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Kami-shibai (Japanese: 紙芝居) is a storytelling performance with picture cards, and is a traditional Japanese entertainment for children. In Japanese "Kami" means paper and "shibai" means drama or enternainment. The performer tells a story and shows pictures from scene to scene. Kami-shibai is a bidirectional media which is comprised of actions and reactions between a performer and audiences. With the spread of television, kami-shibai went out of date.[1]

The origins of kamishibai are not clear, but its roots can be taced back to various picture storytelling traditions in Japan such as etoki and emaki scrolls and other forms of visual storytelling which date back centuries. However, the form of Kamishibai that one thinks of today developed around 1929 and was quite popular in the 30s, and 40s, all but dying out with the introduction of television later in the 1950s.[2]

Typical kamishibai consists of a presenter who stands to the right of a small wooden box or stage that holds the 12-20 cards featuring the visuals that accompany each story. This miniature stage is attached to the storyteller’s bicycle. The presenter changes the card, varying the speed of the transition to match the flow of the story he is telling.

References[change | change source]

  1. Enjelvin, Géraldine D. "Kamishibai: how the magical art of Japanese storytelling is being revived and promoting bilingualism". The Conversation. Retrieved 2021-11-14.
  2. "Kamishibai: Lessons in Visual Storytelling and Presentation from Japan". Presentation Zen. Retrieved 2021-11-14.