Act!vated Story Theatre

The Story of "Toyama no Kin-san"

Folktales > Toyama No Kin San

The Characters

Two Policemen

O'Kyo-san: female cafe owner, masked thief along the lines of "Robin Hood"

Toyama no Kin-san: legendary town magistrate

O'Nekko Dia-zen: thief


Background: Toyama no Kin-san is a popular reoccurring character in many Japanese stories. He is a magistrate or judge who often disguises himself and walks among the people solving their quarrels and bringing peace. He is identified by his large tattoo.

Two police looking for thief

Two police enter looking for a thief. Someone has stolen from a rich man's house. They poke around the audience but do not find the criminal.

Enter O'Kyo-san, the female cafe owner with a very large box that she hides behind her back when Toyama no Kin-san enters her cafe.

Toyama no Kin-san: "What is that you are hiding?"

O'Kyo-san: "Who, me? Ahh - there is nothing there. Here, let me get you some tea."

O'Kyo-san the Japanese "Robin Hood"

He leaves after she serves him and along comes O'Nekko Dia-zen to blackmail O'Kyo-san. He knows she is the thief and he threatens to tell everyone unless she agrees to take him with her the next time she does a robbery.

After he leaves, a poor orphan comes to the shop. He is hungry, so O'Kyo-san serves him dango (dumplings) and doesn't charge him. Overwhelmed by her kindness, he tells her the story of his mother's murder. The killer was a man with a large mole on his neck and he is seeking revenge. As he leaves she gives him more dango.

O'Nekko giving to the poor

That night O'Nekko and O'Kyo-san commit the robbery. But O'Nekko tricks O'Kyo-san and runs off with the money.

shhh!O'Nekko the cat
O'Nekko also means "cat" in Japanese, so for comedic effect, the character meows, purrs and prances about.

The next day O'Nekko returns to O'Kyo-san's cafe. They are having a confrontation when in comes the poor orphan.

O'Kyo-san: "Here is your mother's killer! This man has a mole on his neck."

The orphan and O'Nekko have a duel as the 2 policemen return. They take everyone in custody and bring them to Toyamo no Kinsan.

sword fightfighting more fighting

~ The End

Stories for long car rides

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@ Your Library

Look for more Japanese folktales at your library. Look in the 398 section if your library uses the Dewey Decimal System.

  • The Bee and The Dream adapted by Jan Freeman Long, illustrated by Kaoru On
  • Urashima Taro, The Fisher Lad
  • The Adventures of Kintaro, The Golden Boy
  • The Story of Princess Hase
  • The Bamboo Cutter and the Moon-Child
  • Momotaro, or the Story of the Son of a Peach (listen to the podcast)

More from Japan

Have you read Follow the Buzz?

On our trip to Japan we visited Edo Wonderland where we saw 5 traditional shows in Japanese including Toyamo No Kin San. Our Japanese is very limited so this translation is not exact! The photos on this page are from the production at Edo Wonderland. We highly recommend it to anyone visiting Japan.