1649-8526Volume XIssue 1Year 2016

Process Drama in the Japanese University Classroom: Phase Three, The Homelessness Project

Eucharia Donnery


The purpose of this paper is to describe the third phase of a process drama project, which focused thematically on the social issue of homelessness. Two classes of the elective English Communication course took part in this project twice weekly for ten weeks, in which the students examined homelessness from the perspectives of Japanese-Americans incarcerated in internment camps during World War II. The goal of the project was for students to develop an understanding of homelessness, while simultaneously losing awareness of English as a dreaded examination subject, and using the target language as a viable communicative tool instead. The techniques used in this project were manifold: tableau, family role-play, class role-play, writing-in-role, reaction-writing, research online in both Japanese and English to examine the nature of propaganda, online class discussions, as well as a guest lecturer session with a refugee speaker1. The trajectory of this discussion moves along a traditional Japanese Noh theater three-part narrative arc, called Jo-Ha-Kyu , “Enticement・Crux・Consolidation”.

1. Introduction: Setting the Scene

Over three semesters from 2008 until 2010, I conducted three process drama projects thematically centred on the issue of bullying2, emigration3 and homelessness as part of the elective programme of English Communication at the School of Human Welfare Studies in Kwansei Gakuin University situated in the Kansai region of Japan. The thematic choice of the latter project, that of homelessness, was decided by the students themselves at the end of the Emigration Project. The departmental majors of the students were Social Welfare, Social Enterprise and Human Sciences, all of which focused on social issues and, therefore, it was unsurprising that the majority of students stated that they wanted a deeper understanding with the social issue of homelessness. In addition to the focus on social issues in their core studies, there were three other possible reasons for the sudden and cohesive interest in this particular issue. Firstly, the Kansai region of Japan has had the highest rates of homelessness in Japan, which Aoki (2011: 361) attributes to “the gradual disappearance of day-labourers … and the disemployment of casually unskilled worker.” In Osaka City in particular, homelessness is pervasive, yet most people studiously avoid noticing the people asleep on the streets, stepping over the sleeping bodies. There is a “blue-tent encampment area”, so-called as the local government provides each homeless person with a certain amount of blue plastic sheeting, which people use both as ground covering and protection from the elements. At the time this project took place in the autumn semester of 2009, there were blue tents on the banks of many of the rivers in the Kansai region. Thus, the problem was highly visible to the students, the majority of whom came to the university by trains that traversed at least two bridges over rivers. Secondly, because the express aim of all three departments was to develop social consciousness, there was a keen interest in the fallout from the recession, which hit the most vulnerable in society first and saw the numbers of those made homeless soar. Lastly, each of the three departments had experts in the field from various academic disciplines, with a commitment to serving society as a whole academically, spiritually and practically, and communicated these ideas to the students in their lectures. Therefore, it was unsurprising that these socially conscientious students would opt for this topic.

In consultation with the English Coordinator, Dr. Nakano, regarding the students’ choice of theme, we decided, for ethical and safety reasons, that the students were not to do primary research by interviewing the local homeless people. It seemed an insurmountable task to find a point of access into this area that these socially conscious students had chosen and there was a sense of mounting frustration on my part as I struggled to find a way to explore the theme in a conscionable and secure manner.

When I arrived in Japan initially on the JET Programme in 1998, I had come across a book called “The Harvest of Hate” by Georgia Day Robertson (1986), which was quite an unusual book for a number of reasons, some of which Wasden (1988: 162) notes:

Published forty years after its completion, Georgia Day Robertson’s The Harvest of Hate is a novel about the experiences of a California Japanese American family, the Satos, who were interned at the Poston relocation camp in Arizona from 1942 to 1945. Drawing upon the author’s personal experience and a little research, the work is not based on oral history. In an appended interview with the editor, Arthur A. Hansen, done in 1979, Robertson, then 93, says that while teaching at Poston she didn’t interview the internees. She listened.

From my upbringing in Ireland, I had no knowledge at all about World War II from either Asian or Japanese-American perspectives and this was the impetus for researching informally for many subsequent years in order to understand what it had meant for the Asia-Pacific region as a whole and what its impact on the region was today. While Japan had committed some terrible atrocities throughout the war such as the Rape of Nanking, Unit 731, and the use of Korean and Filipina “comfort” women, the average Japanese university student is unaware of all of these brutalities, due to the whitewashing of Japanese history textbooks. Even today, this alone can cause conflict to flare up between domestic students and international students from Korea and China. However, the other gap in information for Japanese students is that of the relationship between them and the Japanese descendants in other countries. As one student wrote at the end of the Emigration Project, “I did not know about people who migrated from Japan because I thought that there was no reason why Japanese migrate to other countries.”

With respect to the Homelessness Project, an idea began to take shape. For English Communication IV, the process drama project would be from the perspectives of Japanese-Americans who were forcibly made homeless by their incarceration in internment camps during World War II. While there is an enormous body of work, both literary and academic, exploring issues around the unjust incarceration of this group, the goal was to personalise homelessness in a context with which the students could imagine and empathize.

2. Literature Review

Homelessness, Aoki (2011: 365) also reports, has also been the cause of social unrest in the Osaka region and has been

… regarded as an eyesore by pedestrians and neighbouring residents and often violently harassed by them. They organise themselves in order to resist the demolition of their shacks by policemen. So the clashes between homeless people and the police sometimes happen.

The Kamagasaki area of Osaka City has the dubious honour of being as near as one can get to slum conditions in Japan, but unlike slum areas in other parts of the world, and due to it historically being a day-labourers’ area, it is inhabited by men. There is an attempt at gentrification in one part of Kamagasaki called Nishinari, which is, in the words of Okazaki, “the largest slum in Japan … attracting a new breed of visitor: backpackers”. Whatever it is about foreign backpackers taking advantage of cheap accommodation within Japanese society, in the words of Giamo (1994: 14),

… there seems to be even less tolerance or compassion for those who, for one reason or another, slip off the ladder of social obligation. To even hear about, let alone encounter, the yoseba (day-labourers district) inhabitants evokes a sense of fear and loathing.

3. Cultural Context

Until after World War II, there was no word for “homeless” in Japanese and the word used today is the loan word from English homuresu. Okamoto (2007: 526) divides this word into three further categories:

Historically, Japan has had three types of blighted residential areas, which may fall under this broader definition of homelessness. The first is made up of substandard housing tied to employment. Examples include accommodation for seasonal work called Dekasegi, spinning mill dormitories after the Meiji Restoration, coal mine houses, houses for the people who fish for herring and construction camps. Conditions in this housing were exacerbated due to their instability, as they were tied to seasonal or temporary work.

With respect to the degaseki, or migrants, many Japanese-Brazilians, the descendants of the Japanese migrants to Brazil of the Emigration Project, were mostly employed in the car industries and other industries associated with “3Ds”4. However, due to the economic downturn, in the words of Masters, “the Japanese government started the program to pay $3,000 to each jobless foreigner of Japanese descent (called Nikkei) and $2,000 to each family member to return to their country of origin.” The only issue is the stipulation that these Brazilians can never return to Japan, not even if the economy improves. Therefore, at the initial stage of the recession, there was official encouragement on the part of the Japanese government to send this particular group of migrant workers to their home country in a bid to keep the Japanese migrant homelessness issue from spreading into the foreign community.

To a certain extent, the problem of homelessness is becoming less visible, as Okamoto (ibid. 528) points out:

The number of rough sleepers has been decreasing and their characteristics have been changing since 2002. However, the number of invisible homeless people, who stay at Internet cafés, comic book shops, or coffee shops all night is increasing.

Another factor in the homelessness issue is its aging population. Marr (1997: 243) reports that

… in Kamagasaki, 66.3% of all laborers were over 50 by 1994. This increase in the number of older workers is alarming because when jobs are scarce, younger, healthier laborers are more likely to be chosen for work while older laborers are most likely left unemployed.

From a personal perspective, moving to the Kansai region after living for one year in rural Hiroshima and eight years in the very international region of Oita in the southern island of Kyushu was responsible for the worst culture shock I have ever experienced. Firstly, because of the very pronounced sense of a Kansai Inside identity, for the first time I was incessantly made to feel Other. As Ohnuki-Tierney (1984: 40) argues,

…one important inside: outside classification is between miuchi5 and tanin6. The distinction often extends to the public domain…[it] also operates at the broadest sphere of social interaction, distinguishing between acquaintances and strangers. The Japanese attitude towards strangers is easily seen by the neglect towards strangers in public places, such as on the bus.”

On the mistaken assumption that a foreigner could not possibly speak Japanese, in Kansai people made reference openly to physical appearance before moving into a more general diatribe about how useless the study of English had been for them and/or stereotypes of America. The other thing that contributed to culture shock was seeing the casual disregard of passers-by as they stepped over sleeping homeless men outside the main Osaka train station on a busy Saturday afternoon. To a certain extent, I found that Japanese colleagues and Kansai people in general find it easier to talk about the taboo subject of burakumin7, the untouchable class, than the homelessness issue. However, homelessness was the topic that my students wanted to tackle.

In setting up a process drama project based on this topic, it was extremely challenging to find a suitable setting which would emotionally engage the students, yet have an objective space in which to analyse the concept of involuntary homelessness. Dr. Nakano and I had many discussions about how the project was to be framed and how students would conduct their research. She stressed that primary research whereby students would interview the homeless was out of the question because of issues of safety and ethics. As mentioned earlier, the stimulus for the project came from Georgia Day Robertson’s A Harvest of Hate. This novel, a piece of fiction written by an American mathematics teacher at one of the Japanese Internment Camps during World War II, was the impetus for my own private research into the history of World War II in both North America and the Asia-Pacific region in general. My findings indicated that the oppressor and oppressed dichotomy was by no means limited to the European context. While the Japanese military were not blameless for the brutal atrocities across the Asia-Pacific region during WW II, this third part of the process drama project at large, however, was to consider Otherness from the perspective of a group who were deliberately constructed as the Other — the Japanese-Americans. This group alone – not any other groups that the United States was at war with – were interned because their ethnicity was readily visible, and they were subsequently rejected by the governments of both America and Japan. In 1988, the U.S. Civil Rights Act awarded redress to the internees and/or their relatives, who received an official apology and 20,000 dollars from President George Bush in 1990 (Daniels 2002: 297). As indicated by many of the students before the emigration project, attitudes toward Japanese descendants bordered on unsympathetic, as Japanese-Americans fall into the cultural category of what Ohnuki-Tierney calls “‘marginal outsiders’…toward who the Japanese feel ambivalent or downright negative” (1984: 43).

4. Classroom Context

This process drama project pertaining to homelessness took place twice weekly in the autumn semester of 2009, for Class 1 and Class 2 of the elective course of English Communication who were second year, second semester students. Whereas some students, especially in Class 1, were motivated and enthusiastic about developing English language skills by focusing on communicative strategies and had attended both the Bullying and Emigration projects, it was the first time for many of the students in Class 2. There were 22 students in Class 1, 13 females and 9 males. In Class 2, there were initially 19 students, 10 females and 9 males (later: 18, when one student dropped out of university completely. All the students were from the Kansai region of Japan, and therefore had a shared regional identity. With regard to age, all of the students but one were 19, the exception was a mature student of 27. As KGU is one of the top four private universities in the Kansai area, the students were from the middle to upper-middle classes and most did not have part-time work. Despite the English Communication Course being an elective one, many students were there not because of high levels of motivation, but rather because the Japanese sign language course was oversubscribed and they did not want to start a new language such as Korean or French.

5. JO: Enticement

5.1. Research Phase

In the first class, students were given the case of one homeless girl in a US context. First, students were randomly assigned groups, and these groups were to remain in these ‘family’ groups for the entire semester. In these groups, students were then asked to discuss, with the benefit of knowledge gained in the earlier Emigration Project, the possibilities of how and why this girl had become homeless. As a homework assignment, the students read four opinion-based articles on homelessness, and then formed their opinions based on research. They posted their reactions and opinions in paragraph format in the class online discussion Google Group.

In their reaction papers, the students demonstrated a growing awareness about the importance of reliable sources for research.

6. HA: Crux

6.1. Role-play 1: “My Home”

In the following class, the students, in their family groups, were asked to decide on their individual character roles within the family group, before designing the floor plans of their ideal home. Many of the students were au fait with the concept of floor plans as Japanese real estate agents usually send potential renters a number to choose from before taking potential clients to visit their top three choices. Students were exhilarated to be able to make their own homes without any financial constraints and these floor plans turned out to be very elaborate. They introduced their houses to the other groups, and each student explaining what was in each room.

When all the groups had performed, to much hilarity as many had swimming pools and private gyms as in opulent Hollywood-style mansions, the video-clip of the Yasutake family in their house8 was shown. This audio clip was played to show what had happened to an ordinary middle-class Japanese-American family on the day of Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941.

6.2. Role-play 2: “Get on the Bus”

The next class opened with the students making a tableau within their family group of what time of the day or night it was when the FBI representative came knocking on the front door of their family homes. Students slept, studied, read books, practiced musical instruments, cooked and did other domestic chores. Then each student added a line of dialogue to describe their thoughts for that exact moment. To prepare for the role-play, the students decided what they had been doing five minutes prior to that moment. Then, the students performed their role-play and I, in the role of unknown police official, knocked on the door. For the next part, the students opened the door to me, in-role as the official, who ordered them to get on the waiting bus, one row of desks and chairs that had been cordoned off. The students reacted to this in various ways: some tried to hide out of sight, others packed their one bag for the journey and obediently waited on the bus, while some wanted to open the door and reason things through, telling the official that they were not Japanese, not the enemy and were naturalized American citizens as can be seen in the transcript below:

Teacher (T): All people of Japanese descent are, by order of the US government, to get on the bus in order to be taken away.

Student (S): But I am American.

T: Yes, but you have Japanese blood.

S: But Japanese is no relation.

T: Anyone who has Japanese blood, according to this document, MUST get on the bus. You have Japanese blood, your name is Suzuki, you MUST get on the bus.

S: My father…

T: You can go on the bus or go to jail.

S: But my father is dead and later I was born here so it’s no problem.

T: You still have Japanese blood so your thinking is Japanese and you MUST come with me.

S: Okay…

The students waiting on “the bus” were asked to think of questions that they would like to ask the “police officer.” As more and more students got on the bus, the atmosphere got extremely tense, and the innate class cheerfulness grew darker. By the time I addressed the class-in-role as FBI Agent Gretta O’Connell, the students were ready to find out what exactly was going on, as can be seen in Digital Recording 2 below:

S1: Can we live with only our family, away from other families?

T: Yes, you will have your own family…space. And your neighbours will be very…close. Any other questions?

S2: Can we go to school?

T: Mmm, at the moment, the government is trying to find teachers, but we will make a school. So, if, in your family, your mother or father has experience in teaching, please let us know, please contact us.

S3: When we arrive, will we have freedom?

T: In the camp, you are free and it is a very, very big open space. A big, big camp.

S4: Will we get food?

T: Oh yes, the government will give you…enough…food.

S4: Japanese food?

T: Japanese-style food and others.

S5: Are there any amusements?

T: You have to make your own amusements. (Class groans)

S6: What is the role of the American army there?

T: Well, the American government will protect you from angry Americans.

S6: Is it safe?

T: Yes, very safe. It will be safe for you – and also for America.

S7: Will there be places to buy items for daily living or will you give them to us?

T: In your bag, you should have one change of clothes and linen for the bed. Now, we don’t know how long the war will last, but these clothes have to last you the entire war.

S7: It’s not enough for us and we need more clothes.

T: We will ask the Salvation Army to give you some clothes.

S7: We cannot buy ANYTHING?

T: You don’t have money. All of your banking has been frozen so you have no money. The US government is going to hold your money in a safe place so you have no money.

S7: I cannot believe you. (Class makes angry sounds)

T: Anyone of Japanese ancestry, all your banking has been frozen. You cannot use your bank anymore.

S5: Are there electrical facilities like the Internet?

T: It’s 1942…

S5: Radio?

T: Radio, yes there’s radio! You will have radio. TV is too expensive. Any other questions?

S8: Are there structures of society there?

T: You will have to build your own Japanese society, you will need to find leaders, you will need to find teachers, you will need to find doctors – within your Japanese society.

S: Can we leave there anytime?

T: No. For your American friends, you are now the enemy.

S5: Can we send letters from there?

T: Yes, you can send letters, but we will check what you write. We don’t want any terrorists. Any other questions? (No, okay, let’s imagine we have arrived in the camp so please take your bag and go back to your seats.) 9

Despite the Japanese culture of respect to figures of authority, the students knew there was something amiss and that there was something unjust about what had just happened. As can be seen in the above recording, students called upon me in-role to explain why this was happening to them, hardworking Japanese-Americans who had never broken any laws. They demanded to know where they were been taken, what the conditions would be like, and what the food would be like. In my in-role capacity of FBI agent, I answered their questions evasively, emphasizing that they were now the enemy and that the US government was taking them to a safe place for their own protection. As the role-play continued, the body language of the students changed, from alert postures to being bent over the desks, as if in despondency.

Even students who were unmotivated to speak in English under normal circumstances seemed to be under the spell of this class-in-role play and it seemed that their emotional engagement with the world of the role-play provided the impetus to articulate their thoughts. These students, who usually asked other more able students to “interpret” for them and tried to be the non-verbal communicative actors in the group role-plays, were suddenly telling me in my role as FBI agent and the other members of the class group that this was “unfair” and this was “not human rights”. One student, in particular, who had never been heard to even try to speak English, put her hand up and asked the pertinent question “Is this true?”

6.3. Research and Development Phase

For the weekend homework assignment, students were asked to research this event in both Japanese and English, on the grounds that reporting of this event would be skewed between the two languages, and because of the historical nature of the event and the intervening politics. What the students found had them abuzz with indignation at the start of the following class. They reported that there was indeed a gap in the way in which the Japanese-American camps were reported on from the past to the present day. Reporting within the Japanese media of the past was scant, whereas nowadays the reporting leaned towards the rhetoric of victimization. In the case of the American media of the day, propaganda was rife and interest in the event was expressed only by the release of movies and the publication of books.

6.4. Role-play 3: “Arrival at the Camp”

Firstly, the trailer from the 1990 film “Come See the Paradise”10 was shown to the students, followed by a clip showing the arrival of Japanese-Americans to the camp by the documentary film “Rabbit in the Moon”, which showed the real living situation of the new arrivals.11 Each family group read one of the “Letters from the Camp”, before brainstorming ideas for the role-play entitled, “Arrival at the Camp.” For homework, each student wrote-in-role about his or her arrival at the camp, and many showed the Japanese cultural adherence to cleanliness and food.

All students personalized their “experiences” from the role-plays, showing a deepening of engagement with the issues of homelessness and human rights.

6.5. Class Role-play 4: “Life at the Camp”

In the next class, the students were given the United Nations Bill of Human Rights, which was not new information to most, except that it was in English, rather than Japanese. Attention was drawn to the phrase uttered by Eleanor Roosevelt that “no one can put you down unless you allow them to” and, with this in mind, students commenced to build the microcosm of Japanese-America, which they performed as a class-in-role (without my intervention in-role)as the role-play “life at the camp”. One person was voted to organize the camp into a working entity with schools, shops, farms, canteens etc. Again, there was a cultural reticence towards volunteering for all the positions, so the organizer, in exasperation, asked people to move into groups in which they had an interest and could contribute towards: school-related, shop-related, farm-related or canteen-related. Interestingly, and in keeping with Japanese traditional culture, it was the father-figure in each family who made the decisions and then the family tended to follow. After this class role-play ended, I pointed out that all the older men were stripped of their positions of authority, as the American authorities saw them as the possible enemies. Many of the older generation were genuinely unable to speak in English and, as communication in Japanese was forbidden, there was a shift in power-relations from the father to the children. Another clip from the documentary film highlighted this point and students were asked, for their weekend assignment, to reflect on how they would feel if their language was torn away from them.

6.6. Role-play 5: “Your Language is Dead”

At the start of the next class, students were given an excerpt from Harold Pinter’s “Mountain Language”, that started with “your language is dead” (1989: 25). Each family group was asked to create a situation in which people were forbidden to speak in their mother tongue and produce a short role-play for the class. Some students stayed within a contemporary context. For example one group demonstrated how the use of Japanese local dialects was overtly discouraged in more urban areas. One group showed an average English-only policy EFL class and how frustrated students were when a teacher denigrated their mother tongue of Japanese. Other groups delved into historical contexts and showed the annexation of Korea by Japan in post WWI. From performing and watching these role-plays, students gained a deeper understanding of the emotions surrounding linguistic loss, one with which they were all familiar, to a certain extent, as cleverly demonstrated by the EFL class role-play. Then, the students watched the video-clip again about the loss of power by the authority father figure in the Japanese-American camps. This time, there seemed to be a deeper empathy with the frustrations and humiliation of cultural and linguistic losses.

6.7. Role-play 6: “Dealing with the Americans”

The authority figure from each family, the father or grandfather in most cases, formed a separate group, while the other students formed a community to construct the mini-society. One person from each group was designated to deal with “the Americans”, and this was, in most cases, the children, whose English was better than that of their parents. Students then regrouped into their original family groups for a discussion on the implications of altering power-relations for their families. For the weekend assignment, students were asked to research, in Japanese and English, original reports at this time about the changing of family structures within the camps.

6.8. Role-play 7: “Life in the Camp II”

The following class opened with a more up-beat video-clip, whereby some of the internees broke out of the camp, not to escape, but merely to go fishing. The humble fish, in the Japanese context, has been part of the traditional diet for thousands of years and part of the Shinto religion, which is similar to Irish paganism in its worship of nature. Therefore, the students could immediately identify with the need to break out in a bid to be one with nature as a measure of existing in the present while simultaneously hoping for a better future. Also, given the Christian ethos of KGU, many students saw fishing in terms of the Christian parable of hope.

Afterwards, students were asked to brainstorm the worst possible thing that could happen to their family while incarcerated, and to perform their role-play for the class. Role plays tended towards death, whether that of a grandparent, parent or child and the means in which this came about ranged from old age, to illness with no available medical care, which is a contemporary fear for most Japanese, to being shot by the US military. Students were asked to write up the diary of their character while in-role for the weekend assignment.

6.9. Role-play 8: “Returning Home”

To prepare for this last role-play, half the students were asked to leave the classroom for a few minutes. In their absence, the other half of the class were asked to appropriate the absent students’ belongings, including their table and chairs. Being Japanese, the returning students first dealt with this by laughing nervously, then, as the other students politely but firmly refused to return their wallets, keys, mobile phones, grew quite angry and distressed. Once the atmosphere changed, I intervened to stop the role-play and ask the students to reflect what they felt. For homework, students researched what had happened to the interned Japanese-Americans at the end of World War II to prepare for their last role-play called “returning home.” Students endeavoured to rationalise the repossession of their family homes in fascinating ways: one group had a white grandparent who had kept their houses in their absence, another featured the parents who had been killed in the previous role-play, “Life in the Camp II”, giving spiritual guidance from heaven, while many groups accepted their fate and looked to their Japanese spirit of yamato-damashii and strong family bonds to help them build a new life.

7. KYU: Consolidation

7.1. Student Observations

All of the students in both classes produced a final report, three paragraphs that were written during the course and one final paragraph outlining their reactions to the project. This meant that there was both writing-in-role and their own reactions to the theme of homelessness and the topic of human rights. All students submitted their two-page reports, and demonstrated engagement with the plight of the Japanese-Americans, which they were able to link to human rights in a contemporary context.

7.2. Teacher Observations

The homelessness project moved far beyond what I had initially envisaged. There is a strong possibility that the students’ engagement with the topic in terms of human rights can be linked to student involvement with the Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) Conference held in Berlin on October 4-6, 2009. For the first time, a team of students from Japan were invited to this global competition to report on their social enterprise project, which helped women from the Philippines, both legal and illegal, into the Japanese job market. With respect to the homelessness project, students from the Department of Social Enterprise in particular felt ready to take leadership roles and were able to share their theoretical knowledge from their lectures and the practicalities from the SIFE project.

In Class 1, about 80 per cent of the course was conducted in English and Japanese was used to guide weaker students so that they too could also have a part to play. With respect to Class 2, there was a greater tendency to talk to the teacher in English and talk to one another in Japanese; however there was a marked improvement in English speaking and writing skills in comparison to the emigration project. Students in both classes wrote favourable comments about the project in their final report and they reported development with respect to communicative styles in the Byram’s five areas of Intercultural Communicative Competence- attitudes, knowledge, skills and critical awareness towards other cultures while simultaneously and self-reflexively examining the norms of Japanese culture (1997: 34).

8. Summary: Reflections

Throughout the Homelessness Project, classes became more learner-centred and learner-led, and my role as teacher became more like that of a sports coach than an English teacher, as students’ confidence and determination to communicate through English, rather than for English, grew. There were setbacks and sometimes parts of the course fell behind and were abandoned, likewise as opportunities arose such as the willingness of a guest speaker to share his experiences of being a refugee from Afghanistan to the UK aged 11. The students compensated for this by engaging with the topic at a deeper level and showed compassion and understanding for those who became homeless. Throughout the course, students wrote a paragraph in-role, describing their situation before the camp, at the camp and the return home. To complete the two-page final report, students wrote a final paragraph out-of-role, in which they were free to analyse the project overall. In every single report, the three paragraphs in-role provide clear evidence that the students deeply engaged with their role in the family. The fourth paragraphs report on each student’s reaction and learning journey, with emphasis on human rights, Japanese-American fighter pilots, conditions at the camps such as lack of sanitation and ensuing illnesses, the nature of Japanese stoicism, the destructiveness of war, among many more. These reports also show the enormous strides that the students made in expressing themselves so clearly and poignantly through English. As shown in the evidence above, the holistic nature of process drama projects can have very profound effects on the students linguistically, socially, and psychologically.


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