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力 CHIKARA Japanese Teaching Resources for Secondary Schools


PLEASE NOTE: The CHIKARA information on this page is based on the 2003 GCSE specification.

How do we tackle so many items in the GCSE teaching specification? The resources have been created to guide teachers of Japanese in preparing students for the GCSE exam. As you will know the GCSE specification includes 5 topics, as well as structure/grammar lists, vocabulary, and kanji.

We have grouped topics/subtopics with structures to emphasize the importance of having a solid grounding in Japanese grammar in order to communicate in the various topic-related situations. The resources will therefore enable students not only to communicate effectively in situations that they may realistically encounter, but also correctly.

CHIKARA covers topics which are equivalent to the topics required for GCSE Japanese as in the table below. See List of GCSE Japanese Structures by JFLLC for a description of the levels. (Note: A = most basic, B = basic, C = slightly more difficult)

Equivalent GCSE Topic
Purposes of Resources
Structure Level
Myself, Family and Home life House, Home and Daily Life -To learn Japanese grammatical structures
-To practice how to communicate in Japanese in given situations
A-B Level Some C Level
School Life and Routines Education, Training and Employment
Town and Social Life Social Activities, Fitness and Health
Life & Culture in Japan (CHIKARA for Reading) Media, Entertainment and Youth Culture -To learn Japanese grammatical structures
-To Practice Reading
-To learn basic facts about life and culture in Japan
A-C Level
In the United Kingdom and Abroad

Click here for CHIKARA for Reading.

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CHIKARA Syllabus (Myself / School / Town)

For each topic you can access an overview of the contents, which contains the following information about each subtopic:

  • Structure/ grammar point taught
  • Example of text
  • Key Vocabulary used
  • Goals of resource

Most of the structures covered in the topics of CHIKARA are equivalent to levels A and B and they are arranged so that they become progressively more difficult. Although there are some exceptions, the majority of level A (most basic) structures appear in the former half of the table while level B (basic) structures are in the latter half. There are some subtopics with the same combination of structures in different topic areas.

The CHIKARA Syllabus could be used for the following purposes.

  • To see at a glance the contents of CHIKARA
  • As a guide for writing new teaching/learning materials
  • As a guide for writing a curriculum for your school
  • As a guide when teaching/writing materials with the same structures but for different topics

The syllabus for ‘Life and Culture in Japan’ is available on the CHIKARA for Reading page.

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Teaching Resources: What is included in each topic? (Myself / School / Town)

The teaching materials / resources made by the Japan Foundation are designed for students to learn the structure of Japanese language and to practice the language learnt in a communicative setting.

There are 20 subtopics for each topic (Myself, School and Town) in the CHIKARA Syllabus, and for almost half of the subtopics resources (e.g worksheets, sound files) have been created and are listed below.

Download resources (Myself/ School/ Town)

To develop these resources the Japan Foundation referred to the 'Minna no Kyōzai' website created by the Japan Foundation. All the pictures included in the resources are taken from the collection of copyright-free images and photos on the website. Hot PotatoesVer.6 (Half-Baked Software Inc./University of Victoria Humanities and Computing and Media Centre ) has been used to generate the ICT exercises.

The Features and Uses of Teaching Resources (Myself / School / Town)

What's included?
Purpose & Usage
Model Text -1: Monologue as a model of writing
-2: Dialogue as a model of speaking
-accompanied by sound files
-To introduce the conversation and structures in a subtopic
-Listening practice (with script)
Exercise 1
PDF -Worksheet to practice structure and grammar (with answers) -To understand Japanese language structures correctly
-Could be used in a lesson or as homework
-If you plan to use Ex2 as well, it is recommended to do Ex1 before Ex2.
ICT -Conjugation exercise
-Word order exercise
-Grammar Quiz
-Key Vocabulary Quiz
-Authoring tool: Hot Potatoes
-As a supplementary resource, ICT can be used as preparation for, or review of Ex1-PDF
-It is recommended to practice the conjugation exercises before doing Ex1 PDF in areas where pupils experience difficulties
Exercise 2
PDF -Activities for speaking and writing
-Worksheet for pair/group/individual
-Instructions in English
-To practice speaking and writing Japanese in a communicative setting.
-To use in a lesson under teacher�s instruction
ICT -Sequencing sentences in the model conversation
-Authoring tool: Hot Potatoes
- As a supplementary resource, ICT can be used as preparation for Ex2-PDF
Sound -Model Text 1 for monologue, recorded once
-Model Text 2 for dialogue repeated twice
-To hear the model text
-To practice listening with the script


All the resources are written in Hiragana or Kanji with the reading. All Kanji are taken from the Kanji List in the GCSE Japanese Specification.

The link between structures and subtopics

As stated already, the structures are introduced in order of difficulty. This enables teachers to teach Japanese step-by-step, gradually introducing more difficult grammar points. There are however some exceptions in which B/C level structures appear in the early subtopics. This happens when the structure is very closely related to the subtopic. In this case, please select only the resource which is relevant to your lesson plan.

The link between resources in a subtopic

Each of the six resources per subtopic are related to each other. If you plan to use all the resources of one subtopic, the Japan Foundation suggests teaching them in the following order to make your lessons more effective.

  • Introduction: model text (+sound)
  • Structure Exercise: exercise 1(PDF with supplementary use of ICT)
  • Communicative Exercise: exercise 2(PDF with supplementary use of ICT)

After all, it's up to you, teachers!

Although there are a lot of resources in CHIKARA, there are no ‘rules’ on how to use them. You may choose to use them all, select only certain resources, amend resources to fit with your lesson plan, or use them as reference materials. It is for you to decide how you would like to apply them and integrate them in to your teaching style. The Japan Foundation hopes that CHIKARA will become a resource tank for you to teach Japanese more effectively and in a fun way.

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CHIKARA update resources

The original CHIKARA resource was made based on the 2003 Edexcel GCSE Specification. Throughout the CHIKARA update workshops in 2009 and 2010, we have been comparing the 2003 specification and the new Edexcel GCSE Specification (first taught in 2009). As a result of the workshops, three new lists were developed to demonstrate what has changed. They are all available to download for free.

It shows that CHIKARA still covers the majority of the sentence structures of the 2009 Specification.

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