Class Ideas

Introducing Arithmetic and Art through the topic of Emakizushi

Author:Junko Nichols

Topic/Goals:Annual Events, Ceremonial Occasions、Communication、Comparison、Food、Self, Family, and Friends


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Using visual resources, students will learn about emakizushi and how to make them. Students will design original emakizushi, as a cross curricular activity, and will also explore the relationship between emakizushi and seasons/annual events.


Learn about emakizushi
Learn to count numbers and make graphs
Think about how to make emakizushi
Devise an original emakizushi and draw a sketch
Learn about annual events

Target Elementary school tudents
Japanese Level Beginner
What to prepare


A. Introductory activities using photographs
1. Showing the Handout with the picture of Ms. Nakaya, have the students think about what they see in the photos. Their comments, if they are in English, provide good opportunities to teach them corresponding Japanese words.

1) Please look at the photograph. What do you see?

2) This is Ms. Nakaya. What kind of work do you think Ms. Nakaya does? Why do you think she does it?

3) What is Ms. Nakaya doing?

4) What is Ms. Nakaya cutting. What do you think it is?

5) Ms. Nakaya has been teaching how to make emakizushi since 2009. Is there ianything you would like to ask Ms. Nakaya?

2. Show the Handout of photographs of emakizushi and have the students think about what they see.

1) What is this?
If they say "sushi," then introduce the word "emakizushi." Explain that it is sushi that is rolled to show a "picture" (e).

2) What is the picture in this sushi? (flower)

3) What colors do you see? (pinku, kiiro, shiro, midori, kuro)

4) What ingredients are in this sushi? (rice, nori seaweed, egg)

5) What do you think when you see this sushi? (Elicit Japanese adjectives: sugoi, omoshiroi, kawaii, kirei, oishiso, etc.)

6) How do you think they made this?

7) Do you eat sushi? How is this sushi and the sushi that you have eaten different?

B. Let's so research
1) Let's study the history of sushi

2) There are various kinds of sushi. One idea is to look up the different kinds of sushi and make a chart using Japanese or English words. (nigirizushi, makizushi, chirashi, inari, etc.)



☆Related websites

■Do a survey and chart the results
Do a survey of how many people in the class have eaten sushi and chart the results in a graph.
If many in the class have eaten sushi, ask them what kind they had, and chart the results in a bar chart or pie diagram.

■Let's design an emakizushi roll
1. Show the students the pictures in Handout1 (plum blossom, "four oceans" roll, rose blossom) and ask them questions.
• Let's try to figure out what these kinds of emakizushi are made of. Which of the following lists of ingredients corresponds to which kind of emakizushi?
a. Rice, smoked salmon, egg, nori, greens.
b. Rice and cucumber rolled sushi. A length of egg roll. The outside of the square is wrapped with one strip of nori.
c. Five slender rolls of makizushi. One thin length of cheese. Greens and 2 large sheets of nori.

Other questions
• Which emakizushi do you think is easiest to make. Why is that?
• Which emakizushi do you think is hardest to make. Why is that?
• Which of these emakizushi would you like to try to make? Why did you choose that one?
• Let's watch the videos to see how they are made.

Plum blossom roll
"Four oceans" roll
Rose blossom roll
Make the sushi together, not as a quiz, but for the fun of it.

2. Let's think up an original emakizushi
What kind of original emakizushi would you like to make? Try drawing a design of it. Do you know the Japanese words for the colors you want?

■Think about the seasons and annual events related to emakizushi
If your class has learned the names of the months, January to December, try a class activity showing the students pictures of emakizushi and thinking which ones would be made in which months. Depending on their level of Japanese, quiz them using 1 or 2 with the following questions.
1. When should we make this kind of emakizushi?
Choose the emakizushi that suits the months given below.
• When do you think we should make Santa Claus emakizushi?
a. 10月  
b. 11月  
c. 12月
• When do you think we should make Setsubun emakizushi?
a. 1月 
b. 2月
c. 3月
• When do you think we should make koinobori emaki?
a. 3月 
b. 4月 
c. 5月

2. Show the students Handout2 and ask them"何ですか" "何月に食べますか." The students answer using "~です" "~月に食べます."
Santa Claus(12月)、Rabbit(10月)、Demon(2月)、Halloween(10月)、 Cherry blossom(4月)、good-weather doll (teruterubozu)(6月)、Star Festival (Tanabata)(7月)

3. Let's think about the emakizushi that can be eaten on different occasions.
• What kind of emakizushi would you like to make for what sort of time?
Looking at Handout3, ask the students to discuss why emakizushi for "Reiwa" and "rugby" were made. Ask them to think what kind of emakizushi could be made for annual events in your area, what kind of ingredients could be used, and how to make them. Have the students draw designs of what they have come up with. (koala, poppy, mimosa, etc.)

4. Ask questions while looking at the pictures in Handouts 1, 2, and 3
Suppose you give a party. You decided to ask Ms. Nakaya to make emakizushi for the party. What kind do you want her to make? Why is that?

5. When you are with a home-stay family in another country, what kind of food do you want to make?
Suppose you are going for a home-stay in another country, and you think you want to make some kind of Japanese dish for your home-stay family. What would you like to make? Why do you want to make that kind of dish?

6. Food to make together as a family
Ms. Nakaya says she hopes family members will enjoy making emakizushi together. In some parts of China, family members make gyoza/pot stickers together. In your country, what kind of foods do family members work together to make?

☆Related websites
節分飾り巻き寿司(Setsubun-themed emakizushi)

ひな祭り飾り巻き寿司(Dolls Day-themed emakizushi)

巻き寿司教室ぐるり(Makizushi Workshop gallery)

飾り巻き寿司の歴史(The history of decorative makizushi)

ひな祭り飾り巻き寿司(Dolls Day-themed emakizushi)

飾り巻き寿司 ~富士山~(Mt. Fuji-themed emakizushi)

こどもの日に! かわいさ満点 こいのぼり 巻き 寿司 のレシピ 作り方(Children's Day, Koinobori emakizushi recipe)

ハロウィンにもおススメ!「おばけ」のデコ巻きずしの巻き方(How to make Halloween, "Obake Deko-maki sushi")

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