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iPad gives kamishibai stories with the modern technology
12 Ocak, 2011 | 10:11

Kamishibai Stories

iPad 2 gives  kamishibai stories with the modern technology / Technology iPad 2 News

A traditional kamishibai, picture card show, storyteller is using modern tablet computers to introduce new elements of improvisation and interactivity to his craft.

Kamishibai  storytelling has a long tradition in Japan, using large picture boards to illustrate stories told on the street, and used to be a popular form of children’s entertainment.

Now, modern technology is giving the neglected tradition a new lease of life.

At a performance in November in Kunitachi city, Tokyo, Yuta Sasaki asks his audience to give him the names of their favorite TV celebrities, and gets an unexpected answer from a young girl in the audience: “Papa!”

New iPad 2011 / importing photo  into the iPad 2

The 28-year-old storyteller,Yuta Sasaki,  is unruffled, quickly shooting a photo of her father’s face with cellphone and importing it into the iPad 2 that forms the center of his act. The tablet computer displays the images that punctuate  narrative, replacing the picture boards of tradition.

Yuta Sasaki proceeds to spin a yarn about the girl’s father fighting and defeating a villain, complete with illustrations of him in the center of the action.

While storytelling has always integrated elements of improvisation and interaction with audiences, Yuta Sasaki says modern technology is far more flexible than the old picture boards, allowing him to improvise narratives and add images from the Internet and camera as he talks to audience.

A feeling of spontaneity runs throughout his work. Musicians who accompany performances improvise their music, and the performers make a point of not discussing what they are going to do before a story begins. It is all done by the seat of the pants.

“That is part of the fun in it,” Yuta Sasaki says, laughing.

iPad 2 gives kamishibai stories with the modern technology

A graduate of Tokyo-based Keio University, Yuta Sasaki works as a freelance IT worker, making websites and animated videos, and gives kamishibai performances once a month at the Shitamachi Museum in Taito Ward, which is dedicated to traditional downtown Tokyo culture.

Sasaki was first captivated by kamishibai at a university festival, aged 23, and became a disciple of the late Masao Morishita, known as “Mr. Kamishibai.” Sasaki devoted himself to studying kamishibai and Morishita’s unique style.

Morishita died in late 2008. But Yuta Sasaki is still trying to live up to a promise he made to master to “make street kamishibai a normal sight once more.”

iPad 2011 and Kamishibai Stories

The idea of using Apple Inc.’s tablet computer in his performances came to him in August 2010. He says the sliding movement of the operator’s finger on the touchscreen of the iPad  2 to bring up each new illustration fits perfectly with kamishibai tradition.

“It resembles the movement of kamishibai when taking out a card,” he says. “This must be the right choice to make today’s children happy.”

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