Japanese Children Motivated by Poop to Learn Kanji

KanjiBy James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek)

Japanese parents can now take a different approach to motivating their children to learn kanji, by talking about poop. The fascination with excrement comes in a series of books that were designed to make learning kanji more fun for Japanese school children. Six books have been released and according to publishing house Bunkyosha (文響社), it took two years to produce from planning to selling. At the time of this article, the books were in the top six spots on Amazon Japan’s Japanese Language Learning Chart.

The series follows the standard teaching method and covers more than the 1,000 characters studied at the Japanese elementary level. There are 3,018 sentences used but what sets Bunkyosha’s learning books apart from the regular text books is every single sentence found in the six levels uses the word “unko” (poop). The books also offer learning tips through use of the books’ mascot Unko-sensei. The character’s whirled head is closely associated with the Emoji character for poop.

One of the pages used in the series of text books.

The books are proving to be a hit with adults as well as children. Ako Kitamura, a Japanese language teacher promoted the books via Tweet:


. @tomoakiyama We bought one for 1st grade kids of elementary school! My sons love it. 😂😂 @unkokanji


The books were recently featured on the magazine television show Abema News (stylized Abema news).

The Unko learning books can purchased through the books’ official website, at Amazon Japan, and at participating book shops in Japan. Retail starts at ¥ 1,058 each ($12.71 CAD, $9.45 USD, or £7.30 GBP).

Source(s): Nippon.com and @AkoKitamura.

Video Source(s): Abema TV.

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