March 29, 2005

Japan Coop - History

Today in coop we learned about the History of Japan, kids version. History and government are my subjects to create the lesson plan and teach. Here is a copy of the lesson I taught today - in text. I also included atleast one picture for each era discussed. Most of the images I found by on google images. In several of the eras I had the kids act something out or do an activity - those are listed in all capitals with the word kids in front of them.

There were many distractions at today's coop so the execution was less than I would have hoped for but the lesson plan is a good one and easy to adapt for a wide variety of ages.


Prehistory Times

Discuss early forms of hunting and gathering
Discuss community formation


Early Influences

Discuss Rice Cultivation
Shinto religion - people should respect nature

The principal worship of kami (gods of the religion) is done at public shrines, Shrines are commonly fronted by a distinctive Japanese gate (torii) made of two uprights and two crossbars. These gates are there as a part of the barrier to separate our living world and the world the kami live in. There are often two guardian animals placed at each side of the gate and they serve to protect the entrance

Japanese believe one of the first emperors Jimmu Tenno was a descendent of the Shinto gods. - he began the Yamato dynasty


Yamato Rule 645-1100

Clan leader Kotoku became fisrt emperor in 645
Emperor - An emperor is a monarch and sovereign ruler of an empire or any other imperial realm. Emperors are generally recognised to be above kings in honour.
He appointed other clan leaders to be officials in his army

- took all farmland and divided it up among the poor
-to keep land they had to pay taxes to the government and serve in the government army
-created first capital city - Nara - still exists today in western Honshu - point to picture


Leader, protectors, farming, home responsibility - there would be more but for now let us use this

Samurai and Shogun and Ninja 794-1500's

794 - moved capital to Heian-kyo now known as Kyoto
clans started to increase their control of the land and government

Had armies of fierce soldiers called Samurai who protexted their land
Samurais rode horses and fought off attackers with swords and bows and arrows
Samurai began fighting the emperor's caln
Japan's emperor appointed a powerful samurai clan to the position of Shogunate - highest ranking military position - began military rule known as bakifi system

Conducted espionage or spying activity against enemy forces during the time of samurai
Worked primarily at night to gather information and attack enemies food and weapon supplies
Received special duties and training

Military became more powerful thatn court officials and took control of whole government
Effectively military rule as head shogunuate was most powerful
Passed from father to son - unless one became weak than a rebel leader would seize power and start a new ruling family
- Strict working class - warriors, farmers, artisans, merchants

This kind of life and government lasted for about 700 years with civil war for over 400 years

KIDS - Samurai fight - use outside of arm as posion sword
Ninja - try to sneak over to the other clan
Winning Samurai becomes Shogun

European Arrival 1500's-1853

Outsiders arrived and started influencing trade, religion and lifestyles
Came from Spain, Portugal, England and the Netherlands
Started to change the Japanese people the rulers feared they were losing control and sent them out of the country
Japan closed itself off for 260 years

KIDS - Moms start to teach and influence kids to change their behaviors - leaders kick the moms out

Japanese Empire Late 1800's - 1939

Reopened the country and signed treaties with governments to allow trade
Lead to more fighting between shoguns and samurai
15 year old emperor Meiji took control and started Japan modernization and building strong military
1889 - first constitution
Started to take over and rule other Asian countries (Taiwan, Korea and Manchuria)
Joined with European countries Germany and Italy

KIDS - Unify under Emperor Meiji - start to build strong Japan economy and military

WWII 1939-mid 1940's

Japan, Germany and Italy vs. Great Britain, France
US cut off supplies to Japan to show disapporval at its attacking other countries
December 7,1941 Japan planes and submarines attack US military bases in Hawaii
August 1945 US military plane dropped a bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima and Nagaski - killing hundreds of thousands of people

Allied Occupation 1946 - 1952 (some say 70's as still controlled some)

Economy and government needed help repairing and rebuilding after the damage of war
Allied troops (Great Britain, France, US) were stationed in Japan under US General Douglas MacArthur
Japan lost much of the territory it gained in the war including all land on Asian mainland and the South Pacific was allowed to keep four main island and the small islands nearby
Occupation forces also developed a Japanese democratic constitution with Prime Minister (elected ruler) emperor (symbol)

Modern Day Japan

Constitutional Monarchy

Monarch - emperor - performs special duties and ceremonies - does not have power to rule

Consitution - gives rights to Japanese people such as freedome of religion, speech and the press and the right to vote

Divided into prefectures - political units similar to states with similar government breakdown (governors and mayors as well)

Three Branches of Government

Diet - Japenese Legislature - makes laws that govern the country - elected
House of Representatives - 500 members serve 4 year terms
House of Councillors - 252 members - 6 year terms

Prime Minister - Executive Leader
- elected by Diet - a member of the Diet
- currently Junichiro Koizumi

Supreme Court - Head Judicial Branch
Four Lower courts

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