A Valuable Resource for teaching about Japanese Culture

Average: 4 (1 vote)

Shaler Area Middle School / High School
Japanese Teacher 8th-10th Grade
As a Japanese teacher, one of the biggest challenges is providing students with an honest and authentic look of Japanese culture that is often not represented in the popular culture that students are exposed to in their lives outside of the classroom. This challenge is made less daunting with the Tora no Maki series, which compiles cultural lessons about Japan for students of all grade levels, and it’s a fantastic resource for Japanese teachers. Lessons topics range from school life in Japan, to Japan’s stock exchange and everything in between. On top of that, each lesson has detailed procedures, objectives, and suggested assessments that make these lessons a breeze to implement in the classroom.
As far as this series goes, I can only think of two flaws -- its age and its organization. Published in the 90’s, some of these lesson feel outdated and reference events that students of today were not even alive for. Thankfully, there are many more lessons that are still relevant for today’s Japan. Second, these lessons are not meant to be a cohesive curriculum, nor are they organized by subject, so one lesson may focus on Japanese economics and the next on games played by Japanese children. Teachers will need to examine their own units, and search through the volumes to find lessons that match their needs.
That said, I absolutely recommend this series to anyone who is teaching about Japan or Japanese culture in their classroom. Any teacher will be able to find a few lessons that will work regardless of the grade or content that they teach.