Using ‘Rokunin no Tomodachi’ readers:5 Book 2 ‘Jikanwari’

Book 2 cover rev. copy jpeg

Hi Everyone!

Sorry for the gap between posts—my life has been somewhat disrupted as I have been travelling interstate attending some Japanese teachers’ conferences.  Anyway, here I am back on track with some ideas for using Book 2 as a whole class activity and incorporating it into your Japanese teaching program.

If your students are subscribed to Language Perfect you will now find the word lists for the four books in Series 1 on the Language Perfect website. This means that you can add vocabulary learning and testing, and competitions to the list of activities related to each story.

I will also be releasing a CD in the near future.  Readings of the four stories will be recorded onto it, along with the Rokunin no Tomodachi: Series 1 Song.

Suggested lesson sequence—outline


  1. Scan the story, picture by picture, without reference to the text. Listen to the story (CD); read the story
  2. Review language structures and vocabulary of the story
  3. Cultural research—raccoon dogs and Japanese monkeys
  4. Creative activity: Kamishibai
  5. Ninjutsu—what exactly is it? Research
  6. Creative activity: students make a model of a typical ninja house
  7. Dramatic interpretation of the story
  8. Dramatic interpretation of the story (contd.)
  9. Research Japanese Obentou
  10. Class lunch おべんとう. In groups, students present results of research in form of Kami Shibai, Ninjutsu demonstration, model Ninja house


Scan, listen to, read the story (1 hour). Students work in pairs or small groups.

You will need:

Worksheet 3

A4 cards

  1. Scan the story (approx. 8 minutes). Students go through the story, picture by picture, without reading the text, and answer the questions on Worksheet 3.
  2. Play the story on the CD. The first time through, students listen and follow the pictures. Then play the story through again. This time the students follow the script and repeat after CD, sentence by sentence. (24 minutes if you include the vocab. List).
  3. Divide the vocabulary list evenly among the students and have each student make an illustrated, colour, A4 flashcard for each of his/her assigned vocab. items.
  4. Each student writes a sentence in Japanese, using those words or phrases, to go on the back of the flashcard.


Review language and structures (1 hour)

You will need:

Vocabulary flashcards made in Lesson 1

  1. Using the flashcards made in Lesson 1, review the language and structures  featured in the story. (15 minutes)
  2. Students complete the Reading Comprehension tasks on pages 30, 31.


Cultural research: タヌキ(たぬき)、にほんザル(ざる) (raccoon dogs, Japanese monkeys)

You will need:

Worksheet 4

Internet access

Students research Japanese raccoon dogs and Japanese monkeys to complete Worksheet 4.


Creative activity: Kamishibai

Students work in small groups

You will need:

12 x A3 cards per group

Internet access

To introduce the idea of Kamishibai, there is a good Youtube video: ‘What is Kamishibai?’ by Dym Sensei.

This video, only 3.39 min, explains the concept of Kamishibai and how the cards work.

The students, working in small groups, produce a Kamishibai of 12 cards in length, depicting a Japanese folktale featuring either a raccoon dog or a Japanese monkey.


Cultural research

Ninjutsu—what exactly is it?

You will need:

Worksheet 5

Internet access

Students work in pairs to complete the worksheet.


As part of my research into Ninjutsu, I contacted a local Ninjutsu Sensei, who was very helpful. I observed some training sessions and he was more than happy to answer questions. If there is a group near you, you may be able to arrange a visit to your school—either from the teacher or some of the advanced students.






As well as the Websites cited above or in the worksheets, I found the following resources useful in gaining an understanding of the art of Ninjutsu.

Hatsumi, Masaaki.  Essence of Ninjutsu. The Nine Traditions. McGraw-Hill, 1988

Hatsumi, Masaaki. The Way of the Ninja. Secret Techniques Kodansha International, 2004

Hayes, Stephen K. The Ninja and Their Secret Fighting Art Tuttle Publishing, 1981

Levy, Joel. Ninja The Shadow Warrior Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2008