Paper craft creator Haruki Nakamura shows off his brainchild works that transform themselves by being dropped or touched, as well as the process behind creating the pieces, at his studio in Toyama on Nov. 16 and 24. (Video taken by Kazuhiro Takeda)

TOYAMA--With his paper creations that can morph into a 3-D penguin by being dropped on a table or a squid that can do backflips when pressed, Haruki Nakamura is being true to his promise.

“I want to delight and wow people,” said the 51-year-old paper crafter.

Nakamura calls his works "Kamikara," which is the brand name for a series of creations made by the artisan.

“Kami” means paper and “kara” is part of the Japanese word for “wind-up.”

Kamikara are mechanical paper figures representing animals or zombies that can transform themselves after reacting to users’ simple actions such as dropping them or slightly pressing them with a finger.

The artworks can be purchased in the form of paper templates, and then be cut, folded and assembled.

Nakamura focuses on making it easy for users to “craft” while creating a figure that moves in an interesting way. It is difficult for him to do both.

However, he said, “I have never felt that I was bothered by (the process), because it is fun for me to create movements as I plan. This is my calling.”

Nakamura expands his imagination over what movements of a figure will be fun. The professional ponders the mechanism to realize each project by using paper, rubber bands and magnets.

“The crucial process has yet to start,” the creator said.

Nakamura makes fine adjustments by even as little as a millimeter to create trial models over and over again in aiming to complete a work so that “a figure can properly transform itself (in the way he intends) 100 percent of the time.”

“Sometimes, I create so many trial models that I forget in the final phase whether the work is truly fun,” said Nakamura.

He first encountered paper crafting at the age of 27 when he worked as a company employee while continuing to paint pictures.

However, “I was not gifted enough to become a professional painter,” said Nakamura.

He happened to pick up a paper-crafting book at a library and was impressed to see a work that utilized rubber bands, thinking, “What a way of expression.”

The book inspired Nakamura to start to create works while teaching himself on his own.

When he was 35, the artist showed off his works to numerous people at an event for the first time.

“I found out how enjoyable it is to see how people react (to my works),” said Nakamura.

After he turned 40, he quit his company after deciding to make his living as a paper crafter. Nakamura admitted he was anxious about taking the step, but, “I did not want to feel regret for not trying my luck after growing old,” he said.

Shortly after he became independent, a representative of a publishing company came across Nakamura's creations and offered him a contract to publish a book featuring paper templates of his works.

That has led to the publication of eight books in total, to date, part of which have been translated and marketed in Taiwan and China.

Videos posted on the Internet showing off his works became a hot topic of discussion and gained attention overseas.

Nakamura still is trying to improve his creations through seeking designs that allow users to easily cut paper and not have to use glue.

“At the very beginning, I want users to enjoy themselves," he said. "If they recognize while cutting or folding a figure, small helpful parts that I came up with, I will be happy.

“I want users to really touch and try my works by hand to enjoy themselves and be surprised, instead of just watching the videos.”

Visit the official website at ( to learn more about Kamikara or purchase the paper templates or books by Nakamura.