Wednesday, March 20, 2013

May 19, 1954 The Kami-Shibai Man as Told by Bonnie

The Traveling Story Teller

"Tomoko-san had just tied Taro-chan to her back when she heard the hollow clack-clack sound.  She knew the kami-shibai man had come to the village.  He was calling the children by hitting two hollow sticks together.  At first the clacks were slow and then they got faster and faster as Tomoko-chan hurried to join the other children who were running toward the man.

The kami-shibai man is a story teller who travels from village to village on his bicycle.  A wooden picture frame is fastened to the bicycle and the man slides pictures into the frame as he tells his stories.

The man was selling candy out of a drawer under the stage so Tomoko-chan spent the five yen she had in her pocket.  Then she and Taro-chan could stand up close when the story started.  The other children could watch but only those who bought candy could stand in front.

While she waited Tomoko-chan wondered what kind of stories the man would tell.  Sometimes he told new stories that she had never heard and sometimes he would tell only part of a long story that would take several visits for him to finish.  She liked all of the stories for he was a fine story teller and could make wonderful growls, roars, and other sounds as he told the stories.

The kami-shibai man closed the candy drawer and slid the first colored picture into the frame.  Tomoko-chan smiled at Taro-chan because the man had started an old folk tale they knew and loved."

(In Japan, by Bonnie Belshe, 1955)


NOTE:  The slide story above is "The Golden Axe", an Aesop's fable.  The translations are typed on the back of each slide so that as a picture faces  the audience, the text can be read from the back.  The slide story is made of heavy stock cardboard and slides are 17" x 19".  This is a much-loved and well-used souvenir.

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