Kamishibai Book App


Dream Sequence, Nation 9 and Yamaguchi Ink have partnered to release an animated book app based on Kamishibai, a Japanese storytelling tradition. Considered to be a predecessor to anime and manga, Kamishibai was extremely popular in Japan from the 1920’s through the 1950’s, when traveling storytellers would bicycle from neighborhood to neighborhood selling candy and performing for crowds of children. A small wooden theater attached to the Kamishibai man’s bike was used to frame sequences of bright graphics illustrating the stories as they were recited.

Tokyo-born and Boston-based artist Shunsuke Yamaguchi has been reviving the Kamishibai tradition by creating original illustrated stories of his favorite Japanese folktales and performing them for audiences at Boston area libraries and schools. Similar to the motion of sliding cards to display images in the Kamishibai theater, modern kids will be able to swipe through the story as voice actor Hisato Masuyama narrates. Each page will contain an animated version of an original painting by Shun, with graphics and script prepared by Dream Sequence and animated by Nation 9 programmers.

The Grateful Crane is now available for Kindle Fire and ipad.  The story is based on the Japanese tale of a woodcutter who frees a trapped crane and is soon visited by a mysterious woman who changes his life. Dream Sequence worked with our audio studio of choice Revolving Blackbird Sound to record and engineer the voice over. Nanae Kimura composed and performed original background music. We hope to release more Kamishibai stories in 2013, including the story of Momotaro, the Peach Boy. Pictured here are production stills from our intro shoot in Los Angeles this summer along with some sample images.

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