Kobayashi Kazuo is the director of the Origami Kaikan (Origami Center) in Tokyo, and for more than 30 years has traveled abroad to teach origami. He starts people with something basic that can be made with just five folds. “When Japanese people think ‘origami’ they probably think of the folded crane. But I don’t teach it. It’s too difficult. For one thing, it requires about 20 folds. And you need to know all of the basic origami techniques to make it. If it’s difficult, people won’t want to make it. I want people just to enjoy doing origami.”
Kazuo has traveled the world doing just that, including the United States, Russia, Brazil and Thailand. In 2006, as many as 170,000 people came to watch his demonstrations during a 3-day exhibition.
“The tea ceremony, flower arrangement, kabuki and other elements of Japanese traditional culture are admired outside Japan, but the easiest one to relate to is origami. All you need is a single sheet of paper. When people see how easy it is, their eyes light up.” Kazuo says he will keep using origami to help people from other countries discover more of the fascination of Japanese culture.
Shingu was born in Omuta city, Fukuoka prefecture, Japan in 1953. After graduating from a design college, he moved to Tokyo. In 1984, he founded CITY PLAN Co., Ltd. and worked with graphic design. His “JOYD” products were popular and sold at venues like Toys R Us, Tokyu Hands, and Loft. Fumiaki’s clients extend abroad to places like New York and Paris. In 1998, Shingu presented new “JOYD” series which featured origami.
Finally, Origami Club was created in 2002. (See here for details from the Origami Club website.)