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The Kabuto or Japanese Helmet or Samurai Helmet / Goldfish / Nagakabuto or Party Hat
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami design known as the Kabuto, Japanese Helmet or Samurai Helmet. 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 Kabuto / Japanese Helmet / Samurai Helmet

In Japan

1845

There is a note in the 'Kan No Mado', usually dated to 1845, which lists a helmet among those designs which are already well known and which are therefore not included in the ms (in order to spare the writer's brush). Unfortunately we cannot be completely certain that this note refers to the Kabuto and not to some other design.

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1878

The Kabuto is pictured in a publication issued in 1878 by the kindergarten of the Tokyo Women's Normal School.

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1885

A drawing of the Kabuto 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).

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1931

Diagrams for the Kabuto also appear in 'Origami (Part 1)' by Isao Honda, which was published in Japan in 1931

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In Western Europe / USA

1889

'La Nature' of 28th September 1889 contained an article headed 'Recreation Scientifiques' and subheaded 'La Grenouille Japonaise en Papier' (The Japanese Paper Frog) which mentions the Paris Exposition of 1889 and states (here in translation) 'We also noticed in the exhibition other designs among which were the crab from red paper, the junk and the hat of Daimios (demon), the parrot etc.,' It is possible, although lacking an illustration hardly definite, that the hat of Daimios referred to here was the Kabuto.

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1900

A version of the Kabuto called 'La Coiffure aux plumes de paon' (The hat with peacock feathers) appears in an article in the French children's magazine 'Mon Journal', probably in 1900, although I have not been able to identify the exact date of the article.

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1922

The earliest appearance of diagrams for this design that I know of outside Japan is in 'Houdini's Paper Magic', published by E P Dutton and Company of New York in 1922, which contains diagrams for a design called 'The Chapeau'. This design is the same as the normal Kabuto except that the horns, here called 'cockades' are folded at a lower position. The Chapeau is said to be of Japanese origin.

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1928

A version of the Kabuto, with the cockades folded in a high position, appears in an article titled 'Tricks and Twists with Paper', written by Sam Brown, in the February 1928 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine.

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1937

A version of the design with a decorative border to the front bottom edge appears as the 'Japanese Helmet' in 'Paper Toy Making' by Margaret Campbell, 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.

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1948

The Kabuto appears as the 'Chinese Knight's Helmet' in 'The Art of Chinese Paper folding for Young and Old' by Maying Soong, which was published by Harcourt Brace and Company of New York in 1948'

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1956

Two versions of the Kabuto appear in 'Paper Magic' by Robert Harbin, which was published by Oldbourne in London in 1956, first as 'The Martian Helmet', although the text also says: 'Origin: Japanese Fighting Man's Helmet' ...

... and then as simply 'Another Hat'

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1959

The 1959 Rupert Annual contained instructions for folding the 'Another Hat' version of the Kabuto under the title of 'Rupert's Paper Cap'.

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The Goldfish

1931

As far as I know the Goldfish first appears in 'Origami (Part 1)' by Isao Honda, which was published in Japan in 1931.

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Nagakabuto / The Party Hat

1931

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

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