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Political and Cultural Identity in Postwar Japan   Tags: primary source world  

Last Updated: May 27, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Study ideals of peace in Japan's Constitution.

Learn about the relationship between the U.S. and Japan through photographs of Okinawans protesting U.S. bases.



Much of the focus on modern Japan in U.S. curriculum is on Japan's role in World War II and/or on its status as an economic superpower by the 1980s. The steps along Japan's path from a defeated aggressor nation to a peace-oriented, prosperous power are less-noted, but essential for explaining Japan's transformation and the U.S.'s role in that process. One primary source activity in this cluster focuses on Japan's postwar identity as a "peace state," and how that identity was a product of Article 9 of the new Constitution created by Americans under General MacArthur. Japan's pacifism was undergirded by a strong U.S. military presence in Okinawa, a presence now increasingly challenged by Okinawans and other Japanese. The second activity uses photographs to explore the April 2010 Okinawan protests against the U.S. base at Futenma.

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