Well, rather a left-handed apology, as the injury to him is largely imaginary and thoroughly unintentional, but an apology, nevertheless.
by which I mean, an origami box with radial symmetry and a closure the resembles that of a tato, a traditional Japanese purse. In the past year, I think I’ve made dozens of these: different number of sides, curved, straight, slanted…. My colleague, Mélisande*, has created as many more, using a rather different construction method. The tato box is a good design to play with and we’ve certainly had a lot of fun with it.
This past week, I began to find that these boxes existed in the commerical world — they were being sold in galleries in New York and being used to hold gift cards for a largish dealer of ladies’ nether garments. For a while, being a vain creature, I imagined that these folks were modifying some of my designs — except that they weren’t. Twenty years ago, Kunio Ekiguchi, a Japanese author who writes about gift wrapping, published a design for a twelve-sided tato box in this book. He called it Chrysanthemum Box. The boxes I was seeing were manufactured versions of this and an eight-sided variation. That which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (Including that last line.)
The boxes I’ve folded in the last year are not descended from Mr. Ekiguchi’s — just found out about him — but they sure look as though they might have been. The resemblance is accidental, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or that the resemblance might not have grieved Mr. Ekiguchi.
Such duplication of effort is not exactly a new thing in origami, particularly with the more geometric models. And the fact that someone else already trod these same paths should not stop us from following them where they lead — but it is meet and right to mention those we now know to have been there before us, like Mr. Ekiguchi. (And Lai Chen-Hsiang from Taiwan, too, who has made similar boxes with a different closure method.)