Hayashiya Imamaru

Traditional Vaudevillian and Grand Master of Japanese Paper Cutting

Give most people a pair of scissors, tell them to get creative, and you might get a string of paper dolls or a few snowflakes. Give Hayashiya Imamaru those same shears, however, and in a flurry of snips he’ll produce a koala, or a dancing girl, or perhaps a portable shrine borne by six bearers. He travels to France, Vietnam, Brazil, the U.S., Australia and elsewhere to wow people of all ages with kamikiri, spontaneously creating any design the audience requests, including lightning-quick portrayals in paper of audience members. Hayashiya performs frequently with other rakugoka from the Rakugo Artists Association as a way to share Japan’s raucous yose (vaudeville) theater with the rest of the world, often accompanied by shamisen music.

Just a Cut Away