Origata is an ancient word with nearly 600 years of history yet today, it is a lost word in Japan—in fact, very few Japanese even know its meaning today. Simply defined, it is the method of wrapping gifts with handmade paper without the use of scissors, tape or glue.
During the 15th century, Origata was used as part of an exclusively established tradition amongst upper-class Samurai families of the Muromachi period (1392 – 1573). A gift would be placed on a piece of paper and neatly and elegantly wrapped without moving nor turning it. The wrapping represented a symbolic shape of the gift inside for the recipient to identify at first glance. The giver would directly present the gift to the recipient as making time and effort in giving the gift was thought to forge stronger relationships.
The craft eventually paved way for the much more popular paper-folding craft art but after World War 2, Origata was lost suddenly Due to Western influences in Japanese culture. My father Akihiro Yamane was an art critic who considered Origata to be the most precious and well-established arts of Japan. Forty years ago, he began to research its origins, philosophy and methods and promoted the tradition through public services and media activities. I have proudly inherited this wealth of knowledge and activities.
I discovered there was a very broad interest in the art of folding which proved the craft was never abandoned or disliked, there was simply no opportunity for people to encounter it in contemporary life. It is my goal to expand the awareness of Origata within Japan and abroad, and I continue to promote the art form through seminars and various forms of media to this day.