“The Most Important Japanese Person who Never Lived”

Ranking and list-making activities involving imagination are an excellent way to keep Japanese students engaged in sustained discussions. This presentation will explain and demonstrate an activity exploring the topic of “the most important Japanese person who never lived,” and generate a list of potential inclusions. The idea comes from a book by Lucy Pollard-Gott called The Fictional 100: Ranking the Most Influential Characters in World Literature and Legend. The concept of fictional people seems to inspire originality and creativity in student choices (more than a list of influential non-fiction people.)

First, a general brainstorming will take place involving a freewriting activity and a discussion with partner(s). Next, participants will generate their own lists, based on categories and criteria laid out by the presenter. Participants will then compare their lists and clarify their choices. Finally, potential homework assignments and follow-up activities will be explained. Caveats and potential roadblocks will also be discussed.

Paul Tanner, Foreign Lecturer
Shiga University

About the presenter:
Paul Tanner teaches at Shiga University, Hikone, in the Faculty of Economics. He has published numerous articles on an eclectic variety of academic topics. His research interests include essay writing, use of orthographic text dictation, and critical thinking.

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