Shuzo Fujimoto’s 100th Birthday

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Related people: Shuzo Fujimoto

Shuzo Fujimoto teaching at the Italian Origami Convention on 1988-11-01. Image from NOA magazine 166 (1989), received courtesy of Hitoshi Fujimoto.
Shuzo Fujimoto teaching at the Italian Origami Convention on 1988-11-01. Image from NOA magazine 166 (1989), received courtesy of Hitoshi Fujimoto.

Shuzo Fujimoto (藤本修三), a Japanese master of geometric origami, was born on October 27th, 1922, exactly a hundred years ago today. Fujimoto not only created a number of stunning models such as the fractal Hydrangea, the Fujimoto Cube, his Apple, or dozens of single-sheet stars, but was also a pioneer of origami tessellations as a genre, and of using the hex grid in general. He devised many useful geometric constructions in folding, and used mathematics as an origami design tool at a time when this was not a common approach yet.

Near the end of 2021, when I realized that 2022 would mark Fujimoto’s centenary, I set out to make this year the Year of Shuzo Fujimoto. Here is a short summary of what has happened since:

  • I learned a lot about Fujimoto’s life and wrote his biography which you can find at
  • The Catalog of Fujimoto’s Works (CFW) I created contains a listing of his models and assigns each a unique identifier, the CFW number, so that we can easily discuss even models that do not have any name. While still work in progress, it contains more than 400 designs already.
  • While working on CFW, I had to fold a number of Fujimoto’s models which involved reverse-engineering many since instructions found in his books are often very brief and skim over many intermediate steps.
  • Shuzo Fujimoto’s heirs, his children Hitoshi Fujimoto and Shumi Okada, agreed to have his five self-published books placed in the Public domain so that anyone can use them for any purpose. These books are now available online as PDF files (follow links from his biography page mentioned above).
  • On October 22nd, 2022, we held a big origami event which I organized together with Ilan Garibi and Guy Loel. Almost 200 people from all over the world attended. You can view the opening presentation and messages from some people who knew Fujimoto (David Brill, Satoko Saito, Tomoko Fuse, and Hitoshi Fujimoto) in this video: Fujimoto Centenary - Introduction.

While the online meeting was in a way the pinnacle of celebrations of the Year of Shuzo Fujimoto, I have plans for further work:

  • Publishing pictures of more models
  • Preparing photo- or video-tutorials of some designs which are not so easy to fold based just on the books
  • Publishing more materials related to Fujimoto’s life. Apart from lots of pictures, articles, and other information I already received, people keep contacting me and presenting new and interesting information. Just yesterday I received never-seen-before pictures of models folded by Fujimoto himself from Roberto Morassi. There is still a treasure trove of information and artifacts waiting to be discovered. Translating the text of his books from Japanese may also yield interesting insights not apparent from just the pictures.
  • Continued work on the Catalog of Fujimoto’s Works
  • If time allows, I’d like to write some posts about Fujimoto’s work. One interesting subject could be reverse-engineering his tessellations based just on pictures, another describing how his hexagonal stars form a system of models built from largely interchangeable components.

PS: The secret “special helper” mentioned in my first post about Fujimoto’s centenary was Ilan Garibi. We wanted to keep the online meeting a surprise until we were sure we would be able to prepare an attractive agenda.