The more I find out about the history of paper-folding, the less exclusively “Japanese” it seems to be. Europe clearly has a long and distinguished history of paper folding. So, I wonder, is our use of the word “origami” the correct thing to do? Certainly, Japan is steeped in paper-folding and the word has all proper the Eastern associations, but I can’t help but think we need to reassess the importance on non-Eastern folding history.
It’s not just a matter of historical context. When I tell students they are going to do “origami”, they rarely know what it is. “Paper folding” sounds much easier and less intimidating, perhaps. I’ve been surrounded by the “O” word for nearly 30 years, but I’m beginning to question if it is the best generic term for what I do.
What do you think?