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"Face palette" for Kids Social Skills Training with MANGA expressions [Free Download]

Updated: Jun 8

Face palette by Rakurakumom
Face palette by Rakurakumom

Face palette [Free Download]

Social skills training to Japanese emotional words using MANGA-like expressions.

■About "Face Palette"

Children with ASD tendencies often have trouble accurately reading emotions from other people's facial expressions. In Japanese society, this difficulty can lead to feeling isolated if they cannot grasp the subtle emotions of those around them.

However, since it’s naturally challenging for some, I believe it’s enough if they can convey their own emotions through words. This is likely the same for children of foreign residents living in Japan.

With this in mind, I decided to increase my child’s emotional vocabulary and help them objectively view their feelings through social skills training. To do this, I developed the "Face Palette," an advanced version of the three "scales," and shared it on Rakurakumom's Official Website for everyone.

This has been extremely popular!! ...with my kids at least 😁.

The feature of this face palette is that it expresses 24 types of emotions with faces and "colors".

As a graduate of an art university, I’ll use my past skills to explain briefly.

Colors are composed of:

- "Hue" such as red, blue, yellow, etc.

- "Brightness" such as light or dark colors

- "Tone" such as vivid colors or pastel colors

These elements combine to create colors.

For example, color adjustment bars in smartphone drawing or photo editing apps are often divided in this way.

I believe this applies directly to emotions as well.

- Emotions that can be expressed with "hue," such as blushing with anger, feeling blue, etc.

- Emotions that can be expressed as "brightness", such as feeling gloomy, going blank, or feeling bright, etc.

- Emotions that can be expressed with "tone," such as strong will, a hazy feeling, cold-heartedness, etc.

Each person might have their image color corresponding to a certain emotion, but considering Japanese idiomatic expressions and prioritizing an easy-to-understand arrangement for children, I created the "Face Palette" to translate emotions into colors in my way.

■Basic Usage

Using this while having conversations at the table, for example, can talk with children more engaging and easier to understand. It has facilitated communication not only with children with developmental disabilities but also with infant children who have a limited vocabulary.

In our family's example, a conversation with my eldest son after he returned from school, with the "Face Palette" placed on the table, might go like this:

Son: Today, I had a bad experience with [child's name] on the way home!

Mom: Oh, You had a bad experience. How bad was it?

Son: This much!! (points to the palette)

Mom: Oh, I see. Is this 'sad' or 'frustrated'?

Son: Both!!

Mom: Both, huh I see, I see. What kind of face did he have at that time?

Son: This one.

Mom: What!!? (surprised) He was shocked!?

Son: Yeah, because, you know... (reveals shocking details!)

...and so on😅.

No matter what confessions come out, I practice saying, "I see, I see," and just listening.

■Differences between the English and Japanese Versions

face palette English version addition
English version addition

The English version of the "Face Palette" includes additional cards to help foreign children and Japanese language learners practice Japanese alongside understanding emotions.

It incorporates colloquial expressions commonly used among Japanese children and teenagers, as well as onomatopoeic expressions frequently seen in MANGA, paired with their closest English equivalents.

However, the original Japanese version of the "Face Palette" intentionally does not include written words to describe emotions. To further encourage communication between parents and children, I did not use text words to express emotions.

Even for the same facial expression, there are various ways to express it in Japanese.

I encourage families to discuss what each emotion is called. If they can't come up with the right word, you can teach it by saying, "That feeling is called ___."

For foreign children and Japanese language learners, once they become familiar with basic colloquial expressions in English Ver., I hope let's step up to using the palette without the additional cards and explore more accurate and richer Japanese expressions to convey your emotions.

■About Manga-style Expressions

Some children find Manga-style expressions easy to understand, while others may not be familiar with them.

Expressions like "eyes turning into hearts," "lightning from the head," or "veins popping on the forehead" can be demonstrated by parents or teachers in front of the children 😁.

Although these expressions are not visible, they can serve as practice for "KU-KI YOMU" in reading the air (understanding the unspoken context) in social interactions.

(You might even manage to show veins on your forehead💢 with some effort! 😁).

These techniques were devised by MANGA masters of the past who struggled to find a way to visualize the "KU-KI", which is an atmosphere of emotion.

My overly serious child, who used to take everything literally, gradually became accustomed to Manga-style expressions, broadening their understanding of the world.

As we continue using the Face Palette in conversations, my children have increased their emotional vocabulary, learned to express their feelings accurately in words, reduced tantrums and panic attacks, improved anger management, and found it easier to talk about their problems with others, themselves.

Of course, this alone cannot solve all problems, but I believe the foreign children who feel frustrated by the language barrier at school will also experience less stress once they can express their feelings in Japanese, helping them communicate their emotions to others.

[free download!]

Please read my website terms of use for more information, before downloading.

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📝ChatGPT's Note

"KU-KI YOMU" in Japanese Society: In Japan, the phrase "reading the air" is commonly used. This means sensing and adapting to the unspoken emotions or atmosphere of the surroundings. Japanese society tends to place more emphasis on non-verbal cues and context rather than direct communication. Thus, the ability to understand subtle emotions and nuances is considered important.

Manga Culture: Japanese Manga is more than just comic books; it is deeply integrated into daily life and emotional expression. In the Manga, exaggerated expressions like "eyes turning into hearts" or "lightning from the head" are used to make emotions visually understandable. These expressions are familiar to children and help them grasp various feelings.

Onomatopoeia and Mimetic Words: The Japanese language includes many onomatopoeic words (words that imitate sounds) and mimetic words (words that describe states or actions), frequently used in daily conversation and Manga. Examples include "wakuwaku" (excitement), "gaan" (shock), and "mukamuka" (anger). These words directly express emotions and assist in understanding feelings.


🇯🇵 Original post of this article(Switch to 🇯🇵 mode)

Book version of this article:「発達障害&グレーゾーンの3兄妹を育てる母のどんな子もぐんぐん伸びる120の子育て法」 大場美鈴・著(ポプラ社/2017.2)p.125 →

*No translated version is available of this book.


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