Origam Grandmaster Akira Yoshizawa
Source:  Peter Engel
Wikimedia Creative Commons

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Origami Grandmaster Akira Yoshizawa

Born:  March 14, 1911
Died:  March 14, 2005

Akira Yoshizawa is considered a grandmaster in the art of paper folding.  His designs helped to elevate origami from a craft to an art form.

Born on March 14, 1911, Akira Yoshizawa grew up on a dairy farm with his family and enjoyed teaching himself origami as a child.  He took a factory job in Tokyo at the age of 13 and a few years later, in his early twenties, was promoted to a position as a technical draftsperson.  One of his responsibilities was to teach junior staff geometry and he found his experience with origami to be an valuable tool for training the younger employees.

Akira Yoshizawa quit his factory job at the age of 26 to focus his efforts on origami.  Hi lived in poverty selling tsukudani (a japanese preserved condiment) door to door to support himself.  He spend time in the army medical core during World War II.

Akira Yoshizawa's big break came in 1951 when a magazine featured his origami creations.  This exposure lead to many exhibitions and published books.

Wet-folding is an origami technique that was invented and perfected by Akira Yoshizawa.  It allows the paper to be folded and manipulated more easily and is a big reason why his origami was elevated to an art form.  Yoshizawa also created a system of symbols, arrows and notations used to diagram origami designs.

In 1983, emporor Hirohito granted Yoshizawa the title "Knight of the Order of the Rising Sun".  This is one of the highest honors that can be presented to a Japanese citizen.

In March of 2005, on his 94th birthday, Akira Yoshizawa passed away from complications of pneumonia.


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