Mecho from Kayaragusa

Mecho from Kayaragusa is a noteworthy origami model because it is one of the first examples of representational origami. The instructions on this page shows how to make Mecho – the female butterfly similar to the one shown in the 1845 publication Kayaragusa.

This information is derived from “Wrapping Origami” by Yoshihide Momotani (1993). Momotani describes for 3 pairs of paper butterflies:
  • Classical Mecho & Ocho (from Kayaragusa)
  • Formal Mecho & Ocho (Traditional), and
  • Regular Mecho & Ocho (Traditional)

The Classical Mecho is shown below. In his book, Momotani uses white paper with a red border; however, it is likely that the original butterflies made in the 1800’s were made with white paper only. Most ceremonial folds from that era were made with white-only paper.


Instructions to Fold Mecho from Kayaragusa



In step 4, fold only the top layers. Allow the back flaps to swivel towards the front.


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If you do a google search for “sake bottle decoration” you will find many examples of Mecho, Ocho and other celebratory folds. Such a search did not result in an image of classical Mecho and classical Ocho as described above. It would seem as if this version of Mecho/Ocho is no longer practiced.

mechoThe only image remotely similar is this one showing bamboo water dispensers which are used for the “water alignment” ritual performed on the morning of the wedding day.

Careful examination of the striations on the paper decorations show that they are simply folded in a manner similar to that done for classical Mecho/Ocho. Compared to the instructions above, the only difference is that at step 3, the flaps are folded out without turning the model over. Could this be the only remnants left of Ocho and Mecho from Kayaragusa?


Books about Origami Butterflies

  • Butterfly Origami by Roman Diaz
  • Butterflies in Origami by Nick Robinson
  • Easy Butterfly Origami by Tammy Yee
  • Origami Butterflies Mini Kit: Kit with Origami Book, and Instructional DVD by LaFosse and Alexander
  • See books with: butterflies

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