Education About Asia: Online Archives

Putting “the Tigers” in their classroom Context

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First I would like to thank my colleagues for their thoughtful perspectives on Tora no Maki: Lessons for Teaching about Contemporary Japan, vol. I and II, and express my appreciation for the invitation to respond. Space considerations require that I comment only on a few key issues and leave many unaddressed.

Professor Rice states that a review of other supplementary materials confirms that Tora no Maki I and II does not “set new standards in content or creativity.” Having extensively used all the materials he cites, I must differ, and express not only my own viewpoints, but also those of many colleagues. Many in the field of precollegiate Japan studies have praised Tora no Maki I and II, specifically for presenting fresh material, especially in the lessons focusing on hansei, deregulation, kendama, the aging society, kaizen, and the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Further, although evaluation of creativity and approach are matters of opinion, all of the lessons should be credited for their groundbreaking attempt to link Japan-related content to the social studies standards of the National Council for the Social Studies. Since these standards are often mandated, such linkage encourages usage of these lessons by teachers and legitimizes their place in the curriculum.