In his menagerie of moveable animal puppets, Japanese designer Haruki Nakamura adds a mechanical touch to the ancient art of paper crafting. Inspired by kirigami—an origami-like technique that employs cuts in addition to folds—Nakamura creates paper dolls that move in unexpected and unusual ways.
Crafted from paper and cleverly constructed, each whimsical creature puts a paper twist on karakuri, or mechanized puppets. Like traditional karakuri, each figure’s movements are prompted by human touch. This means that when pressed, poked, or prodded in certain places, the puppets come alive. Whether they’re shedding surprising disguises, showcasing amazing acrobatics, or coming out of their shells (literally), the animals exhibit both the capabilities of the kirigami craft and Nakamura’s creative approach to paper dolls.
While Nakamura sells his delightful dolls in his online shop, they only ship within Japan. However, if you’re overseas and would like to get your paws on your own paper puppets, you can learn how to create your own with Karakuri: How to Make Mechanical Paper Models That Move. Or, if it’s kirigami that has piqued your paper interest, check out Kirigami: The Art Of Folding & Cutting Paper.