The Public Paperfolding History Project

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The Cicada / The Simple Cicada
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami designs known as the Cicada and the Simple Cicada. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

The Simple Cicada

As far as I am aware this design first appears in 'Origami (Part 1)' by Isao Honda, which was published in Japan in 1931.


The Cicada

In Japan


Diagrams for a version of this design first appear on page 36 of the Kan No Mado, written in 1845. It is one of only a handful of designs in this manuscript that is folded from an uncut square. The instructions say, 'Twist both corners with fingernails to make the eyes.'



A drawing of a version of the Cicada appeared in 'Kindergarten Shoho' (Preliminary Kindergarten) by Iijima Hanjuro, which was copyrighted on October 4th Meiji 17 (1884) and published by Fukuda Senzo in August of Meiji 18 (1885).



A drawing of a version of the Cicada appears in a monozukushi-e print, by an unknown artist, but said to be from the Meiji era. I have temporarily assigned it the date of 1912, the last year of that era, pending the discovery of more accurate information.



The design also appears in 'Origami (Part 1)' by Isao Honda, which was published in Japan in 1931.


In Western Europe / USA


Diagrams for another version of the Cicada (which has similarities to the Kabuto design), appear in Margaret Campbell's 'Paper Toy Making', which was first published by Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Ltd in London, probably in 1937, although both the Foreword and Preface are dated 1936, which argues that the book was complete at that date. In this case the eyes are simply drawn on once the folding is finished.