Japan Meets the West: A Case Study of Perceptions

"All people see the world through the cultural lenses of their own society. It takes a good deal of effort to see the world (or ourselves) from the perspective of another nation or ethnic group. Just as our eyes often play tricks on us, so our cultural assumptions often blind us to the richness of other ways of life, and keep us from examining ourselves objectively. No special knowledge of Japanese History is required to teach this unit; sufficient background materials are provided in the following pages. What is required is an enthusiastic willingness to explore other cultures and the issue of perceptions and misperceptions." (text taken from SPICE)
Published 1994 (78 pages) For Middle School - Secondary students. Softcover - $44.95 includes 30 slides
Year of Publication
Number of Pages
Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE)
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Curriculum Unit
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getting at cultural assumptions and differing perceptions

Field of Interest/Specialty: Japan
Posted On: 09/24/2009

This unit is designed for grades 9-12, but parts could be used or modified for students much younger or even older, to think about assumptions, differing perceptions, and stereotypes. Parts could be used for study abroad orientation programs as well. The unit makes sure that background knowledge of Japan is NOT necessary, making its potential use even broader, while still introducing ideas and information about Japan. The unit comes with slides and a DVD with 30 images that help illustrate the points. Sections on world maps, and in depth sections on "seeing the west through Japanese eyes" and "through western eyes" make this unit have wide application.