Hiden Senbazuru Orikata

The Hiden Senbazuru Orikata (The Secret of 1000 Cranes Paperfoldingis the first origami text in existence.

It was first published in 1797, and does not appear to have been republished since. It marks a turning point in origami tradition when the method for teaching shifted from exclusively direct instruction to text and diagram instruction. Now, people in one hemisphere teach people in the other hemisphere without ever meeting. There are untold hundreds (or thousands?) of origami books out there, everyone teaching everyone.

This particular book is not the most helpful. If you are a beginner, it lacks many diagrams, and all the models rely exclusively on cutting the paper.  Specifically, it shows various ways to precut sheets of paper in order to create connected cranes. 

I suggest checking out the full book. There is more to it than origami. It has a few pictures of people playing with cranes, both the animal and the folded paper. I find it very charming. But remember, Japanese is written from the opposite direction, so page 6 is left of page 5, for example.

I would love to be able to read the text, but I do not know how to read Japanese, yet. If anyone thinks they can translate, I would be interested.

[I should mention that the pictures were originally hosted by the Japan Origami Academic Society, but were taken down. The web archive still has the original page up. If it works for you, great, but if it does not, I took the liberty of putting them here.]

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