Kirie Mermaid Card & Japanese Mythology

人魚のカード (切り絵)

Kirie Mermaid Card

I made a kirie mermaid card for my dear friend because it seemed like the perfect theme for someone who has a summer birthday.


Mermaid Sketch

Mermaid sketch

First of all, I sketched the design directly onto black paper (about 120gsm). Initially, I also cut out the separate bubbles. Eventually, I decided not to use them.


A Kirie Mermaid & A Lack of Planning

Kirie Mermaid

The cutout is complete. I had a hard time with the tail fin because the lines were so thin. This is problem with just doing a rough sketch and then deciding the cuts as you go. I should have made a template first as this would have given me the opportunity to decide the cuts before putting knife to paper!?


An Acetate Sandwich

An Acetate Sandwich

Next, the Kirie mermaid was sandwiched between two sheets of acetate. Then, I coloured the bubbles from the back with Pebeo Vitrail.

アセテートに挟んで裏からPebeo Vitrail で裏から着色しました。

A Watercolour Background For A Kirie Mermaid

Underwater mermaid

To create the underwater scene, I made a background with watercolours. Together with this, I made a separate message card.


Where To Put The Message Card?

Message Card

Initially, I intended to place the message card inside, between the kirie mermaid and the background. However, my husband hated it because the message card made the scene look messy when the recipient first removed the card from the envelope. With this in mind, I decided to add a pocket on the back for the message card. ?


Mermaid Kirie Wall Hanging

Wall Hanging

When my friend has finished with the card, she could use the acetate kirie mermaid as a wall-hanging. The only problem is that she has lived in New Zealand for many years, and it’s the middle of winter now. Sorry! ?

カードに飽きたら前面だけ飾っても涼しげです… が考えたら彼女、ニュージーランドに住んでいるので今は冬、真っ只中でした?ごめんね。

Mermaids In Japanese Mythology 日本の人魚伝説

Japanese Mermaid

In a previous post, I wrote about a particular kind of mermaid from Japanese folklore, called amabie.

The oldest record of mermaids in Japan goes back to the time of Emperor Suiko. A report written in the Nihon Shoki stated that a human-like creature was discovered in Hino River, Omi Province, in April 619. In July of the same year, a fisherman in Settsu province caught a child-like creature in his net. It is said that it was neither a fish nor a person and he didn’t not know what to call it. 

In a book from the Kamakura era called ‘Kokon Chomonjyu-’, it describes a creature that was like a fish with a human face. By the late Edo period, Japanese mermaids had become the same as their European counterparts, with a human upper body with a fish-like tail.

Upon searching the internet for information about mermaids, I found an interesting article. It was written by Brent Swancer, an American journalist living in Japan.

The Mysterious Mermaids of Japan





日本の人魚について日本に在住されるBrent Swancerさんという方が書かれた記事です。

The Mysterious Mermaids of Japan



Materials Used 使用品

Black card stock

Black paper

Acetate アセテート

Colouring 着色

ガラス絵の具 Pebeo Vitrail 

水彩絵具 Windsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Sketchers’ Box-24 Half Pans, 24 Farben, Metall-Aquarellkasten

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10 thoughts on “Kirie Mermaid Card & Japanese Mythology”

  1. How beautiful! I love the way you have put the paper cutout onto the acetate. It looks fantastic when the card is standing and the mermaid looks like she is floating in the water. It was very interesting to read about the Japanese folklore! Thank you!

  2. Well Nozomi you’ve done it again … another stunning kirie design! Adore your mermaid & watercolour b/ground, your husband’s advice was spot on for the message card too. Now I’m sure your friend will dream of Summers to come just looking at your beautiful mermaid. So great to read of the Japanese mythology too … Steph x

  3. Stunning creation – the acetate works so well with the mermaid – you must have such a steady hand. Thank you for the lesson once again – its fascinating to read it. Emmax


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