane has become a symbol of peace because of this legend, 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.
A popular version of the tale is that Sadako folded 644 cranes before she died; her classmates then continued folding cranes in honor of their friend. She was buried with a wreath of 1,000 cranes to honor her dream. While her effort could not extend her life, it moved her friends to make a granite statue of Sadako in the Hiroshima Peace Park: a young girl standing with her hand outstretched, a paper crane flying from her fingertips. Every year the statue is adorned with thousands of wreaths of a thousand origami cranes.
Directions: Answer the following questions. As a homework, learn more about origami and make at least one object using the paper folding techniques of origami.