Japanese card game brings six Ballarat schools together

Karuta Day in action.
Karuta Day in action.

Karuta Day offered more than 70 primary school pupils the chance to dress up and compete in a card tournament as a fun way to practise their Japanese skills.

Eighteen teams from six Ballarat schools competed in a modified version of the traditional Japanese card game Karuta with St Alipius coming out on top. 

St Alipius teacher Adam Cameron said the games helped the pupils learn new vocabulary in a fun and interactive environment.

“Part of the Victorian curriculum for Japanese is the kids learn how to read the hiragana script and Karuta is a traditional game that can be used to inspire kids because it has a competitive element to it,” Mr Cameron said.

The St Alipius winning team, students Gracie, Rikki, Alex, Seth, Emily and teachers Sho Niwa Sensei, Adam Cameron.

The St Alipius winning team, students Gracie, Rikki, Alex, Seth, Emily and teachers Sho Niwa Sensei, Adam Cameron.

“The kids love it, they didn’t want to come home, they wanted to keep playing.”

Mr Cameron said grades three to six participated, with some of the stand out competitors also the youngest. 

“They learn off each other and they have even started clubs and practise at play time,” he said.

The schools involved in Karuta Day included St Alipius, Emmaus, St Francis Xavier, St Thomas More, St Patrick’s and St Columba’s. 

Loreto College hosted the day, with high school students umpiring and calling the games.

The organisers hope to turn the tournament into a full day event and involve more schools.