Finnish Origami Artist Creates Incredibly Detailed Samurai Warriors From a Single Sheet of Paper

February 23, 2021 Updated: February 24, 2021

Origami is an awe-inspiring Japanese artform that uses a single square piece of paper to create everything from paper cranes to little boats that float. But one artist from Finland is taking his origami creations to the next level with incredibly intricate figurines created from just a single sheet of paper.

Juho Könkkölä, from Jyväskylä, spends an astounding three months planning and folding his origami pieces, usually fantasy figures (such as the knight shown below), which are so striking, many people cannot believe he doesn’t use any cutting whatsoever.

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Knight (2020) (Courtesy of Juho Könkkölä)

His newest piece is an intricate samurai warrior in full armor (below), headdress and all, brandishing a katana (a Japanese curved sword, worn by aristocracy). The work has garnered international attention for its incredible detail.

“I got the idea for the character from my previous origami samurai warrior, which I did almost a year ago,” Juho told My Modern Net in January. “The artwork was a success on its own, it pushed my style in a direction that I didn’t expect, but I knew it was something that needed to be explored more. But it still left me thinking that I could fold a better samurai.”

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Samurai (2021) (Courtesy of Juho Könkkölä)

In an endeavor most wouldn’t even dream of taking on, he decided to perfect his samurai-folding art, and started remaking the figurine in the fall of last year.

“I used the previous samurai as my starting point and I began to redesign its features one by one,” he said. “I ended up redesigning all the parts, and I constantly found new ways to add more detail to the character.”

According to the artist, the figurine uses a square sheet of Wenzhou rice paper, approximately 37.4 inches (95 centimeters) long.

To achieve the detailed folds of the samurai’s armor, Juho had to pre-crease much of the paper, a process which alone took him two whole days.

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Samurai (2021) (Courtesy of Juho Könkkölä)
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Juho’s original Samurai Warrior (2020), which was the template for the latest version. (Courtesy of Juho Könkkölä)

“The pre-creased paper has [a] huge amount of folds, and even after folding those,” he wrote on Instagram, “there is still a lot of work before it is finished. You can see how each of the parts develop in the folding process.”

To shape and finish the figurine took roughly a month. He then used binder clips and folds of decreasing size to make the samurai appear more three-dimensional.

The final product took three months to complete, from the planning stage to the finishing touches.

My Modern Met reports that it took the artist four rounds of folding before he completed the final figurine, which stands on its own squarely, a proud warrior with his shoulders back, ready to engage any who would challenge him.

Among Juho’s other works are figurines of a winged Valkyrie (from Norse mythology), a hunter shooting a bow and arrow, and a running assassin reminiscent of Ezio from the popular video game “Assassin’s Creed.”

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Valkyrie (2020) (Courtesy of Juho Könkkölä)
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Assassin (2020) (Courtesy of Juho Könkkölä)

His Instagram followers can’t wait to see what else he has in store.

“Wow!!! These are incredible!” one commenter wrote.

“So amazing,” said another. “You are a real artist!”

It’s unclear what Juho might have up his sleeve next, but if his recent work is any indication, we know his next project won’t disappoint.

Here are a few more of Juho’s intricately detailed origami fantasy figures:

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Herne the Hunter (2020) (Courtesy of Juho Könkkölä)
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The Lord of the Dragon (December, 2020) (Courtesy of Juho Könkkölä)
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Louhi (2020) (Courtesy of Juho Könkkölä)
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Spear Warrior (2020) (Courtesy of Juho Könkkölä)
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Helmet variation of the knight (2020) (Courtesy of Juho Könkkölä)
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Finnish Maiden (2020) (Courtesy of Juho Könkkölä)

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