Taking Refugee Issues as Our Own through Dramatic and Non-Dramatic Activities

Ms Asako Maeda, Dr Norifumi Hida, Dr Shin Matsuo, and Dr Yasuhiro Hitomi

Context of Discussion: Young Adult (Ages 17 and up)

Villa Education Centre in Tokyo offers Burmese refugees Japanese language classes like no other. The Centre emphasises mutual learning, which encourages both struggling Burmese refugees living in Japan and guest Japanese participants who know nothing about them, to learn from each other through a wide range of activities.

In this workshop, you will be taking part in one of these activities that leads (Japanese) participants to take on refugee issues as their own. Through the experience, you will be able to examine its unique structure (a shift from a ‘development-education’ activity to a ‘drama’ activity) and determine for yourself the ways in which these dramatic activities can germinate empathy and civic engagement in participants. 

*Dr Norifumi Hida will be presenting at the conference  on behalf of his team.

Topic of Interest: #community #appliedtheatre #CCE #socialintegration #refugees #language #multiculturalism #theatreforliving


Asako Maeda started her career as a Japanese language teacher since 2003, and has worked in Singapore, Indonesia and Russia. After returning to Japan, she took a postgraduate course at Tokyo Woman's Christian University and together with her professor Shin Matsuo started teaching Burmese refugees Japanese language at Villa Education Centre. 

Norifumi Hida, PhD is a Research Associate at the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Waseda University, Japan. He conducts research on theatre for young audiences, youth theatre, as well as drama and theatre education in Japan and other countries. He also teaches theatre theories at Toho Gakuen College, and English language through drama and theatre at Seisen University. He is on the Editorial Board of ‘ArtsPraxis’ at New York University in the U.S.A; International Advisor of Theatre for Young Audiences Centre at Rose Bruford College in the U.K.; and Board Member of the International Theatre for Young Audiences Research Network, ASSITEJ.


Shin Matsuo, PhD is professor of Japanese Language Education at Tokyo Woman's Christian University. He took up his present position in 2009 after teaching Japanese Language in Brazil, Indonesia and Taiwan. In 2014, he set up with a Burmese refugee, Kyaw Kyaw Soe, the Japanese language school, Villa Education Centre. 

Yasuhiro Hitomi, PhD is a lecturer of Transnational Sociology at Nagoya Gakuin University. For his research, he carries out fieldwork in Burmese refugee communities. In his seminars, he focuses on multiculturalism - e.g. he organised 'Multicultural Experience Tour' in which the students visited different restaurants run by residents with a foreign citizenship. 

Recommended for:
Educators, Applied Theatre Practitioners, Cultural Workers, Community Leaders

30 Jun 2017

1000 to 1130


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