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PowerPoint Presentations

Name   DescriptionOnlineDownloadVideo
1 - China's InfluenceWas Japan its own nation or just a baby brother to China? See how an early ruler tried to make Japan a mini-China by bringing Confucian thought, Buddhism and writing to his people.Office 365Google Drivex
2- Japan's Unique CultureThe upper clan in the court of Japan wanted their own identity. Big? No way! Small is beautiful! See how they emphasized their own style of writing (and also killing.) Office 365Google Drivex
3 - Samurai and NinjasSpeaking of killing... nothing is more Japanese than Samurai and Ninjas - lets look at the real history of these amazing warriors.Office 365Google Drivex
aaahh! which link do I use?

Unit Plan

Powerpoint Lecture Notes: Japan Notes

History Labs and Activities

1. Know Yourself  - What better way to introduce Japan than by talking about ourselves? I mean, Japan was basically a middle schooler anyway right?

2. Japan Walkthru - introductory activity based on the graphics in Holt's Medieval to Early Modern Times.

3. Culture Shock: Japan - A series of mini-activities including pre-fight sumo rituals and creating origami samurai hats. There are multiple parts to this lab that can be complete in any order you choose. I start with the Japanese Beauty worksheet, then do the sumo reenactment and close with origami. 

4. Haiku! - A lab where students learn the form and function of Haiku before creating their own.

5. Feudalism 2.0 - In this adaptation of the TCI Feudalism lab from my Europe unit students reenact life in Feudal Japan with some unique twists. (Watch out for the ninja!)

6. Japan DBQ - Students analyze a series of documents to determine whether Japan was more like China or more like Europe. You can get the documents here or find similar ones in your textbook.

7. Minamoto: To Tell the Truth - Using the format of the old game show students try to determine which statements about the shogun Minamoto are true and which are false.

You'll need the following four files:1 - Minamoto: TTT, 2 - Contestant 1, 3 - Contestant 2, 4 - Contestant 3

The first file contains the entire script and should be given on only to the teacher. Cut up the 15 questions into strips and pass them out randomly to students. Choose 3 strong readers to be the contestants and give each of them one of the Contestant scripts. Read through the questions and scripts and have the students take notes as you desire. I have them make a 3 column table and for each question they write whether the answer they hear is believable or not and why. At the end have them try to guess who the real Minamoto is. 

8. Unsolved History: Ninjas Questions - a worksheet used along with the DVD "Unsolved History" which is linked below .

9. Weight the Evidence: Ninjas - In this lab students evaluate a series of documents (pictures, text and video) to determine if ninjas were real or not. Requires students to weigh reliability of sources from different times and places to draw a conclusion.  

Media Guide
DVDThis whole series is great and this episode is one of the best. The first half details the history of ninjas in Japan. The second half compares ninja arts to those used in our military today. Highly entertaining and educational enough to show fully. Highly recommended.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3

DVDIn the third movie of this epic film trilogy the turtles are transported back to feudal Japan. Surprisingly good presentation of how the introduction of guns into Japan destroyed the samurai class and altered power structures. The turtles fit into Japanese mythology about demons called "kappa" that I teach about following the movie.

Simpsons Season 10 - "30 Minutes Over Tokyo"

DVDA whole 30 minutes of the Simpsons in Japan?! Sumos, haiku, origami all present and accounted for. Guaranteed to keep your students interested.

Wayne's World

DVDThere is a scene where Garth is describing the show's new set and Wayne says "Garth! That was a haiku!" In reality, it wasn't (or was it?!), but it makes for a good lesson on what makes a haiku.

The Day After Tomorrow

DVDArguably the worst movie I've ever seen but there is a scene of a tsunami hitting New York which, while ridiculous, is the best representation of one I've seen in a film.

Seven Samurai

DVDProbably not worth the cost unless you are a true film buff. I only use one short scene showing how rice was grown and picked.

Pearl Harbor

DVDPart of the California standards say to explore how bushido continues in modern Japan. I use this as an excuse to talk about World World II even though it isn't specifically mentioned (and is way out of the time line). This film, while overall pretty bad, does have an incredible recreation of the attack.

The Last Samurai
DVDIncredible movie about a part of Japanese history that is outside the scope of my standards. The introduction, however, tells the origin myth of Japan and makes for a great beginning to my lectures.