Museum Craft Corner: Origami Sumo Wrestler

October 5, 2012

Crafts, Japan

It’s time for another round of Museum Craft Corner. One of my most favourite museums in the world is the Edo Tokyo Museum. The building is absolutely massive, with lots to explore, and they’ve even got a full-scale kabuki theatre inside!

Last time we visited, a very friendly elderly gentleman showed us how to make origami sumo wrestlers. Despite all the steps it’s not as hard as it looks, so I wanted to share this with you so that you can fold your very own sumo wrestlers at home. All you need is a sheet of origami paper:

  1. Start with your sheet of origami with the white side facing up. Fold your sheet from left to right, and from top to bottom, then unfold your sheet again. You should now have two folds on your sheet, as marked by the dotted lines (you don’t need to draw the lines in, I just marked them to make it easier for you to see.
  2. Fold one of the corners in to the middle.
  3. Do the same for the other three corners.
  4. Turn your sheet over and turn it by 90°  so you now have a diamond shape in front of you.
  5. Fold the right corner down along the middle (again, I have marked this with a dotted line for you).
  6. Do the same for the left corner.
  7. Fold the left and right sides out from behind and smooth flat. It should now look like you have another diamond on top of a triangle.
  8. Fold the triangle behind.
  9. Fold the top half of the diamond down, folding it in half. You should now have created a downward pointing triangle, white side up.
  10. Roughly in the middle of the triangle (I have indicated it with another dotted line), fold the top layer of the triangle up.
  11. It should now look something like this.
  12. Turn it over.
  13. Fold the little coloured tip that is overlapping on to the white bit down, to create a tiny downward pointing triangle.
  14. Fold it in half  (along the dotted line I’ve indicated).
  15. Take the tiny triangle that you folded in step 13 and pull it out a little.
  16. Your little sumo wrestler is ready to go!

To make a sumo wrestling game, fold another sumo wrestler, then make a dohyō (that’s the name of the wrestling ring) by covering an empty cardboard box with paper and drawing a circle on it. I used an empty cereal box and drew around a small plate. Put your two origami sumo wrestlers in the ring and tap your fingers on either side of the box. Whoever’s wrestler falls over or steps out of the ring first has lost. The bigger your dohyō, the longer each round will last.

And remember, if you have a craft idea from a museum that you would like to share, whether it’s from a workshop you took part in or if you work in a museum and run craft workshops, please get in touch!

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10 Responses to “Museum Craft Corner: Origami Sumo Wrestler”

  1. Mary C. Nasser Says:

    This definitely takes origami to a whole new and creative level! Love it!
    Also love that your blog is devoted to museums!
    Art is my passion, but yours is the first blog I’ve found all about museums. :)

    Wishing you all the best,
    Mary (from BYW Bootcamp)


    • jennifuchs Says:

      Thanks Mary, glad you like the blog. In May I was at a blogging conference where they said to find your niche – museums definitely are a niche^^


  2. Jillian in Italy Says:

    I love the Edo-Tokyo Museum! We went there in the spring with our kids and had a guided tour from a friend who works there. So interesting. Love this sumo wrestler game. We’ll try it out this week-end.


    • jennifuchs Says:

      When I was preparing this blog post the only cardboard box I had to hand was a rather small baby cereal box. The game is a lot more fun if you can get hold of a bigger box so that the sumo wrestlers don’t step out the ring right away.


  3. Jasmin Says:

    Hi Jenny, really like your DIY and adore your patience for creating those sumos. I once tried a bookmark (for top corner of the page) formed like a cat by watching the YouTube video. Took me a least 1 hour to complete it! ;)


  4. Ish Says:

    Um, those are ridiculously adorable. Next time I’m Tokyo I know where to go. :)

    -Seraphina (byw student)


  5. larry p Says:

    Thanks for this. I’m old, and would rather work from written instructions than from a YouTube video. My niece in Nagoya just sent me a picture of the sumo dohyo and origami sumotori that my grand nephews (7½ and 10) had made. Naturally, I wanted to make some as well.



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