Thoughts about Japan, Japanese People and our Japanese Products
Origami paper is used in the traditional Japanese art of paper folding. In fact, the word itself is made up of two words, “ori” which is to fold and “kami” meaning paper.
Paper was first said to have been introduced into Japan by Buddhist monks around the 6th century. During this time the cost of paper was very expensive and was more a novelty to have than part of an everyday hobby. It was therefore only the wealthiest Samurai and Noblemen who had the unique opportunity to enjoy origami and often used the folded paper to accompany gifts.
Years later, once the cost of paper went down, paper folding became more popular amongst people of all backgrounds and is now familiar to people all around the world.
Origami creations include fans, cranes, boats, dolls and boxes. The paper comes in a number of elaborate patterns and styles as well as plainer options. If you are new to origami paper, here are some easy instructions on how to fold the perfect Japanese hand fan;
To begin your fan, you will need a single sheet of origami paper in a shade of your choice. Fold about 1 cm of the paper up from the bottom and then turn your paper over and do the same on the other side. Continue doing this until you’ve reached the end of your sheet of paper then make a fold on one of the ends to create a handle. You can then open up the paper and enjoy your very own handmade oriental fan.
The Japanese fan, also known as the Sensu, is symbolic of Japanese culture and can be given as a gift or used on a hot day. Once you have perfected your folding techniques you can then go on to try more challenging creations such as the infamous Jumping Frog – click here to watch the instructional video on our website.
When choosing origami for your project, make sure that you have the correct size, colours and thickness. The paper can also be used for gift wrapping or to create other things like bookmarks or napkins.
We have a wide selection of origami paper at The Japanese Shop in range of plain and colourful patterned designs. Our authentic Japanese fans also make the perfect gift with a free gift wrapping service on all orders!
Just a quick announcement to let you all know that we have just taken delivery of the following ranges:
There’s something for everyone so visit our website to browse through all of our Japanese gifts online now!
Tanabata ( 七夕- meaning “Evening of the seventh”) Festival
Tanabata ( 七夕) is the Japanese star festival which originated from Chinese folklore, The Princess and Cowherd. It is a festival to celebrate the meeting of two stars along side of the Milky Way in the sky, which are Vega and Alter and are representative of the Weaving Princess and the Cowherd.
As tradition, people make wishes and write it onto a piece of paper named Tanzaku and decorate a bamboo tree with Tanzaku and other paper ornaments, which are made in many different shapes such as a bag for wealth and a net for good luck.
The most popular date of Tanabata is 7th July, however, the festival is held on 7th August in some places in accordance with lunar calendar. Under the Gregorian Calendar, the festival will be held on different days in August depending on a year.
The famous places in Japan for the Tanabata festival are Hiratsuka and Sendai in July and August respectively.
People in Japan celebrate this Star Festival by making a wish and writing it onto a piece of origami paper known as Tanzaku and then attaching them to bamboo trees. Origami paper crane birds and other paper ornaments in different shapes are also part of the decoration.
Paper Crane (折り鶴; Orizuru) : Family safety, health, and long life.
Purse (巾着; Kinchaku) : Good business.
Paper strips (短冊; Tanzaku) : Wishes for good handwriting and studies.
Orihime (織姫 Weaving Princess, the star Vega) was very good at weaving beautiful clothes, so that her father, Tentei ( 天帝Sky Emperor), loved see her weaving clothes by the bank of the Amanogawa (天の川Heavenly river, Milky Way). When Orihime met Hikoboshi ( 彦星 or referred as Kengyu 牽牛, Cow Herder, the star Alter) who lived the other side of Amanogawa, they instantly fell in love, and married. However, they played with each other rather than working together, so that Orihime no longer weaved clothes and Hikoboshi did not look after his cows. Tentei could not stand the couple and he separated them by the Amanogawa. Orihime begged him to let her meet Hikoboshi. At last, Tentei allowed them to meet up on the 7th day of the 7th month if Orihime worked hard to weave clothes. However, if it rains, Orihime could not across the Amanogawa to meet Hikoboshi because….