Kamishibai Corner

Thoughts, musings and discussions weekly about kamishibai, Illustrating, and picture books.

I have been traveling and then had house guests for the past several weeks, but now I finally am returning to my synopses of the articles in the special issue “Kamishibai’s 100 Years.” The next article I will introduce in this post is actually my favorite so far. It is “from the archive” of the Children’s Research Center in Tokyo, which published this special issue. I find it to be an interesting choice after the 5-person discussion summarized in blog posts 3 and 4 because it takes up the same topic—the Future of Kamishibai—only from an earlier point in time: 1996. The author, Kamichi Chizuko (1935-2000) was a creator of kamishibai stories, a scholar of kamishibai, and an author of children’s literature. She was the head of the Kamishibai Research Association and headed the Executive Committee of the All Japan Kamishibai Festival. She was also on the committee that awarded the Takahashi Gozan Prize, mentioned in Blog Post 2. I have always like Kamichi’s writing and used her highly informative History of Kamishibai (紙芝居の歴史, 1990) when writing my own publications. I wish I could have met her in person, but she died in 2000, just as I was beginning my kamishibai research. This article was first published in 1996 in the journal Kanagawa Culture (神奈川文化) and again in 2000 at the time of her death in the Association for the Advancement of Kamishibai Culture Newsletter.  According to Kamichi, 1996 was an especially promising time for kamishibai in Japan. The full title of her article is “The Future of Kamishibai: Reborn as a Medium for Human Interaction.” Kamichi begins by listing various signs of a kamishibai renaissance, including the popularity of several recent published kamishibai, the publication of major retrospectives about the heyday of street-performance kamishibai, and, as the last generation of street-performance artists retired, […]