Hiroshima: Perspectives on the Atomic Bombing

"This module seeks to have students analyze both U.S. and Japanese perspectives of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Students are asked to draw evidence from activities that introduce these multiple perspectives in order to analyze the decision to use the atomic bomb on Japan within its historical context. This module is recommended as a supplement to textbook coverage of the war in the Pacific and of specifically the atomic bombing of Hiroshima." (text taken from SPICE)
Softcover - $39.95 includes CD-ROM with 46 images
Year of Publication
Number of Pages
Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education
Citation Key
Curriculum Unit
Average: 4.7 (3 votes)


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Useful and Thoughtfully Designed Curriculum

Field of Interest/Specialty: High School English and History Education
Posted On: 12/15/2019

Renee Worst
Avella Jr/Sr. High School
American History, AP US History, Honors English 11, annd Honors English 12.
I found this curriculum unit to be a nice combination of multiple resources designed to not just improve students’ understanding of the cause and effect of the bombing of Hiroshima but helps develop document analysis skills. This unit allows the classroom teacher to expose students to multiple perspectives surrounding this major historical event. The review and analysis of multiple perspectives is necessary to help students develop independent thinking and analytical skills. Additionally, this is an essential skill needed to be a good historian. Included in this unit are primary documents that provide opinions from individuals from the United States, Japan, and Korea. The personal narratives included are of high interest and easy for high school students to read. Further, this curriculum unit includes activities that involve maps and interpretation of graphs.
I like the fact that the curriculum is separated into three sections: introductory activities, small-group activities, and whole class activities. This allows the classroom teacher to create lessons based on time constraints and still address multiple intelligence. The classroom teacher is able to use these resources to develop lessons that can meet the education needs of students with varying abilities through the use of thoughtful groups or ability-based assignments. For example, students with higher reading abilities could be placed in groups with students of lower reading abilities and teachers could assign a longer reading passage or the teacher could assign comic book style readings from the Japanese and American perspective. Finally, there are a variety of culminating activities to help the teacher assess student understanding.

Perspectives on the Atomic Bombing with Primary Resources from both Sides

Field of Interest/Specialty: Chemistry
Posted On: 01/09/2016

My name is Erica Holtgraver and I teach 10th grade General Chemistry and 11th grade AP Chemistry at the Ellis School, an independent all-girls school. I chose to participate in NCTA because I want to teach a more globally minded Chemistry course and am looking for resources. During college I had the opportunity to study abroad in Japan and it completely changed my thinking and the way I make decisions, scientific and otherwise. I picked out a piece curriculum focused on Japan: “Hiroshima – Perspectives on the Atomic Bombing” because I am considering incorporating a unit about nuclear weapons and power from a global perspective into one of my classes.
This curriculum was published in 2000, so while it is slightly out of date, much the information is from original texts (from the 40’s and 50’s) so it would still be pertinent and useful in the classroom. Because of the sensitive nature of the topic, I would recommend this unit for a high school course rather than middle school or younger. It includes organized activities on interpreting graphs and survey information, guided discussion questions, and multiple primary source articles, letters, and journals from both an American and Japanese perspective during and following WWII. One primary source included comic book excerpts from Japan and America. The Japanese comic focused on the aftermath of the bombing for innocent civilians, while the American comic focused on the scientific research and background of the atomic bomb’s creation. Many of the older American primary sources were extremely offensive to me – one comic ends with “Good-Bye Japs! If they don’t surrender after this we’ll wipe them off the earth!”. However, this is real history and I think it’s important for our students to see this and learn from mistakes of the past.
I could envision using this material as a unit on its own, or within a larger unit centered on building empathy for different international perspectives. There is definitely a benefit to analyzing primary sources and discussion questions. I think this curriculum unit could benefit from the addition of more modern media including videos and the use of technology.

Hiroshima Perspective Curriculum Unit

Field of Interest/Specialty: Physics
Posted On: 08/03/2011

Jane Shamitko
Trinity High School
Physics Teacher,1 1-12
May 2011
I found this unit to very comprehensive resource of activities which allow students to develop their own opinion on the ethics of the Hiroshima bombing, and to explore it from both the American and Japanese perspective. The unit consists of 8 small group activities and whole class activities. I was fascinated by the selection of material - historical documents written by Henry Truman, Japanese comic books and extraordinary pictures.
The recommended time period for this unit is 1-2 class periods per activity, which mean that this could be covered in two weeks. They did say that teachers could choose to do all of the activities or only 1of 2 of them, however I feel that only a few of the activities (perhaps the ones on analyzing U.S. and Japanese Poetry, U.S. and Japanese commemorative stamps, or comparing U.S. and Japanese comic books) can be eliminated if your objective is to have students make critical decisions on the effects of the bomb on both cultures, Japan and America.
Parts of this unit could be used in other classes to just give a glimpse of the effects of the bombing of Hiroshima on both countries- for example in an English class , to compare the Japanese and American poetry of that time period or Biology to analyze the radiation effects on the survivors.
As a Physics teacher, I haven’t the time to devote to the historical perspectives of the atomic bomb (I explain the physics behind it). However, I feel that it is important for scientists and engineers to understand the ethics of scientific research. I would perhaps then assign this as a student based project (i.e. debate, pro/con papers) and allow them to use the materials in the unit as a resource
One thing I didn’t like about this unit is the use of slides. This is not user friendly for my classroom. However, I looked at the newest catalog from SPICE and I understand that there is now a CD available to replace the slides.
There are no quizzes or tests with this unit- only the handouts. However, these can be reproduced for the classroom.