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Review: "3D Origami Art" by Jun Mitani

Jun Mitani’s 3D Origami Art recently was published in English. For some mysterious reason there seems to be no buzz around this book, although there should be a lot! I decided that I must correct this injustice by sharing my impressions of the book.

3D Origami Art

First of all, it is a book covering 3-dimensional and curved fold origami. How many books are there on the subject? Not many, I think. There are many things in the book that have never been written before in any other English origami books. 
 It is not only that the book shares with us a set of mysterious crease patterns (CP) that would puzzle the reader who thinks “how could people ever come up with such a design?” It would be easier just to publish the CPs. Instead, Jun Mitani explains how one actually can create these designs – and in very understandable language! Brevity is the sister of talent – this saying can well describe the book. In only several paragraphs of text, accompanied by many explanatory illustrations Mitani describes very powerful design techniques for 3-dimensional origami. You can just take those techniques and use them right away. I have been designing curved fold origami myself for several months already, and I know some tricks, but I was really amazed how clearly some things are explained in the book. Each technique is accompanied by several ready designs that give even more understanding. You can not only fold them, but also feel how they work.

And of course, the book contains many crease patterns. You also can download the electronic version of these designs on Jun Mitani’s website… for free! But if you want to learn to design, I definitely recommend you get the book. It is a must have! I can tell you, frankly speaking, that it is ingenious and one of the best books on origami design that you can get, especially if you are interested in geometric origami.


Unfortunately, there is a fly in the ointment. The book price is high, about $40. And for this price you expect a certain quality of print. I expected to have a full color book, or at least a book with thicker, quality paper and photographs. If you ever bought Japanese books, you know what I mean. It is a pity that the publisher pinched on quality. I can understand cutting costs on instruction books, but this book deserves better treatment. This book could become popular not only among origamists, but also among designers, like the books on paper design by Paul Jackson; I have seen those sold in the Gaudi museum shop. I see – I dream to see – Mitani's 3D Origami Art there, in the museum shop, well printed… because it deserves that… but the reality is that I don’t see the publisher even promoting the book much.

You can buy the book at AK Peters/CRC/Press and at Amazon. And you can see more of Jun Mitani’s work here.

Ekaterina Lukasheva