Japanese Calligraphy

Introductory Information

Author Áine FURLONG
e-mail afurlong@wit.ie
Institute Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland
Target Group mid/ late Primary
Subjects Art
Aims The child should be enabled to:
  1. discover how line could convey movement and rhythm : e.g. calligraphic styles (Visual Art curriculum NCCA, p.66) ;
  2. Make drawings and do color studies based on natural objects brought into the classroom (this becomes more important when children reach the senior classes of the primary school [ 10-12 years old]. The structure of natural objects could provide inspiration in construction activities Visual art teacher guidelines, NCCA, p.37).

Key Competences

Communication in languages
  • Consolidate French vocabulary (nouns) and introduce any other nouns from languages known in the class
  • Develop phonological awareness
  • Use Japanese Katakana table to achieve these aims
  • Develop curiosity in other languages and writing systems
Learning to learn
  • Work collaboratively as part of the learning process
  • Draw benefits from a heterogeneous group
  • Share what they have learnt
  • Look for opportunities to learn and apply learning in a variety of life contexts
Digital Competences
  • Ability to search, collect and process information
Social and Civic Competences
  • Work collaboratively
  • Value diversity and cultural identities
Cultural awareness and expression
  • Understand cultural and linguistic diversity in Europe and other regions of the world
  • Develop creative skills which can be transferred to a variety of contexts
  • The willingness to cultivate aesthetic capacity through artistic self-expression and participation in cultural life.
Timing of the overall activities 3 hours

Worksheets: Raising awareness of Japanese characters (katakana)

Worksheet 1 - Discovering Japanese calligraphy

Material required Japanese calligraphy examples included below. Internet access is optional.
Resources Document 1, Katakana examples
Grouping   and
Focus on content Discovering another writing system
Focus on languages Pronouncing words from other languages

Notes for the teacher
These tasks can be conducted bilingually. Katakana is syllabic, therefore children must break words into their number of syllables. The sound L is represented by R. There are more signs than those represented in Document 2. These signs can be accessed on the web.

Worksheet 1
Material for Teachers
Material for Students

Worksheet 2

Material required The Katakana table. Short history of this syllabic alphabet.
Resources Document 2, Katakana table
Worksheet 2
Material for Teachers
Material for Students

Worksheet 3 - History of the Katakana table

Material required Short history of this syllabic alphabet (Document 3)
Worksheet 3
Material for Teachers
Material for Students

Worksheet 4 - Japanese calligraphy on a stone

Materials required
  • Documents 1 and 2
  • An A4 white cardboard sheet between 2 pupils.
  • An A4 black card board sheet between 2 pupils.
  • A small flat pebble (approximately 5cm x 3cm) per pupil.
  • One black marker per pupil.
  • One Tipex pen between 2 pupils.
  • One pair of scissors per pupil.
  • Glue.
Worksheet 4
Material for Teachers
Material for Students

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