Before giant robots, space ships, and masked super heroes filled the pages of Japanese comic books--known as manga--such characters were regularly seen on the streets of Japan in kamishibai stories. Manga Kamishibai: The Art of Japanese Paper Theater tells the history of this fascinating and nearly vanished Japanese art form that paved the way for modern-day comic books, and is the missing link in the development of modern manga.
Manga Kamishibai: The Art of Japanese Paper Theater is a very exciting book, from the first glance, holding it in your hands, it's sleeve is wonderfully printed, the hardcover has a marvelous design, and the images inside are vibrant and immersing, as is the story about Kamishibai and it's rise and decline. During the height of kamishibai in the 1930s, storytellers would travel to villages and set up their butais (miniature wooden prosceniums), through which illustrated boards were shown. The storytellers acted as entertainers and reporters, narrating tales that ranged from action-packed westerns, period pieces, traditional folk tales, and melodramas, to nightly news reporting on World War II. More than just explaining the pictures, a good storyteller would act out the parts of each character with different voices and facial expressions. Through extensive research and interviews, author Eric P. Nash pieces together the remarkable history of this art and its creators. With rare images reproduced for the first time from Japanese archives, including full-length kamishibai stories, combined with expert writing, this book is an essential guide to the origins of manga.
"Manga Kamishibai" is first and foremost an art book, and Nash includes several complete adventures, all bright and beautiful. Included are the superhero story "Prince of Gamma and the Sea Monster"; the supernatural "Metamorphosis of the White Fox"; the ninja adventure "Ninja by Night"; the Samurai fable "Tange Sazen"; the political post-Hiroshima "Prayer for Peace"; the Twilight Zone-esque "Mystery Train," and many more. All of the complete adventures are annotated to give the flow of the story. Nash has done a great job gathering and researching old Kamishibai paintings, and telling their story. He starts with the history of emaki illustrated scrolls, and follows the kamishibai art form through transitional periods such as the Depression years, the War years when kamishibai was enlisted for political propaganda. He covers Mizuki Shigeru and his emergence in the artform, as well as a few other famous creators and creations.
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (September 1, 2009)
Condition: Brand New