How To Make Story

How to make a story | What is "Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu"? Japanese Story composition theory

"Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu (起承転結)" is a common story composition theory in Japan.

It is similar to world general story composition theory, but it is somewhat distinctive.

This article summarizes the meaning and features of "Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu".

Originally it is not the composition theory of the story

"Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu" is not originally related to how to make a story. Originally it is the composition theory of Chinese poetry.

The following definitions are common.


―From "Digital DAIJISEN" (2016 Edition) by Shogakukan

Translated and summarized, it is as follows.

  • 1st phrase (起-Ki): Decide the theme of the poem.
  • 2nd phrase (承-Sho): Accept the contents of 1st phrase.
  • 3rd phrase (転-Ten): Turning the theme of poetry and developing.
  • 4th phrase (結-Ketsu): finish.

In Japan, this is applied to the composition theory of writing and story making.

There seems to be various opinions about explanation when "Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu" is applied to the story composition.

I think Hideo Oguni's commentary is general. He is a person who wrote the scripts of Kurosawa movies.

The following is the quotation.





―From "シナリオ作法考―その二十講" by Rinpei Kitou. Hideo Oguni's comment. Source of the comment is not written.

シナリオ作法考―その二十講 (宝文館叢書)

Perhaps he just applied the composition theory of a general story to the theory of Chinese poetry"Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu".

Mr. Rinpei Kitou says that the following composition theory is more general than "Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu".


  • 発端
  • 葛藤
  • 危機
  • クライマックス
  • 結末

―From "シナリオ作法考―その二十講" by Rinpei Kitou.

The translation is as follows.

  1. Beginning
  2. Conflict
  3. Crisis
  4. Climax
  5. Ending

Hollywood's 'Three acts composition' is also almost the same as above.

"Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu" is almost the same.

However, I think that the part of "Ten" is somewhat different from the general composition theory.

The feature of "Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu" is "Ten"

"Ten" is "crisis" and "climax" in the general construction method.

"Crisis" and "climax" are just exciting. How to make it excitement is unknown.

On the other hand, "Ten" shows up concrete ways to get excited.

The way is turning a story. "Turning a story" is as follows. For example, change the story, reverse the story, turn over the story, etc...

I think "Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu" exists for "Ten". "Ten" is a feature and the most practical part of it.

"Ten" is practical

Turning a story to excite a story is a commonly used method.

For example, the main character makes a serious determination, a rebellion occurs, and so on.

Even if you do not use "Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu" mainly, I think that you can use just "Ten" as a technique to make it excitement.

Usage example of "Ten":Anime "Non-non-biyori"

An usage example of "Ten" is Anime "Non-non-biyori" episode 1 of season 1

The following is the outline.

起-Ki: explanation of situation

The stage of the story is a small school in the countryside. There are only 4 students in the whole school here. Here, the girl has transferred from big city Tokyo. This girl "Hotaru" is the main character.

承-Sho: Countryside is strange

The story advances from Hotaru's point of view. Countryside is different from Tokyo. For urban people, the country is a strange world. Hortaru seems like "Alice in Wonderland".

転-Ten: Countryside is beautiful.

Next, we go to see cherry blossoms.

Without words, only music flows. You can see the beautiful countryside from the dark forest gaps, then go through the forest and go out to the bright spots.

There is one big cherry tree. So, they enjoy tea time.

In this scene, the atmosphere has changed compared to the whole story. "Heartwarming story" → "Beautiful and moving scene".

The content has also changed. "Countryside is strange" → "Countryside is beautiful".

With this change, the climax is exciting.

Explanation of "Ketsu" is omitted.

Non-Non Biyori 1 [Blu-ray]

"Ten" changing the atmosphere and contents

"Ten" changes the atmosphere and content of the story. If you can make a successful change, the story will be excited and become "climax".

If it is a calm atmosphere story, climax will turn into a tense atmosphere.

If it is a tense atmosphere story, the climax will change to a calm atmosphere.

I think that the method of making a climax in a calm atmosphere is interesting. In Hollywood where "Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu" is not common, this method may not be used.

Creating a climax with "Ten" is not all-purpose, but I think that it is practical as a technique to create a climax.


A is almost the same as a general story composition, but it is somewhat distinctive. The characteristic is "Ten"

"Ten" is practical as a technique to create a climax.

Reference book and works in this article

シナリオ作法考―その二十講 (宝文館叢書)

Non-Non Biyori 1 [Blu-ray]

-How To Make Story

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