The website

The Japanese Book Review website started in 2015 with the support of the Five Colleges Innovative Language Teaching grant and Smith College Educational Technology Services as a part of the Five College Extensive Reading (ER) course curriculum.  In 2017, because the class activity on book reviews was replaced with Moodle, the website separated from the Five College ER course.  However, the website remained and has renewed aiming to serve Japanese learners who are interested in reading Japanese books for study as well as for pleasure.  

This website has two components: Japanese book reviews posted by students studying Japanese at Smith College, and original tadoku books created by students taking my Japanese courses at Smith College.    

The Japanese book reviews

The Japanese Program at Smith has been incorporating tadoku exercises in beginning through advanced course curricula.  On this website, students post reviews of books of their choices after they read them.  

The purpose is 1) to share their reading experiences of Japanese books and help find books to read in the near future, 2) to build a tadoku community online where students connect beyond their Japanese levels to give advice, reflect and encourage each other.  Moreover, this website is open to public viewing in order to share the book reviews with any Japanese learners who are interested in reading Japanese books.  

Original “Ekkyo” Tadoku Books by students

“Connecting with other Japanese learners and contributing to public scholarship.”

In conjunction with tadoku exercises, some of my Japanese courses have projects called “Yomu Yomu Diversity” and “Yomu Yomu Beginners” creating original tadoku books for other Japanese learners.  As Ekkyo (“border-crossing”) tadoku books, the stories written by Japanese learners intriguingly express their unique experience, thoughts and ideas by crossing multiple languages and cultures. Students work as individuals or in groups and write original stories or rewrite copyright-free materials for Japanese graded readers.  Copyright-free Images and photographs are used in their books. Some students draw, photoshop or use mixed materials to create  images for their stories.  Students have two feedback sessions to share their in-progress work and give feedback to each other before finalizing. The final products are published for reading online.  All copyrights are reserved by the authors of the books.

Project Partners at Smith College:

  • Joseph Bacal, Applications Administrator, Educational Technology Services
  • Atsuko Takahashi, Senior Lecturer, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures

Please contact Atsuko Takahashi (atakahas@smith.edu) for any questions and comments about the website.