The Japan Society
Education Teach about Japan Online Resources

Kamishibai: The Spider's Thread

Subject: Art & Design / English / Other Topics
Level: Key Stage 3
Age: 11-15 years
Resource Type: Presentations / Other

The Spider’s Thread (Kumo no Ito)

The Spider’s thread is a well-known story in Japan. It is a moral fable about good, evil and redemption, written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa and published in 1918. Akutagawa was inspired by other stories and also Buddhist fables; according to some Buddhist beliefs, those who lead good, compassionate lives are reincarnated into a better life, and those who do not are sent to Hell. 

This modern re-telling has been created by Aya Nakamura in collaboration with the Japan Society; the images are stills from Aya’s film The Spider's Thread which combines the Japanese tradition of Kamishibai with the Western approach of Paper Theatre. 

Use this kamishibai (available as a physical loan* or digitally) to teach about morality, religion and beliefs, or as a starting point to explore Japanese literature with students.

Suitable for KS3 and above. 


The PowerPoint files, with some animated effects and music, are created to look like a live kamishibai show. The story text is in the notes section of each slide and is designed to be shown as a slide show in 'presenter view', where the text is visible on the presenter's screen only while the audience's screen shows the main illustrated slides. Files are password protected but can be opened and viewed in 'read-only' format.

The Spider's Thread - PPSX (5 MB) 
PowerPoint Show: opens automatically and only in PowerPoint presentation view. You will need PointPoint on your device in order to open and view properly.

The Spider's Thread - PPTX (5 MB)  The Spider's Thread - PPT 97-2003 compatibility (13 MB)
PowerPoint Document: Use this file if your computer does not support pps or ppsx format.

The PDF format is designed to be used as printed kamishibai cards (up to A3 size), however, it can still be shown on screen as a slide show using only the story image slides for those who are not using PowerPoint. The file comes with instructions on how to read kamishibai.

The Spider's Thread - PDF (20 MB)

For those who only have one screen (cannot use the 'presenter view'), or simply prefer to read from a piece of paper, but still want to show the kamishibai in PointPoint format, the story text can be printed from the PDF version. 

*Loan copies of this Kamishibai are available for schools to borrow. Please contact for more information.