I read in the news today that one of the oldest manufacturers of Origami papers in my homeland had filed for bankruptcy. It started out as a paper-dying company over 120 years ago and they had since been producing solely Origami papers.
It came as quite a bit of a surprise for me. For the vast majority of the grown-ups in my homeland, they are known as the leading maker of the “educational” Origami papers. Even if their company name does not ring a bell, we could instantly recognize their products because they are so familiar to us.
It was also hard to believe because, although I do not have the exact numbers, I thought the Origami population was growing – we now have many elderly homes in my homeland holding Origami hours as exercise to keep their brains activated, and I hear about more and more Origami lovers around the world.
But, at the same time, I could easily see it coming. It seems they stuck to their good old way for too long, until it was too late to steer clear of troubles ahead. Simply put, they were not able to change quickly enough with the fast-changing times.
So, we have one less Origami paper maker. That’s okay, we still have plenty of others readily available… or is it? Maybe we are losing a lot more than we realize with their demise?
Maybe we are losing their good old paper-dying techniques.
Maybe there are more efficient and effective ways today, but maybe there are some historical value to their way and it ought to be preserved.
Maybe we are losing the “educational” aspect of Origami.
Maybe there are more state-of-the-art gadgets today that require our digits to manoeuver in order to explore the virtual world, but maybe Origami is still a good tool to develop manual dexterity and spatial perception.
Maybe we are losing the heart that goes into folding papers.
Maybe our young minds today do not know that some shapes and figures we fold have special meanings – that maybe we fold into them our hopes and dreams (for example, cranes have become a symbol of peace for my people), or respect and appreciation (maybe you have noticed that when I serve sweets along with tea, I have folded paper underneath them?).
Maybe I am overreacting to just another company going out of business. But I would rather be aware and cautious of what other losses it could potentially lead to, than not care about it at all and do not realize just how much we have lost until it is all gone.
I have plans to go see my grandmother in a couple of weeks, to celebrate her birthday. Maybe I will take some Origami papers to fold with her, so I can gain some quality time and fond memories with her. She will probably soon forget, but it will mean a lot to me… more than she will ever realize.