“Origami” is a traditional Japanese child’s play of folding colorful square paper sheets and modeling plants, animals, and everyday tools. This paper craft, originally for kids, but now practiced and enjoyed by all ages. Creating “Origami” employs the fingertips, which stimulates brain activity. It is used in rehabilitation for stroke or prevention of dementia. Using square paper sheets and simple folding, one can create a variety of paper artwork. Japan started modeling this paper craft in the “Muromachi” generation in the 1300’s. People use this simple technique to make realistic and complicated models and often compete in “Origami” contests.
For example, “Senba Tsuru“, which is thousand origami cranes, is also known in later day as the “Sadako’s Story” and made “Origami” famous. The crane is a symbol of long life in Japan. Japanese believe a legend that folding a thousand origami cranes will make their wish come true. It is a way of praying or wishing recovery from illness or injury for loved one’s. She was a girl diagnosed with, “Subacute lymphocyte leukemia,” after Japan’s atomic bombing. Her friends made a thousand origami cranes for her. However, she did not live. The Sadako book is now used in many Japanese classrooms to discuss the atomic bomb and its aftermath.
You can find many books on how to construct “Origami” art. If you visit Tokyo, you can go to “Origami Kaikan” museum that displays the “Origami” art history and has Origami instructional classes. It is located in downtown Tokyo and allows visitors to view and learn the Origami technique and the history of Japanese traditional paper making, which called “Washi.” The museum also contains many related paper and art craft exhibits.
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