• Nature and the Environment in Postwar Japan


    Modern Japan has a particularly fascinating relationship with the environment. Students will explore Japan's seemingly contradictory attitude and actions, characterized both by a profound, self-proclaimed respect for nature along with a proclivity to exploit and degrade the natural environment. Students will use a variety of sources including informational texts, poetry, and traditional and modern art to explore this paradox. They also will evaluate the government's response and the social reprecussions.

  • Asakusa Park After 1923 Earthquake


    Photo of Asakusa Park after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.

  • Kanto Earthquake Destruction in Tokyo


    A shopping center in Tokyo suffered incredible destruction during the Kanto Earthquake in 1923.

  • Earthquake Destruction in Fukui Prefecture


    Damage to a highway by an earthquake in July 1948

  • Canned Whale Meat


    Eating whale, a controversial issue, is permitted in Japan. In fact, whale meat provided a key source of cheap protein in the early postwar period. A discussion of this picture can be used as an entry point to discussing issues of cultural taboos, cultural relativism, and the extent to which the debate over the protection of whales is based on "science" vs. culturally ingrained ideas.

  • The British Isles and Japanese Archipelago: A Comparison of Environmental Basics


    Japan Historian Conrad Totman explores the ramifications of the environmental similarities and differences between the Japanese archipelago and the British Isles.

  • Japan's Forests: Good Days and Bad --Rhythms of Damage and Recovery -


    Japan historian Conrad Totman provides an overview of Japanese history from the viewpoint of the relation between humans and forests. This view of history incorporates the relationship between environmental, political, technological, and economic history.premodern Japan

  • Countryside


    This picture of orange fields in Arida City, Wakayama, Japan provides a good illustration of terraced farming very popular in Japan.

  • Copenhagen & Beyond: A Multilateral Debate about Climate Change Policy, Overview


    Climate change experts and government leaders and dignitaries from China, Japan and the US met at Japan Society to discuss the upcoming climate change summit in Copenhagen. This resource gives a background to the issue and links to video clips from the event.

  • Natural Disasters


    A collection of resources related to natural disasters in Japan.

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