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Teaching Shakespeare in Japan & South Korea

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Sarah Jowett

on 20 July 2017

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Transcript of Teaching Shakespeare in Japan & South Korea

Shakespeare in Japanese &
South Korean education


GB Sasakawa Foundation Japan project
Aimed to:
Increase awareness of
Teaching Shakespeare
magazine, British Shakespeare Association
Commission articles for a Japan-oriented issue of
Teaching Shakespeare

Redress comparative lack of publications from Japanese educators on their teaching of Shakespeare in TS, and more widely
Complement special issue on Shakespeare in Japan by BSA academic journal
Context for project
Historically high volume of teaching, research, publication & performance of Shakespeare in Japan/ by Japanese nationals
Few explore teaching & learning Shakespeare
Attention to this elsewhere in SE Asia e.g. Korea, Taiwan
Prof. Jun Watanabe & Society for Acquisition-Oriented Learning
Policy contradictions & media debates re value of arts in JHE
Japan outcomes

Teaching Shakespeare
issues 6 & 7
freely available online - BSA, TES


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 summary
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

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
not advocacy and representation

Issue 6 - themed
Issue 7 - integrated
an Davies, Velda Elliott, Sarah Olive, Norio Ikeno, Jun Watanabe, Hiroaki Fukazawa
Saeko Machi
British Council
South Korea project
Aimed to:
Increase awareness of
Teaching Shakespeare
Create a vox pop - 20 Korean HE students/academics (3 NW institutions)
Encourage submissions from Korean Shakespeare educators
Compare rationales for & ways of teaching Shakespeare with those from Japan project - 'Asian' v regionally specific
Context for SK project
Small body of literature on Shakespeare in Korean education - more on theatre
Flourshing theatre scene in Seoul: from 10>106 theatres in Daehakro St in 20 years
Large number resources e.g. editions & translations(Korean, Korean/English)
Like Japan, national association -
SAK. Holds international
conferences sinces 1997
Summers 2014 & 2015
Summer 2015
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
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?
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.
4 had been taught about Shakespeare’s life
3 had been taught about Shakespeare’s times
3 had watched videos in class
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

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. Most took place at secondary school or in HE – only 1 in primary school. Average and median = 18. Mode= 14-15.
Ideal Shakespeare
for children & YA in Korea

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 colonial rule
Shakespeare often mediated through Japanese texts and productions in early 20th century
Ban on the importation of Japanese cultural products til 90s
Shakespeare boom since its scholars and practitioners cut out this mediation
However, some discourse still inflected with wariness of cultural imperialism:
‘Shakespeare has not yet invaded Korea’.
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
issue 9
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/

Korea outcomes
Preliminary thoughts on
Hong Kong (Chinese University Shakespeare Festival)
Full transcript