A paperfolding paradise
The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell
page attempts to record what is known about the origin
and history of the origami design known as the Cicada, of
which there are many variations. 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.
In JapanDiagrams for this design 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.'
In the West
The Cicada does not appear to be part of the Froebelian repertoire and I cannot find it in any of the early books about Froebelian education.
Diagrams for a version of the Cicada which has similarities to the Kabuto design, appear in Margaret Campbell's 'Paper Toy Making', first published in London in 1936. In this case the eyes are simply drawn on once the folding is finished.