Origami Ambassador

From Akita Wiki

Blue Sky English Course 3 (2021) pg. 100-104

There was a man called the "origami ambassador." He traveled around the world with a heavy backpack full of origami paper. He could not see at all.
His name was Kase Saburo. He lost his eyesight when he was about ten. He started origami just for fun. At first, people said it was impossible for him to fold origami. Still, he learned origami by touching other people's works. Moreover, he began to create original works.

In the 1970s, many refugees from Vietnam came to Japan. They lived in refugee centers. One day, Kase visited a center to teach origami to Vietnamese children. When he first came into the room, the children were afraid of him and kept silent.
Kase soon took out origami paper and folded a lot of origami. The children were surprised and very pleased. He began to teach them how to fold origami. At the end of the class, the children made paper planes and flew them together. Kase hoped they could live in peace.

After the experience at the refugee center, Kase was interested in teaching origami to foreign children. He visited 49 countries and taught origami to children there.
When he visited Boston in 1981, he met a boy called Alex. He had no fingers. Kase taught him how to fold a fox. It was easy to fold. Alex made it by using his wrists and elbows. When he finished the fox, he called it "Hello Fox." Since then, this origami fox has been called "Hello Fox."

In 2003, a big earthquake hit Iran and many people were killed. Kase visited a shelter in Iran to teach origami to the children. They enjoyed origami very much. Then, one girl asked Kase to fold a house. Her family lost their house in the earthquake. So did most of the children. Kase taught them how to fold a simple house. The children made houses with colorful origami paper. They prayed their houses would never be broken again.

Kase met many children who suffered from wars, natural disasters, and illness. In spite of difficulties, they never forgot to smile. They fully enjoyed folding origami. To meet such children, Kase continued to travel around the world. He said, “I'll visit any place, if there is a child who wants to meet me."
In 2008, Kase passed away at the age of 81. Some of Kase's students have become teachers and welfare center staff members. Now they are teaching origami to children. Kase's wish will be carried on by them.

See also