The 14th of March this year was a special day for all of us in the origami community: it was the centenary anniversary of the birth of Akira Yoshizawa, origami grandmaster, who is considered by many as the father of modern origami.
In 1997 I had the opportunity to meet Master Yoshizawa, in person, when I attended my third origami convention in New York City. Yoshizawa was the guest of honor at the convention and everyone was very excited that he agreed to attend.
At that time I was still somewhat of a novice “closet” paper folder –and a shy one at that, and had not yet established much contact with other folders even though there was ample opportunity to do so in this great city. I wasn’t fully aware of either the scope or influence of Yoshizawa’s work, so I was extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend one of his classes.
One of his books, “Na Inochi Yutaka Origami”, offered at the convention, caught my eye. Not only were the models and diagrams in the book wonderful, but the quality of the drawings and the design of the book was beautiful if not exquisite. The price of the book far exceeded my budget, but I was persuaded to purchase a copy by a very wise paper folder who whispered to me “Who cares about going without food for a few days. In the future you will be very glad to have acquired such a good origami book.” So, I bought it!
With his own hand and before my very eyes, Yoshizawa inscribed his book on the last page alongside his photograph. I treasure this book along with the a rabbit he taught and the ticket I kept that gave me entry to his class.
Only recently –and with thanks to my friend Anne LaVin, I learned what the inscription in the book reads: It’s Yoshizawa’s name, written vertically.
Today I pay tribute to the life and work of this extraordinary artist. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet him, and grateful for being a beneficiary of his many contributions and achievements.
For more about Akira Yoshizawa read the excellent articles written by David Lister (UK)
Did you ever meet master Yoshizawa? Share whatever memories you might have!
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