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Google Doodles Akira Yoshizawa's 101st anniversary

Google has celebrated the work of the Japanese artist known as the grandmaster of origami. Akira Yoshizawa might not be a name you've heard of, but it's one Google is introducing to you today.

That's because the search engine's latest doodle, celebrating the Japanese artist's 101st anniversary, shows off exactly why Yoshizawa is known as the grandmaster of origami (yes, the noble art of paper folding, usually only seen in this country in the form of napkin swans).

The doodle consists of an origami fashioned authentic Google logo, complete with four strategically added butterflies perched on various letters.

It was actually produced not by Google's usual in-house artists, but a well-known contemporary American origami expert who wanted to pay tribute to Yoshizawa, Robert J Lang.

Lang is a physicist who has focused on the mathematics and theory behind origami, and the art's potential application in the real world (beyond napkin swans and into the territory of engineering).

Yoshizawa himself was born in 1911, and worked as a technical draftsman, teaching other employees geometry using paper folding as part of his lessons. In his mid-twenties, he left his job to pursue his passion for origami, but lived for some considerable time in poverty.

Eventually, in the 1950s his talent was recognised, and he was commissioned to produce the project which marked the turning point in his career, the twelve signs of the Japanese zodiac.

Yoshizawa is also credited with developing many origami techniques, including wet folding. He passed away in 2005.