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Seeing hands of master Saburo Kase

Friday, 28 July 2017 00:00

Seeing hands of master Saburo Kase

The twentieth century can be considered the most significant era in the establishment and development of origami as a separate art form. The first step was not so much in inventing the origami alphabet, although without this breakthrough origami would have remained traditional Japanese art, but a constant introduction of not only Japanese, but also people from other countries and cultures, to origami. An important role in this was played by Japanese origamist with a tenuous fate, Saburo Kase.

He was born in the distant 1927 and was an ordinary boy of those years: he studied at school, was attending sumo class. But at the age of 12, because of a congenital disease, he lost sight, and until the end of his days he remained blind. Even before he lost sight in a junior school, he happened to learn simple origami figures, which remained in his memory forever as reference points in the process of folding. And this experience later allowed him to return to origami and make every effort to, despite the lack of vision, master this art.

He became a professional origami artist at the age of 30. It is rumored that one day he knocked at Akira Yoshizawa's house and asked to be his disciple. But Yoshizawa-san closed the door on him, saying that origami is not suitable for the blind. Perhaps this confrontation, or maybe the wrestling spirit brought up in Sumo classes allowed Kase to go against his destiny and become one of the most famous origami propagandists in the world.

History of the origami - Seeing hands of master Saburo Kase

The further history of master sends him to travel around the world, a journey that lasted for 30 years, and took him to about 49 countries. Master Kase was accompanied by his friend Eiji Tajima for the entire duration of the journey. He helped the master with documents and with establishing contacts and meetings,  while the master himself would find a common language with people and try to share with them the joy of folding origami figures.

The master himself invented a modest number of figures, he was fascinated the most by the simple folding, which could easily be explained to the listeners. As Peter Engel writes in his book “Origami: From an Angelfish to Zen,” the figures of Saburo Kase are made with great emotion, they are simple and charming, but at the same time have something fantastic about them.

For acquaintance with the master we suggest to fold one of his favorite figures - a simple fox. For its folding, you will need a square sheet of paper and 1-2 minutes of free time. Below is a diagram, along with a ready-made pattern from Jacques Davis.


Happy folding!

Origami fox - how to make easy origami fox




Origami fox - how to make easy origami fox


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