Japanese lecturer uses music to spread messages


By Sam Banda Jnr:

TANAKA —I am excited

Realising the potential of music as a vehicle for disseminating key messages, Japanese lecturer Tanaka, who is at Lilongwe Teachers Training College, has composed songs to reach out to the masses.

Tanaka is a lecturer of Mathematics and Expressive Arts and volunteer for Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica).


Some years back, another Japanese musician, Kohei Yamada, came out with some music projects which saw him releasing songs such as ‘Ndimakukonda’ in which he collaborated with Mlaka Maliro, who is now a pastor.

Unlike Kohei, who is a professional musician and well- known in Japan, Tanaka said he is not deeply into music but was encouraged by some of his students at the school to use music to spread messages.

“I have released my fourth single now together with my fellow Jica volunteers and two students at Lilongwe Teachers’ Training College. I am excited and basically in some songs I am talking about the beauty of Malawi and its friendly people. I am loving my stay here,” Tanaka said.


Having stayed in the country for close to a year months, Tanaka has learned the local language very fast and used Chichewa in the songs.

The five songs he has released so far include ‘Jump Rope’, which is in audio and video, ‘Mbatata’ (Sweet Potato) which is also in audio and video formats as well as ‘Tidziwe Multiplication’ and ‘Chilengedwe (Environment) which are in audio format.

“Having released four other songs in Chichewa, I can say that I am now emotionally attached to the new single especially as a volunteer who comes from Japan and contributes a great deal to the development of education in Malawi,” Tanaka said.

Tanaka said, by listening to and singing the ‘Tidziwe Multiplication’ song repeatedly, it will be easier for learners to memorise the multiplication table.

“As you know, multiplication is one of the basements of Mathematics. Learners in Malawi start to learn it from Standard Two. If we look at Standard 7’s mathematics textbook, we can see that there are 19 out of 30 units that learners have to solve using multiplication,” Tanaka said.

He observed that most of the learners have challenges to memorise the multiplication table.

“Monotonous repeating makes the learners become bored and they resort to referring to the multiplication table printed at the back of their exercise books. I composed this song to change the situation,” he said of the song which can be downloaded from

He said schools are currently using the songs, singling out Suza Primary School in Kasungu, where things have improved.

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