Graphic Design Kamishibai

Discovered through John Coulthart’s feuilleton blog, this post from Spoon & Tamago about a graphic designer’s exploration of kamishibai, which I’d never heard of before, is fascinating.

The kamishibai (literally “paper play”) is a Japanese form of storytelling that involved a narrator using illustrated paper boards to tell stories…. This concept served as the inspiration for graphic designer Katsuhiko Shibuya and his class of students at Joshibi University of Art and Design. The task, however, was to deconstruct fairy tales even further using only graphic symbols.

I find the first one, a telling of Snow White, particularly interesting (I guess because I know the story). The apple is a red circle. The mirror a white circle. The hunter is an arrow within what looks like a hexagram from the I, Ching (six solid lines vertically would be “Earth”). The dwarves are numbers 1 to 7. It’s reminiscent of Picasso’s Bull, exploring how simplified and abstracted an image can become and still hold meaning.

I’m still wondering about the last panel. The Queen and the Hunter gaze at Snow White through the Magic Mirror? The mirror is not depicted elsewhere except in the key. Or is Snow White protected from them within the circle, in a castle of her own? Or both?