Kamishibai (紙芝居), literally "paper drama", is a Japanese ancient form of storytelling, but is perhaps best known for its revival from 1920s to the 1950s.


The Kamishibai is an ingenious and effective instrument for cultural and reading entertainment. It is a theatre for pictures that comes from Japan, an important work tool used by storytellers. It consists of a little wooden suitcase and some illustrated boards; each one of them has the illustration on the frontside and the text on the backside: when the storyteller is reading the story, he can see the text, while the audience watches the illustrations. In a few seconds, a desk becomes a stage and you can become a storyteller and an actor, creating the magical atmosphere of the theatre but maintaining the intimacy of reading.

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Edizioni Artebambini was the first Italian publishing house to promote and use this ancient form of storytelling in Italy.


Insert the illustrated tables in the gap you find on the side of the wooden theatre. Each table is numbered on the back. The text that refers to the first illustration is on the back of the last table. The narrator is behind the theatre and reads the story, making the first table slide behind the last one. This action must be repeated with each table, trying to give the right rhythm to the story. A faded light and background music can help to catch the audience attention.

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