In the Spring 2015 and Fall 2017 semesters, TEA offered a 24-hour online course entitled, Japan in the World: Cultural Encounters, 16th-19th Centuries. In this course, world history teachers from across the country explore Japan’s overlooked international relations with Asia and its encounters with the West before, during, and after the Tokugawa era (1600-1868). Participants investigate primary sources to use in their middle and high school world history classrooms.
In Fall 2012-2014, TEA offered a 30-hour online course entitled, Cultural Encounters: Japan’s Diverse Past and Present. In this course, secondary world history teachers examined episodes in Japan’s international and intercultural relations from the Nara period to the present, with special attention to Japanese approaches and responses to cross-border movement of peoples, ideas, and materials.
Cultural Encounters courses are made possible through the US-Japan Foundation, Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership funding to the J-OPP Project, and the Freeman Foundation funding to the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia at TEA.
Curriculum Unit: Cultural Encounters: Teaching Japan in World History
The Cultural Encounters: Teaching Japan in World History online curriculum features seven historical-inquiry lessons on Japanese encounters with peoples, ideas, technologies, and institutions of Asia, Europe, and the United States from the Asuka/Nara periods to the present. Featuring a variety of primary and secondary sources, the lessons are designed to enhance middle and high school students’ historical thinking and literacy skills and their knowledge of Japan in world history.
Each lesson explores Japanese encounters with and approaches and responses to such global developments as the Silk Roads, the Mongol empire, transoceanic global trade, modernity, total world war, and ecological and humanitarian interdependence. Reconsidering historical narratives of Japan as “isolated,” this teacher-developed, standards-based curriculum contributes new topics and themes to supplement current world history textbooks’ coverage.
Curriculum and Exchange
Cultural Encounters: Teaching Japan’s Diverse Past and Present
In 2015, the Program for Teaching East Asia completed a secondary-level curriculum development, exchange, and training project that reflects new trends in world history and Japan studies. The project: 1) published an online curriculum on episodes of international or intercultural encounters throughout Japanese history; 2) arranged online video meetings in which U.S. and Japanese preservice and inservice teachers compared education systems and discussed teaching Japanese history; and 3) developed a new online course that focuses on Japan’s international relations before, during, and after the Tokugawa era (1600-1868).
This project is funded by the US-Japan Foundation (USJF). The program builds upon the products, teacher-alumni, and resources of a previous USJF-funded professional development program. Initial activities for this project began in summer 2013 with matching funds from a U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (USDOE FHGPA) grant and Freeman Foundation funding to the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia at TEA.