Origami and Kirigami - what's the difference?

Heard about Kirigami? Wondering what the difference between origami and kirigami is? Both origami and kirigami are popular, traditional Japanese art forms that are famous all over the world. Are origami and kirigami the same? Although similar, kirigami and origami are not the same. Read on for an explanation of the difference between origami and kirigami.

Origami and kirigami - what's the difference?

Origami and kirigami are unique, traditional Japanese art forms that can transform a humble sheet of paper into an astounding piece of art. The difference between the two, is that origami solely involves folding and nothing else – no cutting, glueing or marking.

Kirigami on the other hand, involves folding and cutting, glue is allowed too. Like origami, kirigami has strong roots in Japanese culture. Kirigami is widely used in handcrafted gifting, through the creation of postcards, cards and envelopes. The origins of its name comes from Kiri, which means to cut, and kami which stands for paper.

As in origami, kirigami begins with a single sheet of paper which is folded. However, lesser known kirigami involves unfolding the folded base, which is then manipulated further using a complex sequence of cuts and further folds to create an impressive 3D sculpture – glue may also be used to join structures together.

Similar to origami, themes for kirigami are based on nature, involving things like snowflakes and orchid blossoms. Some of the most famous kirigami artists include Nahoko Kijima, whose innovative 3D kirigami artwork has found global notoriety, take a look at her awe-inspiring pieces on her website - nahokokojima.com. Additionally, Giovanno Russo, is famed for his kirigami postcards, have a look at La Cartoline Kirigami di Giovanni Russo on his Youtube channel, Giovanni Russo. and Seiji Fujishiro, whose vibrant, colourful pieces continue to inspire new generations of kirigami artists, browse some of his most famous pieces on japantravel.com.

So although both paper folding techniques, origami and kirigami are distinctly different, but wonderfully effective traditional Japanese art forms that can transform a simple piece of paper into an incredible piece of art.