About Japan, A teacher's resource


Our growing team of editors and authors, consisting of both academic specialists and practicing teachers, develop original materials around themes of particular relevance to K-12 classrooms. We aim to facilitate the inclusion of Japan in diverse educational settings by developing content on themes that are likely to align with existing curricula across academic disciplines. The editorial team will supplement the content associated with these themes on an ongoing basis.

Topic: Transportation

From high speed trains to environmentally friendly bicycles, transportation in Japan is a rich source of study. In this theme, we explore the origins of the extensive and sophisticated railway system in Japan through an excerpt from "Early Japanese Railways: 1853-1914" by Dan Free, numerous photos and prints from the early Meiji era, and more modern photos.


Topic: The Economic Crisis and Japan

The impact of the current financial crisis on Japan (and the impact of Japan on the current financial crisis) is addressed in this theme. This issue provides an excellent opportunity to teach students about the interconnected nature of today’s world, and in particular, it provides a particularly apt teaching opportunity to teach concretely about how the seemingly distant worlds of the financial and political centers of Tokyo, New York, and Washington impact the students in your classroom. Included in this theme are videocasts of experts theorizing about the causes, links to relevant articles in Japanese and American newspapers, teaching ideas, and more.


Topic: Using Pop Culture to Teach About Japan

From pokemon cards to anime classics, many American students are fascinated by Japanese culture. Like popular culture throughout the world, popular culture in Japan ranges from the silly games designed to distract young children to serious commentaries on life and the most pressing contemporary issues facing modern society. The various resources and teaching ideas on About Japan related to this theme are designed both to equip teachers with the knowledge necessary to understand popular culture as well as use popular culture as a window through which to teach more broadly about Japan and modern society. Our exciting array of resources includes podcasts, essays, lessons, photos and bibliographies.


Topic: Postwar Japan

POSTWAR JAPAN. The end of Japan's seemingly endless "postwar" period is a topic of much debate. The materials covered by this theme encompass the broadest definition, covering the period right up until the present, offering ample chance for students to debate the end of Japan's postwar. During this period, Japan has experienced extraordinary and often rapid changes in daily life, material culture, as well as economics and its role in the world. The diverse resources and essays here, as well as the soon to be posted lesson plans, offer multiple entry points for teaching about Japan between 1945 and the present.


Topic: Imperial Japan

Imperial Japan, defined here to include both domestic and foreign policy history during Japan’s period of imperialism, represents arguably the most controversial period of Japanese history. About Japan presents multiple and often conflicting viewpoints and approaches to teaching this theme along with an exciting and varied selection of resources ranging from postcards from the period to scholarly essays.


Topic: Rice Cultivation in Rural Japan

Photos of rice cultivation in rural Japan taken in 1963 and 1974.


Topic: Weddings

Images of weddings.


Topic: The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11

This theme contains video interviews, essays, podcasts and photos to help educators teach about the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011.


Topic: Japanese Language Teaching Materials

Resources to teach and learn Japanese.


Topic: Japanese Elementary School

Learn about elementary schools in Japan.


Education Programs are made possible by generous funding from The Freeman Foundation.
Additional support is provided by The Norinchukin Foundation, Inc., Chris A. Wachenheim, the Wendy Obernauer Foundation, James Read Levy, and Jon T. Hutcheson.
About Japan: A Teacher’s Resource
is generously funded, in part, by a three-year grant from the International Research and Studies (IRS) Program in the Office of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education (P017A100018).

NY CultureStudent and Family Programs are supported by the New York City
Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.