Daikagura training ‘was like studying abroad’ Part 2

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. clear / klɪər / (adj.) – sure; certain without any doubt

    Dennis is clear that he wants to become a teacher.

  2. work out / wɜrk aʊt / (phrasal v.) – to end with a good result

    Despite some difficulties at the beginning of the year, everything still worked out for Jean.  

  3. find employment / faɪnd ɛmˈplɔɪ mənt / (idiom) – to get a job

    After months of being jobless, he finally found employment in a marketing firm.

  4. embark on (something) / ɛmˈbɑrk ɒn / (phrasal v.) – to begin something important

    George is excited to embark on his new career as a writer.

  5. full-immersion / fʊl ɪˈmɜr ʒən / (adj.) – completely focused on one subject or course

    Before moving to Italy for work, I’m required to take a full-immersion course in Italian culture first.


Read the text below.

Continued from Part 1…

Though she never had the opportunity to study English abroad, she did go on an exchange program to Nantes, France, during high school. When she returned, she says she sometimes felt closer to French than English.

“I would hear someone talking on the street in French and I could understand it almost like I was hearing Japanese. I never had the same experience with English.”

By the time Kagami got to university, she was clear about what she wanted to do with her life.

“I wanted to promote Japanese culture to the Western world and at first, I thought I would try to get into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When that didn’t work out, I found employment at a PR agency.”

When she was 29 years old, Kagami surprised everyone by quitting her job and embarking on a journey to become a daikagura performer.

“It was like studying abroad, but right in Japan. It was an intense, full-immersion learning course in Japanese culture and tradition.”

In pre-pandemic days, Kagami would go on performance tours abroad. She took her young son to Canada once.

“I hope I can do that again when travel opens up. I would love it if my son and I could communicate in English.”

In the meantime, she is keeping busy, conducting lectures online and polishing her performing skills.

“I also created a daikagura performance video specifically geared to a foreign audience.” (Kaori Shoji)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • When she was 29 years old, Kagami quit her job and embarked on a journey to become a daikagura performer. What do you think about her decision (ex. brave, silly)? If you had the opportunity, would you also quit your job and pursue a career that was closer to your heart? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Aside from pursuing a more interesting career, what do you think are other good reasons to quit your job (ex. it’s too stressful, you don’t make enough money)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • By the time Kagami got to university, she was clear about what she wanted to do with her life. Do you think people should know what they want to do with their lives by the time they get to university? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Kagami says that she would love it if her son and she could communicate in English. Do you think parents have a responsibility to teach their children all the languages they know? Why or why not? Discuss.