Melding Games with Empathy by Beverlyn Nagaue

created on Dec 15, 2015 modified on Jul 21, 2017 06:20


Japanese III high school students concurrently study the Japanese concept of "omoiyari" (similar to empathy) and Japanese New Year's activities.  They create games inspired from traditional Japanese New Year's games or traditional New Year's activities, overtly adding their concept of "omoiyari" to the games.

National Foreign Language Resource Center
Dec. 15, 2015
Beverlyn Nagaue

Language: Japanese

Subject Area(s): communities, friendship, ethnic identity, education, values, language and literature

Instructional Context

Product Target Culture:

Audience Role:
Play the games created by the Japanese III students, and evaluate the efficacy of the students' instructions.

Product Description:
Original games created by Japanese III students, inspired from traditional New Year's games or by traditional New Year's activities, and infused with the Japanese concept of empathy.

Heritage Learners:

Audience Location:
1) At the same school as the Japanese III students. 2) Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, in Honolulu, HI.

Target Audience Description:
1) Japanese nationals who are ELD (English Language Development) students at our high school. 2) Participants at the annual New Year's Festival sponsored by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, many who are native-Japanese speakers.

Language Proficiency

ILR Scale Reading:

ILR Scale Listening:

ILR Scale Speaking:

ILR Scale Writing:

ACTFL Scale:

World Readiness Standards


Cultural comparisons
Language comparisons

Lifelong Learning
School and Global

Making Connections
Acquiring Information and Diverse Perspectives

Relating Cultural Practices to Perspectives

21st Century Skills

Life and Career Skills
Initiative and Self-Direction

Information, Media, and Technology Skills
Creativity and Innovation

Life and Career Skills
Productivity and Accountability
Social and Cross Cultural Skills

Interdisciplinary Themes
Global Awareness

Life and Career Skills
Flexibility and adaptability

Project Sequence Overview

Preparing for the Project

1. Overview - Introduction of the Driving Question, "How do games help us learn from each other and understand each other?", and the six segments of the project. more detail

Launching the Project

1. Parody of Ad Council (Ad Council) commercial - Students watch a commercial on the Japanese concept of "omoiyari" and create of parody of that commercial. more detail

Managing the Project

1. Embodying Empathy - Students look inside themselves, discovering stereotypes, their own ideas about empathy, the difference between "omoiyari" and empathy, read an article that stereotypes Japanese, and participate in mindful rituals. more detail

2. Mini-Melding Task - Students learn basic Japanese vocabulary and sentence structures for speaking about "omoiyari" by learning a song. Then students learn Japanese vocabulary and sentence structures for giving instructions, by following instructions in Japanese given by the instructor to play a jan-ken (rock-scissors-paper) game. Students then create a new game that combines the song and the game. more detail

3. Learn About Japanese New Year - Students learn about the Japanese New Year by reading children's books (in both Japanese and English) on the topic, and through survey they and the ELD students take. more detail

4. Melding Challenge - Students will create and present a game, in Japanese, that is inspired by traditional Japanese New Year's activities, and also has an "omoiyari" component. more detail


1. Contemplation - After completion of each segment, students are asked to answer a question that drives that segment. more detail