There are about 30 ICBunko throughout the UK. These are attended by about 550 children aged from around 2 to 9 years old. Each ICBunko is organised by the parents of the children. ICBA UK supports them with supplies of books, information and regular meetings. This is the list of all the ICBunko currently in the UK.
Donguri Bunko is the largest Japanese children’s books library in London established in 1984. We have a library of more than 800 books. Donguri Bunko is run by it’s members.
Our activities include reading books, Kamishibai (paper theatre) and singing songs. We start our meeting with roll call. We hope that children look forward to come to our Bunko.
Our bunko was set up in 1987 as one of the oldest bunko.
We organise birthday interviews for children born in that month, so that children have an opportunity to speak Japanese in front of others. Both our children and parents are very close. We still maintain participation of older children (6 year or above), who are busy with their after school activities. At the moment more than half of our children are 6 year old or older. They have understanding of bunko activities and have concentration. They listen to book reading quietly and are able to speak up. Our smaller children learn from these older ones and learn to behave when listening to someone reading or speaking and also when participating in activities. We have lots of “double children” and it is our hope that our bunko becomes a place where those children feel being supported for being Japanese and “taste” Japan and look forward to come visit us. We believe that our bunko provides an invaluable place for mums to have a wider circle of friends.
We have over 600 quality story books collected through the activity over 20 years. In addition to leasing those books for the children, they are used for a book club for parents that is organised every month.
Craft activities from last year
• Small Osechi (festival food for the year). – We explained the Osechi in detail. After that ,children made the Osechi by using the colourful paper and various materials. Their Osechi were very gorgeous and looked so delicious.
• A musical instrument – After making instruments, they used them to play music.
• Otedama – They brought their favourite cloth with them and stuff aduki beans into the bag which they sew
• Ohinasama – They rinsed out the contents of eggs by hole at the bottom. Then they decorated them like a Japanese doll.
• Kashiwa-mochi (oak-leaf-wrapped mochi)
• Chimaki (a rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaf)
• Nagashi-somen (fine white noodles served flowing in a small flume)
In early summer, they cut nine plastic bottles in half and connected them together into one. It’s length was 2.5m! It was used as a flume. Mothers helped to let the water and noodles run from top of the flume to the bottom. Children caught noodles using chopsticks which they made by themselves.
• Sushi-Roll – Mothers’ faces appeared on the surface of each piece when they sliced them into small pieces.
• Cookie – Children studied about the prefectures of Japan and made some biscuits(cookies) in these shapes.
Sometimes, children studied a task which their mothers decided. All children presented their work in front of other members. First time, they were nervous. But gradually, they gained confidence. I think children grow in confidence as they learn to listen to what other people say. I believe that they will get benefits from these sessions such as understanding how other people feel. And they will be able to choose what is the right attitude such as being to kind to others etc.
Everyone gained a lot of experience through the bunko.
Eating dinner with other members is great fun!
We have a parents meeting once a month to decide the agenda for the next bunko and to discuss the materials required for handmade products so as not to waste time on the bunko day.
We aim to let our children experience Japanese traditional events. Some of the activities we do every year are craft work for Tanabata Festival, making rice cakes to celebrate the Autumn full moon, sports day, Japanese karuta playing cards, craft work for Girls’/Boys’ Festival.
Our activities include storytelling based on the season, reading/writing Japanese characters, reading books, singing songs with hand play, and seasonal craft.
Kirin-san bunko is part of a wider volunteer group promoting Japanese language and cultures to children up to primary school level and books are exchanged on the first Saturday of the month.
Toddler and pre-school groups also use the ‘kamishibai’ service and read them to children on a regular basis.
Kamome bunko comprises of children of a rage of age groups, from 3 years to teenagers, gather together like a big family. Once a year we organise an Open Day to introduce Japanese culture to the local community as well as to show off the outcome of our activities. This has been very successful with more and more people visiting every year.
Next year (2019) will be our 10th anniversary.
Our bunko is supported and participated by both mums and dads. We introduce to children Japanese traditional games and books. Our children can loan books from our 550 books. Our bunko has a wide range of age groups from under one year old to 10 year olds. Children are divided into three groups, namely Tamago-gumi (from under one year), Hiyoko-gumi (those children who can hold a pencil) and Kotori-gumi (those children who can read hiragana). We try to be specific to the age group when organising games etc.
We are based in Milton Keynes. Our meeting which takes place once a month on Fridays (10.00 am – 12.00 pm) is for 0 – 4 year old and is part of the Japanese toddlers group in the area. Our bunko activities include seasonal crafts, reading picture books and singing songs. Our group offers an invaluable place where mums with babies can meet and get to know each other.
Our meeting which takes place once a month on Saturdays (15.00 – 18.00) is for 5 year old (reception) or older. We meet in one of the village halls in Milton Keynes. Our activities include lending books, reading books, crafts and games. In our meetings we always try to do lots of activities. We aim to introduce children Japanese books and to expose them into Japanese language in an enjoyable environment.
We have over 2000 books in our library ranging from picture books for babies to substantial children’s books. Our member comes from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes.
We have taken over the previous Higashi No Mori Bunko that had been successful in Wanstead for many years. Since the autumn 2019 we are based in Chingford, a district adjoining Epping Forest. We meet one Saturday afternoon (14.30 – 16.00) every month. Our activities include singing songs relating to our traditional seasonal events, crafts and games as well as lending books and reading picture books. We try to organise the activities aimed at the majority of our members who are lower primary school ages, but we welcome any children who have reached about three.
The children are divided into two groups; one for the younger children and the other for the older children in order for them to enjoy activities to suit for their age.
Our aim is to provide the children the opportunities to use Japanese through play.
As we meet every Saturday during the term times, we form a kind of community. Our children are close and all the parents are very supportive and involved in our activities. Our main activities include reading book, crafts and organising seasonal events.
We hope that children learn and understand Japanese culture and become interested in Japanese language by listening to stories and participating in traditional events. We also encourage children to speak to parents or other adults as well as socialise amongst the children and hope that they learn to respect each other and be polite and learn to take the initiative.
We started as a Woking based bunko in May 2014, and moved the base around Guildford. Since spring 2019 We have now moved back once again to Woking. We are very small Bunko for specifically children aged between 2 and 4. We try to swap roles amongst members in order to run our Bunko each term.
Apart from our usual activities, we organise special events such as somen nagashi (noodle cascade through bamboo) etc. so as to give opportunities to the children in the area to know Japanese culture.
We are based in Bath and meet once a month. We hope to provide our children with an opportunity to be exposed to Japanese language and culture by our various activities; traditional seasonal activities and crafts, reading books, finger play songs, “show and tell” and lending books etc.
Igirisu Mango Bunko has people living in St Albans and also from other towns.
We enjoy seasonal Japanese songs, reading books, finger play songs, Hiragana-Karuta and seasonal crafts.
Also we organise several seasonal events such as Hina-Matsuri, Summer Matsuri and Sports day to try to offer more opportunities to experience Japanese culture to our children.
We started as a Japanese play group in Norwich. The group is now one of the bunko. Our activities include “radio exercise”, singing seasonal songs, reading books, show & tell, leaning Japanese culture through traditional events and crafts etc. We introduce Japanese calligraphy and tea ceremony. We also teach children the Japanese language. Our outdoor activities include sports day, Japanese children’s games, kite flying etc. Once a year we organise a big event with the help of non-members.
We try to explain and introduce seasonal events. We try to find activities which accommodate a wide range of age group from toddlers to primary school children.
Apart from our monthly meeting, we organise a social event every season to build our friendship such as curry and rice party, somen nagashi (noodle cascade through bamboo), Christmas party and Rice cake making (we borrowed equipment from the Embassy of Japan).
We are based in Hackney and Islington. We have 200 books to share` in our library. Our activities include Kamishibai (paper theatre), singing seasonal songs and reading books. We hope to form a children’s group in at-home environments.
We aim to form a kind of “children’s meeting place” where new friends are always welcome and children who have grown out of the bunko feel welcomed and join the group whenever they can.
We welcome Japanese families, students and other volunteers who live in the Liverpool area.
We are based in Merseyside and Chester area. We meet every week at one of our member’s house. The main activities include crafts, reading books, singing songs and Kamishibai. Our aim is to create a fun environment for using Japanese language, so that using Japanese becomes a part of children’s everyday life.
Our main activities include reading picture books, showing Kamishibai and introducing traditional and seasonal events and their associated games, through which we hope children get familiar with the Japanese language. We aim to create a fun place for our children.
N8 Bunko (Enu hachi bunko) is a brand new bunko. We started in January 2020. At our commemorable first meeting, we sang songs, read books and Kamishibai. We also talked about Setsubun (a day to celebrate the coming of spring) and made mice in origami, which is this year’s Japanese zodiac.
The children were all strangers to one another at first, but in the end they all enjoyed playing together and became friends. We hope that they will grow closer each time they meet.
Our motto is “all having fun in Japanese”. We welcome members with babies. We hope that our bunko becomes a place for parents to come and meet with other parents and where children find Japanese language fun as well. We hope to continue our bunko for a long time at Crouch End.
Our activities include introducing children traditional events and crafts, reading books, singing finger play songs, radio taiso (exercise), Japanese characters and cooking etc. We try to organise something that our children are interested in doing. We hope to create an enjoyable environment where our children are exposed to Japanese language and culture.
We are a small kids book club located in North Wales that has just established in 2023.
We focus on picture-story shows and reading Japanese kid’s books to kids, and also provide support for children to be able to read and write Japanese.
Main activities we are planning now is Japanese nursery rhymes, playing KARUTA(card game), crafts, outdoor game/activities.(e.g. “Daruma-san ga koronda”, Excursions, Camping, Radio calisthenics, etc.).
And also, Japanese seasonal events such as Japanese calligraphy, “Setsubun”,Children’s Day,”Matsuri” in Summer/Fall, “Jugoya”, Christmas are planned to support children interact with Japanese culture.
If you are interested in our book club and live near area, please feel free to contact us for a trial.