This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (July 2014)
Kishōtenketsu (起承転結) describes the structure and development of classic Chinese, Korean and Japanese narratives. The structure originated in China and was called qǐ chéng zhuǎn hé (起承轉合) and used in Chinese poetry as a four-line composition, such as Qijue. From there, it moved to Korea where it is called gi seung jeon gyeol (Hangul: 기승전결; Hanja: 起承轉結). Finally, the art style came to Japan, where the name Kishotenketsu originates. It is also referred to as kishōtengō (起承転合) in Japan.
There are variations of this dramatic structure based on region due to differences in how the Chinese characters are interpreted per the country and culture.
The Chinese interpretation is:
起: means start or introduction, usually meaning the reason something started
承: meant handling, process, or hardships
转: turn, turning point, crescendo
Note that the character for 转 is different from the Japanese one later.
|Original Chinese||English Translation|
山 中 相 送 罷 ，
日 暮 掩 柴 扉 。
春 草 明 年 綠 ，
王 孫 歸 不 歸 。
by Wang Wei (699-759)
qi: After a farewell in the mountain,
cheng: Dusk falls, and I shut my firewood-made gate.
zhuan: When the spring grass is green next year,
he: I wonder if my friend will return.
The Korean interpretation is
기 : raising issues and introducing characters
승 : the beginning of the action (But not to solve a problem, necessarily more for self realization)
전 : a change in direction or reversal
결 : the thing to be concluded and any lessons gained through the process or results.
|Original Korean||English Translation|
비 갠 긴 강둑에 풀빛 파릇한데,
남포에서 임 보내며 구슬픈 노래 부르네.
대동강의 물은 언제 마르리오?
이별 눈물이 해마다 푸른 물결에 보태지네.
Escort by Jeong Ji Sang
Multicolored green grass on the banks of a long river.
He's singing a sad son in Nampo.
When is the water of Daedong dry?
Every year, farewell tears add to the blue waves.
펄펄 나는 저 꾀꼬리
암수 서로 정답구나.
외로워라 이 내 몸은
뉘와 함께 돌아갈고.
Hwangjo (Yellow Tide)
By King Yuri of Goryeo
Fluttering Yellow Birds
male and female depend on each other
Who will go home with me?
However, the Japanese interpretation of it is
kiku (起句) is 'ki (起)': introduction, where 起 can mean rouse, wake up, get up
shōku (承句) is 'sho (承)': development, where 承 can also mean acquiesce, hear, listen to, be informed, receive
tenku (転句) is 'ten (転)': twist, where 転 can mean revolve, turn around, change
kekku (結句) is 'ketsu (結)': Conclusion, though 結 can also mean result; consequence; outcome; effect; or coming to fruition; bearing fruit
Media the structure is used in.
The following is an example of how this might be applied to a fairytale.
The same pattern is used to arrange arguments:
In the structure of narrative and yonkoma manga, and even for document, dissertation, and music. The style in kishōtenketsu applies to sentence or sentences, and even clause to chapter as well since it gives a structure from introduction to conclusion.
|Original Japanese||English Translation|
Osaka Honcho Itoyano Musume
Anewa Juroku Imotowa Jyushi
Shokoku Daimyowa Yumiyade Korosu
Itoyano Musumewa Mede Korosu
Sanyō Rai (頼山陽):
The elder daughter is sixteen and the younger one is fourteen.
Throughout history, daimyōs killed the enemy with bows and arrows.
The daughters of Itoya kill with their eyes.
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.