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Japan With Kids - Forums: Education in Japan: Japanese Language Learning

By K. Hill Oghigian on Wednesday, January 17, 2001 - 9:48 am:

What have you found to be effective in teaching Japanese language to children? Tell us your book and video titles, course and school names, or games and activities you do at home.

By Dianne on Tuesday, January 23, 2001 - 11:37 pm:

I think that we should slowly get them to talk in Japanese as to not overwhelm them. We shoud slowly exspose them to this new place. If we don't they could become overwhelmed and then become anti-social for fear of not being accepted.

Diane Dunning

By jinhee on Friday, March 9, 2001 - 10:24 pm:

My family has been in Tokyo since August. My children attend Nishimachi (2nd and 5th grade). I am looking for opportunities to enrich the Japanese they are acquiring at school. Does anyone know of summer programs, camps, classes that might be beneficial for them? I'm especially interested in programs where they can interact with Japanese children.

By Anna on Tuesday, March 13, 2001 - 1:16 pm:

Depending on how old your kids are, I'd say the place to start is at the local playground for kids under 3 or even 4. Older kids that are already very comfortable in the mother language will probably need more support. There are classes that you can sign up for at the Tokyo Jidokan in Shibuya (for free or cost of supplies)in all sorts of crafts and musical activities.

But it's really the parents who are such slow learners! (At least in my case!)

By Caroline on Tuesday, April 17, 2001 - 12:01 pm:

Tokyo Nihongo Volunteer Network

Title: Volunteer Nihongo Class Guide Tokyo 2000
By: Tokyo Nihongo Volunteer Network (TNVN)
Address: 1-1 Kagurakashi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0823
Tel: 03-3235-1171
Fax: 03-3235-0050
Publisher: Toshiko Nakada
Editor: Kyoko Maeda
Published in July 2000


By Susan Burns on Wednesday, October 9, 2002 - 10:19 am:

My daughter started first grade at the local elementary school in September. She has learned hiragana quickly and knows a good number of words, but doesn't seem to be acquiring a working knowledge of Japanese grammatical patterns, hence she has trouble making even short sentences. I have been trying to help her, but she is very reluctant to work on Japanese with me.

Has anyone out there been in a similar situation? I have inquired about hiring a tutor, but none of the schools I have checked with have a teacher experienced with working with children. Suggestions?

By Cornelia on Wednesday, October 9, 2002 - 5:55 pm:

Well, one place to start might be with her teacher or the principal. I've heard of staff at public schools setting up special tutoring for non-native speakers many times. Of course at her age, she may suddenly bubble over one day, and make up for her previous "silence" a thousand fold (another common phenomenon). My kid is reluctant to work on everything with me! I think in her case it is personality? Anyway I don't take it personally, she always asks for my help anyway when she gets in over her head.

Also maybe try to make friends with some other Japanese kids, preferably in her class. Encourage her to invite some (one at a time) over after school or on Saturday. It might take time to get it ironed out with the other mothers, but in the long run it might lead to several big pay-offs. Basically she is a bit young to sit still for tutoring and will learn quickly enough via playing with native speakers.

Last but not least try playing videos in Japanese, not the musical entertainment babble for babies but maybe some children's dramas (I recently taped the 6 hour version of Oliver Twist dubbed in Japanese off NHK 2, which has my 5.5 year old totally entranced -- I could make you a copy...)

By Joanne Jackson on Monday, March 10, 2003 - 10:43 pm:

Audio Visual, Children Literature: I have just published two new Children’s Storybook CD in five languages. The picture storybooks are enjoyable to children of reading age or preschool.
Those of younger years can hear and see the story being told.
Each page has a print-out option and a print-out coloring book with clear text and voice. Just pop the CD into the computer and up comes the book.
The children can hear the story being told in English as well
as another language. Full colour illustrations.
Click on mouse and pages will turn back and forth as the story is being told.
The Garden Miracle comes in English-French-Spanish 1SBN 0-9731901- 2-4
English-Chinese-Japanese ISBN 0-9731901-3-2
Grasshopper Day Exclusive comes in English-French-Spanish ISBN 09731901-1-6
These wholesale for $14.US plus tax and shipping cost.
Will send flyer if interested: May view on website..
Thank you, I hope to hear from you.
Author & designer
Joanne Jackson
112 Haun Rd Box 1503
Crystal Beach, Ontario Canada
L0S 1B0

By Gloria Torrijos on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 10:50 pm:

Hi, I am the mother of a german/spanish bilingual kid who in some weeks will be 5 years old. Can anybody tell me if there is any possibility in my area (Meguro, Meguro-ku) for my son to attend japanese lessons after he comes back from the kindergarten?
He can not speak english, so the lessons should be either in japanese, german/japanese or spanish/japanese.
I have not found anything till now.
Thanks, Gloria Torrijos

By Gloria Torrijos on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 10:28 pm:

Kazuo Tanaka, also a member of this forum, has recomended me to bring my child (who does not speak english, but german and spanish) to learn japanese to one the institutes of my area -Meguro, Meguro-Ku- called Kumon or Gakken. Does anybody know where are they in my area and how to contact them? Do they usually offer classes in the afternoon?
Thank you for your help!
Gloria Torrijos

By Tara on Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 1:02 pm:

Kumon Japanese (Kumon is a well-known network of after school supplemental learning schools)

I think if you go to the central office in Tokyo, you can try it free for two weeks (don't have the info handy but I know they have a webpage & a toll-free counseling number in Eng/Span/Port/Chin). They also have large display ads in the NTT English-language telephone books-- look under "language schools," if I remember correctly.

Also, for the kids, they have two-week trial sessions twice a year. You can also try negotiating at other times of the year-- since I was putting two kids into the system at 3 subjects each, that was a lot of money for the local school owner & they were willing to let us try it for about 10 days free.

Tara, Adachi-ku, Tokyo

By Pato on Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 1:07 pm:

Here's the info on Kumon. I plan to give them a call about the two week trial lessons (to ask when they are next scheduled). I also want to know if there is a location that I can use closer to my home.
Japanese Language Department
Toll free: 0120-494625 (9:20 17:45)
Available in Japanese, English and Portuguese.
3F Gobancho Grand Bldg., 3-1 Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0076
Fax: 03-3234-4389 E-mail:

By Linda Gondo on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 8:41 am:

I just thought some people might be interested in this Japanese language school which specialises in private lessons for people who are short on time and cannot commit to full time lessons, or who like me, cannot attend due to childcare commitments. Lessons are one to one, two or four hours a week at your house or their office in Hiroo. The teachers are talented, professional, well prepared and will create a program to suit your needs. They have also their own unique multi media materials which are great for reinforcing the concepts being learned.
I have tried quite a few Japanese schools and have found this one to be by far the most outstanding.

By Rie Ariga on Monday, February 28, 2005 - 2:52 pm:

Hi. My name is Rie Ariga, a professional Japanese language teacher with over 10 years of experience inside and outside Japan.

If you are interested in learning Japanese, please join our lessons. We provide these courses in Hiro-o, Shibuya.

*Daily conversation (individual/group)
*Mothers with baby (come to class with your baby!)
*Intensive course for beginners (open monthly)

Class schedule is very flexible, and you can start at anytime.

We also organize the cultural event every month. Please take a look at our website or e-mail us for the further information of classes and the envets.


By Leese Johnson on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 1:33 pm:

Anyone actually have success with finding a Japanese language instructor/school/class for kids? I've checked with several language schools and have found one school for kids that we tried and didn't like, one will set up private lessons (we'd prefer group so they can use what they learn) and tons that don't teach kids at all.
Why is this so difficult? We are in Tokyo.

By Helen Matsuo on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 6:41 pm:

this is indeed a problem I have also encountered. What I have been told is there is little demand. Our school has been very helpful and provided one extra lesson a week with a teacher who speaks a little English; to help my two eldest boys, 9 and 11.(Japanese shougakko) However they say that Ichikawa has no funds to provide extra help or classroom assistance. I have now arranged with the help of my Japanese neighbour a private tutor for my eldest son.This teacher is in fact a Japanese teacher of English for children.I met with her and asked her if she would consider helping my eldest son to catch up as he has so much to learn .When we came to Japan 9 months ago he spoke no Japanese at all.She had never taught Japanese to children before but having someone who can speak fluent English to be able to explain to him why 'such and such' should be that way, was important.She agreeded and although I pay for the lessons she often does voluntary work at the school to help him, if and when time allows. I know I have been very fortunate to get this help. She also contacted the Education board who told her about text books which are designed to teach foreign children Japanese.The copies that I saw were excellent but unfortuanlty we are still waiting to receive ours, so I am not able at this moment in time to tell you what they are called.Maybe your local Kyoikuinkai could help you.

Not sure I have been any help at all.When we first arrived her I was so worried about my children coping with daily life and their studies but the total submersion method has had it's ups and downs, but they are all well on their way to speaking fluent Japanese.Oh for a young brain!
Anyway, finally,my point being, perhaps you could also approach a Japanese English teacher and ask them if they would be prepared to swap and teach Japanese instead. It worked for us.My son now knows more than 350 kanji and holds his own in a conversation.

Best of luck with your search.

By Jeremy Seminoff on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 8:48 pm:

Hi Leese,
It would help to know how old your children are and what kind of school they are in. From what you've said so far two things come to mind.

1. I have taught English to Japanese children and find that those who take private lessons tend to learn more than those who take group lessons. Some reasons are that I can't tailor group classes to the needs, interest and pace of each individual; also the kids chat with one another in their own language during class, partially defeating the purpose of studying in the first place.

2. I don't know how old your children are, but the younger a child is, the less I find he learns by "studying a language" and the more he learns by just doing things in that language. Whatever your children are interested in, you could try to find a group of Japanese children with the same interests, be it sports, scouts, playing in the park, etc.

By Barbara Perrett on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 6:38 pm:

I have also had this problem. My son is 6 and has no Japanese. He goes to an international school and does not learn Japanese there until next year. There are Japanese children there but they all speak in English. I have recently found children's lessons at Tokyo Kids Club in Hiroo. He has just been for a free trial lesson and thoroughly enjoyed it so we will continue. He was taught by a native Japanese speaker with one other 6-year-old and the lesson consisted of games and songs with some drawing. If anyone is interested, the phone number is 03-3440-6816

By SAW on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 10:40 pm:

I highly recommend Mihoko Hisatsune, who is a professional Japanese and English teacher for children. She taught my son reading and writing Japanese to prepare him for first grade in Japanese school and I was very impressed. He took private lessons since he already spoke a lot of Japanese and he himself preferred it, but she would notice many areas he needed improvement and work on those as well. She has group lessons, and also has a class combining native Japanese and English speaking children to give each exposure to the other in order to benefit both. She has classes in her home on Saturdays (in Shirokanedai area) but was flexible with hours/days for my son.

She gave me a full written report of each class she held, explaining what they worked on and why, and assigned homework when needed. She has a performance by the children in her group lessons about every 6 months, so family and friends can see the children's progress.
Her email is
Hope this helps!

By Sari H. Krassin on Monday, May 22, 2006 - 8:51 pm:

Hi Barbara,
I have my 3 year old son scheduled for a trial lesson next week at Tokyo kids club. Would you be so kind to tell me what lessons run cost wise? Thank you.

By Leese Johnson on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 9:21 pm:

Is there a website for Tokyo Kids Club? What about an address? I don't really want to just call them and make an appointment. I'd rather go by and see them.

My kids are middle elementary and middle school age. Leese

By Barbara Perrett on Monday, May 29, 2006 - 5:59 pm:

I haven't seen a website for Tokyo Kids Club. The address is Shigeto Building, 2-2-14 Moto Azubu, Minato-ku (tel: 03-3440-6816 ). It's close to Hiroo station. The trial lesson is free, after that it's 11000 yen/month. Hope this helps.

By Caroline on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 12:43 pm:

Can anyone tell me their experience with sending their kids to Kumon for Japanese reinforcement. My daughter is now 7 and fluent in Jpaanese because she went to Japanese preschool. However, because she does not attend a Japanese school now, I think her Japanese will greatly suffer in the long run. I would like her to at least develop some writing skills. She reads and writes hiragana and katakana, and has barely started looking at kanjis. I was thinking of sending her to Kumon. SHe is open to it, so we might try it for a while.
1. Does anyone know if the Kumon still offers a 2-week trial period?
2. Can anyone tell me what the normal class frequency is: 1 time or 2 times a week per subject? Is this up to the child?
3. Any other comments, impressions...

Many thanks. Caroline

By Cleo on Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 4:50 pm:

Are there any Summer Japanese Language schools for a month? We are coming to Japan for vacation with a 11 and 12 year old.

Grateful for any help.


By Versace2009 on Sunday, April 8, 2012 - 10:12 pm:

"NIHONGO Summer School"

Japanese Class by Japanese school teacher

from June 11th, 2012 - for 6 weeks
time 8:30 - 15:00
place: Shirokanedai Minato-ku (2mins walk from Shirokanedai station of Nanboku-Line)
age: K5 - 15(y9)
Japanese Language, Math in Japanese, Book reading, Japanese culture etc.


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