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Resources for students and educators

Stories & Literature

Heroes and Legends: Samurai in Japanese Prints

Discover how artists depicted samurai to explore legends and communicate social and political messages through musha-e, prints depicting warriors.



Provided by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Tale of Genji, Illustrated

In this Online Lesson, the MFA has paired excerpts from the English translation of The Tale of Genji by Edward G. Seidensticker (1993), with corresponding images from the museum’s collection. Explore the images and compare them to the accompanying text excerpt.

Provided by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Journey to Japan

From simple, Zen-like tea bowls to ornate lacquer boxes the objects in this presentation illustrate Japanese aesthetics and demonstrate both ways of making art particular to Japan, and techniques pioneered elsewhere and perfected in Japan. Functional objects introduce daily life during different time periods. Connections are made between Japanese and Chinese culture and art.

Provided by Cleveland Museum of Art

Introduction to Japanese Folktales

This lesson plan uses art to explore the rich history of folktales in Japan to teach about Japanese traditions, history, and customs. This lesson also builds context for students by comparing Japanese and American folktales.

Provided by Cleveland Museum of Art

Tale of the Heike

Learn more about the famous war epic, the Tale of the Heike in this adaptation of “The Death of Atsumori” by Asian Art Museum Storyteller, Leta Bushyhead, followed by an analysis from Dr. Andrea Horbinski.

Provided by Asian Art Museum


Listen to the story of Issunboshi, the boy who is one-inch tall, yet managed to defeat the oni and save the princess.

Provided by Asian Art Museum

The Magic Teakettle

Listen to the Japanese story about a magical raccoon-dog, or tanuki, who uses its shape shifting powers to reward its rescuer for his kindness.

Provided by Asian Art Museum

Learning from Asian Art: Japan

Introduce students to Japanese art and culture as they explore works in the Philadelphia Art Museum’s collection. Each art image is accompanied by background information, a set of looking questions, and related classroom activity suggestions that students can use individually, in small groups, or as a whole class.

Provided by Philadelphia Museum of Art
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Teach Japan
was created in collaboration with the following arts organizations: