A Tempered Past: Japanese History in America
Author: Nick Sprague Plattsuburgh, NY
DescriptionThis webquest will help students follow the historical path of Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans in the United States from the 19th century to today.
Grade Level 9-12
Curriculum Art / Music
Japanese immigrants (Isei) and Japanese-Americans (Nisei) have had a rough history in America. Since the 19th century when they first started immigrating to Hawaii and the West Coast, ethnically Japanese people have simultaneously made large contributions to the United States and been discriminated against on a terrible level. Even before World War II and Pearl Harbor, the Japanese -along with other Asian immigrants- were victims of hatred, discrimination, and sometimes even murder. But the history of Japanese-Americans is not only tragic; it's also inspirational and motivational. During this Webquest, students will be asked to explore the Japanese-American experience and learn how much a part of American History it truly is. Before starting the tasks assigned in this WebQuest, please have a look at the "Evaluation" section to get a greater understanding of how these assignments will be graded.
Task 1: The first task will be to research what life was like for Japanese immigrants when they first immigrated to Hawaii and the West Coast.
Task 2: For the second task, students are required to research the racism and prejudice Isei and Nisei faced while living on the West Coast in placed like Washington State, Oregon, and California. Even before World War II, people of Japanese descent faced incredible discrimination just because of their ancestory.
Task 3: After the attack on Pearl in December 1941, life for Japanese-Americans changed forever. Task 3 will be focused on dissecting and understanding the experience of Japanese-Americans in internment camps.
Task 4: The final task asks students to outline the legacy of Japanese internment camps and how it relates to issues today.
Please proceed to the "Process" section to see how you will go about accomplishing these tasks.
The process of exploring the experience of the Japanese and Japanese-Americans in the USA will require the group to complete four tasks. Please do the tasks in order as each task will help you understand the next. Download the Microsoft Word documents marked by task and use the websites in the 'Task' section to complete the assignment. You may also use other resources besides the websites provided. Task 1: Compare and contrast the labor contracts of 1900 with what you would want as a laborer in Hawaii. Task 2: Write a character journal from the perspective of an Isei or Nisei high school student living in California, Oregon, or Washington State. Task 3: Use the Smithsonian website (A More Perfect Union) to download photos of the Japanese internment. Use 5-10 photos to compile a photo album using Powerpoint or Prezi. Each photo must be accompanied by a 4-5 sentence description. The photo album must give a comprehensive view of the Japanese internment experience. Task 4: Use your knowledge about Japanese internment and write a persuasive essay relating the Japanese-American experience to the Muslim-American experience. Write it as if you are writing to a relative or friend. (This task will be completed by each individual student).
Congratulations! You have learned a lot about the experience of Japanese-American citizens in the United States. As you conclude this WebQuest, I'd like you to read this article and consider some questions to take away and discuss with your friends: Was the $20,000 given to the survivors and family members in 1988 a reasonable form of apology from the US government?What is the legacy of Japanese-American internment in the United States? How does it affect us today?What can we learn from the internment?Please consider these questions outside of school as knowledge is not just contained to the classroom!
I designed this WebQuest after finding the 'A More Perfect Union' website on the Smithsonian. It has a wealth of information on the whole experience of Japanese-Americans in the US. Even if you just base your lesson around that, it will be successful. I designed all of my own assignments and rubrics. Please feel free to download them and use them as you wish. Thanks for checking out my WebQuest!