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Kami-shibai - Japanese Paper Theatre in the UK

Date: Tuesday 12th August 2008 [16:50] | Posted By: Joe

We've received some interesting details about a very special Kami-shibai showing in the UK. The paper theatre performances from Japan used to entertain children in an age before television. This is form of story telling had a direct influence on the evolution of manga.

Fans in the UK should keep their September free to attend at least one of these extremely rare events:

Friday 19 September: Chester Beatty Library, Dublin www.cbl.ie
Saturday 20 September: Urbis, Manchester www.urbis.org.uk
Sunday 21 September: Liverpool Biennial 08 at "Atelier Bow Wow" www.biennial.com/content/LiverpoolBiennial2008MADEUP/Artists1.aspx
Monday 22 September: Japan Foundation Language Centre, London workshop for Japanese language teachers
Tuesday 23 September: Barbican Centre, London, as part of "Osamu Tezuka 80th Anniversary Season (18 - 23 Sept 2008)" www.barbican.org.uk/ilm/series.asp?id=600

As always with popular events we recommend booking early to avoid disappointment.
Full Story
Press release as follows:

Kami-shibai: Paper Theatre in the good old days in Japan
18 to 23 September 2008, Dublin/Liverpool/London/Manchester

Kamishibai or paper theatre performance, considered a prototype of Japanese animation, was very popular as a form of street entertainment in Japan until the early 1960s. This is the irst ever kamishibai performance and workshop tour in the UK. Yushi Yasuno, who has been dedicated to Kamishibai for 40 years, and his young assistant will perform various Kamishibai works including Ogon-Bat and an episode by the most celebrated Manga writer Osamu Tezuka whose works include "Astro Boy". Yasuno will also demonstrate how to make Kamishibai, and encourage audiences to try out their own.

Around 1950, when Kamishibai began to decline due to the growing popularity of TV, many characters and certain forms of expression found in Kamishibai have been transformed into Manga. Before TV arrived in Japan in 1954, more than 10,000 traveling storytellers entertained nearly ive million children and people every day with Kamishibai or Paper Theater performance. Kamishibai was seen everywhere on the streets in Japan until early 1970. Children rushed outside to view Kamishibai shows on hearing the sounds of clappers or
drums beaten by Kamishibai performers, who brought a wooden frame and picture cards on bicycles. Kamshibai performers also sold sweets to kids which was one source of their income. Kamishibai was also used as a medium of education at that time.

Even though kamishibai performers have disappeared from the streets, Kamishibai shows continue to entertain at schools and day-care centres. Today, Kamishibai, a cultural asset invented in Japan, is being introduced throughout Southeast Asia, Europe and North America.


Introduction by: Paul Gravett and Helen McCarthy
Kamishibai Team: Yasuno Yuushi (nicknamed as Yassan) and Yumi Yasuno, Kamishibai performers in
residence at Kyoto International Manga Museum www.kyotomm.jp/yassan.html
Kyoto International Manga Museum www.kyotomm.jp
Paul Gravett, Journalist/comic historian www.paulgravett.com
Helen McCarthy, Animation critics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_McCarthy
Akiko Yanagisawa, Producer, Mu:arts music & culture from Japan www.muarts.org.uk
This project is supported by: Japan Foundation Great Britain, Sasakawa Foundation and Japan Society
This is an official UK-Japan 150 event www.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/japanuk150/events/theatre/Kamishibai.html

Source: Japan UK 150

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