The Lister List

The Books Of Akira Yoshizawa

A list of books by Akira Yoshizawa


In its edition for January, 1952, the Japanese picture magazine Asahi Graf published a series of pictures of traditional calendar signs. They were unusual in that they were photographs of origami models and were folded by an unknown paperfolder named Akira Yoshizawa. The publication of his art in Asahi Graf brought Yoshizawa to the notice of the Japanese public and an exhibition of his work in the Ginza in Tokyo followed quickly. He was then aged forty. The event rapidly became a world-wide revolution in the art of paperfolding. Less than seven years later the Origami Center was founded as far away as New York, and it was based on paperfolding according to Yoshizawa’s new ideas.

Yoshizawa’s first book followed in 1954, soon after the Asahi Graf article and from then on and for the remaining forty years of his life he produced a steady stream of books containing instructions for folding his models. The great majority of Yoshizawa’s books ere in Japanese and were not easy to obtain in other countries. Some became much better-known than others. A number of his books still remain virtually unknown.

An effort has been made here to compile as complete as possible a list of Yoshizawa’s books in the hope that they will become better-known to folders everywhere where paper is folded. Fortunately, because of the convention of symbols for folding instructions that Yoshizawa himself introduced, his books can be understood and enjoyed by all folders notwithstanding all barriers of language.



(New Origami Art)
62 pages 195 x 180mm 50 models
Published by Origami Geijutsu-Sha in 1954.
No ISBN number.

This book also carries what is apparently the title of a series of craft books:
“Tanoshin de tsukurer” (“Fun to Make”).
“Sakuhin to orikata dai isshu”. (“Words and Folding Instructions, Volume One”).

A two-page Introduction in English, printed in typescript was bound into this book, apparently as an afterthought.

The name of the publisher indicates that the book may have been published privately by Yoshizawa.

This was Yoshizawa’s first book and, apart from the article in Asahi Graf and models appearing in “Origami Shuko” and in Japanese ladies’ magazines (See Appendix), this was the first publication of Yoshizawa’s work.

2. ORIGAMI DOKUHON I (First Edition)

(The title is more correctly written as “Origami Tokuhon”, as Yoshizawa preferred.)

(Origami Reader I )

64 pages. Small format: 130 x 180mm. 40 models.
Published by Ryokuchi-Sha in 1957.
No ISBN number.

Despite its small size, this booklet was the first to contain some of Yoshizawa’s more advanced folding and it made a major impact on paperfolding throughout the world. Yet it quickly went out-of-print and copies are rare.


50 Pages, 190 mm X 170mm Coloured card covers
No ISBN number. Published in 1978.
26 simple models including the Flapping Bird.

This is not to be confused with other books with the title “Origami” by Yoshizawa.

This slender booklet is possibly Yoshizawa’s least-known publication. Copies are known in the Florence Temko collection in the Mingei Museum at San Diego and in the Ev Gloe collection in the British Origami Society library. Eamples are known in private collections.

The models illustrated in colour shown on the front and back covers of the booklet do not have the appearance of being folded by Yoshizawa, although there is no question that the text and illustrations within the booklet are by Yoshizawa.

The title page (but not the front cover) bears a prominent figure “1” in white on a black square, indicating that this was intended to be the first publication in a series.


The inside of the back cover of “Origami1” (above) carries the words “Origami 2 150 ? This indicates that another book in the series was projected, if not already published. It has never been seen outside of Japan, but it may well have been available inside Japan.

It is hoped that further information will become available about this book and any other booklets in the series.

Until definite information about this booklet becomes available, this entry must be considered to be only provisional


(Origami Handbook)
18 pages. 130 x 180 pages. 11 models.
Monochrome illustrations; coloured card cover.
Published in 1962. Publisher not known. No ISBN number.

A small booklet which was supplied with packets of Origami Paper supplied by Yoshizawa. Apparently it was not sold separately.


This was a series of six books of Origami and other paper crafts. The series had the general title “Toppan no Zukon Ehon” (Toppan’s Craft Picture Books). and was edited by Kodaka Ryuji. They were published by Froebel-Kan Co. Ltd. without ISBN numbers
Only two of the books were by Yoshizawa and about Origami

The following are the two books by Yoshizawa:

6. TANOSHII ORIGAMI (No.1 in the series)

(Joyful Origami)

24 pages 185 x 262mm 11 models In Full Colour
Hard-backed, with a slip case. Board leaves.
Published by Froebel Kan Co. Ltd. in 1963 No ISBN number.

An attractive children’s book in full colour in a slip case, with photographs taken by Yoshizawa himself. It won for Yoshizawa the Mainichi Cultural Award in 1963..

7.. ORIGAMI EHON (No. 4 in the series.)

(Origami Picture Book)

24 pages. 182 x 262mm 11 models. In Full Colour.
Hard-backed with slip case. Board leaves.
Published by Froebel-Kan Co. Ltd. in 1963 or soon aftter.
No ISBN number.

This is the second of the two books about origami in the series.


Particulars are given here for information.

All books were published by Froebel Kan Co. Ltd.

7a TANOSHII KIRIGAMI (No. 2 in the series.)

(Joyful Kirigami)

A book of simple kirigami for children. It does not contain Origami.

The author was Fukuo Fujita

A copy is in the Robert Harbin Collection in the British Origami Society

7b TANOSHII HARI - E (No.3 in the series).

(Joyful Paper Collage Pictures)

A book of simple paper collages for children. It does not contain origami

The author was Fukuo Fujita.

A copy is in the Robert Harbin Collection in the British Origami Society

7c KIRIGAMI EHON (No.5 In the series)

(Kirigami Picture Book)

Another book of Kirigami for children

The author was Fukuo Fujita

A copy is in the Robert Harbin collection in the British Origami Society Library

7d HARI - E EHON (No.6 in the series)

(Paper Collage Picture Book).

Another book of paper collages for children.

The author was Fukuo Fujita

A copy is in the Robert Harbin collection in the British Origami Society library.

* * * * * * *

8. ORIGAMI DOKUHON I. (Second Edition)

(Origami Reader I )

66 pages. 180 x 258mm 40 models.
Black and White; some tinted diagrams; three coloured plates.
Hard-backed with dust cover.
Published by Kamakura Shobo in 1967.
Subsequently allocated ISBN no. 4 - 308 - 00030 - 0.

This is a reprint in larger format and with added coloured plates, of the
original edition of Origami Dokuhon 1, published in 1957.

The instructions for a shrimp given in the first edition are omitted and instructions for a modular polyhedron, related to the adjacent kusudama, were substituted.


(English Language).

Despite its different title, this eight-paged leaflet is a translation of the text only, of the second edition of “Origami Dokuhon 1” (Origami Reader 1), which was supplied to English-speaking buyers of that book.

The translation was by Tsu Suzaki.
No illustrations except for two diagrams.
Flimsy paper. 182 x 258mm
Published by Kamakura Shobo. Undated, but about 1967.
No ISBN number.



(English language)

24 pages 182 x 260mm 11 models Full Colour.

Published by Froebel-Kan Company Ltd. in 1969

An English edition of Tanoshii Origami (1963) (listed no. 6 above), and like the original Japanese edition, printed on board leaves


(English language)

A companion to the last book and in similar format.
Published by Froebel-Kan Company Limited in 1969.

An English translation of Origami Ehon, (listed no. 7 above), and like the original Japanese edition, printed on board leaves.


(Beautiful Origami)

80 pages. 180 x 258mm 48 models with variants.
Black and White illustrations; some tinted diagrams.
Hard-backed, with dust cover.

Published by Kamakura Shobo in 1974.
Publisher’s number: 1072 - 0091 - 0902. No ISBN number.


In 1978 Tanoshii Origami and Origami Ehon were republished as hard-backed books with paper-leaves as the second and third books in a new series. The photographs were not the originals, but were carefully reconstructed reproductions of the original ones. Both books were expanded by the addition of extra models. They were joined by another book, Yasashii Origami, which was placed first in the series, although this book had apparently never previously been published.

13. YASASHII ORIGAMI (No. 1 in the series.)

(Easy Origami)

32 pages. 180 x 257mm 17 models. Full colour.
Paper leaves. Hard-backed, with dust cover.
Published by Kamakura Shobo in 1978.
Publisher’s number 8776 - 0144 0- 0952. No ISBN number.

It is not known whether this book had previously been published in any other form.

14. ORIGAMI - EHON. (No. 2 in the series.)

(Origami Picture Book).

32 pages. 180 x 257mm 14 models. Full Colour.
Paper leaves, Hard-backed with dust cover.
Published by Kamakura Shobo in 1978.
Publisher’s number: 8776 - 0145 - 0952

This is an enlarged and rearranged edition of the fourth book of the board-leaved series, no 7, above.

15.. TANOSHII ORIGAMI. (NO. 3 in the series)

(Joyful Origami)

32 pages. 180 x 257mm 14 models. Full Colour.
Paper leaves, Hard-backed with dust cover.
Published by Kamakura Shobo in 1978.
Publisher’s number: 8776 - 0146 - 0952.
Recently allocated ISBN No. 4 - 308 - 22291 - 2

This is an enlarged and re-arranged edition of the first book in the board-
leaved series, no. 6, above.

* * * * * * *


(Origami Museum I Animals.)

74 pages; 180 x 230mm. 36 models, some with variant forms.
Black and white illustrations Some tinted diagrams.
Hard-backed, with dust cover
Published by Kamakura Shobo in 1979.
Publisher’s number: 1072 - 0172 - 0952. No ISBN number.


(Origami Museum II Seasons and Traditional Japanese Events.)

76 pages. 180 x 230mm. 36 models, some with variant forms.
Black and white illustrations. Some tinted diagrams.
Hard-backed, with dust cover.
Published by Kamakura Shobo in 1979.
Publisher’s number: 1072 - 0182 - 0952. No ISBN number.


(Joyful Origami for Mother and Child.)

64 pages. 178 x 257mm 38 models.
Hard backed with dust cover. Many coloured illustrations. Some tinted diagrams
Published by Uchi No Hikari Kyokai in 1979.
Publisher’s number: 0072 - 53502 - 0301. No ISBN number.


(Creative Origami)

159 pages. 180 x 257mm. 81 models.
Forty-three coloured plates; some tinted diagrams
Hard-backed, with dust cover. ISBN no. 4 - 14 - 031028 - 6
Published by Nippon Hoso Kyokai in 1984.
( N H K. is the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation.)


(Happy Origami)

182 pages 125 mm X 182 mm. Paper backed, in a transparent plastic sleeve,
ISBN 3-07-921540-1. It contains mainly simple models.

This book must be distinguished from other books by Yoshizawa with the title “Tanoshii Origami”.

It has a Koala ber carrying her cub on the front cover. It is consequently often known as “Tanoshii Origami, Koala Book”.


(Origami Reader II).

98 pages. 180 x 257mm. 40 models. Sixteen coloured plates.
Hard-backed, with dust cover.
Published by Kamakura Shobo in 1986.
ISBN no. 4 - 308 - 00400 - 4.

This book was announced for publication many years before its actual date of publication.

22. ORIGAMI MUSEUM I. (English Language).

78 pages. 215 x 290mm (A4). 35 models.
Black and white illustrations with tinted diagrams. Paper-backed.
Published by Kamakura Shobo in 1987.

A translation into English of the unaltered text of Origami Hakabutsushi I (No. 16, above) with an added introduction by Lillian Oppenheimer and a short outline of the life of Akira Yoshizawa.

(Note that Origami Hakabutsushi 2 has apparently never been published in an English- language edition.)

23. ANTOLOGIA DI ORIGAMI – ANIMALI (Italian Language.)

This is the Italian translation of Origami Hakabutsushi I (No.16 above).

It was published by Il Castello of Milan in 1983 in connection with a visit by Yoshizawa to italy.


(Lively Origami)

198 pages. 60 models.
Published by Sojusha Inc. in 1996. Paper-backed.
ISBN No. 4 - 916096 - 31 - 2.

(The translation of the title “Inochi Yutaka Na Origami” into English is not easy and has been variously given as “Life-enhancing Origami” or “Life-Affluent Origami” or “Full-of-Life Origami”. I have chosen “Lively Origami” because it sounds more natural in English.)


The cover also bears the words in Roman script: “Akira Yoshizawa: ORIGAMI”.

136 Pages, Paper backed, 200 mm x 200 mm. Published in 1999. No ISBN

The book is primarily a splendid collection of coloured photographs of Yoshizawa’s models to accompany the great exhibition of his work held in the Ginza, Tokyo in October, 1999 and subsequently in Kyoto and other Japanese cities to celebrate his 88th birthday the previous March..

At the end of the book there are 26 pages of instructions for folding models which are followed by a short illustrated summary of Yoshizawa’s life.

This book must be distinguished from other works with the same title by Yoshizawa.


Notes of other publications containing models by Yoshizawa.


In his comments on a Panel Discussion about Origami held at the 10th Annual convention of the Friends of the Origami Center in 1988, Yoshizawa wrote the following:

“I have been told that my creatures have feelings. But here is another approach that is more mechanical. There was a time when I folded mechanically and geometrically.

My book Origami Shoukou” – “Technical Origami” was published in 1944 and is an example of this approach”.

Despite Yoshizawa’s claim that “Origami Shoukou” was his own book, it was, in fact, by Isao Honda. (The title is usually spelt “Origami Shuko”).

Nevertheless, the book does contain a section of models by Yoshizawa, which are clearly recorded in the book as his. They contrast sharply with the remainder of the models in the book. .Each of Yoshizawa’s models has his seal or monogram beside it and they include examples of his models of animals made from two separate squares of paper.

Origami Shuzo is extremely rare and for some reason Honda insisted that it was published in 1941 (before the beginning of the Pacific War). He claimed that no copies still existed. It is true that most copies were destroyed by bombing during the War, but a few copies certainly do survive.

Origami Shuko is mentioned in the original edition of “The World of Origami” by Isao Honda (not in the abridged paper backed edition) and the references throw interesting light on the relationship between Honda and Yoshizawa.


Instructions for folding models by Yoshizawa appeared regularly in the following magazines:

Fujin Koron (Ladies’ Opinion): April- December, 1952; January – September, 1959.

Shufu no Tomo (Young Ladies’ Friend: From 1954.



1. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, catalogues issued by Japan Trading Publications Ltd (who distributed Japanese books in the West) included an announcement of a new book by Yoshizawa to be named “The Joy of Origami”. The book never appeared, at any rate in this form. Nevertheless, it may have appeared in a different form as one of Yoshizawa’s later books included in this list.

2. ISBN numbers have been allocated retrospectively to some of the earlier books. I have included some of them in this list, but there may be others. Does anyone have any information about any others?

3. I welcome all corrections and clarifications and notices of omissions from this list

4. I thank all those subscribers to Origami-L and my private correspondents who have helped me in the compilation of this list and in particular I thank Joseph Wu of Canada, Marcia Mau of the United States and Doris Lauinger of Germany for thir special help.

This list was compiled by David Lister,
First compiled 3rd September, 1996.
First Revision 8th June, 1997.
Second Revision 28th March, 2006.

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