Performing Kamishibai: An Emerging New Literacy for a Global Audience

Kamishibai (paper-theater), a Japanese picture-storytelling medium, is gaining global interest as we move from a text-based culture to one that emphasizes multiple semiotic systems and performance. This is the first volume to explore the potential of kamishibai as a dynamic “new” interactive medium for teaching multimodal communication and shows how synchronizing oral, visual and gestural modes develops students’ awareness of all modes of communication as potential resources in their learning. By examining the multiple modes involved in kamishibai through actual student performances over several venues, this volume overturns commonly held expectations about literacy in the classroom and provides a critical perspective on assumptions about other media. It offers much-needed information about a medium that is attracting interest from educators, academics and artists worldwide. 

The Kamishibai Classroom: Engaging Multiple Literacies through the Art of “Paper Theatre”.

Kamishibai is an interactive storytelling form that allows students to develop mastery of multiple literacies, while also learning to combine these literacies effectively. The Kamishibai Classroom: Engaging Multiple Literacies Through the Art of “Paper Theater” introduces innovative ideas for using kamishibai performance and story creation as a teaching tool. The hands-on, interactive workshops outlined here were all developed in public school classrooms and other venues in the United States and are perfect for getting students involved in the fun and learning that occur when they create and perform original stories.

This elaborately illustrated guide provides step-by-step instructions for implementing kamishibai workshops in the classroom and integrating them into interactive performances across the disciplines and for all ages. It covers a broad range of techniques used by kamishibai practitioners in Japan past and present, showing the connections from early traditions of picture-storytelling in Japan up to present-day manga and animé.

Title Features:
• Includes original narratives with suggestions for how to incorporate them into hands-on workshops
• Offers a pictorial history of kamishibai and how it evolved out of various etoki (picture-storytelling) traditions in Japan
• Presents more than 160 original illustrations and drawings
• Provides an appendix with instructions for how to make kamishibai stages from readily available, recycled materials

Commissioned with a Japan Foundation grant for Washington and Lee University.