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Teacher's Resources

Classroom Activities & Projects

Work Wear

Level: 7 to 8 years


Ask your students to name shoes that people wear for specific jobs (construction boots, ballet slippers, hockey skates etc.). A large variety of footgear was developed in traditional Japan to help do specialized jobs. Explore the first part of the exhibition with your students, looking at the tageta. Just as a snowshoe distributes the wearer's weight over a larger surface on snow, the tageta distributed a rice farmer's weight over the muddy surface of flooded fields. Find the inakabu-kiri geta, with its big blade used to help chop the rice straw during harvesting. The jikatabi with their suction-cup rubber soles were useful for people to work safely on roofs. In addition, there are special shoes for hunting (matagi), iron geta used in training for judo, and geta worn by an enormous sumo wrestler! Even horses have special straw waraji sandals to protect their hooves, and to cut down noise.

Print pictures of these shoes and mount them on cardboard. Have the students work in small groups to prepare a brief presentation one of these special purpose shoes, describing its purpose, and its name. The students may also act out the motions for each job if they wish.