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Books referring to Kan no Mado

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 9:55 pm
by Tamsyn Francoise
The book " A Japanese Paper-folding Classic " ( Excerpt from the lost Kan no Mado ) from Julia and Martin Brossman exhibits a unique collection of paper folded models from " Ocho and Mecho" to gift wrappers for festival days , to figures of folklore art or historically important individuals from Early Japan.

Not so long time ago, I received as gifts three wonderful volumes books about great japanese artists of the "Floating World" from different periods and different schools.(among them, the masters Hiroshige and Hokusai).
Of many of the models( if not most ) referred in "A Japanese Paper-folding Classic" ,I found an illustrated representation in those books.

"For example, the six famous poets (also called"Rokkasen "page 54) ,insects, flowers, persimmon,
manzai ( on page 20 , a comic dancer which traces its origins back to the Heian period and usually performed as a pair in New Year celebration) or the crane (on page 30,which construction differs from the very known crane, because made of six-folds unusual patterns and pieces cut off)"

From the authors J & M Brossman ,"The manuscript and its translation provide a unique and comprehensive insight into the relation of paper folding to japanese culture of the time".
Beside, the reader has to learn how to construct the models in a very challenging way, both requiring folding and cutting. The book , an edition of the Starr´s copy,refers to an old japanese manuscript "Kan no mado" ( or preferred named Kayaragusa).
It has many pages of introduction of history records, significance of the models as well as the technique of their construction. Some works have been omitted probably because they were not good representations.

Kunihiko Kasahara has written a book in japanese, which I think is titled " Saishin Origami no Subete"
It includes the models from the Brossman´s Book , also the thousand cranes (Sembazuru Orikata) and the Chushingura Orikata showing human characters of the famous play Chushingura, requiring even more intricate paper folding skill.
Unfortunately,I do not own any copy of Kunihiko Kasahara book´s ,but I could flick through it.
It also refers to the Kan no mado .
The Kan no mado ( now lost ), in itself , is believed to date at least from the mid-nineteenth century.

Sorry if this article, will sound a bit confusing, but in my interest of history in origami, I am also searching in paper folding in Japan. The monthly NOA magazines usually write articles about it. But I can´t read japanese.

It seems that the history of japanese origami is not very well documented (at least in english).David Lister wrote interesting articles.
Isao Honda in his books "Noshi" and The World of Origami has an historical introduction, figures from Kayaragusa or Kan no mado, and others.
If anyone has some more information, books or references...I would be very happy to read preferably in a western language.

Soon, I will submit the details of " A Japanese Paper folding Classic" in the origami database
Françoise alias "Tamsyn"

Re: Books referring to Kan no Mado

PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 8:24 am
by JGimeno
I find it interesting to open the field of historiography of Japanese origami. Ignorance of the Japanese language to beg us beyond where we find information.
We pass information on two Japanese classics that are not easy to know.
On the "Chushingura Orikata" I have only the representation of these two pictures and the text of Toshie Takahama he published in "The Origamian" (New York, Vol 7, Issue 1 - Spring 1967, p. 2).
On the art of wrapping you see the classic Ise Sadatake, "Hoketsuki" of 1764:

Re: Books referring to Kan no Mado

PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 8:58 am
by JGimeno
The Chushingura's image was too heavy. Sorry

Re: Books referring to Kan no Mado

PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 9:56 am
by Edwin Corrie
For anyone interested and with a few hundred euros or dollars to spare, "A Japanese Paperfolding Classic" is available through Amazon:

And this is the Kasahara book that Tamsyn refers to (最新・折り紙 or "Origami saishin no subete", which I think means something like "Newest origami" or "Latest origami"):

Don't know how easy it is to order through Amazon Japan, but there seem to be some secondhand copies available quite cheaply. I used to see it for sale at origami conventions, and now I wish I had bought it when I had the chance.

Re: Books referring to Kan no Mado

PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 7:10 pm
by jtbm71
According to David Lister, the book title Kan no Mado was a wrong translation form the Japanese, the real name of the publcation is Kayargusa. Chaeck this: ... nomado.php

And you can get an autorized copy fo the book "A Japanese Paperfolding Classic" at: ... 54930.html

Good luck,

Jose Tomas Buitrago

Re: Books referring to Kan no Mado

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:43 pm
by Edwin Corrie
Thanks José for the link to the new copies of "A Japanese Paperfolding Classic".

It turns out I do have the Kasahara book, but with a slightly different cover. The first part of it is a study of folding methods for various linked crane figures and other models shown in the illustration that Juan posted.

Another book with interesting historical material - in English - is Kasahara's "The Art and Wonder of Origami". Chapter 2 is on "Origami Masterpieces of the Edo Period". I can't summarise it all here, but there is a discussion of "Ranma-Zushiki (1734) and Kasahara's exploration of some of the models in it. It's readily available from Amazon, and the "Look inside" preview shows a good selection of pages from it.