The Public Paperfolding History Project

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The Tenjin Shrine
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami design known as the Tenjin Shrine. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

It is my guess, and only my guess, that the design represents a temple roof.



The earliest appearance of this design that I know of is in 'Kindergarten Shoho' (Preliminary Kindergarten) by Iijima Hanjuro, which was copyrighted on October 4th Meiji 17 (1884) and published by Fukuda Senzo in August of Meiji 18 (1885). It is the lower of the three designs on this page. The characters in between the picture of the finished design and the crease pattern read 'Tenjin Shrine'



There is a drawing of a paperfold that is probably intended to be the Tenjin Shrine in a print by Ogata Gekko. I am indebted to David Humphries of for telling me that 'this print is part of a small format album titled Nihon Jo Reikshiki (loosely Etiquette for young Women). The album itself was published by Matsuki Heikichi in 1898.'



A drawing of the Tenjin Shrine appears in a monozukushi-e print, by an unknown artist, but said to be from the Meiji era. I have temporarily assigned it the date of 1912, the last year of that era, pending the discovery of more accurate information.



The same design also appears, without a title, in 'Origami Moyo, Book One', by Kawarazaki Kodo, which was published by Unsodo in Japan in 1935.