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Japan Unit Activities

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Richard Cate
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Japan Unit Activities

I use these 2 lessons with my students with good results. They use different skill sets and make the students work at a solution to the task. I try to develop a Zen/Bushido approach to their work: "There is no menial task, every task has equal importance, and each should be done to the best of your abilities. The goal in everything you do is to strive for perfection, even though you may not achieve it."



Sepulveda Middle School                                                                                                                                             Mr. Cate

Haiku Assignment and Rubric

The Japanese practiced Zen and the arts of discipline and concentration through many forms. This covered their military training and meditations as well as the arts. Each thing they did had a ritual element to it, which helped them focus on their spiritual center and allowed them to avoid external distractions.

There were many forms of art included in this training, from forging blades to preparing tea to Sumi-e painting to poetry. You will be writing one of their more simplistic yet complex forms of poetry, the Haiku.

A Haiku is written on many levels in Japanese but as our language does not afford itself that same complexity of meaning. You will be writing on the most simple level. Even so it must contain several specific things:

1). It must be about nature... people are NOT considered part of nature!

2). It must be positive (you can write about a butterfly but not about it being squashed).

3). It is a frozen moment in time, a photo painted with words.

4). It does not need to be in proper English, you do not need connecting words    

     (“Butterfly pretty” is fine).

5). The picture you paint while it cannot use emotional words should evoke a positive emotion.

6).  It is written in 3 lines of:       5 syllables

                                                  7 syllables

                                                  5 syllables

7). It must be illustrated/decorated. You may use a picture of your own or off the internet as a background, a drawing, you may do it in          Japanese brush. Use your imagination in both the words and illustrations you choose. Remember the point of a Haiku was in the               work necessary to produce it more than the final product itself. Your grade is as much on the effort you demonstrate as in the final           product.


Do NOT copy a Haiku off the web, the majority of those are not from the period you are emulating.


Good Luck, Remember NO Action word may be used or implied.



Sepulveda Middle School                                                                                                                                            Mr. Cate


Shogunate Pie Chart


Information is given in many ways: oral, written and mathematical forms, it can be represented through art, music and any number of other ways. The statistical/mathematical form is used often to give a rapid comparison of numbers, percents and so on. You are to make a graphic representation of a timeline of the Medieval Japanese Shogunate Period.


Specific to your assignment you will be making a pie chart showing the relative lengths of the shogunates and whether they were primarily times of peace or war (Red for war, Blue for peace). It must be precise (within one degree). It may NOT be on lined paper! It MUST include color, a clear and accurate key, and a title (Not Pie Chart!). Do not hand draw the circle or lines, you may use a computer to generate the circle but no other lines, the rest must be done by hand.


The beginning date begins at 12 o’clock each successive Shogunate must move clockwise. Use a straight edge, a protractor possible a compass. All lines MUST be clean and precise. Make it look like it came out of a book. You cannot crank this out successfully in 15 minutes; give it the time it needs to be successful.


You may illustrate t with a background, possibly borders or something you come up with. Remember the point is to clearly and instantly convey the lengths and if it was a Shogunate of peace or war.


The time periods are:

Kamakura Shogunate                          1192-1333

Muromachi Shogunate                        1333-1467

“Era of the Country at War”                 1467-1568

Azuchimoya Ma                                  1568-1600

Tokugawa Shogunate                          1600-1868

Meiji Government                                1868-1912



You must find how many degrees are in a circle, how many years per degree, then using a protractor place the correctly sized pie wedge on your char and label it clearly. Remember the Key.


You must turn in you math work on a separate piece of paper.