Sazanka Prize

Here is some good news to be shared with all the people who have helped Mattyfs:

At the end of 2007, The Sazanka Club was founded in commemoration of the 110th birthday of Dr. R. H. Blyth who was a professor at Gakushuin University.  He is credited as the pioneer for introducing Japanese Zen and Haiku to the western world. The Sazanka Club created a prize in 2008 for persons who have contributed to the world of literature and arts in Japan.  Five recipients were nominated, and Mitsuo Kyokuta was one of them.

Mattyfs School of English was highly praised by Professor Matsuo Inamura, former Emeritus Professor of Gakushuin University.  The late Professor Inamura is famed in the Japanese education world for having written gJack and Bettyh,  a junior high school English textbook published shortly after World War II.   gJack and Bettyh went on to become a long-time bestseller and subsequently was used in ninety percent of schools in Japan.  Along with gJack and Bettyh, Professor Inamura also wrote over 100 books.  He also published several English-Japanese dictionaries.  He is noted as chief editor of Random Housefs most definitive English-Japanese dictionary.  Professor Inamura had also taught English for many years for NHK television.

Inamura is truly one of the great English teachers in Japan who has devoted his life for the effective teaching of English to Japanese students.  In his last book, gJapanese English Education in the 21st Century: After Jack and Bettyh, Inamura made reference to Mattyfs School of English founder Mitsuo Kyokuta.  Inamura noted that Mattyfs method of teaching is not only up-to-date, but also highly effective in giving budding young learners the ability to converse in English.  He wrote that the work of Mattyfs has set a good example for successful early childhood English education in Japan, which at this time is in major transition as mandatory English lessons beginning in elementary school are being phased in.

Mitsuo Kyokuta came to the realization many years ago that English education must be started in childhood and that teaching must be concentrated on listening and speaking. Traditionally, here in Japan, English is introduced from junior high school with a heavy focus on reading, writing and translation.  As a result, a high number of university students who majored in English cannot even carry on simple daily conversation.

In its thirty seven years history of teaching English, Mattyfs has found that holding speech contests in English focusing on intonation, pronunciation and delivery is an effective means of motivating young learners to perfect their speech. The contest also prepares students for the world of public speaking which is very rare in Japan.

Mattyfs holds an annual speech contest called gMattyfs Open Kanagawa English Speech Contest for Elementary & Junior High School Studentsh that is open to elementary and junior high school students living in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Assistance is provided from various sources, which include the local boards of education and local businesses such as Kanagawa Toyota and the Yokohama Bay Stars to name but a few.  Eastern Mennonite University in America has offered a free scholarship in their summer Intensive English Program to the grand prize winner of the free speech section.

The Mattyfs Open English Speech Contest is receiving more and more recognition as evidenced by the increase of applicants.  Several years ago, Mattyfs open speech contest was newscasted on NHK (Tokyo area) and Kanagawa TV.

Kyokutafs dream is that one day speech contests will be held in every school in Kanagawa and hopefully schools all over Japan.  The winners could then compete in other speech contests such as the one that Mattyfs holds!

Kyokuta feels that the success of Mattyfs is the result of all those who have supported the school throughout the years, and that it is because of their efforts that he was recognized by the Sazanka Club.  The prize was awarded on April 26, 2008 at the Gakushuin University.

He will continue to strive to do his best for the students of Mattyfs and for those who support Mattyfs cause.  Like Professor Inamura, he has committed himself to the betterment of English education in Japan.

Your continued support of Mattyfs School of English will always be appreciated.