(吉澤 章 Yoshizawa Akira
; 14 March 1911 – 14 March 2005) was considered to be the grandmaster of origami
. He is credited with raising origami from a craft to a living art. According to his own estimation made in 1989, he created more than 50,000 models, of which only a few hundred designs were diagrammed in his 18 books.Yoshizawa acted as an international cultural ambassador for Japan throughout his career.In 1983, Japanese emperor Hirohito
named him to the Order of the Rising Sun
, one of highest honors that can be given to a Japanese citizen.
Early life and career
Born on March 14, 1911, in Kaminokawa, Tochigi Prefecture
, Japan, to the family of a dairy farmer. When a child, he took pleasure in teaching himself origami. He moved into a factory job in Tokyo
when he was 13 years old. His passion for it was rekindled in his early 20’s, when he was promoted from factory worker to technical draftsman. His new job was to teach junior employees geometry. Yoshizawa used the traditional art of origami to understand and communicate geometrical problems.
In 1937 he left factory work to pursue origami full-time. During the next 20 years, he lived in total poverty, earning his living by door-to-door selling of tsukudani
(a Japanese preserved condiment that is usually made of seaweed). His origami work was creative enough to be included in the 1944 book Origami Shuko
, by Isao Honda
(本多 功). However it was his work for a 1951 issue of the magazine......