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Play: Kobutori Jiisan

This play, based on a Japanese folktale, 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

Kobutorijiisan is the story of a happy-go-lucky old man and his greedy neighbour both of whom have a lump on their cheek. One day the happy-go-lucky old man went into the forest, where he was caught in a storm. While taking shelter under a log, he hears some oni having a party nearby. The music is so enticing that despite his fear of the oni he decides to join them. The oni are so happy with his dancing prowess that they asked him to come again the next day. They take the lump off his cheek to make sure he comes back to them the next day. His envious neighbour hears the story and heads off into the forest too.


ナレーター×2 Narrators×2
おじいさん Old man
よくばりじいさん Greedy old man
おに Oni (any number)


Script Kobutori Jiisan (Word 24KB) Script Kobutori Jiisan (PDF 183KB)

Cultural Notes


Japanese ogres that feature in many folktales. They tend to be large, fierce looking creatures with horns and bulging muscles. They are often pictured carrying a club and are usually pink, red, blue or grey. While occasionally comical they are usually cruel and malicious creatures. They are not considered to be very intelligent.

Language Concepts

  • adjective+na+noun
  • onomatopoeia zaa zaa, wai wai, gaya gaya, kokekokko
  • ~ga hoshii desu
  • ~nai desu

Web Links
This site contains many fairytales in kamishibai format.

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