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Japanese New Year (Oshogatsu)
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Japanese New Year (Oshogatsu)

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New Year is the most important holiday in the Japanese calendar and celebrations are very different to those in the UK. This lesson introduces the festival’s main foods, decorations, customs and vocabulary to KS2. Teachers will find background notes, a PPT with images to inspire students and a comprehensive lesson plan and activity materials. Also included is a PDF Activity Pack (containing information and tasks, kanji writing practice and a traditional game) which can be printed out and used by students independently or during extracurricular activities such as Japan club. Other resources related to seasonal festivals in Japan are available from the Japan Society website.
Hinamatsuri - The Doll Festival
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Hinamatsuri - The Doll Festival

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Hina-matsuri is a Japanese festival to celebrate the health and happiness of girls and is celebrated every March. Learn how it is celebrated and link compare it to other festivals around the world, including International Women’s Day. Included is a Powerpoint presentation, lesson plan, and activities including: origami instructions, kanji writing exercise, and simple quiz. Also included is a PDF Activity Pack which can be printed out and used by students independently or during extracurricular activities such as Japan club. Other resources related to seasonal festivals in Japan are available from the Japan Society website.
Explore Wellbeing through Japanese Culture
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Explore Wellbeing through Japanese Culture

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These 6 lesson plans (with PPTs and activities) aim to promote positive mental and physical health and wellbeing to KS2 pupils through the exploration of Japanese culture. Following an introduction to wellbeing, pupils consider each of the NHS ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ (Connect, Be Active, Keep Learning, Take Notice and Give) and complete activities based on Japanese culture which promote physical health as well as emotional wellbeing (e.g. radio taiso exercises and mindfulness through manga drawing). By the end of the unit, students should be able to consider how each of the ways can improve wellbeing and will have learnt of some events, customs and celebrations in Japan. Prior knowledge of Japanese culture or language is not needed.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Activity Pack
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Activity Pack

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This PDF Activity Pack for KS2 children contains fun facts and information about the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo as well as a quiz, kanji writing practice, useful Japanese phrases and a mascot design competition! Students can work through the pack independently or specific pages can be printed out for group activities. The pack can be used on its own or to complement other sports or Olympic related lessons; see the Japan Society’s Sports Day Pack or Sports Quiz for additional resources. Entries to the mascot design competition are being accepted until 5 September 2021. See the Japan Society website for more details.
Japanese Sports Day Pack
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Japanese Sports Day Pack

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The Japanese Sports Day Games Pack contains illustrations, instructions and equipment lists for 14 typical games that are played at a Japanese school sports day, making it easy to organise a Japanese-style sports event at your school. The Japanese Sports Day (undokai in Japanese) is a popular event in the school calendar; it’s a fun-filled day with an emphasis on teamwork and collaboration. The games in the pack can be used as standalone activities, incorporated into P.E lessons, or to plan your own event. The clear game instructions and field set up guide can be used by students so that they can help set up and run events. Also included are variations for each game, giving suggestions for how they could be adapted for different levels of ability or age groups.
Setsubun Festival - Marking Spring's Arrival
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Setsubun Festival - Marking Spring's Arrival

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The Setsubun festival marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring and is celebrated annually in Japan on 3 February. This lesson gives students the chance to learn how children in Japan celebrate the arrival of spring. Included is a Powerpoint presentation, lesson plan, and activities including: a Japanese vocabulary challenge, true or false quiz, an oni (demon) mask template. Also included is a PDF Activity Pack which can be printed out and used by students independently or during extracurricular activities such as Japan club. Other resources related to seasonal festivals in Japan are available from the Japan Society website.
O Hanami - Japan's Cherry Blossom Season
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O Hanami - Japan's Cherry Blossom Season

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Cherry blossoms are considered a symbol of spring in Japan and when the trees are covered in beautiful pink blossoms, people gather together for picnics underneath them, in a tradition known as O Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing). In this lesson, students will learn about the customs and activities associated with O Hanami and compose haiku poems using their own thoughts about spring and nature. The topic can also be used as a starting point for studying climate change and shifting seasons, as the cherry blossom season has arrived early in recent years. Also included is an PDF Activity Pack which can be printed out and used by students independently or during extracurricular activities such as Japan club. Other resources related to seasonal festivals in Japan are available from the Japan Society website.
Kodomo no Hi - Children's Day
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Kodomo no Hi - Children's Day

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Learn about the Children’s Festival, celebrated on May 5th in Japan. On this day, called kodomo no hi in Japanese, families pray for the health and happiness of their children. Included is a Powerpoint presentation, short video, lesson plan, and activities including origami instructions to make a samurai helmet and a koi nobori flag template to make a decoration for the festival. Also included is a PDF Activity Pack which is suitable for students to use independently or during extracurricular activities such as Japan club as well as an original story, Swim, Swim, Koinobori. Other resources related to seasonal festivals in Japan are available from the Japan Society website.
The Obon Festival of Japan
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The Obon Festival of Japan

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These resources can help boost KS2 children’s cultural awareness as they learn about Obon, one of the most important annual festivals in Japan. The festival is based on the Buddhist belief that the spirits of ancestors return to their family home at this time of year. The PPT, lesson plan, accompanying videos, and craft activities can be used in the classroom to teach about the customs and traditions associated with Obon and about summer festivals in general in Japan. During the lesson, students will put the activities associated with Obon in order, answer a true or false quiz, make a simple paper lantern and also learn Japanese vocabulary associated with the festival. Also included is an PDF Activity Pack which can be printed out and used by students independently or during extracurricular activities such as Japan club. Other resources related to seasonal festivals in Japan are available from the Japan Society website.
Introducing Manga to the Art Classroom
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Introducing Manga to the Art Classroom

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Teach and draw Manga in the art classroom with KS3 students. Manga (comics or graphic novels) are a Japanese form of visual storytelling which are increasingly popular outside of Japan. Over the course of two lessons, students receive an introduction to the history and cultural significance of Manga in Japan and as an art form and will also create their own character, illustrated in the Manga style. There are accompanying video interviews with contemporary Manga artists and basic face and expression templates for students. Comprehensive background notes are included for teachers so the lessons can be taught with no prior knowledge. More teaching resources about Japan can be found on the Japan Society Website.
Geography of Japan (Human and Physical)
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Geography of Japan (Human and Physical)

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Explore Japan’s human and physical geography with the KS3 Geography of Japan unit of work. Students are introduced to key features of Japanese geography including volcanoes, wildlife, natural disasters, climate population density and more whilst building core geographical skills. The scheme can be taught over seven or eight lessons (two lessons covering the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami can be condensed into one if preferred). The materials are pitched at Year 7 and Year 8 classes and include optional ‘challenge tasks’; tasks could be adapted or differentiated for other age groups. For more information on the content of the individual lessons, visit the resource page on the Japan Society website. An editable version of the PPTs are available on request - contact education@japansociety.org.uk.
7-5-3 Japanese Children's Festival (shichi-go-san)
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7-5-3 Japanese Children's Festival (shichi-go-san)

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The 7-5-3 Festival (Shichi-Go-San 七五三) is an annual celebration held on November 15 to celebrate the health of children aged 3, 5, and 7. This resource contains a presentation, lesson plan, and activity pack and templates to teach children about the customs and traditions associated with the festival. Students will learn why the ages of 3, 5, and 7 were important milestones for Japanese children in the past, about traditional Japanese clothes worn for the festival, and make and decorate a ‘chitose ame’ sweet bag - which children receive during the celebrations. This standalone lesson can be used at any time to teach about Japanese culture to KS2. For more resources related to Japanese cultural festivals, visit the Japan Society website.
Tessellations with Japanese Patterns
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Tessellations with Japanese Patterns

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This lesson brings Japanese culture into the maths classroom, allowing students to learn about the history and significance of three Japanese patterns (ichimatsu, uroko, and kikko) as they explore the properties of shapes and draw their own tessellations. Designed for Upper KS2 and Lower KS3, the lesson introduces the concept of polygons and can be easily adapted by focusing on the tasks most suited to your students’ level. Extension activity ideas are also included. More resources related to Japanese culture are available from the Japan Society website.
Japanese Sports and Martial Arts Quiz
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Japanese Sports and Martial Arts Quiz

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The quiz and script introduces students to six traditional Japanese sports and martial arts (Karate, Judo, Kendo, Kyudo, Yabusame, and Sumo). The true or false powerpoint quiz is short and suitable for all ages. The accompanying PDF teacher script gives more facts and information about each sport and is best suited for use with KS2, KS3, and above. Students get the chance to answer using the Japanese gestures for true (maru) or false (batsu) just as Japanese students might! The quiz can be integrated into a longer lesson about Japan or Japanese culture, or used as a standalone activity and more teaching resources are available from the Japan Society website.
Otsukimi - Autumn Moon Viewing Festival
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Otsukimi - Autumn Moon Viewing Festival

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This lesson about Otsukimi, the Japanese Moon Viewing festival, can be used to teach KS2 about Japanese culture, the harvest moon, and the diversity of beliefs and stories about the moon around the world. The PPT includes information about the customs and traditions associated with Ostukimi and an illustrated version of The Rabbit on the Moon story. There is also a version of the story with key vocabulary in Japanese for those wishing to teach Japanese language. After listening to the story, students will recall key locations, characters, and events in the story and summarise them on their own story plate. Also included is a PDF Activity Pack (containing origami rabbit instructions and a kanji practice worksheet) which can be printed out and used by students independently or during extracurricular activities such as Japan club. Other resources related to seasonal festivals in Japan are available from the Japan Society website.
Visualise Numbers with Soroban - Japanese Abacus
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Visualise Numbers with Soroban - Japanese Abacus

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Soroban, the Japanese abacus, provides a visual and tangible tool which helps students with place value and understanding the decimal system. It can be used to: practice number bonds; show why we carry/exchange numbers; consolidate arithmetic skills; and improve concentration. This 5 lesson unit of work introduces KS1/KS2 students to the soroban; in addition to the above they will learn how to read numbers of any size and to perform simple calculations. The Japan Society has soroban loans available for schools to borrow (free of charge, postage costs may apply) to support the teaching of this unit.
Exploring Poetry through Haiku
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Exploring Poetry through Haiku

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This short unit (3 lessons) introduces haiku to KS3 students through the theme of journeys. Poetry is often about journeys, both literal and metaphorical, and studying haiku is a simple way to help students connect to their surroundings and produce personal and creative work. Haiku are a part of Japanese culture sometimes mistakenly taught as just a three-line, 5-7-5 syllable poems. This unit aims to give students the real essence of haiku as they work on core literacy skills. Why not also enter the World Children’s Haiku Contest, which is accepting entries until Feb 28 2022. For more details see the contest page.
Haiku Workshop - Beyond 5/7/5
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Haiku Workshop - Beyond 5/7/5

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This booklet contains ideas for educators wishing to introduce haiku poetry. Students of all ages can write a haiku outside and there are printable worksheets to act as a guide. The booklet was made by haiku poet Paul Conneally and contains information about haiku and their key features, as well as tasks for students to identify different the elements and seasons of haiku (suitable for KS2 and above). As well as a creative exercise, haiku can be used to introduce mindfulness and as a way to reflect on the world around us. The Japan Society are also accepting entries to the 17th World Children’s Haiku Contest until 28 February 2022.
Religion in Japan - Shrines and Temples
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Religion in Japan - Shrines and Temples

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Introduce students to the two main religions in Japan, Shinto and Buddhism and the places of worship associated with them - shrines and temples - using our short video and accompanying resources. The video gives a short tour of a shrine and temple, allowing students to see common features of both. The presentation has more pictures, facts and tasks to support a longer lesson about religion in Japan. Templates and worksheets are also provided so students can design ema wish boards and write omikuji fortunes. For more information, visit the resource page on the Japan Society website or contact education@japansociety.org.uk. An editable version of the PPT is available on request.
Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020
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Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020

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This PowerPoint presentation introduces Japan, Japanese culture and the Tokyo Olympic games to KS2 students and includes a short quiz and fun facts. Show students images of Japan as they learn about its location, climate, different islands, and preparations for the postponed Olympic games. There are accompanying notes for teachers with brief explanations of some aspects of Japanese culture to read to students (including origami, sumo wrestling, kimono and the popularity of baseball). This can be used as part of a standalone lesson about the olympics or linked to other lessons about Japan. It be followed by the Japanese Sports and Martial Arts quiz for a sports themed lesson or any other Japan Society resources.