by  David F. Eliet

Short Play, Drama  /  3m, 1f

Once, long ago, a fisherman by the name of Urashima took his boat out to sea... A fantastic turtle caught in his net leads him to the island of the immortals. But as time wears on, he misses his home and returns to visit a world he can hardly recognize after 100 years have passed.

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License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 1f
  • Duration


    30 minutes
  • SubGenre


    Fantasy, Adaptations (Literature), Fables/Folktales, Period
  • Accolades


    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Adult
    • Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

Once, long ago, a fisherman by the name of Urashima took his boat out to sea where he catches a gigantic turtle who turns out to be a beautiful immortal named Eshun. Because Urashima spared her life when he thought she was just a turtle, Eshun leads him to the island of the immortals. He is entranced by the fantastic beauty of the place. Urashima falls in love with Esun and decides to live with her in paradise. But as time wears on, he misses his home and decides to return for a visit. To his horror, he discovers that hundreds of years have passed and the world he knew has vanished.

Published in Three Japanese Ghost Stories.

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Performing Groups

  • Jr High/Primary
  • High School/Secondary
  • Community Theatre


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $45 per performance



  • Time Period: 19th Century
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Setting: The play takes places in several locations. A minimal set with a few set pieces and props is all that is required. Simple Japanese shirts and kimonos worn over basic black costumes will create the desired effect.
  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)


3m, 1f

ESHUN - an immortal
URASHIMA - a poof fisherman in ancient times
OLD MAN - a seller of toys in the present day

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Cast Attributes

  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Expandable casting
  • Flexible casting
  • Room for Extras

Casting Notes

Only the parts of Urashima and Eshun need to be gender specific. Although the play is set in Japan, the actors do not have to be Asian.



David F. Eliet

David F. Eliet is a professional playwright, director, and theatre educator. He was the founding artistic director of The Perishable Theatre, director of the Cleveland Play House Lab Company and the Circle In The Square Suitcase Theatre and Acting Ensemble. He was the a co-founder of The Trinity Rep C ...

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Urashima was commissioned by and premiered at the Cleveland Contemporary Art Museum under the title Leonardo Haiku for an exhibit by Mineko Grimer. The play was subsequently performed at Project Istropolitana, an international theatre festival in Bratislava, Slovakia. The play was rewritten for inclusion in Three Japanese Ghost Stories, which premiered at The Cleveland Play House.

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