“So…what’re we doing today?” The quizzical stares, the deer-in-the-headlight eyes, always haunt me at some of the meetings I held my first few attempts at creating a cool club meeting. (If you’re looking for ideas that aren’t in person, see the post “COVID-19: Can Anime Clubs Survive?“)
To avoid disastrous moments of awkward silence and “let’s get out of here” whispers, here are a few ideas you and your officers can do:
Birthday Race – Make two teams. Within a time limit, the members must make a line sorted by birth dates. The team to make the line first is the winner.
Meishi or Business Card Game – Make pairs. Each pair will get a 3 cards. They’ll write their names on the cards. On the back of each card are stamps. Each stamp is worth different points. The members don’t know how much each stamp is worth until the end of the activity. Members will first introduce their friends (“This is Amy”). One person from each pair will janken or play Rock-Paper-Scissor. The winners will take one of the losers’ cards. Members who lose all of their cards must sit down. Once most of the class has sat down, the activity should end. Show the members the points per stamp. The pair with the most points wins.
Pass the Present – Wrap a small present with 6 to 10 layers of wrapping paper or newspaper. Play a Japanese song as the members pass the present around. When the music stops, the member holding the present must answer a question before unwrapping a layer. The game ends when someone finally unwraps the last layer and claims the present.
Suguroku – Give each member a worksheet. The members will play janken or Rock-Paper-Scissor with each other. The winner will become A. The loser will become B. The loser must answer the winner’s question and sign in the appropriate box. Now the winner can go forward by one box.
Truth or Lie – Members will say or write 3 things about themselves. Only 1 of the 3 statements will be a lie. The other members will guess which is a lie.
Fruits Basket – The members will sit in a big circle. One chair will be removed, so one person will stand in the middle of the circle. The member in the center of the circle will say a statement about themselves (“I am sixteen years old”). If any of the sitting members can say the same thing about themselves (“I’m sixteen years old too”), they will change seats. When the moderator of the game says “Fruits Basket”, everyone will change seats.
The Hot Seat / Taboo – Members will split into teams. Each team will pick a new “hot seat” person. The “hot seat” person will sit in a chair facing their team. The “hot seat” person can’t see the board. The team will pick a category (ex: Japanese Food, Shoujo Anime). There are 10 words in each category (Shoujo Anime might have High School Debut, Ouran High School Host Club, Skip Beat, Honey x Clover, Otomen, Kimi ni Todoke, Lovely Complex, Peach Girl, NANA, Sailor Moon). The team can’t say any of the words in the category. They can only give hints to the word. Give them a time limit. If the “hot seat” person can say the words on the board within the time limit, they get one point per word.
Karuta– Make many cards with Japan-related pictures (kimono, chopsticks, rice, sushi, sashimi). Put the members in small groups. Each group will get a set of the cards and they will spread them out evenly on the tables. The caller (whomever is calling out the Japanese words) will say the words in Japanese. The members must hit the correct picture card to get a point. The member with the most picture cards is the winner.
Ninja – This game has the same rules as Red Light, Green Light.
Shiritori – One person says or writes a title or word from an anime, manga, Japanese video game, song, or movie. The next person will say or write a word starting with the last letter from the first person. For example, if Person A says “Dragon Ball”, Person B will say a word starting with L (Love Hina, Legal Drug, Loveless).
Decorate paper fans.
Do a manga or anime swap.
Do a manzai, or stand-up comedy, day.
Do Japanese calligraphy. Get some Japanese calligraphy brushes, inks, and papers and learn to write basic kanji (calligraphy) or your names.
Do Japanese story-telling, or rakugo. You can watch a video, bring in a rakugo artist, or you can do it yourselves (think of it as funny campfire tales).
Have a haiku contest or haiku reading day.
Knit or crochet stuffed animals or mascots (also known as amigurumi).
Learn the borrowed Japanese words used in English.
Learn the dance steps to popular songs from artists like Vocaloid, AKB48, and ARASHI.
Look up popular Japanese fashions from Harajuku, Tokyo, and Shinjuku.
Make buttons with your favorite anime, manga, or Japanese characters.
Make felt animals or mascots.
Make hanging paper koi.
Make keychains with your favorite anime, manga, or Japanese characters.
Make paper lanterns.
Make T-shirts of favorite anime, manga, or Japanese characters.
Make your Japanese name. Find the meaning of your name in Japanese or make up your own Japanese name. Remember, the kanji, or Chinese characters, are important to the meaning of your Japanese name.
Origami cranes are great for cheering up any depressive souls. Japanese people usually make origami cranes when someone’s in the hospital. Did you know 1,000 cranes equals a wish?
Play Inaka Basketball.
Play Sengoku. This is an old conquest game played in Japan. You will need a map of Japan with the prefectures clearly defined and a lot of magnets in three different colors. Put the members into teams of three. Each team will pick a Japanese unifier (Nobunaga, Toyotomi, or Tokugawa) and a color as their team name and “armies”. Pick a prefecture. One person from each team will stand up. The moderator will ask an anime- or Japan-related question. The first person to raise their hand and get the answer right wins the prefecture. The team who “conquers” the most prefectures is the game winner.
Play Shingo, or the Japanese chess.
Scavenger Hunt – Make a list of things to find using Japanese words.
Visit the Japanese Consulate in your area.
Watch an anime or Japanese movie. Before watching the video, please get the anime company’s screening permission.
Make an anime radio show or podcast.
Make an anime music video.
Guess that Anime Opener/Closer. Members will make teams. They will choose a category (ex: Shoujo Anime, Shounen Anime). The moderator will play an opening or closing song from an anime. Members will guess what anime it’s from.
June 25, 2016 at 4:51 pm
OMG! Thank you so much for this amazing list! I will use your ideas!
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May 10, 2018 at 6:30 pm
What can you reccommend for me to say to convince the people to make an anime club?
August 11, 2018 at 2:03 pm
Thank you for your question. I did a survey with anime clubs across the United States about why people join an anime club. The number one reason was to make friends. If you are having trouble convincing people to make an anime club, find out why they don’t want to make or join one. You’ll be surprised by the answers you get.
August 10, 2018 at 5:16 pm
Another teacher and I are about to launch an Anime Club and you’ve given us a plethora of great ideas! We are sure to be a success! Thank you so much!
August 11, 2018 at 2:04 pm
I’m glad to be of help! If there are any ideas or suggestions you would like for your anime club, please don’t be afraid to ask!
October 25, 2018 at 5:40 pm
Omg this was sooo helpful thank you
November 16, 2018 at 9:06 pm
Thank you! If you have any suggestions or ideas, please let us know! I hope the ones you use here help you out!
March 7, 2019 at 2:44 pm
I really enjoyed these ideas! I’ve just recently created an anime club at my college, but so far most of what we’ve done has just been watching anime. I’m definitely going to try to include other elements into meetings soon- thanks for all the great ideas!
March 8, 2019 at 10:21 pm
I’m glad they are helpful! Feel free to reach out for more ideas!
March 11, 2020 at 12:55 pm
Thank You For the Help I’m Gonna see If my anime Club would like to do some of these Ideas!
October 1, 2020 at 7:26 pm
This was actually really helpful, thank you! I’m one of the presidents of the anime club at my school, and obviously with everything going online a lot of things are more limited.
One of the things we’ve done is implement a schedule of a calm day then an engagement activity. We have club four days a week, and this way people aren’t overwhelmed with socializing every day.
On calm days we watch an anime or draw or something, and on engagement days we do some sort of social activity.
Some other things to include could be tournaments. You make a bracket for “Best Antagonist” or something like that, and allow people to debate and vote.
Kahoots are also always a good idea. We also do these sort of “Who would win in a fight debates”.
I’ll definitely talk to my other president about using some of these ideas! Thank you for making this. 🙂
October 1, 2020 at 7:33 pm
Hello! Thank you for checking out Anime Ascendant! An added activity could be an anime version of Scattegories (make a Google Excel file for virtual meet ups). That’s been pretty fun, too. I’m hoping to update this list for more virtual adaptions
February 11, 2021 at 6:11 pm
This is very helpful n.n arigato!!!
October 25, 2022 at 9:26 pm
so glad i found this! I’m starting an anime at my library for middle/high schoolers and this has some great ideas i can pitch to my trustees! my high school anime club we really only sat around and watched anime so this has some great ideas to it!
if anyone is interested we’re also going to be doing a manga book club, each kid writes down an (age appropriate) manga and we will read the first volume in that series and discuss like a normal book club. If the group likes the series we will continue with the next volume if not we stop and go to the next series on the list
Start reading Naruto, vol 1
majority vote no
move on to next Series: Inuyasha vol 1
majority vote yes
Read inuyasha vol 2
until we either finish the series or get bored.