SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English
KABA Melek “The Third-Grade Students of the Faculty of Education of Japanese Language and “GE-NIN” in “RASHOMON” ”
I am a teacher of Japanese Language at Canakkale University in Canakkale in western Turky. “Trojan Horses” is a legend of this city.
Scholars in Japanese Language Faculty begins with its preliminary course and undergo master’s degree if they can finish four years’ undergraduate program. I am a person- in charge of the class of “Japanese Literature” for the third year (Junior).
I, as a teacher of Japanese language, expect them to graduate. But they do not care about “Japanese literatures”. There are only five experts for Japanese literatures in Turky. I do not know who the sixth expert would be. Under such situation, the class of “Japanese literatures” for the junior were just enumeration of the names of writers and their works.
I cannot forget the first week of my class when I was transferred to Canakkale University and met the junior firsts. It was a day in Autumn two years ago. I said “Hello! I am a person in charge of Japanese language” in quiet classroom in front of thirty-three students who opened their eyes wide. They did not say anything “As we are busy at teaching practice, we do not care your talking”. But I understood from their faces, that they would like to say so. However, I cannot lose them.
I used Japanese only during my classes. Students were surprised. Afterwards I heard students talked about “Teacher Melek” (myself) a lot saying that “How long does she can keep speaking in Japanese?” after the class. In fact, for the first year we did not speak Japanese so often after finishing the preliminary class of Japanese language. When they become the junior, they had to attend educational courses from Japanese language teachers and did not study Japanese language. Japanese language was recognized as “dead language” which is used in theoretical class only. I noticed it from an atmosphere of the class.
I thought Japanese literature was good for thirty-three students from 21 years old to “live pleasantly the world which is not-interesting”.
I did not give an ordinary lesson for Japanese literatures like authors arguments, representative authors of naturalism nor the names of female writers in the HEIAN Period. I did not ask students to memorize when BASHO was born.
I distributed MANGA (cartoon) version of “Wagahai wa neko dearu” (I am a cat) and I imitated “Kushami-sensei” (sneezing teacher). Students who got lessons in Japanese laughed. It was a goal of lessons of “Japanese literatures”. In the case of NATUME SOUSEKI , the class was excited by its protagonist “CAT”. When I told students “Look at the classroom by cat’s eyes and explain in Japanese”, students were excited. I heard they discussed afterwards about and laughed at “Lesson of Japanese literature which is described by cat’s eyes”.
When we read “Kumo no Ito” (spider’s thread) by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, I asked Aicha-san (female college student) to continue the sentence “if I would be ‘KANDATA’ (protagonist of Kumo no Ito)”. She replied “Perhaps, I may survive kicking others down to the nethermost hell thinking only about myself would be helped”. The number of “Akutagawa Fans” increased. When we read “Hana” (nose) by Akutagawa, I asked students “Have you ever been pleased with weakness or disparagement of your colleagues?” Discussions heated up imperceptibly and continued with full of nervousness.
In case of “Rasho-mon” (Gate of Rasho) by Akutagawa also, we went astray much where “Ge-nin” (man of low birth), who was drenched beneath the gate would go. Good or wrong? We discussed about inner part of human beings which is grotesque and fishy setting up a scene where Ge-nin pull out hairs of dead body. I asked students which they would select. Death from starvation or pulling out hairs of dead body to make wigs for sale. I realized “we can discuss in Japanese!” about feelings of human beings and the bottom of their hearts. The twenty-one years old young in Middle East might feel an affinity with dark-side of Ge-nin’s heart. I do not know why. They talked very often in my class about their dreams of oversea or places very far. I was interested in what they had implication about Ge-nin’s acne which he had been cared. When I made an analysis of textbook, I did not explain about an acne biologically. I analyzed in textbook that “an acne has a meaning of movement of body of protagonist”. Students concluded that Akutagawa wrote uneasiness of human life using Ge-nin’s acne”.
Surprisingly students were divided into “Dazai-person” and “Akutagawa-person” thereafter. Coy and shy students are Dazai-persons. I gave them an assignment that they read “Ningen Sikkaku” (“No Longer Human” in English) in Turkish and Manga version. Akutagawa was an idol of talkative students. I am translating his collection of short stories into Turkish with the aid of third year students.
“Japanese Literature Class” for the third year was the class which they could communicate in Japanese from their bottom of heart. We do not know where did “Ge-nin “go after getting out from “Rasho-mon”. But I think the third-grade students can watch human beings in Japanese language through Japanese literature.
KABA_Melek /2009 Raccoon, Assistant Professor of Japanese Language Educational Faculty at Canakkale University.
Translated by Kazuo Kawamura
English checked by Sabona Koirala