Japan Through the Eyes of a Child

This exhibition was developed by the National Children's Museum in Washington, D.C. and is funded by a grant from the Kohnken Family Foundation.

  Elementary school-aged children, along with their families and classmates, can step into Japanese culture and experience it first-hand in this exhibition designed especially for them. Four Japanese neighborhoods transport you from Florida to far-off Japan. 

This exhibit was featured on WLRN Art Street.
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Elementary School Classroom  ____________________________________
In Japan, students take off their shoes at school as they do at home and keep their classroom neat and tidy by cleaning it themselves. In "Japan Through the Eyes of a Child," American students see what a classroom in Japan is like. They don't have to take off their shoes, but they can sit at real desks and discover for themselves what their Japanese counterparts are learning. Explore the three writing systems, Japanese textbooks, and unique book-bags and uniforms on display. 

Japanese House 

Many activities of daily life in the Japanese home take place while Japanese children are sitting or reclining on tatami-covered floors. In "Japan Through the Eyes of a Child," children enter a Japanese house and see for themselves how their counterparts across the Pacific live at home.  After passing through the front door of the house at the end of the shopping street, they take off their shoes in the entry vestibule, or genkan, just as Japanese students are expected to do. The "house" is represented by a suite of three rooms, including a sitting room with tatami mats, a kitchen, and, yes, a room for a bath and toilet! Students are free to explore these rooms, to sit on the tatami floor and view the garden outside, wonder why the bath tub is so deep, yet so short, and puzzle over the many buttons and dials on the space-age toilet.

Street of Shops  ________________________________________________

In Japan, just walking along the street is an education in itself, with store windows showing off wares both familiar and unfamiliar. In "Japan Through the Eyes of a Child," children have much the same experience as they visit the exhibit's most ambitious offering, replicating a neighborhood shopping street. Japan is known for its stationery goods, and here is a stationery store stocked with school supplies, as well as popular Japanese toys. Where the stationery store has a façade of gleaming white tile, next door a kimono shop features wood construction and traditional architectural flourishes. In a show window beside a sliding door partially concealed by a noren (traditional privacy curtain) are garments that children might wear for Japan's major holidays, such as New Years. Other stores include a shop selling box lunches, and one featuring folk toys from every part of the country. The shopping street itself incorporates Japanese public telephones and a Japanese mailbox - items familiar yet unfamiliar.

Train Station  ___________________________________________________

Japan's public transportation system is one of the
best in the world and a great way to see the country. In "Japan Through the Eyes of a Child," visitors walk onto a train platform and board the famed Shinkansen Bullet Train. Once inside, they sit in seats from a real Bullet Train and see what Japan's fastest mode of transportation is like.