Episodes in the History of U.S.-Japan Relations: Case Studies of Conflict, Conflict Management and Resolution

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SPICE (Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education)
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Average: 3.7 (3 votes)


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US-Japan Relations: The View From Both Sides of the Pacific

Field of Interest/Specialty: Art & Social Studies
Posted On: 08/11/2015

Angie Stokes - Art Teacher (former Middle School Social Studies Teacher)
Wayne Trace Jr./Sr. High School
US-Japan Relations: The View From Both Sides of the Pacific
In Part I of the three-part SPICE curriculum series "Case Studies of Conflict, Conflict Management and Resolution," educators are provided with an abundance of cross-curricular resources that will facilitate the development of student skills which will extend far beyond the walls of any classroom. Within the framework of building conflict resolution skills, SPICE has written a curriculum that can be used by virtually any classroom teacher--art, social studies, even health--to not only enhance student knowledge and skills but more importantly improve attitudes through a variety of engaging activities that examine the roles of responsibility and accountability, empathy and understanding, thus attending to an area of student development which is often quite difficult to reach.
Broken down into six lessons which can either be delivered within the context of American history or foreign relations, these lessons could also be broken apart and integrated independently of one another. With the widest variety of primary sources I have ever seen compiled into one unit--from telegrams, speeches, declarations, and diary entries to artwork, photographs, and political cartoons--teachers from a variety of disciplines can extract parts of this unit to fit into their current lessons or teach directly from the workbook with no prior background in Japanese or American history. While as an art teacher I will be focusing on exploring the relationship between cultural values in visual art and the production of art as a means of communicating those values, a health teacher may use this curriculum in its entirety as a way of teaching conflict resolution while students study Japan in the context of their American history courses.
With such a menu of choices and engaging activities differentiated for nearly ever learning style and level of ability, this resource can be used in virtually any middle school or high school (although it is recommended for high school). At its core, the teaching of conflict resolution, conflict management, and the skills required to analyze the results of conflict which are accomplished in this curriculum unit would benefit anyone. Yet the manner in which these lessons are delivered through multiple avenues beginning with personal experiences and extending to international events makes these lessons hit home for everyone. "Episodes in the History of US-Japan Relations" goes beyond the examination of just one or two events; to continue a metaphor it introduces, this SPICE curriculum creates a multicolored tapestry, examining the pattern and variety behind the masterpiece of conflict resolution by considering the role of each thread.

US – Japan Relations: The View From Both Sides of the Pacific

Field of Interest/Specialty: History
Posted On: 05/13/2010

Justin Kaszonyi – Social Studies Teacher
Grade 11 – US History III – 1880-1945
Thomas Jefferson High School
This curriculum is Part 1 of a three part series entitled U.S.-Japan Relations: The View from Both Sides of the Pacific. It is designed for use in grades 9-12 in U.S. History, World History, and Social Studies. The goal of this unit is to address the issues straining the relationship between the United States and Japan. Conflict is the main theme, and is addressed to students on a personal, group, international, and global levels.
This curriculum is very focused, dealing only with the U.S.-Japanese relationship. It begins by addressing the beginning of conflict between the United States and Japan with the establishment of the first U.S. embassy in Japan in 1860 and covers 131 years of the relationship between the two nations. The unit is comprised of six lessons designed to take two class periods each. The 2nd lesson focuses on Japanese Immigration to the United States. Lesson 3 looks at both sides viewpoints on the Pearl Harbor attack. The 4th lesson addresses Hiroshima and conflicting viewpoints on the dropping of the atomic bomb. Lesson 5 focuses on the American Occupation of Japan. The 6th and final lesson closes out the unit by addressing the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Each lesson requires a fair amount of background knowledge and would be best used to supplement basic high school history curriculum. These lessons utilize a combination of acting, debate, imagination, and require a great deal of student enthusiasm and co-operation. The key aspect of each lesson is showing multiple perspectives of each issue. By far the most valuable aspect of this curriculum unit are the handouts and resources, specifically for lessons 2, 3, and 4. Lesson 2 gives you an excellent variety of original Japanese immigration documents including medical documents, letters of recommendation, photographs, marriage licenses, and boarding passes. Lesson 3 provides copies of authentic telegraphs, political cartoons, speech excerpts, newspaper articles, and comics surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor. Lesson 4 uses radio broadcast transcripts, cartoons, first-hand accounts, poems, and excerpts from novels about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. These activities can easily and effectively be used to supplement the teaching of World War II in a wide variety of history classes to a diverse range of learning levels. These resources and multiple viewpoints are what make this unit a valuable educational tool.
However, there are negative aspects to this curriculum unit. Most classes do not have the 12-15 class periods needed to complete these lessons. I feel that this unit is best suited for older high school students in upper level classes (Honors and/or Advanced Placement). These activities require a great deal of student patience, analysis, and imagination. Without providing your students with a setting to place themselves in the time period, these individual lessons would be ineffective. Rather than acting as a 19th century Japanese dignitary or reporter in a play, teachers should focus on both sides of the facts. Teachers should have students create their own political cartoon instead of looking over ten authentic cartoons and comics. This curriculum’s resources are very worthy of today’s classroom, but in my opinion the lesson plans are far too optimistic and complicated to be effective in the time period allotted.

Very useful, but needs updated technology

Field of Interest/Specialty: Education - Social Studies
Posted On: 04/19/2010

Name: Daniel Kornosky
Grades/Subjects Taught: 10th Grade World History II and 12th Grade Government and Economics
School: Oakland Catholic High School
US – Japan Relations: The View From Both Sides of the Pacific
Part I: Episodes in the History of US – Japan Relations: Case Studies of Conflict, Conflict Management and Resolution
This curriculum unit can be used for many different classes. Primarily is would be best used by World History or US History teachers because it directly related to World War II and the various views and issues surrounding the Pacific theatre. In addition to the classes previously mentioned I feel that you could easily apply this curriculum unit to a Government, Sociology, Psychology, or Philosophy course depending on the direction that you would like to take in your class.
The six lessons come complete with a very valuable unit introduction which sets up the differing views of the tension between the US and Japan during World War II. Before delving into the meat of the unit there is some great materials for defining and explaining the types of conflict that we encounter in our lives. Following the introductory material the unit progresses to a ‘readers theatre’ and students should define the types of conflict arising. The next four lessons begin to use great primary documents regarding various conflicts that came about in both the US and Japan. There are immigration and marriage records, photos of Angel Island Brides, War declarations and telegrams, comics, newspapers, radio broadcast transcripts, and poetry from both the US and Japanese side. The unit progresses through each conflict through the students taking on the roles of people during that time period. I feel that this is very valuable. The students are able to see history and feel as if they are a part of it by putting themselves into the minds of the people of the US and Japan during World War II. The final lesson takes place with the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and analyzes feelings about Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima using primary sources.
I feel that this unit would be very useful to any teacher who likes role playing activities and bringing history to life. The only problems that I can foresee with this unit are that the materials are a bit outdated. Most of the photos are slides. Although the primary documents are very valuable, the teacher will need to have some sort of overhead projector with printable transparencies for the class to see or spend a lot of time at the copy machine so that students can see and use the documents as intended. If these supplementary materials were updated to CD-Rom or internet based this unit would be much easier to use. Although there are drawbacks, they are minor. I feel that this unit is a great way to take an interdisciplinary approach to history and one in which the students can get a lot out of in an exciting manner.