Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Five origami books by Shuzo Fujimoto are now public domain (kosmulski.org)
620 points by mkosmul on Oct 23, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 50 comments

I folded his hydrangea design recently, following a video tutorial[1]. It is amazing. The finished model is a beautiful fractal flower. The folding steps aren’t terribly hard to do, but robinhouston‘s description - „magical and startling“ - fits this model very well.

[1] https://www.happyfolding.com/instructions-fujimoto-hydrangea

Shuzo Fujimoto designed the most magical and startling origami model I've ever seen, the Fujimoto Cube. Fortunately that one is famous enough that you can find instructions and videos online, but most of his designs are hard to find. I recently enquired on Twitter about his design for an octahedron, which I was able to find only because a kind stranger responded with a samizdat copy. It's very exciting that his wonderful designs are to become more readily accessible.

Why is a cube 'startling'?

I'm not so well-versed on the aesthetics and expectation of origami, but I can see a few things that seem notable about this cube design (based on a video of someone constructing it [0]):

- Most of the work is done by a single folding motion, i.e. starting from a pre-creased paper, one motion gets you almost all the way to the cube

- All of the visible surface is from the active side of the paper

- the cube appears to be very structurally stable (considering it is made of paper)


Also that slide maneuver to get the initial cube shape is really remarkable. It looks like a magic trick.

Many thanks, that is really satisfying to watch!

The slide into the first folding motion is magical and I'm glad they just go ahead and repeat it in the video because it deserves many viewings.

I hadn't heard of it, but I checked out a random video Watching how it comes together, there is a step (around 0:40 in this video https://youtu.be/rVfiPAlXdik) where the cube just seems to magically form by itself. It's really neat

Thanks for the time of the key move. I'm a little proud that I wasn't attention-deficit enough to take advantage of it.

In a single rotation of the Earth sphere, each Time corner point rotates through the other 3-corner Time points, thus creating 16 corners, 96 hours and 4-simultaneous 24-hour Days within a single rotation of Earth – equated to a Higher Order of Life Time Cube.

Watching "Between the Folds", a documentary about Origami is 56 minutes well spent.


This is my favorite documentary! I've been folding origami for 13 years and this was definitely one of the catalysts.

in the US, you can watch it free with a library card on Kanopy[1] (if your library subscribes to Kanopy ofc)

[1] https://www.kanopy.com/product/independent-lens-between-fold...

I love Kanopy, and I'm glad to see it mentioned here. However, the content you get access to varies based on which library card you use for your account. For instance, I used my university library card, and got access to some content. However my roommate used his public (non-university) library card and he has access to even more content (including way more "Great Courses" lectures--my school library hardly had any)! Needless to say he is logged in on my device. :)

It's heartwarming to see children freely sharing the legacy of their parents.

These look wonderful. Sadly the introductory pages which seem to show/explain theory and techniques are probably not understandable without translation. Is there already a project working on this?

Not yet, unfortunately, since I don't speak Japanese myself. Google lens helps with some segments but produces garbage for others. These books are not the most approachable and many sections do require some background in geometric folding. Hopefully, with the books being PD now, we'll be able to get help and make them more accessible to everyone. Meanwhile, you can find links to instructions for a few Fujimoto's works scattered around the web (on youtube, on my web page at https://origami.kosmulski.org/ and other places).

something im doing wrong but i cant get to the folding instructions...pls help?

On the details page of each book, there is a Google Drive link buried within the description.

oh i found them alright, but i meant their folding instructions for their own designs.

To be clear, I haven't tried any of them, but the diagrams seem pretty thorough. I'd imagine if you've done origami before, you'll be able to work it out with some trial an error. I'm certain there's some very valuable wisdom locked up in the text, but if you're just wanting to make the pieces, the info is there.

When I was learning origami, before the internet was available, the few books I could find beyond basic ones in English were all entirely in Japanese. You can get very far with just the diagrams even for complicated geometries, though it takes a good amount of trial and error and effort. However nowadays I can simply use my phone's Google Translate camera to see the translations superimposed on the image itself!

I haven't done much since I was a teenager, but once you have a feel for the basics, even non-standard diagrams are plenty to learn a new pattern. It seems so complicated, but most origami comes down to just a handful of techniques. That's one of the coolest things about the art, imo. There may be 100 steps, but those steps are all variations on a few different folds.

If you're familiar with Fuse Tomoko's work on his origami, and her books are much easier to read, it should be much easier to undestand.

I have used google lens with French origami book. Works well.

This looks really interesting.

Can some kind soul please upload (at least one) of these books to archive.org? That seems a much better place for Public Domain works than google drive.

I understand that the people releasing the books may not be tech-aware enough to realize that many people will not download them from google drive (this is not for technical reasons).

This looks like an interesting option I did not think of. Can anyone upload there? If so, I'll upload them myself. I was mostly aware of the Internet Archive and did not think of archive.org when it comes to books.

Yes, anyone with an account can upload https://archive.org/create/

Great, then I'll give it a try

Apparently a kind soul bet me to it and already uploaded the files to archive.org: https://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Shuzo+Fuji...

Thank you so much for doing this (or, at least, intending to) and apologies for calling you "not tech-aware" :)

Also thanks to our anonymous benefactor who actually uploaded the books to archive.org.

"You will get a better Gorilla effect if you use as big a piece of paper as possible." -Kunihiko Kasahara, Creative Origami.


This is the second time I've come across free out-of-print books on HN, that were hosted on google drive, preventing me from downloading them. The previous were computer books by Usborne.

Why do people do this? Please use a sharing site or make a torrent if on a budget, find a friend who knows how.

What exactly do you mean by "sharing site" and why is that more accessible to you than GDrive?

A site that allows you to download files, there are many.

Gdrive is the only one I've encountered that has prevented that, twice now.

Following the advice of another commenter, I'll upload the files to archive.org

Apparently a kind soul bet me to it and already uploaded the files to archive.org: https://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Shuzo+Fuji...

Nice, thanks for the info.

Love public domain availability news. Bdw You can also listen to public domain LibriVox audiobooks on iOS at https://apps.apple.com/app/id6443647742

This is great! What else in the public domain is available like this? (through a nice & sleek app?)

There should be a matching Project Gutenberg ebook app, "gutebooks" (I have it on my Android phone) which allows you to switch back and forth between audio and text book.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have an option to pay to remove adds/paid books as the audio version does.

just got into folding polyhedrons and thanks for this post :)

> Sorry, you can't view or download this file at this time.

> Too many users have viewed or downloaded this file recently

Anyone got it mirrored?

Seems to be working now.

Apparently the trick was to use Chrome instead of Firefox Mobile

What is the best English language source to get started? Also, what is the best English source for kids?

"Akira Yoshizawa. Japan's Greatest Origami" is a great place to start. it has models ranging from very simple to medium complexity. From there you can look into popular authors like Michael LaFosse (who appears in the documentary). He has many books for beginners (his butterflies are very famous). Once you are confident on your skills, get an insect book from Robert Lang to experience the Dunning-Kruger effect in full force.

For kids, it depends on their age. Mine started around 5 and 6 with small origami kits I bought in amazon (printed in creases makes things easier). For older kids you can find many books with specific themes. Just find one that your kid is interested in (animals, boxes, Pokemon, Star Wars, etc). They all tend to be rather simple.

Also, avoid printing paper. It only works for very simple models. Tuttle publishing sells some nice packages with 100~200 sheets that are nice for simple to medium models.

You can also find tons of free diagrams on the internet. /r/origami in Reddit also has a nice community you can check out.

-Edit I forgot to mention Jo Nakashima. He has a youtube channel with great videos to follow.

Thank you. Looks like I have a lot of homework.

This is amazing! Anyone know where I can purchase high quality paper versions?

Unfortunately, paper versions are currently very hard to obtain. The last reprint was in 2007 (Twist Origami 1-3, and Introduction to Creative Playing with Origami), and the volumes were too little to match growing interest. When starting this project a year ago, I already had most of the books, but getting those I didn't own was very difficult. The copy of Solid Origami I grabbed was - I believe - literally the last copy I could find on the English-speaking internet. I grabbed it from Kim's Crane (https://kimscrane.com/) and I think they had a copy or two of Fujimoto's other books at the time.

If there is an origami society in your country, they may have some of these books in their library (rules for lending may vary, of course).

These books being so difficult to find was one of the reasons I wanted to ask Fujimoto's heirs to release the books to the Public Domain.

Very cool. Please get in touch if I can be of assistance in getting a new run printed (breck@publicdomaincompany.com)

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact