Do you remember making your first paper airplane or paper crane? Do you remember the joy and excitement of learning and mastering how to fold your favorite paper-based creations?
Although commonly known in Japan today as a childhood pastime, origami (折り紙) has evolved into a major medium for artistic expression, with leading artists transforming simple geometric shapes into awe-inspiring imaginative forms. Many have fond memories of their first origami experiences, often having honed their basic skills in elementary schools where they learned to create paper animals, planes, and other objects with friends and family.Enjoy the beautiful piece of Japanese Paper with each Matcha Konomi purchase and make your own creations! Start off with a Crane or be adventurous! Share your creations with the Matcha community and hashtag #IGotMyMatcha on Instagram and Facebook!
Origami is unique among paper crafts in that it requires no materials other than the paper itself. Cutting, gluing, or drawing on the paper is avoided, using only paper folding to create the desired result. No special skills or artistic talent are needed for origami, although a good amount of patience and perseverance are very helpful. Models can be folded by following instructions exactly. Experimenting with different folds may lead to a totally new, original paper-fold.
The word "origami" comes from the Japanese language. "Ori" means folded and "kami" means paper. Paper-folding as a traditional folding art pervaded the Japanese culture more strongly than any other.
Origami was first practiced in the Japanese imperial Court, where it was considered an amusing and elegant way of passing the time. Over the centuries the skill has been passed down to ordinary people, who took it up with enthusiasm and made it into the folk art that it is today.
Today in Japan the art of paper-folding is as widely practiced by children, parents and grandparents as it was centuries ago. And for a number of years now origami has been immensely popular here in the western world.
A THOUSAND PAPER CRANES: THE TALE OF SADAKO SASAKI
Origami can also be found in widely-known stories from Japan's history. In the aftermath of the World War II, a young 12-year old girl named Sadako Sasaki fell ill after being exposed to radiation caused by fallout from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. There is a famous Japanese legend that says that, “the one who creates a thousand origami cranes will earn one wish.” Bedridden and suffering from leukemia, Sadako decided to fold one thousand origami cranes in hopes that she might survive. More than anything, Sadako simply wished for a long, healthy life.
Realizing that she would never recover from her illness, she instead dedicated her beautiful cranes to world peace. Sadako managed to fold only 644 paper cranes before she died. Family members, classmates and friends completed her origami project in her honor, and later buried her shrouded in a wreath of one thousand paper cranes. Today, a large statue of Sadako stands prominently in the Hiroshima Peace Park as a testament to her touching story about life, death and peace. Her melancholy tale played a major role in transforming the paper crane into an important symbol of peace and Japanese culture. Source Tokio.Tokyo
Thousand Origami Cranes (千羽鶴 Senbazuru)
Thousand Origami Cranes is a group of one thousand origami paper cranes (折鶴 orizuru) held together by strings. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by the gods. Some stories believe you are granted happiness and eternal good luck, instead of just one wish, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury. This makes them popular gifts for special friends and family.
The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures (others include the dragon and the tortoise) and is said to live for a thousand years: That is why 1000 cranes are made, one for each year. In some stories it is believed that the 1000 cranes must be completed within one year and they must all be made by the person who is to make the wish at the end.
Traditional Japanese origami cranes
A thousand paper cranes are traditionally given as a wedding gift by the father, who is wishing a thousand years of happiness and prosperity upon the couple. They can also be given to a new baby for long life and good luck. Hanging them in one's home is thought to be a powerfully lucky and benevolent charm.
Several temples, including some in Tokyo and Hiroshima, have eternal flames for world peace. At these temples, school groups or individuals often donate senbazuru to add to the prayer for peace. The cranes are left exposed to the elements, slowly dissolving and becoming tattered as the wish is released. In this way they are related to the prayer flags of India and Tibet.
The Japanese space agency JAXA used folding 1000 cranes as one of the tests for its potential astronauts.