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TEACH JAPAN

Resources for students and educators

Warrior Government

Explore the Freer Sackler Collection

Search, download, and create resources for your classroom using the Freer Sackler digital collection. With more than forty thousand works available for high-resolution download—expanding regularly with new acquisitions—you can explore the Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art from anywhere in the world, whenever you like.

Provided by Freer Sackler

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

Japanese Swords

Compare a selection of functional and ceremonial swords and why the style and shape changed over time.

Provided by Kyoto National Museum

Samurai Warrior Codes: Comparing Perspectives from the Kamakura, Muromachi, and Edo Periods

The term, bushido, is often used to describe the samurai warrior code during medieval and modern times. The definition refers to a late 19th century description and was actually quite different than codes from earlier times. Compare warrior codes from different times with the modern definition of bushido. Then, choose which code you think matches the samurai in the screen painting, the Battles at Ichi-no-tani and Yashima, from The Tale of the Heike.

Provided by Asian Art Museum

A Brief History of Samurai Armor

Learn the history and various functions of samurai armor during Japan’s shogunate.

Provided by Asian Art Museum
(5:30)
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History and Traditions of the Samurai

Students will use images of samurai armor and weaponry to learn related vocabulary. They will describe the functional and aesthetic aspects of armor through focused viewing and reading, and they will draw conclusions about the changing code of the samurai over the course of 800 years.

Provided by Asian Art Museum

The Spiritual Life of the Samurai: Meditation and Brushpainting

Students will discuss the ways in which spiritual belief supported and enhanced the military func­tion and cultural values of the samurai. They will experience this practice through an ink painting activity.

Provided by Asian Art Museum

History of Japan: The Standard Narrative

Chris Bovbjerg provides an overarching history of Japan in this introductory lecture.

Provided by Asian Art Museum
(1:18:02)
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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
(7:46)
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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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Find out more about TeachJapan.
Lead funding for the Asian Art Museum’s TeachJapan is generously provided by The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.
Additional support is provided by Susan and Kevin McCabe.

Teach Japan was created in collaboration with the following arts organizations: