Embedding local culture into the curriculum plays an important role in allowing our students to connect what they are learning in the classroom with the community they live in. Being able to explore and appreciate Japan’s rich and unique culture through music education, arts programs, special guest lectures, and live performances allows the entire YIS community to benefit.
The International Center for Japanese Culture (ICJC), founded at YIS in 2011, promotes traditional and modern Japanese arts and culture. The abundance of easily accessible Japanese traditions, customs, arts, craftspeople, ideas and activities provides a wellspring of choices for curricular enhancement and community engagement. Students have had the fortune of making recycled art with Kanazawa-based artists, have learned the traditional techniques and philosophy that produce elegant washi, Japanese paper, have wrestled in a sumo ring and have enjoyed making delicate Japanese cuisine. Parents have had the opportunity to make matcha, green tea, with a tea master, learn about Japanese dolls and the art of Japanese incense, among other activities.
Curriculum Enhancement Programs
ICJC activities enhance YIS curricular offerings for students.
The Early Learning Center is guided by the Reggio Emilia academic philosophy where children creatively express themselves and learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing and hearing. The ICJC aims to enhance this child-centered curriculum with special hands-on learning experiences including Japanese printmaking, visual art and construction, drama, music, puppetry and shadow performance. Special classes include Japanese dance, music (13-string koto, singing and taiko drumming) and Japanese Way of Tea.
ICJC aims to enhance PYP beliefs and values in an eclectic array of Japanese traditional and modern arts-related classes. Students will find a new awareness of cultural values and traditions different from their own in living in the host country. K-5 classes include Japanese calligraphy, cuisine, dance, ink painting, music (13-string koto, singing and taiko drumming), the Japanese Way of Tea and various excursions (Sankeien Gardens, nearby temples and shrines, museums, etc.).
Strengthening the MYP’s three fundamental concepts of holistic learning, intercultural awareness and communication, ICJC’s distinctive arts programs help middle school students gain a clearer understanding and appreciation of Japanese cultural identities as well as their own. Special classes have included Japanese kimono design and wearing (Grade 6), Kabuki theater (Grade 7), and “Living in the Edo Period-Sustainability”, “Buddhism in a Global Context” (Grade 8). ICJC also helps coordinate various field trips around Yokohama exploring the rich traditional as well as modern local culture.
High school students can directly interact with guest lecturers in all fields of Japanese art and culture. Furthermore, a database of professionals in various disciplines and links with the community are invaluable resources for students exploring Extended Essay topics, Theory of Knowledge work and service projects.