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Civil Rights and Japanese-American Internment (curricula)

Creators: Greg Francis, Samantha Hojo, Selena Lai, Gary Mukai, Steven Yoda, Tiffany Hood


Developed in 2000 by the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) and the Institute for International Studies (IIS) at Stanford University, this high school/college curriculum module presents civil rights in the context of the Japanese-American experience from immigration in the early 20th century to World War II, and on through more contemporary issues of redress, reparations and memorializing the incarceration. Organized into six lessons, this curriculum can provide up to three weeks of stand-alone instruction or select lessons can be used to augment U.S. history textbook coverage.

The authors suggest it is essential to include Lesson One, "Setting the Context," which considers civil rights, along with selected activities from the curriculum. Further, the authors emphasize that students should be introduced to multiple perspectives on the Japanese American incarceration to promote complex and nuanced thinking about this topic. To help with teacher planning, the introduction includes a summary of the lessons and all of the activities in the curriculum.

Curriculum lessons and learning activities:

Lesson One: Setting the Context (An Introduction to Civil Rights)

Lesson Two: The Immigration Years

Activities: A Crisis over Japanese School Children; Alien Land Acts ; Immigration Act of 1924 , based on the book (provided with the module), The Four Immigrants Manga: A Japanese Experience in San Francisco, 1904-1924 by Henry Kiyama.

Lesson Three: Prelude to Internment

Activities: Perspectives Through Popular Media; Japanese-American Perspectives Through Congressional Testimonies.

Lesson Four: The Internment Years

Activities: U.S. Government Perspectives Through a Newsreel – (provided with the module) Japanese Relocation by the U.S. War Relocation Authority and the Motion Pictures Division of the Department of War; Perspectives Through Photographs; Perspectives of a Scholar in the Camps Through His Writings using the book (provided with the module), Morning Glory, Evening Shadow: Yamato Ichihashi and His Internment Writings by Gordon Chang; Perspectives of Internees Through Art and Poetry; Perspectives of a Caucasian Woman in Heart Mountain Concentration Camp Through a Documentary – (provided with the module) Days of Waiting by Steven Okazaki; Perspectives Through an Autobiography – (provided with the module) American in Disguise by Daniel Okimoto; Japanese-Latin American Perspectives Through Photographs and a Newspaper Article; Perspectives Through a Dramatic Reading.

Lesson Five: The Question of Loyalty

Activities: Perspectives of Japanese-American Soldiers; Perspectives of the Military Intelligence Service – using Uncommon Courage: Patriotism and Civil Liberties (film trailer) by Gayle K. Yamada and Ken Kashiwahara (provided with the module); Perspectives of Resisters Through Editorials; Perspectives of " No-No Boys " Through a Novel Excerpt.

Lesson Six: Legacies of Internment

Activities: Perspectives on Redress and Reparations; Contemporary Perspectives on Internment.

This 189-page curriculum module is contained in a 3-ring binder and includes lesson plans, instructions for learning activities, background readings, primary source materials, classroom handouts, and an appendix with a bibliography, a list of relevant websites, and a glossary.

The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program funded this project with additional support from the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco; the Institute for International Studies, Stanford University; and the Stanford East Asia National Resource Center (HEA Title VI).

Authored by Janet Hayakawa , Densho
For More Information

For More Information

Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) http://spice.stanford.edu .

To order: http://spice.fsi.stanford.edu/catalog/civil_rights_and_japaneseamerican_internment , (including 3 videos and 3 books), $179.