The Program Coordination Section of Kobe University Center for International Education hosted a real-time online lecture in Japanese on the topic of early Japanese film, as part of the 2021 Kobe University Winter Study Program.
Undergraduate and graduate students from across the globe were warmly welcomed to Kobe University’s Zoom classroom, where participants were encouraged to learn, talk, and connect with each other on the topic of Japanese movies, with the session being facilitated by Associate Prof. ITAKURA Fumiaki of Graduate School of Intercultural Studies.
The 120 students who took part in the lecture hailed from academic institutions including University of California Irvine, Beijing Foreign Studies University, and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Participants were motivated to join the event due to their interest in taking lectures in Japanese and studying abroad in Japan in the future.
The lecture, entitled “Introduction to Japanese Cinema”, introduced the roles of Benshi (who provided live interpretation) and their accompanying music, which were features unique to Japanese culture during the era of silent movies in 1910s. The presentation also included an introduction to and an actual screening of cutout animation, a technique which began in 1917 and was used in early Japanese animated movies. Support was provided throughout the event to make the lecture more easily understandable for overseas students, including a summary sheet with hiragana readings for the kanji characters. A Kobe University graduate student who is fluent in Japanese, English and Chinese took part in the event as a teaching assistant.
Throughout the event, participants excitedly exchanged comments and asked questions through the Chat function in Japanese and enthusiastically made the most of this online opportunity for learning and exchange. The excitement, demonstrated by the ten-minute extension added to the 60-minute lecture, was tangible even through the screen.
A video recording of the event has been posted on the Winter Program special website for other program participants who couldn’t take part in the live lecture.
Over the past year, countless overseas study programs and international exchange programs have been cancelled due to international travel bans resulting from the worldwide coronavirus outbreak. We will continue to focus on what we can do now and for the future by positively taking on the new challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic.