Class Apps: Japanese Contemporary Issues

There are currently six video presentations available under this category:

Japan-Korea: Histories that Bind. Japan and South Korea are neighbors whose cooperation in the 21st century is vital. Yet this bi-national relationship is challenged by complex, intertwined, often violent, and contested histories. Historian Alexis Dudden, University of Connecticut, traces the ways in which these two countries have been tied together and torn apart through the 20th century and argues that acknowledging history and learning from it will be essential if these two nations are to move forward. She discusses the current controversy over Comfort Women and briefly considers North Korea.

Japan’s Contemporary Security Challenges: 2016 and Beyond. Facing threats around the Asian region and in an uncertain world, is Japan’s Article 9 obsolete? The Japanese government, like other governments around the world, sees the demands of 21st century national security as requiring new strategies and alignments. Political scientist Andrew L. Oros addresses several critical questions to help viewers better understand Japan’s security challenges and policies: Why does Japan’s security policy matter to the US and the world? How do legacies of Japan’s WWII past and it’s post-WWII security policy shape Japan’s current security policies? What are Japan’s current security challenges? What are the new directions being taken by the Abe government and why are these seen as controversial both within and outside Japan?

Japan’s National Stadium and the Struggle for National Identity. Planning for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is well underway. One of the biggest controversies in the lead-up to these Olympics has been the design for the Olympic stadium, also called Japan’s national stadium. Kathleen Krauth, history teacher at the American School in Japan, analyzes the stadium as an engaging case study for using sports, the Olympics, and architectural design to teach about Japanese culture, national identity, and 21st-century goals. What were the roots of the stadium controversy? What did the original winning design and the final design choice convey about Japan as a nation and people? In addition, Krauth explores the controversy over the 2020 Tokyo Olympics logo, offering further ideas for the classroom.

The Japanese Constitution at 70. Part 1.  Japan’s 1947 constitution, imposed by US Occupation forces, is unique as a governing document that has remained unchanged despite its foreign origins. In Part 1 of this two-part Class App, historian Ethan Segal highlights the 70-year history and considers how this constitution came to be embraced in Japan.

The Japanese Constitution at 70. Part 2. In July 2016, Japan’s ruling LDP party gained the legislative majority it needs to push major constitutional changes, including changes to Article 9 (the no war clause), the role of the emperor, and more. In Part 2 of this two-part Class App, historian Ethan Segal focuses on constitutional controversies, calls for reform, and divided views within Japan.

The Meaning of President Obama’s Visit to Hiroshima. Why is it important to teach about Obama’s May 2016 visit to Hiroshima? Historian Alexis Dudden of the University of Connecticut offers her perspectives on the first official visit to Hiroshima by a sitting US president. Dudden presents an overview of the dropping of the A-bombs, including differing American narratives in the aftermath of the events, and discusses the significance of Obama’s visit in terms of the power of reconciliation and the uses of historical narrative as lessons for the future.