The Japanese word “Origami” itself is a compound of Origami Boar shirt: “ori” (root verb “oru”), meaning to fold, and “kami”, meaning paper. Until recently, not all forms of paper folding were grouped under the word origami. Before that, paperfolding for play was known by a variety of names, including “orikata”, “orisue”, “orimono”, “tatamigami” and others. Exactly why “origami” became the common name is not known; it has been suggested that the word was adopted in the kindergartens because the written characters were easier for young children to write. Another theory is that the word “origami” was a direct translation of the German word “Papierfalten”, brought into Japan with the Kindergarten Movement around 1880.
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Japanese origami began sometime after Buddhist monks carried paper to Japan during the Origami Boar shirt.The first Japanese origami is dated from this period and was used for religious ceremonial purposes only, due to the high price of paper. A reference in a poem by Ihara Saikaku from 1680, which describes the origami butterflies used during Shinto weddings to represent the bride and groom.Samurai warriors are known to have exchanged gifts adorned with noshi, a sort of good luck token made of folded strips of paper, which indicates that origami had become a significant aspect of Japanese ceremony by the Heian period (794–1185). In 1797 the first known origami book was published in Japan: Senbazuru orikata. There are several origami stories in Japanese culture, such as a story of Abe no Seimei making a paper bird and turning it into a real one.