Performance and Workshop: Japanese Paper-cutting Art "Kami-Kiri"


From October 10th-20th, Mr. Imamaru Hayashiya, a paper-cutting artist in the vaudeville tradition, gave a series of workshops and performances throughout Canada. Mr. Hayashiya gave presentations in Montreal (10th-14th), Ottawa (14th-17th), and Toronto (17th-20th).

“Kami-Kiri” is a Japanese art involving the freehand cutting of silhouettes from paper with a single pair of scissors, using skills developed in Japan from over 300 years ago. Mr. Hayashiya has more than 50 years of experience and has traveled to many countries, surprising people of all ages with his kami-kiri designs and lively wit.

Japan Festival at Ottawa Welcomes the World

On October 15th the Embassy of Japan hosted a Japan Festival as part of ‘Ottawa Welcomes the World’ in celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation, and Japan and Canada’s friendship. With the support from local Japanese community groups, the festival offered Japanese culture, art and technology to the general public. Over 600 people enjoyed Mr. Hayashiya’s performance on stage, creating unique and beautiful silhouettes in the blink of an eye. He also made over 50 portrait silhouettes at his booth after the performance.

Mr. Hayashiya performing on the stage

Mr. Hayashiya showing his work

Mr. Hayashiya creating a portrait silhouette of one of the audience

Mr. Hayashiya created over 50 portrait silhouettes at his booth after his performance on the stage


In the morning of October 16, Mr. Hayashiya held a workshop at Earl of March Secondary School in Ottawa. The workshop was exclusive to Visual Arts students, International Certificate Program students, and those doing exchange to Japan next summer, and Foods & Cultures students who are currently doing a unit on Japan.

The workshop was attended by over 50 students. Mr. Hayashiya not only taught them about a traditional performing art in Japan but also stimulated their imagination and creativity.

Ms. Laura Hillary introducing Mr. Hayashiya to the students

Mr. Hayashiya demonstrating paper-cutting technique

Students are cutting out Mt. Fuji

Mr. Hayashiya and students


In the evening of October 16th, Mr. Hayashiya gave a performance at Carleton University, hosted by the Embassy of Japan and Carleton University's School of Linguistics and Language Studies.

Representing the Embassy of Japan was Second Secretary Mr. Yuki Ochiai. In his opening remarks, Mr. Ochiai thanked Carleton University’s School of Linguistics and Language Studies department for their support in hosting events that feature Japan and Japanese culture. Following Mr. Ochiai’s opening remarks, Dr. David Woods, Director of the School of Linguistics and Language Studies at Carleton University delivered his own remarks before introducing Mr. Hayashiya.

The performance was attended by 106 people. Following the performance he invited five audience members onto the stage to do a small workshop in which unique pieces of art such as a heart and Mt. Fuji were created with the guidance of Mr. Hayashiya. The event concluded with his creation of portrait silhouettes for some audience.


Mr. Ochiai delivering opening remarks

Dr. Woods delivering opening remarks

Mr. Hayashiya performing in front of the audience

Mr. Hayashiya shows his work which depicts Hanami (cherry blossom viewing)

Mini-workshop with the audience

Mr. Hayashiya being interviewed by the community-based campus radio station of Carleton University after the event