Skit: Ninja Rescue
Students act out this children’s story which can be easily understood by an audience with or without knowledge of Japanese. The play can be used by students not only in the classroom but also as a presentation for a school event. There are 9 parts.
Once upon a time in Japan there lived a great lord. One day his daughter, the princess, was kidnapped by his enemies, so he sent for his ninja and told them to go to the enemy’s hide-out to rescue her.
On the way to the hide-out they came across some passers-by, so they concealed themselves by taking the form of animals, one of the tricks they had acquired though years of training. In the enemy’s hide-out, they used shuriken (star shaped throwing-knives) and the samurai used katana (swords).
In the end the ninja were victorious and rescued their princess.
まちのひと（2人） Passers-by (2)
にんじゃ（5人) Ninja (5)
さむらい（5人) Samurai (5)
The provided cast pictures can be made into finger puppets or enlarged to make masks or ‘hats’ for use in the performance of the skits.
Cultural Note: にんじゃ
Ninja are the traditional secret agents in Japanese history.
Ninja were trained from birth in the art of ‘ninjitsu’, meaning the art of invisibility. This involved the clandestine penetration of the enemy’s territory or organisations to observe their movement, to obtain secret information, or to engage in assassination or commando raids. Ninja flourished during the medieval period (13th – 16th centuries) when rival warloads were fighting for dominance in Japan. They evolved a repertoire of techniques designed to deceive the enemy and avoid detection, supported by a variety of specialised tools and weapons. One of the most recognised ninja weapons is the shuriken, a star shaped throwing knife that can be thrown with lethal accuracy.
Ninja have been stereotyped as figures stealthily clad in black with only their eyes showing. In reality they often disguise themselves to blend in with their surroundings, wearing the garb of itinerant musicians and Buddhist priests, or even full white martial arts costume for snowy landscapes. Ninja are portrayed in popular culture as males, but there were also highly trained and effective female ninja who employed all of their beauty and charm to fulfil their assignments.
When your skit is ready, why not enter it into the Japan Foundation Video Matsuri Contest! Check the details by using the url below.
Please read the article “Developing Your Own Skits”
Resource created by Tamiko Kikuchi with assistance from Yuki Akiyama, Junko Yanagawa, Himiko Negishi-Wood, Cathy Jonak and Makoto Netsu (January 2000).