Today, I would like to introduce two books on academic Japanese, especially on how to write reports and essays. If you are studying at a Japanese university or graduate school, or are planning to go on to university, and are having trouble writing a report or essay, please refer to these resources.
"New Edition: How to Write Logically for International Students" (edited and written by Nobuko Nitsu, written by Fujiko Sato, Three A Network, 2020)
This book explains in detail how to write logical texts (the fundamental points) and various Japanese expressions that are necessary when writing reports and essays in Japanese. To be able to write reports and essays that are acceptable at universities and graduate schools, you require the following:
- Logical thinking.
- How a text should be logically developed, with that in mind, think about how you will structure your text.
- When reading expository texts, pay attention to the content, the structure of the text, and how different logics are combined and synthesized.
This book provides materials for reading, practices, and assignments so that you will be able to acquire the above in a natural manner. I think you can pick up the skills needed to write good essays if you study all the materials thoroughly.
"Explaining using Pictures - You can get good marks easily for your essays!” (written by Yuichi Higuchi, the President of Hakuran Juku, Seishun Publishing, 2008)
The author of this book is Yuichi Higuchi. He is known as the "Master of Essay-Writing", and has written more than 100 reference books on how to write essays in university entrance exams and instruction books on essay-writing for elementary and junior high school students. I have several books by Mr. Higuchi and used them even after I have entered university.
This is not a book which is specially targeted at international students. However, it has illustrations so that even international students can read and understand it easily. This book is about how to write essays for university entrance exams, but I think it is highly useful beyond entrance exams for universities and graduate schools, and can be relevant for writing reports and essays after you have been admitted into a university or a graduate school.
Mr. Higuchi introduces how to use this book as follows:
- Produce an image of an essay that will get a pass mark in your head.
- Learn the basic "form" of writing an essay ("raising an issue", "presenting opinions", "developing the argument", "conclusion").
- Learn how to make notes to add depth to the content you will write ("three whats: definition/ phenomenon/ result," "three Ws: Why/Where/When," "one H: How").
- Check fundamental points such as how to use manuscript paper (write numbers in Chinese numerals, write units in katakana, write English horizontally and enter two letters in each square, etc.).
- Write an essay, locate your shortcomings, and work on them.
- Learn the strategy needed to complete various tasks.
- Learn the studying method which produces high-level essays.
You can use the above methods not only for writing essays but also for writing reports.
I think there are many other books on how to write reports and essays, but today, I have introduced two books that I have used myself which are very useful for improving writing skills. I hope that this column will be of some help to you in writing your reports and essays.