Kamikiri - Art of Paper Cutting

it is my daily routing to watch NHK World via my iPhone 3G. Breakfast is not complete without it, since I haven't subscribe to local newspaper. What I do love in this channel is that, every segment episodes are really interesting. I do know that not all Filipinos like me will appreciate it, because we are most likely adopted the Western cultures... but, watching the shows coming from our Asian neighbors, makes me realize, well we have more things and knowledge to discover.

Since my childhood, my parents exposed me to different types of arts and crafts. One of the arts I enjoyed most is designing and paper cutting. I remember in my grade school days, that my classmates and teachers really loves me because I can cut perfectly heart-shaped designs without tracing or making some drawings first... It's kind a light achievement for me in my younger years, that I haven't realized that, my skills continuously improving...

Today's episode in NHK World is about the oldest Japanese art called Kamikiri, or the art of cutting papers. It is also a stage performance.

One of the well-known Kamikiri artist is Hayashiya Niraku. In his performance, he receives request from the audiences, and cuts the images out of the piece of plain white paper, without drawing an outlines. The act lasts only a few minutes then the performer (Niraku) asks for another request.

Hayashiya Niraku (林家ニ楽) was born in 1967 into a kamikiri family. His father, Shoraku the second, was a famous kamikiri performer, and Niraku entered the business by being an apprentice with his father in 1989. He has been performing on stage since 1991, and is one of a handful of professional kamikiri performers.

Kamikiri, is not just mere cutting of white papers, but it is also a story-telling. While cutting the images, Niraku tells stories to entertain his audiences related to their request. This kind of performances is also very hard, because you dont know what will the audiences may request. Niraku admits, each time he comes for his performances, makes him feel nervous. His technique is being updated to current events via news and television, makes his skills improve and gives more ideas. 

... honestly, I'm being inspired to this episode. Hhmmm i think it's time to pick-up my lovely pair of scissors, and start practicing :)


  1. wala ko naintindihan sa last video, pero mukhang mahirap gawin. =)

  2. cutting paper is an art .kamikiri takes a not only practice but talent to do it .imagine cutting and tell story right in front of the live audience without any idea whta they gonna request you.

  3. I could see your fascination abour everything Japanese :-) Are you half Japanese? The art of paper cutting is really nice. I am fascinated too with Japanese culture that I tried hard ( TH) studying their language.


  4. hmmm.. I only know paper folding(origami) but I think I won't be able to learn this one. hehehe

  5. I saw this one while I went to Osaka in Japan. I love it. thanks for sharing this one.

  6. To Michi, Tatess, Traveller on s Shoestring, sionee, journey and travels, and dennis galvez = thanks for your lovely comments, arigatou gozaimasu :)

  7. I didn't know that there is an art to cutting paper..

    very nice post!
    Such talents like this is very inspiring.

  8. Thanks for sharing this information. Nakakatuwa kaso ang hirap gawin. :)

  9. amazing napaka-artistic talaga ng mga taga Asia kasama tayu syempre, love it

  10. i knoe only the origami, this time ko lang nalaman to Kamikiri ! thanks for sharing this and i wil learn and try to do ...

  11. yeah, kahit ako nahihirapan din hehehe.. but I'm trying to learn kasi very fulfilling kapag natuto, at mai-share mo rin yung skills sa iba

  12. wow, this is really good... japanese are really good with papers... Yahweh bless.

  13. Japanese arts are so cool! And this is one of the awesome arts that the country has. I watched a show before about this and I was really amazed.

  14. I love everything Japanese and this is one great great art. Very impressive. Thanks for sharing this. I enjoyed it very much.

  15. very artistic!!!

    thanks for dropping by at my site!


  16. Japanese arts are superb and awesome. Like this one, Kamikiri, a paper-cutting art used in shadow show with story-telling from the narrator is one of the aids in education. And this would facilitate transfer of learning to the elementary pupils who love it the way it is craftily presented.

  17. good to see that this kind of activities and hobbies are still alive... great!

  18. Galing talaga ng mga hapon. I'm not that creative!

  19. Ang cool. Wala ako maintidihan sa sinsabi nya kaya ako natatawa pero yung story sa unang video ay nakakatuwa. Rinig naman kung gaano nagenjoy yung mga nanunuod. The guy is genius. I wish may kamay akong pareho sa kanya. :)


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