Menu Content/Inhalt
Главная arrow Publications arrow Society arrow Erofeeva Natalya, Development of sense of patriotism through learning Japanese
Erofeeva Natalya, Development of sense of patriotism through learning Japanese Печать E-mail
17.11.2012 г.
Natalya Erofeeva
Teacher of Japanese

At present time our society faces a serious problem: how to develop a sense of patriotism, the sense that has been lost. People are often not aware of its lack or misinterpretation. They often oppose vigorously when addressed directly regarding the issue. Under these conditions it would be beneficial to incorporate this educational aspect into general subjects including foreign languages.

Nowadays 40 percent of graduates of Russian universities would like to go abroad. Among experts of Japan this percentage is probably even higher. There is nothing wrong with the desire of young people to see the world. A great concern is that many students do not love their country. At the very first lessons they read in textbooks about Japanese exotic things and economic achievements, discuss Japanese politeness and industriousness, speak about splendor of cherry blossoms and bright red Japanese maples Momiji. All this only make the desire even stronger.

What should be done? How to spark an interest and love for their own country? Studies of Japan and its language can help to form the world view of our youth in the right way, if accents are set a little bit differently and emphasis is placed on positive similarities of the Russian and Japanese cultures. Thru an interest to Japan this might help the youth to turn back to the basics and roots of Russia. The young generation has the right to know its history, its heroes and their deeds. Our duty is to make sure it happens.

Sense of patriotism should be nurtured. Development of patriotism first and foremost is education that is a long, gradual, painstaking work. This is mainly within competence of teachers of the Russian language, literature and history. At the same time every specialist can think how to make it part of his professional knowledge. Those feelings that develop love should be shaped, for example, love for one's own nature, dear land, one's own culture.

When a Japanese meets a Russian he usually exclaims: «ロシア は 寒い です ね» («It is so cold in Russia!"). Most Japanese have an image of Russia as a cold and dark country. However, on visiting Russia they quickly change their opinion to a positive one. So let's create a positive image of our country in Japanese educational materials at the very beginning. It will be an easy job given with the beauty of our nature, diversity of climatic conditions and centuries-old culture. Maybe before you know our own students following Japanese learners become interested not only in Japanese, but also in our own natural and cultural landmarks and other places of interest.

It is necessary to teach children and students to love nature and feel the beauty. Admiring the beauty of the home side, we thus plant in the seeds of love for our own country. In Japanese, there are a lot of enthusiastic exclamations, which we study in the first semester. If while practicing them we show images not only of the Japanese nature, but our own landscapes and landmarks, it can be of a great educational value.

During the Soviet period there were many texts about Moscow, Siberian railway, and other realities of the Soviet time in Japanese language textbooks. Then it fit the education system well, as the Soviet patriotism was fostered in kindergartens, families, schools and mass media. Nowadays practically there are no materials about Russia in textbooks for beginners. They appear later and contain mere background information that is not enough. Bright memorable images of that native countryside and attractions should be presented alongside with Japanese images from the very beginning, as it is the time when an interest towards new material and subject is the strongest.

A new Japanese language textbook for beginners is underway. At the lesson on adjectives students imagine a trip to Nikko to enjoy fall maples and ancient temples. Russian gorgeous landscapes and places of historical significance can be used to train the material. Japanese visit Russia to admire the golden fall. They visit towns of the "Golden Ring" or go by boat to St. Petersburg. Adjectives and names of colors can be studied not only using Japanese maples, persimmon and tangerine but Russian pumpkins, apples, mushrooms, mountain ash, aspen, birch, etc. Mikangari (gathering of tangerines) goes along with kinokogari (gathering of mushrooms). This can be done at every lesson. When Japanese tourists are in Russia and if time permits in addition to Moscow and St. Petersburg they visit towns of the "Golden Ring": Sergiev Posad, Suzdal, Vladimir. Practicing grammar and cultural aspects can be done during discussion of the possibility to travel to these towns is in tune to discussion of traveling to Kyoto, Nara, Kamakura. Dimensions and age of the statues of Big Buddha and ancient monuments in Nara and Kamakura the can be discussed in the same age of Cathedrals of Assumption in Vladimir, Moscow and Sergiev Posad. Thus from the very initial stage the cultural approach in the learning process will be applied not only to Japan but also to Russia. We will prepare students for a trip to Japan and work in Russia.

 Now let's talk about love for customs and traditions of our people. An image of the Motherland is being shaped on a child's conscious and subconscious levels from his childhood. Warm feelings towards everything that has been around child since his birth, are preserved throughout all his life. We recollect pleasing moments. Home, religious and state holidays, folk songs, sayings and proverbs, traditional food, etc. -all this plays a very important role in the process of upbringing. We begin to study traditions and customs of the Japanese people along with natural landscapes and sightseeing at a very early stage of education.

Japanese and Russian proverbs and sayings often have a similar meaning and teachers of the Japanese language successfully work with them. As for songs and fairy tales - only Japanese ones are used, that is not a very good tendency. In Japan, the native language textbook for the first class has a Russian folk tale about a turnip. Japanese made it part of the learning process because of its content. Ookina Kabu tries to instill in students a sense of mutual support and teamwork. This is particularly important for Russia nowadays. After the war, a movement utagoe - "singing voices" was very popular in Japan. Until now Japanese sing Russian folk songs with great pleasure that used to be part of the school curriculum. The song "Troika" is even on the list at karaoke machines. Maybe Russian students while learning them in Japanese will also learn them in Russian. Who knows maybe it might help in their work with the Japanese people.

There is a word natsukashii (dear to one's heart, pleasant) in the Japanese language that is very difficult for translation into Russian. A number of different exercises can be based upon the word. For example, a list of words or pictures can be presented to students to answer what and when is natsukashii for Japanese and for Russians. There is a museum of history of Edo in Tokyo. In addition to historical models many household appliances, clothing, agricultural tools of different periods of the 20th century are exhibited. Natsukashii is the constantly heard word in front of the show cases. Someone recollects his first TV set, another saw a radio that his grandmother used to have, etc. One can remember that in Russia we have something similar: an exhibition of soviet goods in GUM on the third floor at the entrance to the stolovaya, the name of a cafeteria in the Soviet time for the general public. Recently there has been an announcement that a museum of items of the Soviet period was opened in one of provincial towns. One can try on, for example, a dress and a hat that our mothers and grandmothers used to wear. The period of the Soviet ideology sank into oblivion. It does not mean that one should erase memories of how people lived in those days. We should tell young people about this. Visiting the house of a peasant in the Museum of Wooden Architecture in Kizhi or Suzdal besides original Russian stoves, benches and samovars Japanese discover many items similar to those their loved ones used to possess. Therefore, it is appropriate to practice the following exercise: pictures of some items with their names in Japanese are presented with a question: "Which of these items are traditional only in Japanese or Russian culture, and which are found here and there."

Let us touch another very important issue: charity to our neighbor and your people. The family topic is discussed at the beginning of the first semester. Usually students finish the topic having learned the names of the family members and their number. But a family is the basic unit of every society, the foundation of any state. A state is a family of families and strength of the state depends on the strength of a family.

Recently in Russia, a new holiday have been born - day of love, family and loyalty. Most marriages take place on this particular day. In many cities, gala concerts and festivals take place. In Japan practically on the same date the streets are decorated with branches of bamboo - a symbol of loyalty. The Russian girls carry bouquets of daisies. It is also a vivid positive image. It is an interesting coincidence that the Tanabata holiday of lovers celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month that is only one day difference from the Day of the Russian Saints Peter and Fevronia of Murom that is celebrated on July 8.

On hot summer days Obon Japanese head for their small birthplace Furusato to visit the graves of deceased relatives. They go with their families and their children. In the evening ponds and rivers are illuminated with toronagasi small lights. Small boats with lighted candles in paper lanterns carry souls of perished ancestors. In parallel, we can give a brief description or initiate mini dialogues about Radonitsa and parents' SATURDAY, visits to cemeteries, attending special church services.

It is well known that Confucian and Buddhist principles are the core of relationships in the Japanese society. Worship of ancestors is the basis of Shintoism. It is necessary to overcome consequences of the Soviet period of atheism. We should keep in mind that relationships in the traditional Russian culture are based on the biblical commandments of love for God, one's parents and charity.

A few years ago a documentary about Orthodoxy in Japan was on the Russian national television. At the very beginning of the movie it was stated that one of the first impressions of the Japan educator Nicholas of Japan was that Japanese caring love towards parents and nature were very close to Russians. That made the preaching of Orthodoxy in this country much easier. For eight years Nicholas of Japan was studying the Japanese language, history, culture, traditions and customs of the Japanese people, treated them with respect and for the successful preaching of Orthodoxy first and foremost sought for similarities and not for differences,

The Japanese ongoing reform of the education system "Rainbow Plan", called on the basis of seven priority areas of activities, includes moral education that should encourage participation of the family and the community, develop among young generation the feeling of involvement in the history of their country and traditions, make them feel inheritors of the great history. Lessons of moral education at schools become part of school curriculum. At institutes all future teachers in addition to their majors master the course in morality and its methodology. It is assumed that moral education should penetrate programs of all subjects. It would be valuable to study the Japanese expertise and take the best out of this. At the same time the system of education must based on centuries-long traditional cultural values of our country. The main lessons taught by Japan is that in spite of all natural catastrophes , economic ups and downs , various issues and specifics of the post-industrial development they love their own country and always feel themselves Japanese. After another destruction of the social structure Russians have to learn how to feel Russian once again.

The Russian School of Japanese Studies has rich and old traditions. Japanese have always noted a beautiful, correct, pure language of graduates of our best universities. Nowadays much attention is paid to linguistic and cultural aspects. Unfortunately, as it has already been stated, during the post-Soviet period we have been carried away by the Japanese realities and completely forgotten about our own native land. The situation is changing though very slowly. It may occur that professionalism and new approaches to the study of the Japanese language and culture will alienate students from their own traditions and culture even further. This must be changed. They will live and work in Russia, as well as in Japan. Japanese demonstrate a great interest in our history, and traditions. Studying the Japanese culture will inevitably result in comparing it with our own culture. Without knowledge of our own history and love for the Motherland we cannot have a full-fledged dialogue with other nations.
Последнее обновление ( 26.12.2012 г. )
« Пред.
Институт Дальнего Востока РАН