Even if you've never heard the word origami before, chances are you've seen a paper crane.

Along with the beckoning manekineko cat, the Daruma doll and Mount Fuji, the paper crane (in Japanese, 折り鶴 orizuru) often appears in the commonly used (and overused) iconography symbolizing Japan.

Andreas Bauer Origami-Kunst, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

You'll also see long, colorful garlands of one thousand colorful paper cranes, known as 千羽鶴senbazuru. Since cranes are considered sacred, it was believed that folding a thousand paper cranes would grant wishes. In modern times, they are given to those who are ill to wish for their recovery, to athletes to wish them victory, or as offerings at war memorials to wish for peace.

Like many Japanese people, Twitter user たいせい Taisei (@junkfood081) knows how to make paper cranes. But unlike most people, he decided to make a few changes to the original design.

Take a look at Taisei's origami crane that made 140,000 people laugh on Twitter:

"A crane sitting in 'gymnastics style' "

Reproduced with permission from たいせい Taisei (@junkfood081)

Reproduced with permission from たいせい Taisei (@junkfood081)

A part of Japanese elementary school life, 体育座り taiiku-zuwari (literally "gymnastics sitting") is sitting on the floor grasping one's knees. It is the way students are required to sit whenever there are no chairs available or when the teacher specifically asks students to sit on the floor to gather around, pay attention to something, etc. In the photo below, students at a sports festival are sitting in the yard lined up in a row.

The variation on this familiar origami amused many Twitter users, with comments such as: "I couldn't stop laughing," and "I actually laughed out loud," and "Wait... This isn't a crane anymore (lol)."

At the same time, perhaps it's a combination of the body language conveyed by taiiku-zuwari—since any pose involving holding one's limbs potentially communicates the desire to be comforted—on the one hand, and the angle of the crane's head which might be interpreted as drooping down, on the other, but there were comments such as: "I want to console him," "Poor fellow, does he need help?" and "The melancholy of this crane..." as well.

Taisei also had a few other variations showing off the potential of his new crane form:

If you want to make one yourself, it's relatively easy, and only requires a few snips of the scissors:


Start by making a paper crane. You'll easily find instructions online, but here's a simple schematic:

Origamidesigner, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Make an origami crane
  • 1. In step 16 (or 17) in the diagram above, cut the flap opposite to the head in half lengthwise with scissors to make legs.
  • 2-3. Cut both wings in half lengthwise with scissors, and shape into a hand or something similar.
  • 4. Pose as desired.

Origamidesigner, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Why not give it a try. You can show off your creations to your family and friends or post them on your social media account.

By - Ben K.