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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.