Japanese storytelling event comes to the Folk Art Center

Ikebana International of Asheville opens its 2012 program year with a cultural exploration of Kamishibai (kah-mee-she-bye), a form of Japanese storytelling.

“The Paper Crane,” one of Japan’s best-loved children’s stories — described as “paper-theater” — will be presented by cultural liaison Emiko Suzuki of Japan and Hendersonville. This event will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 10 a.m. in the auditorium of the Folk Art Center, Milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

As an art form, Kamishibai began as early as the 9th or 10th centuries when priests used illustrated scrolls combined with narration to convey Buddhist doctrine to lay audiences. Kamishibai has enjoyed a revival since the 1920s and is prevalent today as an educational tool for schools, libraries and corporate businesses.

Says Mrs. Suzuki, “Since my childhood, kamishibai has been my favorite method for storytelling. In school, I would be mesmerized as the storyteller would flip the pictures. The stories always provide moral or ethical principles as well as a look at traditional Japanese culture. In fact, the Kamishibai traditions have gone on to influence Japanese films today.”

For more information on the group’s programs, teachers and workshops, contact Patti Quinn Hill, chapter president, 828-712-6633


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