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Teaching Shakespeare in Japan & East Asia

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Sarah Jowett

on 9 January 2018

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Transcript of Teaching Shakespeare in Japan & East Asia

Shakespeare in Japanese &
East Asian education


Shakespeare in East Asia research aims
Increase awareness of
Teaching Shakespeare
magazine, British Shakespeare Association
Commission articles for
Teaching Shakespeare
from faculty, teachers and students
Redress the comparative lack of publications from educators on their teaching of Shakespeare
(search World Shakespeare Bibliography)
Prepare a co-authored book on
Shakespeare in East Asian Education
for Palgrave
Japan outcomes

Teaching Shakespeare
7, 13
, 14
freely available online


Shakespeare & citizenship in Japan
Secondary analysis of
Teaching Shakespeare

Shakespeare & citizenship (cont.)
How do the processes of Shakespeare teaching raise mirror and illuminate forms of social and political engagement?

Taking informed and responsible action
Critical thinking and enquiry
Advocacy and representation

How does the content of Shakespeare
teaching raise public issues?

Political literacy
Social and moral responsibility
Social engagement
Community involvement
Democracy and justice
Rights and duties

Issues 6 & 7

7/10 Japanese nationals
3/10 US or UK foreign nationals
3/10 female educators
9/10 teaching HE students
1/10 school pupils
1/10 lifelong learners
1/10 teaching in law departments
1/10 global studies
8/10 English
0/10 drama or theatre

Japan findings
Shakespeare, in these articles portrayed as useful for
Teaching citizenship-related

perceived comparability of British & Japanese past, hierarchical societies
perceived need to be familiar with English language & culture (latter sometimes in tension with notion of being a good citizen in Japan)
Mirroring citizenship

critical thinking & enquiry (esp. discussion, debate) & taking action

Success and failure of content and methods for teaching Shakespeare frequently explained with reference to
beliefs about (and comparisons of) Japanese & British national cultures & 'Western' v 'Eastern' academic cultures, rather than universalities

Issue 6 - themed
Issue 7 - integrated
an Davies, Velda Elliott, Sarah Olive, Norio Ikeno, Jun Watanabe, Hiroaki Fukazawa
Saeko Machi
Additional context for South Korean research

Flourishing theatre scene in Seoul: from 10>106 theatres in Daehakro St in 20 years ('Shakespeare Boom')
Large number of resources e.g. editions & translations(Korean, Korean/English)
Like Japan, national association -
SAK. Holds international
conferences sinces 1997
Korea findings
Who does Shakespeare, when?
Just over half had studied Shakespeare in formal education
MSND, Hamlet, Merchant, Shrew, sonnets, Romeo & Juliet
All but 1 in English (including ‘journalism class’), within foreign language departments. 1 in drama.
6 studied at Korean UG, 5 at secondary school – 4 of these were in English-speaking countries, 1 at a Korean foreign language high school, 2 at Korean primary schools
Shakespeare outside formal education in Korea included books, movies, visiting Stratford-on-Avon, drama club and seeing a French musical version of R&J (aged 10-24 y.o.)
Majority against ‘start it earlier’
Students’ impressions of Shakespeare: tragic, romantic, accidentally funny e.g. ‘bosom’, universality, superior ability with with emotions, Shakespeare as moral/philosophical educator
How is Shakespeare taught in Korea?

Most received their Shakespeare teaching in Korean, closely followed by English, and a combination of the two languages
4/11 stated the texts they used were in English, 2 contained parallel texts in both languages.
Popular approaches included teaching about Shakespeare’s life, Shakespeare’s times, watching videos in class
Only 1 had performed plays in class
Some emphasis on private reading of the texts - most frequently referred to as ‘books’. ‘Score over speaking’ in English in Korea?
One older participant’s classes had involved memorisation, translation & study of leading criticism
64% had seen a live production or cinema relay
Shakespeare outside formal education in Korea

Books, movies, visiting Stratford-on-Avon, drama club and seeing a French musical version on R&J.
The age at which these encounters happened ranged from 10-24 y.o.
Korean visions for
Shakespeare for children & young adults

Only 1 advocated learning at primary. Smooth transition to Shakespeare at HE level – 1 participant suggested this feels like a huge leap.
Reasons against starting it earlier: teenagers’ egocentrism; cramming-oriented secondary education; ‘Shakespeare’s information’ not being ‘ in immediate need’; need for readers’ having life experience; better likelihood of finding classmates who are interested and knowledgeable in HE.
Methods: reading matched by films. Speaking aloud and hearing his words as well as instruction from ‘Shakespearean experts’.
3 participants suggested the Ministry of Education mandate Shakespeare in national education policy beyond English subject students.

Japan and South Korea:
Pragmatic reasons for studying English: to travel, have work and leisure relationships internationally, fulfill parents’ wishes.
Citizenship education objectives: to broaden students’ worldviews, to become global leaders
Periods of withdrawal from/opening up to Western influences

Specifically South Korean:
History of Japanese and US mediation of Shakespeare into Korea.
Some students' discourse still inflected with wariness of cultural imperialism: ‘Shakespeare has not yet invaded Korea’.
Korean conclusions
Where next for Teaching Shakespeare in East Asia?
More voices needed for a HK
Teaching Shakespeare
magazine vox pop
Please complete the survey if you studied in HK, or elsewhere in East Asia, as a school or university student!
Please encourage East Asian-educated colleagues, students, friends to complete it online. Direct to my academia.edu site.
Funding to expand project to HK in Spring 2016 (Chinese University); Vietnam in Summer 2016 (British Academy)
Edited book?

Teaching Shakespeare issues 9, 10 freely available online - BSA, TES
http://www.britishshakespeare.ws/education/ teaching-shakespeare

University of York Learning & Teaching Forum freely available blog - Nov 2015
http://yorkforum.org/2015/11/02/korean- students-shakespeare/

Review of
Taming of the Shrew http://bloggingshakespeare.com/reviewing-shakespeare/taming-shrew-edp-dir-hyon-u-lee-korean-cultural-centre-london-august-2016/

Korea outcomes
Vietnamese visions...
Issue 13 - themed
Issue 14 - integrated
The appeal of gender crossing in
Twelfth Night
- Saeko Machi
Vietnam findings
Olive, S. (forthcoming)
'Perceptions of and visions for teaching Shakespeare in Vietnam'. https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/english-association/schools/use
Most students encounter Shakespeare at school - Romeo & Juliet balcony scene in textbooks, translated into & with instruction in Vietnamese as part of Literature classes
Framed as a unit of study on 'love and hatred' - love theme seen to be motivational for young adults
Occupies a few periods, a few hours of class time, depending on teachers' interests in Western vs. Vietnamese interests
Range of methods, familiar globally: film, role-play, presentations, note-taking on passage, class discussion, performance
(Open University of HCMC)

Some overlap with Japan and Korea (Shakespeare for moral education & transcultural communication)
Some overlap with Korea (preparation for romantic love)
Particular affection for extra-curricular & performance encounters - relate it to intrinsic motivation
Also for what Shakespeare's language can teach students about the evolution &
usage of English

What next?
Tease out the following adjectives for Shakespeare in relation to East Asian experiences: universal, cosmopolitan, global, 'beyond English', regional & national
Write about Shakespeare in Vietnamese Higher Education in relation to development of modern Asian theatre (Wetmore et al)
Write about Chinese University Shakespeare Festival archives
Continue to publish East Asian students' & teachers' reflections in
Teaching Shakespeare
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