Traditional Japanese paper cutting performance on April 18

April 6, 2015  

Hayashiya paper cutting

The finished product of kamikiri, the traditional Japanese performing art of paper cutting, which will be performed on April 18 at Purdue University by Hayashiya Niraku. (Photo provided by Kazumi Hatasa)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Hayashiya Niraku, a Japanese paper cutting artist, will perform at 4 p.m. on April 18 in Matthews Hall, Room 210 at Purdue University. The event is free and open to the public.

"Kamikiri, which means paper cutting, is a traditional Japanese performing art established in Tokyo in the 1800s," said Kazumi Hatasa, Purdue professor of languages and cultures. "The word 'kamikiri' refers to the entire performance, including the audience's request, the creation of the image and the presentation of the finished piece to an audience member."

The performance begins when the artist receives a request from audience members, which can encompass a number of things, including an animal, a character from theatre or a tricky request such as an invisible man. Within a few minutes of the audience's request, performers interpret requests to visualize the final image and use scissors to cut the image from a plain piece of paper with no outline. Artists must maintain a breadth of knowledge of current topics and often utilize wit in interpreting intentionally challenging requests from the audience.

Niraku has visited Purdue in the past at the same time as a group performing story telling, or "rakugo."

Prior to the performance, Hatasa will present a short lecture analyzing the performer's skills. 

Writer: Rachel Semple,

Media contact: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Source: Kazumi Hatasa, professor of languages and cultures, 765-494-3846, 

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