Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

 

 
Paper Crabs and Lobsters
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of paper crabs. 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.

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Crabs

In Japan

1845

There is a design for a Crab made from a square partially divided into four smaller squares by cuts in the Kan No Mado, which is usually dated to 1845.

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1931

Diagrams for a design similar to the crab from the Kan No Mado appear in 'Origami (Part 1)' by Isao Honda, which was first published in Japan in 1931.

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In Western Europe / the 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.,'.

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1900

Diagrams for a crab from a cut frog base appear 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.

The introduction states, roughly, 'Today we continue our Japanese folds, and we are going to show you how to make a crab. Madame Kawada, of whom I have already spoken, with a paper four centimetres square can easily make a tiny one centimetre crab; it is enough to tell you that, with a little patience, and by taking a sufficiently large paper you will arrive at a good result.'

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1931

'La Nature' of 8th January 1931 contained an article headed 'Les Pliages de Papier' and subheaded 'Le Crabe'.

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1932

A crab made from a frog base (the legs are separated using cuts) appears in Booklet 4 of 'Images a Plier', a series of 6 booklets published by Librairie Larousse in Paris in 1932.

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1939

'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero, which was published by G Miranda in Edicions Infancia in Valladolid in 1939, contains diagrams for a crab, 'El cangrejo del mar' which is essentially similar to the design in 'Images de Plier'.

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Lobsters

1845

There is a design for a Lobster made from a square partially divided into four smaller squares by cuts in the Kan No Mado, which is usually dated to 1845.

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