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What is Kusudama?

Updated: Jul 9, 2022

Kusudama is a Japanese word composed of “kusu” means medicine and “dama” means a ball. At first, kusudama is a hanging ball made of fragrant flowers and tassel. Japanese people give this ball for sick people to wish them cure by hanging it over curtain. Later they replace real flower with paper flower because real flower may be toxic to some people. Venus Kusudama is an example of the first change.

People use origami to make paper flowers and hang together by thread. Then they design a variety of origami flowers and glue together. Flower Kusudama is an example of this type. It become a gift and decoration in Western wedding event.

In 1970’s, origami artists develop a technique called modular origami. They fold many pieces of origami and assemble a ball using no glue. Tomoko Fuse designed many modular origami ball and published many books such as Origami Floral Globe, Unit Origami Fantasy, and Unit Polyhedron Origami. The modular origami ball can look like a flower ball, a star or a geometric polyhedron. Many origami folders are interested in this kind of origami. They try to create new designs and become a community online. They use the word Kusudama to be any modular origami ball.

In summary, Kusudama is evolved from flower ball to paper flower ball using origami and then any modular origami ball. While it is changed, Kusudama meaning of “medicine ball” is still valid because folding many pieces of paper to make a kusudama is a meditation practice which help people stay away from mental disorder and benefit children in many skills such as fine motor skill, patience skill and creativity skill.

Kusudama is a medicine ball.