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Part 1 Toward a Culturally-Oriented Nation
Chapter 3 Toward Actualizing a Culturally-Oriented Nation
Section 4: Coordination with Educational Reform -Fostering Sensitive Children-
3. Deepening the Understanding of Traditional Cultures

It is important for children to deepen their interest in and understanding of Japanese culture and tradition and to develop a desire to maintain and develop them, both in terms of cultivating a rich personality and of nurturing the ability of Japanese people to live in the international community. For this, it is necessary for schools and local communities to provide opportunities for children to participate in local folk arts and performances and traditional events, in studies utilizing historical sites and buried cultural properties, and in voluntary cultural property preservation activities.

The new Courses of Study place emphasis on Japanese history, culture and tradition, by, for example, obliging students to use more than one type of Japanese music instrument in the course of the three years of music education in lower secondary school.

Also, schools are given discretion to organize innovative education programs, by, for example, utilizing the Period of Integrated Study. This means that schools may organize classes specially dedicated to arts and traditional culture, including tea ceremony and flower arrangement, where appropriate. However, for these classes it might become necessary to solicit the help of people who are not certified as teachers. In these events, the government has already introduced a system of special part-time outside lecturers (a system to appoint those persons who do not possess teaching certification but have outstanding knowledge and skills in various fields), which enables schools to solicit help from local amateur musicians and local society for the preservation of intangible cultural properties. It is hoped that this system will be utilized further to deepen children's understanding of traditional culture.

In addition, it is expected that schools and local communities will promote Japanese martial arts such as judo, kendo (Japanese fencing), sumo, naginata (Japanese halberd) and kyudo (Japanese archery), which represent a broader element of Japanese culture.

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