“Caca” is the key word in one of Japan’s latest publishing successes: an eschatological collection of books that aims to make it easier to learn the 1,000 Kanji signs in the first six years of primary education.
The six volumes of “Unko kanji drills” include this word in each of the 3,018 examples collected in the collection.
With a poop for head, glasses and mustache, the peculiar “Unko-sensei”, the “caca teacher”, accompanies the students with prayers like these:
“The painter only paints caca” or “We have planned a trip with caca for the summer vacations”.
“Unko kanji drills” is on the list of bestselling books, with more than 2.7 million copies in just three months.
The creator of the series, Shiju Yamamoto, an ex-employee of Lehman Brothers, 40, explained to EFE that teaching through humor and entertainment is the goal of this initiative that has been carried out with a friend, Yusaku Furuya, Author of the examples.
The exercises not only conquered the children, but also their parents, worried that their children did not want to study kanji.
Kanji is one of the three complicated writing systems of the Japanese language. In primary education, children should learn 1,006 of these characters that have their origin in Chinese writing, and memorize another 1,100 of greater use before age 15. The total number of kanji rises to more than 50,000.
“Mothers tell me that their children want to study of their own free will. I have read in the press that the children say they have gotten good marks because they remembered the examples from the book,” says its creator.
The author plans to publish another book of complementary exercises this autumn