• Top
  •  > Japanese-Language Textbooks and Children's Literature

Japanese-Language Textbooks and Children's Literature

Almost all of the stories and poems carried in today’s Japanese-language textbooks for use in elementary schools are taken from those originally published as works of children’s literature or picture books and are used as teaching resources (from the standpoint of students, learning materials). Japanese-language textbooks for use in junior high schools, too, contain several works of children’s literature published previously.

In some cases, the editions found in school textbooks may be slightly different from the originals.

The following Japanese language textbooks were deposited in the National Diet Library as of the end of August 2012.

Thumbnail of Futari wa tomodachi [Frog and toad are friends]

Open the enlarged image of Futari wa tomodachi [Frog and toad are friends]

K-1Futari wa tomodachi [Frog and toad are friends]
Written by Arnold Lobel/Translated by Taku Miki
BUNKA PUBLISHING BUREAU 1972
(Misesu kodomo no hon [“Mrs.” Books for Children])
Call No. Y17-3887
Includes stories of Toad and Frog as main character, such as "Otegami [The letter]." Depicts their friendship with a heartwarming tone. There are more books under the same series.

Textbook containing "Otegami [The letter]."

Hirogaru kotoba shogaku kokugo ichi, ge [The spreading words of Japanese language for the first year of elementary school, vol.2]
Kyoiku Shuppan 2011
Y311-J89
Atarashii kokugo ni, jo [The new Japanese textbook for the second year of elementary school, vol. 1]
Tokyo Shoseki 2011
Y311-J32
Shogakusei no kokugo ninen [The Japanese textbook for the second year of elementary school]
Sanseido 2011
Y311-J39
Minna to manabu shogakko kokugo ninen, ge [Learn with everyone, Japanese textbook for the second year of elementary school, vol. 2]
Gakko Tosho Co., Ltd 2011
Y311-J74
Kokugo ni: Akatonbo, ge [Japanese textbook for the second year of elementary school: Red dragonfly, vol. 2]
Mitsumura Tosho Publishing 2011
Y311-J92
Thumbnail of Suimi: Chiisana kashikoi sakana no hanashi [Swimmy: Story about a little wise fish]

Open the enlarged image of Suimi: Chiisana kashikoi sakana no hanashi [Swimmy: Story about a little wise fish]

K-2Suimi: Chiisana kashikoi sakana no hanashi [Swimmy: Story about a little wise fish]
Written by Leo Lionni/Translated by Shuntaro Tanikawa
Kogakusha 1994
Call No. Y18-M98-337 (First ed. Y7-1688)
First published in 1969. The artwork is not only an illustration but also an important element of the story, having the text to play the role of explaining the artwork. The text is translated in poem style.

Textbook containing "Suimi [Swimmy]."

Kokugo ni: Tanpopo. jo [Japanese textbook for the second year of elementary school: Dandelions, vol. 1]
Mitsumura Tosho Publishing 2011
Y311-J26
Minna to manabu shogakko kokugo ninen, jo [Learn with everyone, Japanese textbook for the second year of elementary school, vol. 1]
Gakko Tosho Co., Ltd 2011
Y311-J14
Thumbnail of Chiichan no kageokuri [Chii-chan and the shadow figures]

Open the enlarged image of Chiichan no kageokuri [Chii-chan and the shadow figures]

K-3Chiichan no kageokuri [Chii-chan and the shadow figures]
Written by Kimiko Aman/Illustrated by Noriko Ueno
Akane Shobo 1982
(Akane sosaku ehon [Akane original picture books])
Call No. Y7-9969
Story by an author who also spent her childhood during war. One of the few children's literature on war for young children, and used as a resource for peace education.

Textbook containing "Chiichan no kage okuri [Chii-chan and the shadow figures]."

Kokugo san: Aozora, ge [Japanese textbook for the third year of elementary school: Blue sky, vol. 2]
Mitsumura Tosho Publishing 2011
Y311-J93

K-4Shiroi boshi [The white hat]
Written by Kimiko Aman/Illustrated by Takushi Kitada
POPLAR Publishing 2000
(Kuruma no iro wa sora no iro: Shinsoban [Color of the car is the one of the sky: Revised edition] 1)
Call No. Y8-N00-218
New format of Kuruma no iro wa sora no iro [The color of the car is the color of the sky] published in 1968. Consists of eight stories from magazine Biwa no mi gakko [Loquat fruit school]. "Shiroi boshi [The white hat]" first appeared in no. 24 (August 1967).

Textbook containing "Shiroi boshi [The white hat]."

Minna to manabu shogakko kokugo yonen, jo [Learn with everyone, Japanese textbook for the fourth year of elementary school, vol. 1]
Gakko Tosho Co., Ltd 2011
Y311-J16
Kokugo yon: Kagayaki, jo [Japanese textbook for the fourth year of elementary school: Brilliance, vol. 1]
Mitsumura Tosho Publishing 2011
Y311-J28
Shogakusei no kokugo yonen [The Japanese textbook for the fourth year of elementary school]
Sanseido 2011
Y311-J41
Thumbnail of Gongitsune [Gon, the little fox]

Open the enlarged image of Gongitsune [Gon, the little fox]

K-5Gongitsune [Gon, the little fox]
Written by Nankichi Niimi/Illustrated by Ken Kuroi
Kaiseisha 1986
(Nihon no dowa meisakusen [The best selection of Japanese children's stories])
Call No. Y18-2604
Carried in Akai tori [Red bird] revival vol. 3, no. 1 (January 1932) as "Gongitsune [Gon, the little fox]." First published as book form in the dowa(children’s stories) collection Hananoki mura to nusubitotachi [Hananoki Village and the thieves] (Teikoku Kyouikukai Shuppanbu, 1943). The image is a picture book by Ken Kuroi.

Textbook containing "Gongitsune [Gon, the little fox]."

Atarashii kokugo yon, ge [The new Japanese textbook for the fourth year of elementary school, vol. 2]
Tokyo Shoseki 2011
Y311-J82
Shogakusei no kokugo yonen [The Japanese textbook for the fourth year of elementary school]
Sanseido 2011
Y311-J41
Minna to manabu shogakko kokugo yonen, ge [Learn with everyone, Japanese textbook for the fourth year of elementary school, vol. 2]
Gakko Tosho Co., Ltd 2011
Y311-J76
Hirogaru kotoba shogaku kokugo yon, ge [The spreading words of Japanese language for the fourth year of elementary school, vol. 2]
Kyoiku Shuppan 2011
Y311-J85
Kokugo yon: Habataki, ge [Japanese textbook for the fourth year of elementary school: Wingbeat, vol. 2]
Mitsumura Tosho Publishing 2011
Y311-J94

K-6Yukiwatari [Snow treading]
Written by Kenji Miyazawa/Illustrated by Seiichi Horiuchi
Fukuinkan Shoten 1969
Call No. Y7-1912
Appeared in magazine Aikoku fujin [Patriotic women] (published by Aikoku Fujin-kai) as Yukiwatari [Snow treading] on December 1921 and the next month. One of the few works published during his lifetime.

Textbook containing "Yukiwatari [Snow treading]."

Hirogaru kotoba shogaku kokugo go, ge [The spreading words of Japanese language for the fifth year of elementary school, vol. 2]
Kyoiku Shuppan 2011
Y311-J87
Shogakusei no kokugo rokunen [The Japanese textbook for the sixth year of elementary school]
Sanseido 2011
Y311-J59
Thumbnail of Chumon no ooi ryoriten [The restaurant of many orders]

Open the enlarged image of Chumon no ooi ryoriten [The restaurant of many orders]

K-7Chumon no ooi ryoriten [The restaurant of many orders]
Written by Kenji Miyazawa/Illustrated by Setsu Asakura
Kodansha 1971
(Nihon no meisaku [Japanese masterpieces])
Call No. Y7-2448
First appeared as Chumon no ooi ryoriten: Ihatovu dowa [The restaurant of many orders: Children's stories of Ihatov] (Morioka shuppanbu/Tokyo Kogensya, 1924). It was an anthology of nine short stories and the only dowa(chidren’s stories) collection published during his lifetime.

Textbook containing "Chumon no ooi ryoriten [The restaurant of many orders]."

Minna to manabu shogakko kokugo gonen, jo [Learn with everyone, Japanese textbook for the fifth year of elementary school, vol. 1]
Gakko Tosho Co., Ltd 2011
Y311-J17
Atarashii kokugo go, ge [The new Japanese textbook for the fifth year of elementary school, vol. 2]
Tokyo Shoseki 2011
Y311-J83
Gendai no kokugo ichi [The contemporary Japanese textbook for the first year of elementary school]
Sanseido 2006
Y331-H35
Thumbnail of Daizo jiisan to gan [Old Daizo and a wild goose]

Open the enlarged image of Daizo jiisan to gan [Old Daizo and a wild goose]

K-8Daizo jiisan to gan [Old Daizo and a wild goose]
Written by Muku Hatoju
Dainippon tosho 1968
(Kodomo toshokan [Children's library])
Call No. Y8-N03-H901
Appeared in Shonen kurabu [Boys' club] vol.28, no.11 (November 1941) as "Dobutsu monogatari Daizo jiisan to gan [Animal tales, Old Daizo and a wild goose]". Later included in collection Dobutsudomo [Animals] (Sankosha, 1943).

Textbook containing "Daizo jiisan to gan [Old Daizo and a wild goose]."

Kokugo go: Ginga [Japanese textbook for the fifth year of elementary school: The milky way]
Mitsumura Tosho Publishing 2011
Y311-J29
Hirogaru kotoba shogaku kokugo go, jo [The spreading words of Japanese language for the fifth year of elementary school, vol.1]
Kyoiku Shuppan 2011
Y311-J23
Shogakusei no kokugo gonen [The Japanese textbook for the fifth year of elementary school]
Sanseido 2011
Y311-J47
Minna to manabu shogakko kokugo gonen, ge [Learn with everyone, Japanese textbook for the fifth year of elementary school, vol. 2]
Gakko Tosho Co., Ltd 2011
Y311-J77
Atarashii kokugo go, ge [The new Japanese textbook for the fifth year of elementary school, vol. 2]
Tokyo Shoseki 2011
Y311-J83
Thumbnail of Yamanashi [Wild pear]

Open the enlarged image of Yamanashi [Wild pear]

K-9Yamanashi [Wild pear]
Written by Kenji Miyazawa/Illustrated by Shigetoshi Tooyama
Kaiseisha 1987
(Nihon no dowa meisakusen [The best selection of Japanese children's stories])
Call No. Y18-2937
Appeared in Iwate mainichi shimbun [Iwate daily newspaper] on April 8th, 1923. Masterpiece of the author's early works that was published during his lifetime. A prosaic dowa (children's stories) about a crab father and child.

Textbook containing "Yamanashi [Wild pear]."

Kokugo roku: Sozo [Japanese textbook for the sixth year of elementary school: Creation]
Mitsumura Tosho Publishing 2011
Y311-J30
Thumbnail of Obberu to zo: Gahon Miyazawa Kenji [Ozbel and the elephant: Picture book by Kenji Miyazawa]

Open the enlarged image of Obberu to zo: Gahon Miyazawa Kenji [Ozbel and the elephant: Picture book by Kenji Miyazawa]

K-10Obberu to zo: Gahon Miyazawa Kenji [Ozbel and the elephant: Picture book by Kenji Miyazawa]
Written by Kenji Miyazawa/Illustrated by Toshiya Kobayashi
Parol-Sha 1987
Call No. Y18-4567
Appeared in the first issue of Getsuyo [Monday] in January 1926. The author’s masterpiece during his mid-career when he decided to engage in agriculture. A story narrated by a cowboy with a surprise ending. The image is a picture book by Toshiya Kobayashi.

Textbook containing "Obberu to zo [Ozbel and the elephant]."

Tsutaeau kotoba chugaku kokugo 1 [Words for communication, Japanese textbook for the first year of junior high school]
Kyoiku Shuppan 2006
Y331-H32