Ayako Kawaji

Associate professor of human development and environment, Kobe University, Japan


Daily Life Writing in Japanese School

This report describes the specific instructional methods, educational results, and problems of Daily Life Writing (or Expressive Writing, Seikatsu Tsuzurikata in Japanese) that is currently being used at several elementary schools throughout Japan.
Daily Life Writing is an educational practice in Japanese schools maimed at developing guidance on how to live, through the process of children writing journal and composition inspired by on their own lives. They then read to each other and discuss the essays they have created. Through this process, pupils clarify and share their anxieties, concerns, happiness and sadness within their lives. In most cases, classes then print the students’ compositions and compile them into an anthology.
Based on questionnaire and interview data from teachers, the results and problems are reported, focusing mainly on the following items: (1) motivation to write, (2) improvement of academic skills, (3) children’s lifestyle and classroom attitudes, (4) teachers’ overtime hours (work outside of contract hours), and (5) teacher training.


I have researched the Japanese history of ‘Daily Life Writing’ in Japanese schools, life guidance and classroom instruction. My recent publications include essays on modern writing practices of daily life and assessment.

Kawaji, A. (2017) ‘Daily Life Writing in School: Creating Alternative Textbooks and Culture’ in Yamasaki, Y. and Kuno, H. (eds) Educational Progressivism, Cultural Encounters and Reform in Japan. Oxon: Routledge, 109-123 (English).
– (2014) ‘Daily Life Writing for children’ in National Association for the Study of Educational Methods (ed.) Handbook for Study of Educational Methods, Tokyo: Gakubunsha, 310-313 (Japanese).