Background Information

Asia for Educators

Asia for Educators website. Primary source documents, timelines, teaching modules, and additional educator resources regarding themes in East Asian studies. Its subsidiary website, Online Museum Resources on Asian Art, features educator resources specific to the visual arts.

MIT Visualizing Cultures

MIT Visualizing Cultures Website. Image-driven scholarship exploring different themes in Asian studies, such as the arrival of Commodore Perry in Japan, postcards from the Russo-Japanese War, and advertisements from the early 20th century. Selected essays have accompanying standards-based curriculum guides and lessons.

Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering

Dower, John W. Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern World. New York and London: The New Press, 2012. From Pulitzer Prize-winning Japanese historian, an examination of memory and perception in shaping Japan's modern understanding of World War II and implications for the role of history in a modern democracy.

War Without Mercy

Dower, John W. War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 1986. WWII historian examines the Pacific War through the lens of race, analyzing war songs, propaganda, political cartoons, and the like from both Japan and the United States.

Tokyo on Foot

Chavouet, Florent. Tokyo on Foot: Travels in the City's Most Colorful Neighborhoods. Tokyo, Rutland, VT, and Singapore: Tuttle Publishing, 2009. Part memoir of the graphic artist's time in Tokyo and part travel guide, the illustrated Tokyo on Foot provides an illustrated and humorous exploration of the city of Tokyo and its neighborhoods.

Japan, Inc.

Ishinomori, Shotaro. Japan, Inc.: Introduction to Japanese Economics. 1st ed. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988. Adaptation and translation of the manga (comic) strip on the Japanese economy that orignially ran in 1986 in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper. The stories, packed with data and charts, provide an overview of the Japanese "bubble" economy of the 1980s through the lens of a fictional company considering moving production off-shore.

Kansai Cool

Whelan, Christal. Kansai Cool: A Journey into the Cultural Heartland of Japan. Tokyo, Rutland, Singapore: Tuttle Publishing, 2014. A selection of 25 essays by cultural anthropologist Christal Whelan concerning the Kansai region, centered around the western cities of Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, and Kobe. Topics addressed include contemporary and traditional forms of technology, fashion trends, arts movements, and the region’s relationship with nature.


Things Japanese

Bornoff, Nicholas. Things Japanese: Everyday Objects of Exceptional Beauty and Significance. Photography by Michael Freeman. Singapore: Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd., 2002. A selection of 60 traditional, diverse Japanese objects with photos and information relation to each object’s history, cultural significance, and related customs. Objects range from works of art such as ukiyo-e to household items like furoshiki to ceremonial artifacts such as ema.

A Modern History of Japan

Gordon, Andrew. A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present. New York and Oxford, Oxford University Press: 2003. A canonical account of Japanese history of the 19th and 20th centuries and into the 21st. A nuanced exposition of the widespread political changes and everyday social transformations that occurred during the modernization of Japan.


"All About Kimonos." Boston Children's Museum, no date.  Handout prepared by the Museum to explain the parts of a kimono and how to wear it.


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