FINE ART: The Workshop owners Vanessa and K Norimi are getting ready for the Japanese O-Bon festival.
FINE ART: The Workshop owners Vanessa and K Norimi are getting ready for the Japanese O-Bon festival. Allan Reinikka Rokaworkshop

Historical Japanese art the new calming craze

THE tale of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes has taken a modern twist.

A historical Japanese legend, founded on the art of origami, was developed when a girl affected by the Hiroshima atomic bomb made 1000 paper cranes with the promise of having a wish granted.

Fast forward more than 70 years and origami, in all its historical and cultural relevance, is the new stress relief craze.

Promised to calm the mind and find zen, origami is dubbed the new colouring-in, the modern meditation and the trendiest stress relief to enjoy with green tea.

As it takes the western world by storm, Rockhampton's The Workshop owners K and Vanessa Norimi are brushing up on their origami skills.

"People adapt ideas from different cultures in different ways," Mrs Norimi said.

"I see a lot of references now stating that origami is a form of therapeutic type activity.

"I guess it would the same way as doing a crossword or a cross stitch or colouring in.

"You could compare origami to colouring in two different ways.

"In colouring in there are no rules, and you're able to make a creative choice every time you pick up a pencil to express yourself in that way.

"In origami there are exact rules and if you don't follow those rules it won't turn out.

"For a lot of people that could be quite frustrating."

She said while origami required motor skills and concentration, it was "tangible evidence of Japanese culture that has stood the test of time."

"Different strokes for different folks," she said.

"Everyone has their own way of doing things and I think give it a go, it could be your nirvana but it might not be for everyone."

Mr Norimi said he remembered doing origami in school as a child but was no expert at the art.

"I've never considered it as a therapeutic activity," he said.

"I'm quite surprised some people use it in that way.

"It's a really nice way to introduce Japanese culture."

ORIGAMI began in the 17th century when paper was imported into Japan from China.

"In the (17th century) paper was imported at great expense from China and only the elite were able to use it," Mrs Norimi said.

"Because of that it was very important in religious ceremonies and the act of folding paper and the symbolic meaning behind that carried through even to today.

"Japanese people do have that reference when they are folding paper that it is transcending paper into something different."

She said the crane had becomes in international symbol of peace.

"Because of that it's so significant," she said.

"A couple of phases happened, in the 1920's origami came to the main stream with a few fellows who basically just made patterns for the every man.

"Origami came to the fore with works of literature like the tale of the 1000 cranes."

O-Bon Festival

Keep an eye out for Japanese festival O-Bon at The Workshop and Rockhampton Japanese Gardens in August.



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