Research on Education in Classical Literature Using the Corpus of Historical Japanese

Project Leader
KAWAUCHI Akihiro (Gunma University)


Background and Purpose

This research has as its goal the development of new teaching materials and pedagogical methods for teaching classical literature, employing the Corpus of Historical Japanese as a research tool. In Japanese language arts education, research on and implementation of corpora have largely been restricted to the field of vocabulary education, but remain an unexplored resource with regard to education in Classical Literature. It is to be hoped that the development of learning resources and teaching methods by this research will open up a new horizon in Classical Literature education.

The organization of the subject of Japanese language arts will be revised drastically for secondary schools in the upcoming Curriculum Guidelines. It is expected that the study of classical literature will be conducted in the newly established subjects of “language culture” and “explorations in classical literature.” In particular, the subject of “language culture” (which is to be a required subject) has been described as “a subject which deepens understanding of Japanese language culture from the Asuka/Nara period to the present.” This is the very image of the philosophy behind a “Diachronic Corpus.” According, it may be expected that this research will make a contribution to education in classical literature.

Objectives and Methods

This research pursues the development of teaching materials and pedagogical methods in classical literature. With regard to teaching materials, the design of classical literature wordbooks, grammar books, and dictionaries, etc. and the development of new teaching materials will be attempted taking advantage of information derived from corpora. Based in vocabulary and grammar, the selection of new works or excerpts for use as teaching materials will also be carried out. In addition, the development of a simple search tool for classical texts that can be used directly by teachers and students is planned.

In addition, with regard to pedagogical research, a proposal will be developed for using corpora in teaching methods for reading, with particular focus on the classical literature materials in Japanese language arts textbooks for middle school and high school.

As an example of the research results to be had from employing corpora in Japanese language arts education, the studies using the Balanced Corpus of Contemporary Written Japanese have already borne much fruit. I plan to make the most of these examples in research on the use of the Corpus of Historical Japanese for education in classical literature.