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Kamishibai is the tradition of Japanese storytellers that rode bicycles with their story box to tell illustrated stories to children. I will use my bicycle to go to public spaces to tell stories using my photographs in the story box. Stories will be interactive using ventriloquism with puppet characters . Stories will be drawn from personal experience to teach lesson of respect for the natural environment and its creatures.

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Tags: Bicycle, Kamishibai, Storyteller, box, photography, puppets, story, ventrioquism


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Comment by Joerg Baesecke on May 15, 2009 at 2:43am
Hi Gary,

could you possibly show a short sequence of photographs here (and then I will try to imagine the story myself)? I am curious how concrete pictures (= photographs) might work.

Dear Kath, thank you for your response, too. Yes, I work a lot with black and white, and with my pictures I am close to the style of woodcutting, but it is paper (my favourite material, for several reasons). I will prepare a short sequence and will show it either here or on my page - soon!

All the best from the South of Germany

Comment by Bill and Kath Worsfold on May 14, 2009 at 5:07am
The first picture on Joerg's page looks like an excellent professionally done photo. Black and white can be so stunning! The picture on the stage looks like a woodcut. Really interesting.

Kathy Lamb Worsfold

Bill & Kath - Kiwi Entertainers!
Comment by Gary P Green on May 13, 2009 at 4:59pm
Thank you so much Buck for the names of the storytellers that use the Kamishibai approach. It is great to have exchange with tellers to share and perfect our craft.

Dianne I just want to say how much I enjoy this site. Congratulations on bringing us all together through Professional Storyteller. I believe each person has a mission in life to contribute value to humanity. You have made your vision a reality in a materialistic self serving world by building a community. It is through community that we grow in respect by supporting each other in our craft. By establishing this site you have added tremendous value.

That's great that you wrote a book on Kamishibai Theater. I will see about getting a copy.
Comment by Gary P Green on May 13, 2009 at 4:52pm
Hi Reisa. I'm indebted to you for making me aware of this site and trying to match me to like minded tellers. I look forward to learning much from the exchanges we share.
Comment by Reisa Stone on May 13, 2009 at 3:44pm
This is great! And strange. Layne and Gary, I was going to introduce the two of you today. I thought you'd hit it off. Now my friends are friends. And I didn't even know Layne was interested in Kamishibai.

Comment by Dianne de Las Casas, Founder on May 13, 2009 at 12:31am
Dear Gary:

I actually wrote a book, Kamishibai Story Theater: The Art of Picture Telling, which is published by Libraries Unlimited. I love the method of Kamishibai and tour the country teaching educators and librarians the technique as well as expanding it into a story theater method. Thanks for bringing this up!

Dianne de Las Casas
Author, Storyteller & Recording Artist
Founder of Professional Storyteller
Comment by Don 'Buck P' Creacy on May 12, 2009 at 8:07pm
May I introduce you to Harold and Jonatha Wright. Tandem Tellers from Ohio and frequent visitors to Japan to teach at University and they have such a little bike and tell wonderful tales using the story pictures in a little box on the back.

They are fluent in Japanese and have spent many years collecting and telling those wonderful tales. You will be richer by their acquaintance and they are my dear friends and members of the Kentucky Storytelling Association. They can be found quite quickly by going to and clicking on the "Find a Teller" Link.

Tell them I said hello

Buck P Creacy
Working America's Storyteller
Comment by Tim Sheppard on May 12, 2009 at 12:25pm
There's a little on Kamishibai, with links to further web resources, on my Traditional Storytelling resource pages at - just scroll down to Japan. There's more on storytelling traditions of Japan and many other countries, and I'm very happy to receive resource links, or informed amendments, additions or new entries, from anyone who can share.

By the way, Kamishibai didn't start in the thirties, but 300 years ago, though presumably they didn't have bicycles then!
Comment by Gary P Green on May 12, 2009 at 11:51am
Hi Joerg
Thanks for your comments. Enjoyed your page showing your story box. I believe we can learn from other cultures and adapt them to our own use. You have done an excellent job with your black and white silhouettes. My passion is photography so I like to use photographs with my stories. One thing about the Kamishibai is that you don't have to worry about technical failures.
Comment by Joerg Baesecke on May 12, 2009 at 11:44am
Hi Layne and Gary,

I share this interest, too.

I came to know the Kamishibai from a Dutch friend and now I tell local stories from Munich with this tiny theatre. The pictures I use are mostly black/white=silhouettes - I have painted and cut them myself. If you like have a look at my page here - there are two photos showing me with my Kamishibei. I have developed something special for it - animated silhouettes - close to cartoon. And I agree - these simple techniques work very well even in the age of computer technology.

A classical Japanese Kamishibai-Story is always done with 12 pictures. It is not really told - the text is read from the back of the last picture. (The backside of the theatre is open for the performer so that he can read the text.)

Kamishibai started in the 30ies of the last century - during the world economy crisis. The performance at those days was combined with the selling of sweets. Those who bought sweets were allowed to watch from the front, those who didn't buy could only stay in the back and just listen.

If you like to have more information have a look here: IKAJA = International Kamishibai Association of Japan ( or perhaps ask me.

All best




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