Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Akira Yoshizawa (14 March 1911 – 14 March 2005) was a Japanese origamist, considered to be the grandmaster of origami. He is credited with raising origami from a craft to a living art.

Life and Career

Yoshizawa was born in 1911 in Japan, and began folding paper as a child. He worked as a factory worker and later as a technical draftsman, but continued to fold origami in his spare time. In the 1930s, he began experimenting with new techniques and designs, and by the 1950s he had gained recognition as an origami artist.

One of Yoshizawa’s most significant contributions to origami was the creation of the “wet folding” technique, in which paper is dampened to make it more pliable and easier to shape. This technique allowed Yoshizawa to create more detailed and intricate designs than were previously possible.

Yoshizawa also developed a system of symbols and diagrams for representing origami designs, which made it easier for others to learn and replicate his techniques. He published several books on origami, including “Atarashi Origami Geijutsu” (“New Origami Art”), which is still considered a classic in the field.

Akira Yoshizawa died on 14 March 2005 in a hospital in Itabashi Ward, Tokyo, of complications from pneumonia, on his 94th birthday.

Award and Legacy

He is widely regarded as the father of modern origami and his innovations in the field revolutionized the way origami is practiced and perceived around the world. Yoshizawa’s legacy includes:

  1. Yoshizawa-Randlett system: He developed a standardized system for diagramming origami models, which uses a series of symbols and lines to show how to fold the paper.
  2. Creative origami techniques: Yoshizawa developed several origami techniques, such as the wet folding technique, which involves moistening the paper to make it more pliable and easier to work with, and the use of multiple folds to create complex and realistic designs.
  3. Numerous original designs: Yoshizawa created thousands of original origami designs over his lifetime, many of which are now considered classics in the field.
  4. Awards and honors: Yoshizawa received many awards and honors for his contributions to the field of origami, including the Order of the Rising Sun, one of Japan’s highest honors.
  5. Museums and exhibitions: Several museums around the world have exhibited Yoshizawa’s origami works, including the British Museum, the Louvre, and the Smithsonian Institution.
  6. Yoshizawa commemorative stamp: In 2005, Japan Post issued a commemorative stamp featuring one of Yoshizawa’s origami designs, in honor of his contributions to the field.

Yoshizawa’s influence can be seen in the work of countless origami artists around the world, and his contributions to the field continue to inspire and inform new generations of origami enthusiasts.

On 14 March 2012, Google celebrated Akira Yoshizawa’s 101st Birthday with a doodle.