BOOK REVIEWS 261 PROPAGANDA PERFORMED: KAMISHIBAI IN JAPAN’S FIFTEEN-YEAR WAR. By Sharalyn Orbaugh. Leiden: Brill, 2015. €119, $151. Kamishibai (“paper show” or “paper theatre”) is a Japanese art and performance form that emerged in the 1920s and lasted (as a popular medium) into the 1960s. Presented to audiences of children, a kamishibai performer, known either as a kamishibaiya or kamishibai no ojisan (“uncle kamishibai,” the term Orbaugh uses), would begin by selling candy or other treats and then deliver a story or series of stories which were also painted on illustrated cards, set in a frame and shifted as the tale unfolded. Stories ranged from simple fairy tales to melodramatic serials that went on for multiple installments. As an entertainment, kamishibai was inexpensive and accessible; moreover, its value was also seen as an educational tool in classrooms and other pedagogical venues (called kyōiku kamishibai). Although kamishibai as a viable entertainment option disappeared with television, its legacy continues in several ways; it is still used as an educational medium and, as it evokes a strong sense of nostalgia, some gaitō kamishibai (street- corner kamishibai, the popular medium) are now presented at museums and at tourist locations. (This author met a
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Apr 5, 2018
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