Japanese grandpa makes papercraft food models


For diners with dismal Japanese skills, the realistic plastic food models displayed outside restaurants are a lifesaver. Not only can you just point and order with simple gestures, but these models also give you a good idea of what the dish would look like. 

Plastic food models are so popular that some people even collect them. But this Japanese grandpa’s papercraft food models will put the plastic ones to shame. Made entirely out of paper, these papercraft food models have a sense of delicacy that can’t be achieved with plastic.


Japanese grandpa makes papercraft food models as a hobby


japanese papercraft food models - takoyaki food model
Image credit: @meganenooo

japanese papercraft food models - christmas desserts food model
Image credit: @meganenooo

Kazuhiko Nishitaki, a 74-year-old grandpa from Osaka, started making papercraft food models as a hobby in 2016. According to Asahi Shimbun, it started when he pranked his wife with a pie snack made entirely of paper. After seeing how easily the paper pie snack tricked his wife, he started making them more often and realised he was pretty good at it.

japanese papercraft food models - meganenooo twitter account
Image adapted from: @meganenooo

In February 2019, Kazuhiko’s son, Naoto Nishitaki, started a Twitter account under the handle @meganenooo, which translates to “grandpa in glasses”. 

Naoto started the Twitter account because he wanted to document the items that his father made and share it with others. He felt that it was a shame to throw it away after all the effort that went into making it.

japanese papercraft food models - meganenoo instagram account
Image adapted from: @meganonoo and @meganonoo

The father and son duo also have an Instagram account, which they use to share images of Kazuhiko’s latest works. In an interview with Nippon, Naoto mentions that his father has started using social media to see how his works are received. 


How the papercraft food models are made


japanese papercraft food models - real vs fake cup noodle
Image credit: @meganenooo

Before Kazuhiko starts making an item, he usually purchases the actual item and examines it closely to decide the colours he needs. Only after deciding what colours to use, does he start the making process.

japanese papercraft food models - pizza food model
Image credit: @meganenooo

When Kazuhiko first started making papercraft food models in 2016, he would use a piece of cardboard as the base before pasting paper and fabric to create the final product. However, over time, he found that this method resulted in models that were fragile and didn’t hold up well.

japanese papercraft food models - gif making food
Behind-the-scenes of making omurice
Image adapted from: @meganenooo

Now, he uses papier-mâché to create a base and layers traditional Japanese paper over it. He doesn’t always document the production process but occasionally shows snippets with behind-the-scenes photos and videos.

japanese papercraft food models - collection of coloured paper
Kazuhiko’s collection of Japanese paper
Image adapted from: @meganenooo and @meganenooo

The papercraft food models are made entirely of coloured paper and involve neither painting nor additional dyeing. To make the food models look as realistic as possible, Kazuhiko has a large collection of paper in different colours on hand. He also keeps scraps of paper according to their colours in transparent plastic bags.

Some of these papercraft food models can be made within 1 hour, but it can also take as long as 3 days. It depends on the item and how detailed it is.


Netizens’ reactions


The majority of netizens were amazed and shocked that these food models were made entirely out of paper. Many also praised Kazuhiko for making it look so realistic.

japanese papercraft food models - tweet
Image adapted from: @irumako369

User @irumako369 was amazed that the food models were made of Japanese paper and expressed her amazement with a string of exclamation marks.

japanese papercraft food models - tweet
Image adapted from: @sakusya_azana

japanese papercraft food models - tweet
Image adapted from: @yokoi0919

Netizens like user @sakusya_azana and user @yokoi0919 thought the papercraft food models were real photos of food. User @sakusya_azana only realised they were fake when he took a closer look at the photos. Nonetheless, the photos of the food models made him hungry.

japanese papercraft food models - tweet
Image adapted from: @dIlaX2qu0oZ2jMV

User @dIlaX2qu0oZ2jMV couldn’t believe that the food models were made using paper and commented that it must have been tough to select the right colours to use.


Papercraft food models made by a Japanese grandpa


Besides looking extra realistic, these papercraft food models can also help introduce Japanese food to others around the world. For more of Kazuhiko’s works, follow his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

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Cover image adapted from (clockwise from top left): @meganenooo, @meganenooo, @meganenooo, and @meganenooo

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