Friday, 5 January 2018

What is Kamishibai?

Kamishibai is a Japanese story telling tradition which, literally translated means "paper play". 
Being utter and complete bike nuts we got inspired by this tradition because during its golden age in the Great Depression, the story tellers would use their bicycles to go from village to village to tell their paper plays.

Here some links to interesting reads about the tradition of Kamishibai.
For the full history and all have a look at the wiki 
Garr Reynolds has a nice, simple introduction to the basics of Kamishibai

Kamishibai is the predecessor to modern day anime and manga with the first super heros appearing in 1930´s kamishibai stories

Golden Bat, in the pic to the left, was originally created in 1931 by writer Ichiro Suzuki and illustrator Takeo Nagamatsu.


The Mechanics of Kamishibai Through the Art of Eigoro Futamata An articel by Tara McGowan who went to Japan to study Kamishibai and discovered that making Kamishibai is more akin to making a film than to making a story book.

Kamishibai illustartion by Eigoro Futamata

Teaching through Myth and Metaphor
A teacher workshop by Margaret Read McDonald containing both the Japanes Kamishibai and Kavad, a story telling box from India.

Includes instructions on how to make a simple Kamishibai box as well as some Japanese vocabulary.

Feeling inspired?
Why not make yourself a Kamishibai theatre out of cardboard with this simple template!

You will need:
- a piece of cardboard 75cm by 47cm or bigger 
- a pencil
- a ruler
- a craft knife and a cutting board

Step 1: draw out the kamishibai template onto your piece of cardboard with help of your pencil and ruler, transfering the masurements from the template onto your cardboard.

Step 2: with the craft knife cut your piece of cardboard into shape, 75cm by 47cm square. Then cut along the red lines and cut out the shapes that are coloured in red.
Step 3: with the pencil and the ruler score all the black lines and then fold them over. Doesn´t matter which way as long as you fold them all in the same direction.
Step 4: Now staple or glue the two overlapping flaps at the top and on one side together to form a slim box with only one side open.

Your theatre is ready!
Now you just need to fill it with drawings and you can start telling your story!