Sazanka Club Prize Awarded to Mitsuo Kyokuta, Founder of Mattyfs School of English
Here is some good news to be shared with
all the people who have helped Mattyfs:
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.
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 Bettyh, a junior high school English textbook published
shortly after World War II. gJack and Bettyh went on to become a long-time
bestseller and subsequently was used in ninety percent of schools in Japan. Along with gJack and Bettyh, Professor Inamura
also wrote over 100 books. He also
published several English-Japanese dictionaries. He is noted as chief editor of Random Housefs
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 Bettyh,
Inamura made reference to Mattyfs School
of English founder Mitsuo
Kyokuta. Inamura noted that Mattyfs
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 Mattyfs 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, Mattyfs 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.
Mattyfs holds an annual speech contest
called gMattyfs Open Kanagawa English Speech Contest for Elementary & Junior
High School Studentsh that is open to elementary and junior high school
students living in Kanagawa
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 Mattyfs Open English Speech Contest is
receiving more and more recognition as evidenced by the increase of applicants. Several years ago, Mattyfs open speech
contest was televised on NHK (Tokyo
area) and Kanagawa TV.
Kyokutafs 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 Mattyfs holds!
Kyokuta feels that the success of Mattyfs
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
He will continue to strive to do his best
for the students of Mattyfs and for those who support Mattyfs cause. Like Professor Inamura, he has committed
himself to the betterment of English education in Japan.
Your continued support of Mattyfs School of English will always be appreciated.