Akira Yoshizawa celebrated by Google doodle

The man considered to be the grandmaster of origami would have been 101 today

The grandmaster of origami, Akira Yoshizawa, has had his paper folding skills celebrated as a Google doodle to mark the 101st anniversary of his birth.

Japanese-born Yoshizawa is credited with turning origami from a children's pastime into a serious art form and was known for his innovative folding techniques.

His achievements have been recognised in the Google logo with each letter being turned into a paper folding design to mimic the famous traditional art form.

Yoshizawa was born in 1911 to dairy farming parents but moved to Tokyo when he was just 13 where he started working in a tool factory.

In his early 20s, he was promoted to a technical draftsman and used origami, a skill he had acquired as a child, as a tool to teach younger employees basic geometry.

Yoshizawa left the factory in the mid-1930s to pursue his passion for art and, for more than two decades, lived in poverty selling preserved fish door-to-door. But in 1951, a Japanese magazine commissioned him to fold the 12 signs of the Japanese zodiac to illustrate its next issue which catapulted him on to the international stage.

His work has since been exhibited around the world and he has published more than a dozen books on the art form.

Yoshizawa died from complications caused by pneumonia at a hospital in his home town of Ogikubo, Tokyo, in March 2005.

• This article was amended on 14 March 2012 because the original described origami as an "infamous art", when what was meant was a famous art form.


Cass Jones

The GuardianTramp

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