Akira Yoshizawa was born on March 14, 1911 in Kaminokawa, Japan.
Yoshizawa pioneered many techniques, including wet-folding. In this technique the paper is dampened before folding, letting the folder create a much more rounded and sculpted look. This was considered by many to be the paradigm shift of sorts that allowed origami to become an art form, as opposed to a quaint oddity of folk craft.
According to his own estimation made in 1989, he created more than 50,000 models, of which only a few hundred designs were diagrammed in his 18 books.
Yoshizawa acted as an international cultural ambassador for Japan throughout his career. In 1983, Japanese emperor Hirohito named him to the Order of the Rising Sun, one of highest honors that can be given to a Japanese citizen.
Akira Yoshizawa was featured on 14 March 2012 as Google’s doodle, 7 years after his death.