On March 22nd 2015, 33 children and grown-ups came along to a special “Japanese for Juniors” workshop held at Conway Hall by the Japan Foundation London, in which they took on the challenge of learning about the Japanese language while creating their own Japanese hanko stamps!
The workshop instructor, Mio Tsunematsu, began with explaining the three different writing systems of Japanese (hiragana, katakana and kanji) and their origin. The participants learnt that many kanji are derived from pictures of the things they represent, and attempted a puzzle in which they had to match the picture with the right kanji. The children were then given a special Japanese toy, “moji-bakeru,” which are plastic kanji characters representing animal names that can be reconstructed into a model of the animals themselves!
After transforming their moji-bakeru, the participants then learned how to write their names in katakana characters, and finally set about creating hanko stamps by carving their katakana names into erasers. It was quite hard work, but when the children came to stamp their names with ink, the results were fantastic!
The children, parents and all other participants really enjoyed learning Japanese and making hanko. Some of their feedback included:
“We learnt a lot about the Japanese language and had a lot of fun.”
“Very hands-on and well-targeted to this age group.”
“I loved making the Japanese toys and making my own stamp. I really want Mio to come to my school and teach Japanese!”
We would like to thank everyone who came to our workshop – ARIGATOU GOZAIMASHITA!
You can view photos from the event on our Facebook page here.