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From Ukiyo-e to Anime

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Khrystle San Diego
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From Ukiyo-e to Anime

Khrystle San Diego 

"From Ukiyo-e to Anime" Lesson Plan


This lesson will allow students to study the background information and brief history of Japanese anime and its development across the years. The students will have the opportunity to storyboard their own “manga” or “anime.” They will also learn to identify Japan on a world map. The students will be creating an ukiyo-e woodblock print, viewing videos, conducting research online, and presenting their final projects in a gallery walk during the school’s annual diversity fair. 


3.VA:Cr1.2: Apply knowledge of available resources, tools, and technologies to investigate personal ideas through the art-making process.

3.VA:Cr2.1: Create personally satisfying artwork using a variety of artistic processes and materials.

4.VA:Cr2.2: When making works of art, utilize and care for materials, tools, and equipment in a manner that prevents danger to oneself and others.

5.VA:Cr3: Use art vocabulary to describe personal choices in artmaking and in creating artist statements.

5.VA:Cn10: Apply formal and conceptual vocabularies of art and design to view surroundings in new ways through artmaking.

Acc.VA:Cn11: Compare uses of art in a variety of societal, cultural, and historical contexts and make connections to uses of art in contemporary, local, and global contexts.

Lesson Objective

Students will be able to examine Japanese ukiyo-e, anime, and manga to compare and contrast similar art styles using primary and secondary sources to create an original art piece to present during a gallery walk using various tools. 


“The Meiji Restoration” (Japan as a Global Nation) - Mark Ravina, Robert Hellyer, Harald Fuess

Tokyo National Museum Playlist:

KWL Chart



Writing Utensils

Flower Foam

Plans to Assess

Students will be assessed based on their ability to produce original art composition, writing portion, and presentation. 

Extracurricular Extension

Students’ work will be a part of school’s annual diversity fair and open house which asks each class to present facts and art pieces about the country to represent its historical significance on the world today. 


Day 1 

(50 Minutes)

(10 Minutes) Motivation: Show pictures of students’ anime interests (Naruto, DragonBall Z, My Hero Academia, HunterxHunter, OnePiece, Pokemon)

After discussing their favorite anime and why they like it, bring in the pictures of fan-made “ukiyo-e” of anime characters, and then older “ukiyo-e.”

KWL Chart

The K-W-L Chart which allows the learner to manage their learning.... |  Download Scientific Diagram

(25 Minutes)Teacher will fill in KWL Chart to the class as they share in class discussion. 

(25 Minutes) How is woodblock printing different than painting? 

Share with students that one of the biggest development in Japanese art was the “ukiyo-e.” 

Teacher will present the political history of Japan (Shoguns, Feudalism, Tokugawa)

Teacher will present how the economy of Japan promoted merchants and the Floating World of the Edo period. 

Teacher will show images of block prints and how they changed from black and white to those with multiple colors. 

Teacher will show artistic elements of the woodblock prints. 

Extension activity: Students will pick one ukiyo-e for homework and explain in writing why they chose that image. What artistic elements stood out to them as they were looking for a woodblock print? 

Day 2

(50 Minutes)

(5 Minutes) Opener: Students will share the ukiyo-e they chose for homework with their peers using norms of collaboration to express their ideas. 

(10 Minutes) Teacher will model the steps of woodblock printing as presented in the video from the Tokyo National Museum. 

Students will create a woodblock print similar to “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” image. 

(35 Minutes) Students will be given pieces of flower foam and will use a sharpened pencil to draw and carve out their interpretation of the image from the foam. 

  1. Students will sketch and map the largest section/ image of the print

  2. Students will print the first color, which is the lightest (etc. yellow)

  3. Students will carve the next part of the print from the flower foam.

  4. Students will print the second color, which is darker (etc. blue)

  5. Students will carve the remaining part of the print that will provide defining lines

  6. Students will print the last color, which is the darkest (etc. black) to define the lines of the images. 

***Remind the students to always line up the flower foam each time they make the print so that the images will layer on top of each other correctly. 

Extension activity: Students will list ideas of what kind of individual ideas they would like to create for the diversity fair. 

Day 3

(50 Minutes)

(10 Minutes) Opener: Students will share the ideas of art they would like to create for the diversity fair. 

(20 Minutes) Teacher will show how the woodblock prints from the Edo period influenced the creation of Manga (Japanese Comic Books) which then became the stepping stone for the anime shows they watch today. 

Teacher will present images of the first mangas of “Sailor Moon” 

Teacher will then show clips of “Sailor Moon”

Teacher will relate that the students favorite anime shows may have started as a result of a manga. 

(20 Minutes) Students will compare Japanese ukiyo-e with manga and then compare that with the anime. 

Extension Activity: Students will continue to draft what type of artwork they would like to create for the diversity fair gallery walk (ukiyo-e, manga, or an anime)

Day 4

(50 Minutes)

(25 Minutes) Students will create their unique art piece using the tools they have learned about. 

(25 Minutes) Students will compose a writing piece explaining the history of their art method of choice, the reasoning why they chose to illustrate that specific image, and their feelings as they experienced the artmaking process of ukiyo-e, manga, or anime. 

Day 5 

Diversity Fair Presentation

Students will present their work to the class through a gallery walk.