History of Kamishibai

What is it all about? Well, it is a traditional Japanese storytelling, street performance art which translates as paper theatre. This art form was developed in the late 1920’s.

Traditionally a Kamishibai Man would travel around the neighbourhood and from village to village on his bicycle with a theatre frame on the back. Children would know he had arrived at the sound of his wooden clappers, (hyoshigi) an instrument made from wood.

To earn a living the Kamishibai Man would sell sweets to the children who came to hear the stories. A good performance and variety of stories could help guarantee a good sized audience and therefore more sales of sweets. If you bought some sweets you got the best seats in the house right at the