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Youth Theatre Northwest presents “Kamishibai with Ta-chan”

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Date & Time

September 25th, 2022 | 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Youth Theatre Northwest

4400 86th Ave SE | Mercer Island, WA 98040


Feature image: Ta-chan performing Kamishibai at Mercer Island High School. Photo Credit: Youth Theatre Northwest

Local theatregoers are in for a treat. This fall, Youth Theatre Northwest will present two public performances of Japanese “Kamishibai” (paper theatre). Seattle audiences first enjoyed this tradition in 2017 with the arrival of Tatsuo “Ta-chan” Kawakami, the only full-time Kamisibai storyteller left in Japan.

Kamishibai is a form of Japanese street theater that uses illustrated boards secured to a miniature stage-like device on a bicycle. Traditionally, the kamishibaiya (kamishibai narrator) travels with their portable stage to different street corners and narrates the story by changing images in the story boards.

Many believe that Kamishibai is the original inspiration for Japanese Anime, which is enormously popular in the U.S. and beyond. This series of Kamishibai performances and community workshops celebrates the integration of Japanese art into popular culture, inspiring appreciation for this simple yet entertaining form of storytelling. 

Five years after Ta-chan’s first WA-based performance, he is back with new stories and the same positive, dynamic energy. The family-friendly performance will last about one hour with live translation and streaming. In addition to the two public performances, YTN is expanding this rare opportunity to see Ta-chan with community workshops and tours. Ta-chan can perform and/or lead workshops at community venues on weekdays from September 19th to October 7th, with some weekend tour slots available upon request.

If you can’t make these performances or workshops, Ta-chan will also perform at the Seattle Japanese Garden on September 17th and October 8th.

Mercer Island Kamishibai storytelling flier with event dates, website, and contact phone number

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