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Rise of Modern Japan

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Rise of Modern Japan

Rise of Modern Japan Lesson Plan
Standard :
10.4.3 Explain Imperialism from the perspective of the colonizers and the colonizers and the colonizers and the varied immediate and long-term responses by the people under colonial rule.

Grade Level : 9th grade

Materials and Time:
3 Hours of class time.

World History - Modern Time ( Glencoe )

[/ol] 3. Wood Block Prints of Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese War; Autobiography of Fukuzawa Yūkichi; Historical maps of Japanese territorial expansion from 1894-1905; Portsmouth Peace Treaty website. 1.Woodblock prints: Japan at the Dawn of the Modern Age: Woodblock Prints from the Meiji Era Throwing Off Asia III collection (Link)
4. Streaming films of Russo-Japanese war:
6. (American perspective)
7. (The Treaty of Portsmouth)

1. Students will be able to describe the transformations that opened Japan to rade and industrialization.
2. Students will be able to discuss the new political system of Japan.
3. Students will be able to explain the influence of Western culture on Japanese social structure and culture.
4. Students will be able to identify the characteristics of the Meiji Oligarchs;
5. Students will explain who else wanted to have a say in how Japan was run;
6. Students will describe how building an empire was THE key question driving the Japanese
7. Students will demonstrate how Japan built its empire at the expense of China, Korea, and Russia.

Day 1
Instruction and Guided Reading
1. Reading Primary Sources -
Have students read the decree that was given to Japanese children. (pg 397)
Ask - What was the government asking of the children ?
Why did the Japanese government think the decree was necessary?
2. Scaffolding - Summarizing
Ask students to write a paragraph Summarizing the goals of the two main political groups of Japan, the Liberal and Progressives.

3. Reading check
Ask students to identify what events led to the collapse of the shogunate system in Japan?

4. How was Japan's governments structured under the Meiji constitution?

Group Activities
Pair up the groups in 4 and discuss and report following questions to the class
a. How did Meiji leaders fail the farmers?
b. To build a "rich country and a strong state" the Japanese government subsidized its industries. Evaluate the reasons for Japan's decision.

Independent Practice
Ask students to write a brief essay outlining the similarities and differences in the daily life and the rights of woman in Japan before and after the Meiji.

Homework And Assessment
Have students summarizing, analyzing, evaluating Meiji Restoration. Pg 406

Day 2

Hook - Have students view Streaming films of Russo-Japanese war:

Instruction and Guided Reading
1. 5 Popcorn reading on page 401-403
2. Ask 3 questions from 5 section
Q -1 Why did the British set up colonies in America ? Likewise why did Japan want colonies?

Q -2 Japan was a small nation lacking in resources and densely populated, what geographical factors might have influenced Japan's expansion?

Q- 3 What effect did Western nations have on Japan and what effect did Japanese culture have on other nations?

Group Activities
Cause and Effect
a. Have student create a diagram listing the results of Western influence on Japanese culture? ( Reference page 400)

b. Have student predict and draw a diagram Japanese influences on other nations?
( Reference - Primary Sources - Eyewitness to History - Page 404-405)

Independent Practice
Have students read "U.S. trade with Japan and ask to write a brief essay " why was it important to the United States to open up trade relations with Japan? " explaining potential obstacle to trade relations with Japan.

Homework And Assessment
Any of the unfinished independent practice activities or group discussion can be assigned as homework. They can also serve as assessments.

. Day 3

Previewing the War
Have students click on and explore the content from

1. Compare and contrast woodblock prints and photographs of the war.
a. Do artistic renditions or photographs depict the heroics of war better?
b. Do artistic renditions or photographs depict the horrors of war better?

Guided Instruction
Have students read popcorn sentence reading "Background information" from

Japanese efforts toward achieving equality with the West, though sometimes futile and excessive, as represented in the Rokumeikan Era, started to achieve success in the mid-1890s, particularly after Japan’s victory over the Chinese in 1895. Around this time, Japan was able to renegotiate the unequal treaties it had signed with the Western powers decades earlier. Though it would take a number of years for certain treaty provisions to expire, by 1911 all remnants of extraterritoriality were abolished and tariff autonomy returned. In addition to the Sino-Japanese War, the major event that was pivotal in shifting the world’s view of Japan and Japan’s view of itself was the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905. Still stinging from Russia’s participation in the Triple Intervention of 1895, which forced Japan to relinquish part of its Sino-Japanese War spoils, Japan was determined to build up its strength so that such a humiliation would never happen again. Japan was also becoming increasingly concerned about Russian influence in Manchuria. On February 8, 1894, the Japanese navy launched a surprise attack against the Russian ships docked at Port Arthur, igniting a brutal 20 month war between the two powers. Japan emerged victorious and for all intents and purposes acquired Korea as a colony. Though Japan was victorious, it was a very close war, and in the end Japan did not get as large a war indemnity as the populous thought it deserved. This led to rioting in the streets.
One reason the populous was upset with the war settlement was because they thought that Japan had won the war much more resoundedly than it actually had. Wartime nationalism, news, and propaganda led the public to the conclusion that Japan had annihilated Russia when, in fact, they had narrowly defeated her. As with the Sino-Japanese War, colorful woodblock prints of heroic Japanese soldiers and sailors fighting the enemy amidst a barrage of blazing bullets and other dangers circulated widely. The importance of woodblock prints for visually disseminating information, however, had decreased by this time because of the rise in photography and motion pictures.

Photography was introduced into Japan in the 1860s. Although a number of photographs were taken of the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877 and the Sino-Japanese War, 1894-1895, it was not until the Russo-Japanese War that photography assumed a more prominent position in the visual culture of Japan, as the cost of photographic equipment and reproduction came down and the technology improved. Unlike the stylized woodblock prints that accentuate the heroics of soldiers, photographs provide a starker reality of war. Most of the images are black and white, though there are also some color tinted photographs. Many photographs of the Russo-Japanese War are distant shots of battlefields or soldiers staged in a group . Yet even in these pictures, the faces of the soldiers are much grimmer and wearier than those in the woodblock prints. Other photos vividly reveal the death, destruction, and despair of war, through piles of dead soldiers, sunken ships, and artillery shells hitting their mark.

Perhaps even more influential than photographs and woodblock prints in terms of shaping public opinion about the war were motion pictures. Various types of moving pictures—Cinematographe, Kinetoscope, Vitascope—entered Japan in the late 1890s, only a few years after they were invented. Initially it was the novelty of moving pictures that attracted people to the cinema, and once that novelty wore off interest waned. The Russo-Japanese War produced a boom in the industry that lasted for a number of years as audience flocked to theaters to see images of the war. By some estimates, 80% of the films shown at the time were Russo-Japanese War films. Some films were made by Japanese filmmakers, but most were foreign imports. While some contained actual war footage, shot by the many cameramen from around the world who flocked to the battlefront, many contained reenacted and staged footage. Thomas Edison, for example, made a number of films of the war that he shot in New York. Japanese wanted to see films that depicted their soldiers winning. Any that showed the Japanese losing angered audiences and, as a result, exhibitors stopped showing them. Thus, through self-selection, the Japanese watched films that both shaped and reinforced their perception of how Japan was faring in the war.

2nd Background (

The Meiji Emperor bestowed the Constitution, which bore his name (but was written by the Oligarch Ito Hirobumi) as a gift to his people in 1889. However, with the opening of parliament in 1890, a new class of politicians, journalists and political activists began to demand that they be allowed a voice in how the empire was run. The issue that allowed them to rally public support was foreign policy and the acquisition of an empire. In the 1890s the Japanese embarked on the project of building an empire. They defeated Qing China in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 (thereby adding Taiwan to their overseas possessions), but Russia, France and Germany forced them to give back Southern Manchuria to the Chinese. This upset the Japanese who were determined that they would not back down from a Western challenge again. When Russia began to menace Northeastern China and Korea, Japan fought Russia in 1904-1905 (adding South Manchuria, and Southern Sakhalin to the empire and establishing a “protectorate” in Korea).
The victory of Japan over Russia was a sensation; the first time a non-Western nation had defeated a Western nation. This was noted around the world, especially by colonial peoples in Asia and Africa. Yet when the terms of the Treaty of Portsmouth were announced many Japanese reacted with angry, violent street protests and bitterly denounced their Oligarchic government. Russia had not been forced to pay an indemnity, which meant Japanese, especially those living in cities, which had had to pay for expanded empire would be forced to continue to do so. Many Japanese people were determined that if they were going to pay for the empire they wanted a say in how it was run. 1905 saw the beginning of demands for democracy.

From Day 1 and Day 2 including today's background information ask students following questions :

1. Why did the Japanese choose to build an overseas empire?
2. Why were Japanese not satisfied with the victory over China in 1895?
3. Why were Japanese not satisfied with their victory over Russia in 1905?
4. How did this dissatisfaction with the Oligarchs lead Japanese to demand a greater voice in imperial affairs?

Group Activities
Have students work with maps to identify the territories Japanese incorporated into their empire up to 1905. ( Attached)
Pass out Treaty of Portsmouth ( Attached )

Have them discuss and answer "Why did the Japanese feel the need to expand their empire in Asia?" And how did the treaty with Russia help Japan to expand her empire?

Independent Practice
Write an Essay "Why did the Japanese feel the need to expand their empire in Asia?"

Homework And Assessment
Quiz - Visit the Glenoce World History site at and click on Chapter 7 Check Quiz.