Re: [xmca] Developmental psychology and the production of a polished mud ball

From: Kiyotaka Miyazaki (
Date: Tue Jun 13 2006 - 06:09:36 PDT

Lars, and Beth,

Sorry not to respond soon. I was busy in these days. The end of the
semester are yet far away for us in Japan, and I was out of town. I
stayed in Ibi for 3 days last week.

> this sounds really interesting; what struck me about the activity was
> how so
> many different aspects of development was compressed into those hand
> fulls
> of mud do you know if any of his work assessable in English or if
> there are
> any public pages that describes his Ninja Project?

I forwarded your mail to Kayo, but I haven't yet gotten his response.

> Did Prof. Kayo play a Ninja, himself, in these play activities?

This project started as a treasure hunting in a summer camp. Main
participants were elder graders of the elementary schools. Children got
a mail from a descendant of the boss of Ninja before the summer camp,
asking them to find out a treasure of Ninja on behalf of him. According
to a family legend of the Ninja, some treasure was hidden somewhere
near the camp site. And children were asked to search it secretly, not
telling about it to any adults. With a secret map sent to them,
children finally succeeded to find out the treasure, a scroll some
coded letters written on it. But, it was just a start of the long
story, developed unexpectedly even for Kayo....
So, Kayo was a "producer" of the story, writing mails from Ninja family
and preparing for "treasure". But children didn't know that Kayo was
involved in the plot until they were told that this affair was all
fictitious by Kayo some 5 years later. Some of his students played the
role of Ninja, or a relative of Ninja, but their parts were not
important, like handing out a mail to children. So, adults were, in
most cases, behind the backdrop in this project.

One comment on Ibi.
Yokai became legend for children of Ibi kindergarten. The eldest
graders of this year remember very well on Yokai, particularly on
Konakijijii. And note that the eldest graders of this year did not
participate in the last year's project. All they know about Yokai were
what they learnt from the behavior of the eldest graders of the last
year! And also note that this year's theme is "insects". I will send
some report on this year's Ibi project later.

Kiyo Miyazaki

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