During Shofuso Summer Camps first week, Japan’s rich tradition of folklore and storytelling took center stage, literally, as campers designed their own Kamishibai stages and came up with stories to tell on them.
Things took a spooky turn later in the week as campers not only learned about Japan’s ghosts and monsters but even put together costumes!
Kamishibai is a Japanese form of storytelling that was mostly popular in the 1930’s. The Kamishibaiya, the storyteller, would park their bike on a well traveled street corner. They would then use two wooden blocks and clap them together to alert children to their presence. Once a sizeable crowd had gathered, the Kamishibaiya would sell sweets as a ‘fee’ for the story. This was how the Kamishibaiya made their money. They would then begin the story, sliding illustrations in and out of the wooden stage as the story progressed. Once the story was finished, the Kamishibaiya would pack up their stuff, and pedal off to their next destination.
The campers assembled the frames, painted them, and decorated them. They displayed their frames when parents visited at the end of the week.
Campers studied the origin and types of yokai (Japanese spirits, demons, and monsters), such as the tsukomogami–tools that have transformed into ghosts a hundred years after their construction. Counselors in Training helped the campers become the monsters of their dreams with the help of face paint, markers, and fabric. Several campers chose to become tsukumogami like the kasa obake, an umbrella yokai. Other campers dressed up as demons and oni, also traditional Japanese folk monsters.
When the campers were all dressed up in their monstrous costumes, they put on a runway show, being awarded prizes for hard work in various categories![Due to a technical issue, Shofuso Summer Camp blog entries are running a little late, but this week we are playing catch up. Keep an eye out tomorrow for a delicious recipe that campers enjoyed during week one!]