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Japanese for Juniors – All About Japanese Dolls!

On May 28th 2016, more than 40 children and grown-ups came along to the “Japanese for Juniors” workshop held at Conway Hall by the Japan Foundation London, in which they learned a little Japanese language and culture while making origami Japanese dolls!

The workshop instructor, Mio Tsunematsu, introduced the meanings of different kinds of traditional Japanese dolls, and explained the culture associated with them. She also taught words in Japanese for describing dolls and toys, such as kawaii (cute) and kakkoii (cool), in addition to words and expressions that would help the participants when making origami, like different colours in Japanese.

Tsunematsu-sensei then explained how to make three types of Japanese doll through origami – hina ningyou, daruma and kokeshi. She explained this in Japanese with English interpretation, allowing participants to hear native Japanese language spoken naturally. Towards the end, all participants enjoyed watching a video to see how wooden kokeshi dolls are hand-crafted in Japan.

Although it was quite a challenge to make origami dolls, the children (and their accompanying grown-ups!) worked very hard and everyone did a fantastic job of making beautiful, kawaii dolls to take home with them. Many children were delighted with their achievements and said “yatta!” and “dekita!” (“I did it!”), Japanese words which they had just learned!

Some of the participants’ feedback included:

“Very well organised, staffed and resourced. Knowledgeable and kind (and patient!) staff who were excellent with the children. A lovely way to bring language and culture together.”
“Very, very good! My boys had fun and learned some Japanese. I could practise some Japanese too!”
“It was amazing to learn about Japanese culture through doll making!”

We would like to thank everyone who came to our workshop – ARIGATOU GOZAIMASHITA!

You can view photos from this event at the Japan Foundation Facebook page here.