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Japan’s Economic Rise and America’s Wartime Fears (Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021)

The USC U.S. - China Institute, Japan Society New York, and National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) are offering a complimentary one-day workshop for K-12 educators on Japan’s rise in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well as the internment of Japanese Americans. 


Left: View down Ginza Street in Tokyo (1930s) from Mary Evans Prints | Right: Japanese-Americans incarcerated at Santa Anita from Library of Congress

Japan’s late 19th and early 20th century rise is among the most remarkable stories of modern world history. Educators are invited to join our workshop to look at the factors that drove Japan's rise and its impact. The workshop will include presentations and discussion with Japan specialists and brainstorming on how the ideas examined might be brought to life in K-12 classrooms. 

We'll explore the following questions:

  • Why did Japan expand its empire and choose to fight the United States? 
  • Why did the American government fear Japanese Americans and Japanese residents of the United States?
  • On what grounds did it remove and detain more than 120,000 people without any charge?
  • What was life like in the camps?
  • How can we incorporate the story of this mass incarceration into lessons on history, on identity and on discrimination?

Presentations and speakers include: 

Making Japan Modern
Mark Metzler, University of Washington

Prof. Metzler teaches Japanese and global history. This talk is based on his popular “Origins of Modern Japan” course. Prof. Metzler’s research focuses on Japanese economic history and the links between global conditions and Japanese actions. His books include Central Banks and Gold: How Tokyo, London, and New York Shaped the Modern World, Capital as Will and Imagination: Schumpeter's Guide to the Postwar Japanese Miracle and Lever of Empire: The International Gold Standard and the Crisis of Liberalism in Prewar Japan. 

War, Race, and the Constitution
Susan Kamei, University of Southern California

Prof. Kamei is the granddaughter of Japanese immigrants. They, her parents and other family members were held in California and Wyoming. She was a member of the legal team who succeeded in getting the U.S. Congress to provide redress for those who were incarcerated. She is the author of the just published When Can We Go Back to America? The book details the rounding up of those of Japanese ancestry, the experience of the camps, the valiant military service of some, the struggle to regain lives when released from the camps, and the campaign to win redress.

Click here to register

There is another free workshop on October 23, 9-12pm, that focuses on U.S.-Japan Relations and Japan Today. Teachers are encouraged to sign up and attend both workshops, but are also welcome to just attend one. 

This workshop is sponsored by:






with financial support from an anonymous donor and the Freeman Foundation.