Final Project: Kamishibai Digital Archive – The Art of Japanese Storytelling

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 7nn4pgm

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 After hitting the send key on my final project proposal a few short hours ago, I can already think of ways to improve it.  I am proposing a digital archive called: Kamishibai Digital Archive – The Art of Japanese Storytelling.  In summary, the archive would attempt to: 

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 “preserve the existing legacy of gaito (street-style) Kamishibai, a Japanese cultural treasure and form of paper theater and storytelling (sometimes referred to as “Street-Corner Theater”) popular in Japan with a growing audience across cultures (rising interest in this form of storytelling in the United States, Europe, and throughout Asia).  It will center around the story cards created and used during the “Golden Age” of Kamishibai–considered to be between the Great Depression of the 1930s to the Japanese surrender to the Allied forces in 1945.  It will also serve as a portal to understand the cultural impact (relationship to contemporary forms of storytelling) of this art form, its influences (Buddhist scrolls), and its legacy (Manga).  Tools to be used will be the online publishing platform Scalar or Omeka, Carto for mapping, and Timeline.js for creating an interactive timeline.  An ultimate goal will be to include a platform where students, scholars, researchers, and any interested party can learn about this medium and then create their own kamishibai stories using a platform like FOLD, an open source story creator developed by MIT Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media.”

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 You can read more of my proposal here.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 There are some serious limitations on this project, however.  First and foremost is the access to content (kamishibai story cards) that can be digitized.  There are several cultural institutions in the U.S. that have some of the pictures from the golden age of gaito (street) kamishibai, but most of the materials would be available in Japan.  As much as I would love to visit there next semester, I do not think it is possible at this moment.  I do have a librarian colleague that is from Japan and she will be traveling there this spring, but I cannot rely on her to gather all the materials for me.  Nonetheless, she could be instrumental in helping me contact the various archives, museums, and libraries in Japan that have kamishibai in their collections.  Even if I am able to get my colleague to do some object gathering for me, I am not sure if there are many cards from the time period I am interested in focusing on.  My project proposes to focus on street performed story cards produced in the 1930s to 1950s.  I am not fully aware of the current availability of materials from that period.  More research is needed to determine the amount of objects available from that time.  Nonetheless, I have identified cultural organizations and can begin reaching out to determine this information.   Finally, another limitation of my proposal is that I have not fully worked out the timeline and all the key events relating to this cultural moment.  I plan to continue my research to work out a more detailed timeline.  I also plan to include images in the timeline (and hopefully the location of where they were created and performed to be incorporated into the map component of the project) so that the images can be included in the timeline.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 My first introduction to kamishibai was a few short months ago at a friend’s theater performance and I was so struck by the medium that I think it is a worthwhile undertaking to create a digital archive to preserve the history, evolution, and cultural influences of kamishibai.  I am excited to reach out to Tara McGowan (author of Performing Kamishibai: An Emerging New Literacy for a Global Audience, 2015) and Eric P. Nash (author of Manga Kamishibai: The Art of Japanese Paper Theater, 2009) who both live in the trip-state area.  I think they will be excited by the potential of this project too! 

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One Comment

  1. Posted December 22, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Please keep me posted as you progress with this. I would like to mention it in ResearchBuzz. Thanks!

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