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Vintage Bookshelf // Happy Origami! 1960


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Oh Happy Origami! So guys, this is a really neat book I’ve been dying to share with you. When you love and collect vintage kid’s books, you really get to know the colors and textures of the spines as you pull them off the shelves. But every once in a while, you get a new surprise. This book was one of them. The book’s soft cover was slightly curved and had an odd spine—tied with twine. I was excited to see it was an origami book—the art of Japanese paper folding! I was really into this as a little girl so I was eager take a peek .As I opened the book, I saw thin onion skin paper imprinted with directions for making charming paper characters. But the fun really happened as I turned the page:

Each page features real dimensional folded origami characters, tipped in on the page! It’s like each page is a little work of art. The book is SO beautiful and lovely. I couldn’t believe it.

Happy Origami: The Japanese Art of Paper Folding, by Tatsuo Miyawaki, printed in Japan in 1960. Published by Biken-Sha of Hiroshima, Japan. My edition is called the “Whale Book”. Wee!

The back cover has a pocket where the colorful squares of folding paper were stored—alas, mine is missing the paper.

I haven’t found much about these books, they seem to be somewhat rare. What I do know, is that Happy Origami was a series produced in the early 60s and in addition to the Whale book there was a Swallow book and a Tortoise book and one other one, that I’m not sure of the title….but look how cute the cover is:

Have you ever tried origami??

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Posted in Vintage Books.


8 Responses

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  1. Tammy/Ms.Tips says

    Oh My Gosh!!! This is the cutest little origami book I’ve ever seen! I was born in Japan and we learn how to make simple stuff when we are in pre-school. Now I work at a Japanese restaurant called “Origami” so it’s part of our job to make origami creatures to put on each table. Someday I get into it way too much and not want to stop! They are like knitting:) I must find a copy of this book, if you’d ever come across another one please let me know!! Thanks for sharing, Alix!!

    • Alix says

      Tammy! I just saw this comment. Oh now I’m even happier you found a copy!!!!

  2. Poppy says

    That is absolutely fabulous! I recently found a 1967 copy of Mon Kiri Playtime, it’s a Japanese paper snowflake instructional book for children & it’s just brilliant! I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for these origami books, the little polka dotted mushrooms on the cover are too much!

    • Alix says

      Oh wow, that sounds wonderful! Did you post about it? You should! I’d love to see!

  3. ashley says

    What great texture! Love, love, love!

  4. Dottie says

    Whoa. Alix. Just WHOA! This is having me run to Daiso and grab some papers this afternoon. I DIE! Seriously, where do you find these gems?

    And could we talk about that great font in the book cover. WANT!

  5. jeannie says

    This book is so awesome! I won a box of vintage children’s books at an auction a few months ago and there were two copies of the Whale book inside! I sold one in my shop and just had to keep the other copy. I carefully untied the tie at the spine and took the pages out and hung several of them up. The one with the mushrooms is my fave. That one is hanging in my room.

    Thanks for sharing about this!

Continuing the Discussion

  1. laugh make nurture organise play » Blog Archive » Trend Alert: Origami all the way linked to this post on April 17, 2013

    […] Happy Origami 60s book series by Tatsuo Miyawaki via Present & Correct. Take a look inside. […]



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