Class Ideas

Class Activities for Grade5-8 on the Topic "Setsubun"

Author:Junko Nichols

Topic/Goals:Annual Events, Ceremonial Occasions、Comparison、Food、Perspective


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Have students learn about Setsubun.
Give students a chance to experience Setsubun-related activities.
Have students think about what annual events they think it is important to observe.

Target Applicable to lower grades as well as high school students, depending on what activities are selected.
Japanese Level Beginners
What to prepare


● Introduction using photographs
1) Write "二月三日" on the white board (vertically). If students know months and days, have them tell what day and month it is. If they have not learned months and days yet, teacher should explain the meaning.

2) Pointing to the calendar, teacher says 「二月三日。節分の日です。」 (February 3. This is Setsubun.)

3) Pointing to photograph, have students guess what it is about, asking them: 「何ですか?」 . Students may respond in English, and encouraging their ideas, introduce Japanese words and explain them.
Vocabulary: sushi (Eho-maki), mame, oni no men
"Eho-maki sushi: Rolled sushi made with 7 ingredients.* It is customarily eaten without slicing into rounds.
*Many different kinds of rolled sushi is made today, not necessarily with 7 ingredients.
Mame: For Setsubun, refers to roasted soy beans. If possible, show the students soy beans or beans prepared for mame-maki.
Oni no men: If have a demon mask, show students. Maybe useful to show various pictures of "oni," such as in folktale picture books, to give them an image of the Japanese "oni" demon.

● Check the content of the rewritten article
The teacher can read the rewritten article (Handout) to the class, accompanying the reading with gestures, or have the students read the article. When reading the article, it may be good to prepare pictures of people tossing beans or showing "Eho-maki" sushi.
Check the students' comprehension of what they have heard. Select from questions 1 through 3 as appropriate for the students.

① Fill in the blanks question
節分の日、TAKAさんは何をしますか。What did the writer do at Setsubun?

__を たべます。
_____を たべます。

まめを たべます。
えほうまきを たべます。

② True or false question
Are the following sentences true or false? When false; tell what is correct.
1. 節分は3月2日です。Setsubun is on the 2nd of March.

2. 節分には、「鬼は外、福は内」と言って砂を投げます。
At Setsubun, people throw pebbles, calling out: "Out with the demons!" "In with happiness and good luck!"

3. 節分には巻きずしを食べます。
Some people in Japan eat rolled sushi called Eho-maki at Setsubun.

4. 恵方巻は小さくカットされています。
Eho-maki is cut in small pieces.

5. 恵方巻を食べるとき、しゃべってはいけません。
You must not talk while eating Eho-maki.

1. False: It is on the 3rd of February*
*Strictly speaking, it is on the day before the first day of spring (Risshun), which differs from year to year. In 2018 and 2019, Setsubun is on the 3rd of February.

2. F: 節分には豆を投げます。
People throw beans at Setsubun.

3. T

4. F: 恵方巻は小さくカットされていません。(「幸運を切る」ことはしないようにするためです)
The rolled sushi eaten without cutting. (This is so that you don't "cut the good luck.")

5. T

③ Question
1. 節分はいつでしたか?
When is Setsubun?

2. TAKAさんは節分に何をしましたか?
What did the writer do at Setsubun?

3. TAKAさんは豆をいくつ食べますか?
How many beans is he supposed to eat?

4. TAKAさんは豆をいくつ食べましたか? それはなぜですか?
How many beans did he eat? Why?

5. TAKAさんは節分をどうして少しおかしいと言っていると思いますか?
Why do you think the writer thinks this celebration is a little strange?

1. 2月3日
February 3rd

2. 「おにはそと、ふくはうち」と言って豆をまきます。豆と恵方巻とよばれる巻きずしを食べます。
He threw beans saying "おにはそと、ふくはうち." He also ate the beans and rolled sushi called Eho-maki.

3. 15

4. 豆が好きなので、豆を30個食べました。
He ate 30 of them as he likes the beans.

5. 恵方巻を決まった方角を向いて食べたり、食べている間はしゃべってはいけなかったりするところがおかしいと思います。
There are things that you don't normally do such as facing a particular direction when eating えほうまき or not speaking while eating えほうまき.

● Fun Activities
Various activities can be done on the themes of "oni," "mame-maki," or "Eho-maki sushi."
■ On the theme of "oni"
・ Design demon masks and present them to the class. The parts of the demon's face can be added during the presentation.
Ex.) 赤いです。これは目です。これは鼻です。これは口です。

・ Sing the "Oni no Pantsu" (The Demon's Pants) song.

・ Design original "pants" for a demon and present to the class, saying "Kore wa watashi/boku no oni no pantsu desu" (This is my picture of the demon's pants.)
Have the students state the colors used in their design. The descriptions may use words for patterns (stripped, polka-dotted, checked, etc.).
ex)これはわたしの/ぼくの 鬼のパンツです。緑色です。水玉です。

■ On the theme of the "mame-maki"
・ Sing the "mame-maki" song

・ Have students fold boxes made of paper and use them to toss the beans.

■ On the theme of "Eho-maki sushi"
・ Sing the "Eho-maki" song

・ Examine advertisements for Eho-maki and look up the ingredients used to make this kind of rolled sushi. (2018 example)

・ Think about what ingredients you would use and draw a picture of your own personal "Eho-maki." Present your idea using the expression "___ to ____ to ____ ga haitte imasu." (It is made with ____ and ____ and _____).

・ Look up the words for the cardinal directions and write the sixteen directions. You can also have the students make signs for all the directions in Japanese and place them in the classroom.

● Research and study
・ Let's make a Setsubun quiz.

・ Look up about ways of warding off evil/ill-fortune around the world (make a chart listing country, items used, foods prepared, etc.)

● Discussion in English (or mother tongue)
・ Do you have any similar custom or event in your country? What is it like? How is it similar to Setsubun? How is it different?

・ Tossing beans and eating Eho-maki sushi is for driving away evil. What other ways are there for warding off evil? (Introduce other things: talismans from Japan, Maori stone good-luck charms from New Zealand, Okinawan sangwa amulets, Ainu patterns, etc.)

・ Taka wants to cherish the Setsubun traditions. What kind of events do you want to treasure? Why do you want to do so?

● Buddy Class Activities
The following activities are suitable for bringing together students from upper and lower elementary school grades or for visits by junior or senior high school students to elementary schools.

・ Teach songs to the buddies (upper-grade students teach lower-grade students; secondary school students teach elementary school students)

・ Make demon masks together, make paper boxes for beans, and toss beans.

・ Hold a Setsubun quiz.

・ Make good-luck charms with buddies and exchange them.

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