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Play: Ikkyusan

This play, based on the true story of a famous boy monk, comes from a collection of plays and skits created by the ACT Japanese teachers’ group for use in their primary and junior secondary classrooms. Students work cooperatively in groups or as a class to prepare and perform the play for their classmates or at a school event.

Story Outline

Ikkyuu-san is a clever and somewhat mischievous young boy who is in training to become a Zen monk. There is a series of stories which document his adventures as he outwits the adults he encounters. In this particular story, Ikkyuu-san catches the head priest out in a lie about the sweets the priest is eating.


ナレーター×2 narrator ×2
いっきゅうさん Ikkyusan
おしょうさん Head monk
おとこのこ Boys (as many as needed)


Script Ikkyusan (Word 30KB) Script Ikkyusan (PDF 360KB)

Cultural Notes

Zen Buddhism

a school of Buddhism which came to Japan via India and China in approximately 1200. Zen Buddhism focuses on an individual’s path to enlightenment (satori) through discipline and meditation.


was a real person. He lived from 1394~1481, and trained as a Zen Priest at Ankoku Temple in Kyoto.


is a Buddhist monk.


is a Buddhist priest who is in charge of a temple.

Language Concepts

  • adjectives (warui, ii, amai, abunai, oishii) + “noun” ga “adjective” desu
  • ~te kudasai (+~nai de kudasai)
  • ~tai desu

Web Links

Information and tasks on Ikkyusan
Manga: Ikkyu San

Wikipedia information on Ikkyuu-san 

A very brief background to Zen Buddhism, and an interesting section on how to perform “zazen”

More information on Buddhism and Shinto

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