Japan is such a land of contrast, rich in culture and traditions, a wonderful blend of old and new.
There are so many aspects of Japanese culture and lifestyle, schooling and home-life, language, geography and history that can be incorporated into the classroom.
As I make new resources or teachers donate resources, this page will be added to. In addition, if you have a unit of work coming up that involves Japan or Japanese, you can contact me and I will look into making something to complement your unit of work.
The Year 4 teachers at my school told me of their poetry unit and asked if I could do some Haiku with the classes. As it was introduced in the Japanese lesson, it made it more authentic. As a result the students have written some fantastic Haiku, and have enjoyed the activity too. Here are the Haiku that I introduced to the classes first;
Haiku have been found in Japanese history as early as the 9th century and are believed to have developed from Tanka, another form of poetry. In Tanka, poetry lines were exchanged instead of letters. Haiku are the first 17 syllables of the Tanka.
The syllables are
1st line – 5 syllables
2nd line – 7 syllables
3rd line – 5 syllables.
In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line while haiku in English often appear in three lines to parallel the three phrases of Japanese haiku.
The best-known Japanese haiku is Bashō‘s “old pond”:
This separates into syllables as:
- fu-ru-i-ke ya (5) (old pond)
- ka-wa-zu to-bi-ko-mu (7) (a frog leaps in)
- mi-zu no o-to (5) (water’s sound)
An alternate translation, which preserves the syllable counts in English could be;
At the age old pond
A frog leaps into water
A deep resonance
There are many sites with some great Haiku for all different themes and topics. Enjoy Haiku with your classes. Click here for PDFs of the Haiku.
Click here for some colourful numbers mini posters 1-10.