Japanese Arts - Page 2: Anime Video Series and "The Sign of the Chrysanthemum"

---combining the best of Video Animation and the best (Newberry award winning teenage-reading) novel,

with an an excellent Teacher's Guide of chapter-by-chapter student questions and vocabulary

(from the UCLA Department of Education).

Anime_hero.jpg Sign_of_the_C.jpg
Note: In the book cover illustration of "The Sign of the Chrysanthemum" you will notice in the background a "View of Mount Fuji" in Japan! :-)
This is no coincidence: Mount Fuji is the Iconic Symbolic Image representing Japan. See our Japanese Arts - Pages 3 & 4 to SEE what I mean...

Posted on 4/20/2011 1:28pm

Japanese Anime Video Example: Rurouni Kenshin: Episode 1 Part 1

Dear Colleagues,
The previous message by a HS English Teacher suggests that viewing Japanese Anime Videos (freely available on youtube etc.)
is an excellent fun and engaging way to introduce and/or complement the teaching of the Newberry award winning novel,
The Sign of the Chrysanthemum by Katherine Paterson.
I agree and have seen several episodes of this very popular video series "Rurouni Kenshin", about a young swordsman from Samurai Era Japan.
It's sort of like Disney Channel but with a Japanese context and dubbed in English, very well done;
here is Episode 1 Part 1 (the first 10 minute section) appropriate for K-12 students...


Allen Berg

ps: Animation and Adventure is Universal...


Posted on 4/16/2011 1:23am

"The Sign of the Chrysanthemum" HS Novel by Newberry Medalist...

Dear Colleagues,
I read this book years ago and it still resonates with me...

Katherine Patterson is a superb writer (Newberry Medal Winner)

with a style to capture the reader immediately in the 12th Century feudal Samurai Japan,
with a homeless peasant teenager ready to embark on a dangerous journey
to find his true identity and establish his place in the Big City Turmoil of the Boisterous Tokyo... a memorable book...

1.Sign of the Chrysanthemum –HS English teacher wonderful book review at amazon.com

"A heart-warming, captivating read.", December 2, 2004

Reviewed by Jane Frances

This review is from: The Sign of the Chrysanthemum (Harper Trophy Book) (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book and read it in about two hours (it is a short book). I am a Chinese lady teaching 12th grade English
and I am sure all my students will enjoy this book, and also any grades from 9th onwards, because of its universal themes of search for identity,
how it encapsulates the adventurous spirit of Feudal Japan, and its simple language which manages to be so evocative at the same time.

May I suggest that you let your students watch some extremely popular Japanese Animation series (dozens of youtube videos) about Feudal Japan
like "Rurouni Kenshin" and "Inuyasha" before reading this book.
Katherine Paterson's book reads exactly like a great Anime series and I could picture the whole thing in my mind, background music and scenery included,
and it was beautiful. So beautiful. Anyone with even a vague knowledge of feudal era Anime, or Japanese Culture and History of the Heian period will realise
how accurately Paterson has portrayed the Japanese ideals of 'honour' and 'family'. She also deliberately tones down her writing style to match the simple sentence structures and restrained style of many East Asian writers, and this would be useful to know when comparing this book stylistically with her other works.

2.Sign of the Chrysanthemum – Excellent Chapter-by-Chapter Questions and Vocabulary:

from the UCLA Department of Education…

3. Sign of the Chrysanthemum: Google Book: Chapter One--

The actual text to read online-- this author’s brilliance of setting the adolescent universal theme of “searching for one’s identity”,
in the world of feudal Samurai 12th century Japan, but relevant to all of us here and now…
Katherine Paterson – Newberry Medal Recipient
Get ready for Adventure and adolescent soul-searching... :-)

Allen Berg