How to Speak Japanese

Enhance Your Japanese Script: Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu

Japanese Traditional Method: Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu

*The target readers are those who will make a speech or a presentation in Japanese.

起 (Ki), 承 (Sho), 転 (Ten), 結 (Ketsu) is a well-known method of structuring Japanese scripts. One of the strengths of this structure is that you are able to narratively express what you want to convey to your audience. You may also have the benefit of making your script sound familiar with your audience because every Japanese person learns this method in school. In this article, you will learn how you can utilize the 起 (Ki), 承 (Sho), 転 (Ten), 結 (Ketsu) Structure for your Japanese script.

Well-known Method of Structuring Japanese Script: Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu

起 (Ki)

The Chinese character, 起 (Ki) means to rise, raise, get up, set out, start, appear, launch, etc. In this part, you are going to set up an introduction, such as, main characters, their backgrounds, their relationships, the world they live in and hints for the climax. If you give surprising differences between the 起 (Ki); introduction and the 結 (Ketsu); conclusion, it will work effectively.

Example

わたしほんやまけんまれました。

I was born in Toyama prefecture, Japan.

りょうしん学校がっこう先生せんせいでとてもきょういくきびしいいえでした。

My parents were school teachers and gave me a strict education.

わたしなおでマジメなどもそだちました。

I grew up to be an honest and obedient child.

 

承 (Sho)

The Chinese character, 承 (Sho) means bear, carry, hold, continue, undertake, take charge, receive, etc. In this part, you are going to continue on from the introduction and lead into some twists. However, major changes do not happen yet. This is the process of leading up to the climax. It is said that the 承 (Sho) part can occupy 60% to 70% of Japanese scripts in order to make them consistent. In other words, in order to explain why the 転 (Ten); climax happens.

Example

ちゅう学生がくせいになったころ学校がっこう勉強べんきょうがわからなくなりました。

When I was in junior high school, the material became too difficult for me to understand.

両親りょうしんからたくさんおこられました。

My parents got angry with me a lot.

学校がっこうおや先生せんせい勉強べんきょう大嫌だいきらいになりました。

I came to dislike my school, parents, teachers and studying.

ある学校がっこうあたしい先生せんせいました。

One day, a new teacher came to my school.

先生せんせいわたし勉強べんきょうでなくテニスをするようにすすめました。

The teacher suggested that I start playing tennis, not study.

わたしはテニスはいることにしました。

I decided to join the tennis club.

 

転 (Ten)

The Chinese character, 転 (Ten) means turn, twist, suddenly, abruptly, quickly, etc. In this part, you are going to turn or twist your story to another, new or unknown topic. Once 転 (Ten) has arrived, new characters should not appear. Also, the change should be the biggest twist leading to the climax.

Example

わたしにはスポーツの才能さいのうがあるみたいでした。

It seemed that I was a talented player.

はじめて出場しゅつじょうした大会たいかいわたしはいきなり優勝ゆうしょうしました。

I won the champion tennis match even though it was my first time.

そして、わたしはプロのチームにスカウトされました。

Then, I was scouted by a professional team.

わたしはまだ勉強べんきょうにがです。けど、いまはプロのテニス選手せんしゅとしてかいじゅう活躍かつやくしています

I am still not good at studying, but I am participating actively as a professional tennis player all over the world.

 

結 (Ketsu)

The Chinese character, 結 (Ketsu) means to tie, bind, contract, join, organize, do up hair, fasten, etc. In this part, you are going to wrap up your story and make your conclusion.

Example

その先生せんせいのような、ども才能さいのうしてあげられる体育たいいく先生せんせいになること、それがわたしゆめです。

My dream is to become a PE teacher who can discover unknown talents from children like the teacher who helped me.

 

Pros and Cons

起 (Ki), 承 (Sho), 転 (Ten), 結 (Ketsu) Structure is generally used in movies, comics, games and fairy tales. It is appropriate for making a narrative story. Your audience would be interested and say to themselves, “What will happen next?” and “Tell us more”. On the other hand, it is not appropriate for telling something logically, that is to say, for papers, essays and business documents. In such documents the conclusion should be apparent at the beginning as opposed to the起 (Ki), 承 (Sho), 転 (Ten), 結 (Ketsu) Structure. If you try to use this structure, for example, in a business document, people would get irritated and frustrated and ask you “What are you trying to say?”

 

Conclusion

In regards to making a Japanese script for a speech, it can be used effectively, yet you need to be good at presentation skills, such as intonation, volume, eye contact and movement because that is the only way of attracting audiences without logical devices. However, even if you aren’t, you can still use this structure by giving a short guide as shown below at the beginning. That way, your audience can understand why you are going back to say, when you were born, and may be interested in your story.

Example

わたしゆめ学校がっこう先生せんせいになることです。このはなしをするには、まずわたしちからはなさないといけません。

My dream is to become a teacher. In order to tell you this story, firstly, I need to tell you my background.

 

Recommended Link

Distinguish Your Japanese Script Jo-Ha-Kyu Structure

Apply the Essay Structure to Your Japanese Script

Author and English Editor

Author – Takuya Tokiwa

Takuya is the co-founder, Project Director of Wasabi and a serial entrepreneur in the education field. He is utilizing all of his knowledge and experiences for innovating Japanese learning.

English Editor – Natalia Weiner

Natalia is the Editor and Web Content Manager of Wasabi. She majored in Writing with a minor in Journalism and graduated from Loyola University Maryland in 2013. She was the Assistant Content Editor for the popular culture website EmcBlue, and has written and edited for a variety of publications in both Japan and the United States.

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