Upon a Fold

A little peek into the world of paper artistry

origata for the soul... March 15, 2010


Once upon a time Nobuhiro Yamaguchi, the founder of the Origata Design Institute in Japan came across a second-hand book about the art of origata and decided it was time to bring this ancient tradition of wrapping back to life.

Origata is quite simply the art of gift wrapping. It dates back to the Muromachi period (1333-1573) a time where wrapping and the presentation of gifts was considered as important as giving the gift itself. What Yamaguchi has done is taken the often complicated folds used in this era and simplified them for modern day life.


Origata differs from the gift wrapping we know with its unique method of only partly concealing the gift inside. In traditional areas of Japan it was considered impolite to open a gift in front of the gift giver, so you can see how a little origata gift exposure came to be.

origata_3 origata_5

The real beauty of Origata however, is in its folds and the meaning behind those folds. For example, a good luck fold is created by folding to the front and right of a package, creating a small opening to the left side. This is said to convey a feeling of overwhelming happiness. Then there is the fold of misfortune, where the fold is on the left side expressing the giver’s sympathy for the recipient. There are many different folds with many different meanings. I just love that the folds have their own silent language. It’s so beautiful.

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I can’t wait to visit the Origata Design Institute in Tokyo later this year. It really is my idea of heaven on earth. We are lucky enough to have one of their paper products in our store as of today! So take a look at the very beautiful Hexagonal House (pictured below). It is one of my favourite finds and we hope to be able to bring you lots more from Origata in the future.


Oh and btw there are 12 new and wonderful products in the shop today! YIPPEE!


Justine — 15 March at 12:26PM

In case you are wanting to visit too here are the details! 4-17-1 Minami-aoyama Minato-ku TOKYO 107-0062, JAPAN tel. (81)3-5413-6877

Ceci — 16 March at 04:06AM

Great recommendation! A friend of mine's travelling to Japan later this week and would love this. Thanks for sharing. :)

Justine — 16 March at 08:07AM

Lucky, lucky friend :)

Trish — 22 March at 08:27AM

wow, who would have thought you can bring good luck by wrapping a gift a certain way! very cool, thanks for sharing! and ps, would love to visit japan one day :) have fun!

Justine — 22 March at 11:13AM

Thanks Trish. I'd love to do one of their courses and learn all about it - I just have to learn Japanese first! Thanks for your comment. x

Camila Uriburu — 07 August at 12:14PM

do you have japanese courses by internet i love this designs !

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