Kishōtenketsu (起承転結) describes the structure and development of classic Chinese, Korean and Japanese narratives. It was originally used in Chinese poetry as a four-line composition, such as Qijue, and is also referred to as kishōtengō (起承転合). The first Chinese character refers to the introduction or kiku (起句), the next: development, shōku (承句), the third: twist, tenku (転句), and the last character indicates conclusion or kekku (結句). 句 is the phrase ( ku), and () means "meeting point of 起 and 転" for conclusion.

The following is an example of how this might be applied to a fairytale.

A specific example by the poet Sanyō Rai (頼山陽):

The same pattern is used to arrange arguments:

In the structure of narrative and yonkoma manga, and even for document and dissertation, the style in kishōtenketsu applies to sentence or sentences, and even clause to chapter as well as the phrase for understandable introduction to conclusion.

The concept has also been used in game design, particularly in Nintendo's video games, most notably Super Mario games such as Super Mario Galaxy (2007) and Super Mario 3D World (2013); their designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Koichi Hayashida are known to utilize this concept for their game designs.[2]

See also


  1. Maynard, S. K. (1997). Japanese communication: Language and thought in context. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai'i Press, 159-162.
  2. Tom Phillips (2015-03-17). "Nintendo's "kishōtenketsu" Mario level design philosophy explained". Retrieved September 16, 2016.
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