Materials for Teaching 
Japanese Visual Culture (K-12)

Your students are probably more comfortable with many products from Japan—the car their parents drive might be Japanese, the camera they own could be, and many of the cartoons that the have seen are either Japanese animations (anime) dubbed and edited for an American audience (Astroboy, Speed Racer, Pokemon, to name a few) or American animation influenced by the Japanese (Avatar).  But although your students may feel familiarity with the cultural products of Japan, learning about their specific origins and receptions in Japan can help your students gain insight into another culture and become more globally aware. 

The idea is simple.  Draw on that which is familiar to teach the unfamiliar. 

This website is divided into four units spanning prominent popular visual cultures of the modern period of Japan from the late 19th century to today.

  1. 1.Early Photography, 2. Picture Storytelling, 3. Animé, 4. Web 2.0 social networking

Developed for the Teaching Asia Workshop and

Teaching the Globe:

Opportunities and Challenges to Teaching Global Topics in the 21st Century

Saturday, May 7, 2011
325 Hetzel Union Building
Penn State University
University Park, PA


Teach the World

Jonathan E. Abel

  1. -professor dot abel @ psu edu

  2. -Office:

  3. -441 Burrowes Building 

  4. -Tel: 814 865 2263

  5. -Click below to download the slides


1. to enhance content knowledge of other cultures in order to help thinking about our place in the world.

2. to foment observation and reflection on differences and similarities in cultural representation and use of media.

3. to learn to evaluate and critique a media-saturated culture.