Kotoba-no-jyugyo: A Class for Words and Language

Mariko Yokosuka and Kyoko Takano (Japan Center Co-Directors) recently introduced teachers and students to a unique workshop called “Kotoba-no-jyugyo: A Class for Words and Language,” available only through the Yomiuri Education Network, a non-profit educational support organization linked to Yomiuri Shimbun (Newspaper). The opportunity to bring this workshop to our students is the result of a new partnership between ASIJ and the Yomiuri Group, which is comprised of entities such as the Yomiuri Shimbun, Yomiuri Amusement Park, Nippon Television, Yomiuri Culture Schools and the Yomiuri Giants.


On February 15th,  Shin Sato, a Yomiuri Shimbun journalist, along with Yuto Seo, a professional from the  specialized Japanese language organization, ACE, visited ASIJ to bring the writing workshop to Mimi Domeki’s (Middle School Teacher) Japanese classes.

The aim of the Yomiuri Education Network’s workshop is to walk a day in the shoes of a Japanese-language journalist and offer students a chance to learn from writing professionals in a classroom setting. During the workshop, our students studied and participated in the note-taking, interviewing and the writing process for drafting news articles.

Students prepared for the visit from Mr. Sato by reading the Chukosei Shimbun, a middle school level Japanese newspaper produced by the Yomiuri Shimbun. They analyzed the content and discussed their initial impressions of the newspaper.

With Mr. Sato’s guidance, students learned how a real journalist takes notes, assesses sources, and writes an informative, thought-provoking news article. Our middle school Japanese students then put their own journalistic skills to the test, using what they learned.

Following the workshop, students discussed how their initial impressions of the newspaper have changed. Applying what they learned, students continued their unit of study after Mr. Sato’s visit. Their goal was to write an opinion paper based on a current issue, following the journalistic style of Yomiuri’s Chukosei Shimbun. Students conducted their research through various resources, incorporated their peers’ perspectives and presented their stance on the issue, in an persuasive style.


Reflecting on the visit from Yomiuri and ACE, Ms. Domeki says “The workshop organized by Mr. Sato and Mr. Seo was greatly beneficial for the students. They clearly outlined the step-by-step process for writing newspaper articles from a professional journalist’s perspective. My students were especially amazed to see how Mr. Sato writes an article in real time. I am grateful that my students had a chance to experience this powerful workshop.”

The Japan Center hopes to expand their collaborative opportunities with Yomiuri in the areas of culture, music and the arts while continuing to utilize resources such as Kodomo Shimbun (elementary-level children’s Japanese newspaper) and Chukosei Shimbun in the classrooms.