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The Art of Paper Folding

Maybe you have learned about origami in your kindergarten or junior high school. The origin of origami is from Japan. The word Origami is from two words, “Oru” and “Kami”.


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“Oru” means fold and “Kami” means paper in Japanese. So, origami literally means paper folding in Japanese.



Origami began after Buddhist monks carried paper to Japan during the 6th century. At that time, because the price of paper is so expensive, they only use it for religious ceremonial purpose. There was a poem from 1680, which described the origami of butterflies used during Shinto Weddings. And finally, in 1797 the first origami book was published in Japan.


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Do you love to play origami when you were child? Isn’t it interesting? You can make a sculpture of something with only using the skill of folding some square papers. Maybe you just followed the way to fold from the origami book when you were child, but the interesting one is how they found those ways of folding. They should be so creative that can make it. So, let’s know more about the art of paper folding in Japan.



The only requirement of this paper is that it must be able to hold a crease. Kami or koi paper is the most used in schools, due to the cheap price of it. Kami has some specialty such as; it is usually color printed only on one side, and so easy to fold it. The normal size of this kami is about 3 inches x 3 inches. There is bigger size one such as 6 inches x 6 inches and 10 inches x inches.



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This is an origami technique, which uses two or more sheets of origami papers to create more complex structure. The point of this technique is to fold each individual sheet of paper into a unit, and then assemble those units into a three dimensional structure. This modular origami needs patience and takes long time to finish one three dimensional structure.



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Kirigami is from two words, “Kiru” and “Kami”. “Kiru” means cut and “Kami” means paper in Japanese. This is a variation of origami that includes cutting of the paper. It is a little bit similar as “Pop-up”, but the difference is this kirigami is made out of a single piece of paper, while “Pop-up” can be made of several pieces of paper then glued together. I prefer this kirigami than the original origami. It is because this kirigami is cooler and more creative than the origami.



Photo: Jacque Davis on Flickr

Do you know that the art of origami or paper folding in Japan has received a considerable amount of mathematical study? There are so many mathematics theorems that Japanese people used, such as Haga’s theorem. Haga’s theorem said that a particular set of constructions could be used for such divisions. The other theorem is Kawasaki’s theorem, which said that at any vertex, the sum of all angles adds up to 180 degrees, as do the even. For more details about the mathematical theorem of this origami, you can visit this link.

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