It is generally believed that origami originated from Japan, but, as there are few records, this is not certain. Nevertheless, Japan developed origami into an intense art form that still exists to this day.
In the past, instructions for origami were passed down in spoken form and not written down. Some say that origami first originated in China in 1st Century, in which paper was then brought to Japan by Buddhist monks in 6th Century. Others claim that paper was made in the 8th Century by the Arabs, with Moors bringing the art of paper folding to Spain in the 12th Century. Spain then spread to South America, and as trade routes developed, origami was thus introduced to Europe and then the United States.
Paper was not that available in the early days, so only the rich could afford to paper fold. Often, gifts came in the form of origami and popularity increased.
In 1797, 'How to Fold 1000 Cranes' was published and contained the first written instructions on how to fold a crane, a sacred bird in Japan. It was a Japanese custom that if a person folded 1000 cranes, they would be granted one wish. This is otherwise known as the Senbazuru.
From the early 20th Century, Akira Yoshizawa, Kosho Uchiyama, and others began creating and recording original origami works. Akira Yoshizawa, in particular, has been a monumental figure in the innovative art of origami, creating many original designs and inspiring a renaissance of the art form.
Mathematics were later used in studying origami, thereby leading to more complex origami models. As a result, there are many types of origami, such as 'Action' origami in which creations can move, 'Modular' origami in which many identical pieces put together form a complete model, 'Wet-folding' origami, gentle curves where paper is often made damp, 'Pureland' origami where only one fold may be done at a time, and many, many more.