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The Art of Origami

 For thousands of years, humans have always learned new ways to pass the time.  This is typically found in the form of different crafts.  There are many beautiful and unique crafts in the world, like sculpting, knitting, and basket weaving.  One of the most significant crafts is the art of origami.  Origami is the use of folding paper in a specific way to create a particular shape.  In this article, I will write about how unique origami is and where it originated from.

            Origami has a relatively unknown beginning. Historians have done their best to discover where it began, but they do not know for sure.  It is said to have started in Japan before the 15th century; however, other people claim to have found that it originated in China.  In today’s modern world, origami is typically the use of just folding paper, but hundreds of years ago, it is assumed that it began with the folding of cloth and leather.  One fact that leads people to believe that origami originated in Japan is that, in 1680, a short poem by poet and novelist Ihara Saikaku references butterfly origami, revealing how well engrained in Japanese culture paper folding had become by that time.”  Although historians may never directly discover who invented origami, it is evident that it originated from Asian culture.

            In addition, after origami started to become more and more popular in Japan and China, Germany also began to investigate this craft. German educators taught the art of paper folding worldwide.  Froebel invented three ways of tucking: the Folds of Life, the Folds of Truth, and the Folds of Beauty.  These folds were thus introduced to Japanese schools and were given the official name of origami. 

            Origami eventually spread to South America through the teachings of Miguel de UnamunoThese two men saw paper folding as an art and science and published books on it.  Despite origami spreading worldwide, it was not until after World War II that origami made its way to North America.

            In the 1950s, Lillian Oppenheimer was the woman who introduced America to origami.  She did this through her love of the craft, in addition to putting together small groups to teach it to them.  Although Lillian sadly passed away in 1992, her friends and colleagues ensured her legacy and love for origami lived on.  

            These people, throughout many generations, allowed origami to blossom and become so powerful and exciting.  Origami continued to develop from then on, with help from Peter Engel, Robert Lang, and John Montroll in the United States.  New techniques were invented to create even more unique shapes.  One of these shapes is the paper crane, known for bringing good luck and healing. 

            In Japanese lore, a crane “was thought to live for 1,000 years, and held in the highest regard.”  This art of folding cranes began with a young girl named Sadako Sasaki, who was diagnosed with leukemia and used the art of folding paper cranes to help her heal.  Her bravery in a time of hardship was translated into these cranes, which became a symbol of health and prosperity to people.  Unfortunately, Sasaki passed away in 1955, but her cranes are still making their way around the world.  In 2007, the Sadako Legacy Foundation began donating her cranes to places in need of healing. 

            One of the most significant places they donated was to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.  In addition, Sasaki’s cranes were donated to Pearl Harbor’s, the Peace Library at the Austrian Study Center for Peace, and the city of Okinawa.  Sadako Sasaki’s story has inspired others to create their cranes and spread love and healing through them. 

            All in all, origami makers have continued to push the boundaries on how paper can be folded.  People can use one sheet of paper to make dragons, tigers, and flowers, all showing their dedication and skill.  Origami is an excellent skill for anyone to learn, whether they are a young child or an older man.  This craft has shown that it will last for centuries because it can inspire people and give them something to do.  Origami is harmless and creative, so if someone wants to make a particular animal, it is very attainable.  The beginning creators of origami would be proud of how their craft has been passed down.  People have practiced origami for decades, and there is still so much to learn and discover.  New ways to fold and create are being unveiled every day, and people can get more and more creative with this craft.  

Edited by: Whitney 

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