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An Interpretive History of Japan
Comprehensive Unit

Grade Level

Secondary - Community College




Streaming Video and PDF of Lesson Plans $10.00

An Interpretive History of Japan is a web-based curriculum unit that includes six lectures by Professor Emeritus Daniel Okimoto from Stanford University and six corresponding lesson plans. 

The curriculum first reflects on the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, the following nuclear accident, and the impact these incidents have had on the country as well as the world. It then explores in depth the contemporary issues of Japan and analyzes Japanese politics, economy, society, and culture from multilateral perspectives.

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The curriculum will be delivered to you through manaba, a cloud-based collaborative learning system. manaba, meaning “learning place” in Japanese, is an online platform through which teachers can access curriculum resources and stream the lectures. manaba also provides teachers with an online community where they can share knowledge, updates, and their experiences using the curriculum with other teachers around the world. 

The lectures are approximately 50-minutes long each, and cover the following topics:

  • Lecture 1: Japan’s Geological Factors: Professor Okimoto discusses how Japan’s geography and geological factors have influenced its economics, society, and culture. In addition, issues pertaining to the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami are explored.
  • Lecture 2: Japan’s Distinctive History: Professor Okimoto explores distinctive and unique aspects of Japan’s history. In addition, he discusses the differences in perception of Japan’s history between scholars from different countries.
  • Lecture 3: Japan’s Economy: A Pioneer at the Crossroads: Professor Okimoto analyzes Japan's SEID model of economic development. In addition, he explores factors behind Japan's economic success as well as its current economic problems.
  • Lecture 4: Single Party Governance: Early Benefit and Long-Term Costs: Professor Okimoto explores distinctive aspects of Japan's political system, namely single-party rule. He examines the positive and negative aspects of Japan's political system and discusses topics such as the Yoshida Doctrine, nisei giin, and amakudari.
  • Lecture 5: JASA: Asia’s Longest and Most Successful Alliance: Professor Okimoto discusses the Japan American Security Alliance (JASA). He examines reasons behind its longevity and success as well as short- and long-term prospects for its sustainability.
  • Lecture 6: Japan’s Rendezvous with the Future: Professor Okimoto discusses social, economic, political, and demographic challenges facing Japan. He discusses their ramifications and explores possible measures that could help ensure a prosperous future for Japan.

A full lesson (in downloadable .pdf format), complete with handouts, projections, activities, and answer keys accompanies each lecture.

This program is sponsored by support from ASAHI Net, Inc., the creator of manaba.

To access the videos and lesson plans, individuals will be logging into the manaba website. A username and password will be created for you once you purchase the curriculum.

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