Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Article 9: Continuing to Shape Modern Japan

Article 9: Continuing to Shape Modern Japan

Iowa Core Standards for Social Studies in Grade 9-12:
SS.9-12.H.2 – Understand how and why people create, maintain, or change systems of power, authority, and governance.
SS.9-12.H.8 – Understand cause and effect relationships and other historical thinking skills in order to interpret events and issues.

C3 Framework for History by the end of Grade 12: (Page 46-47)
D2.His.1.9-12. – Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.
D2.His.6.9-12. – Analyze how historical contexts shaped and continue to shape people’s perspectives.

“I will understand how Article 9 has shaped Japan’s History and continues to shape its present.”

I. Student handouts are picked up as they enter the classroom, if in hard copy. This allows for more time to be spent on the lesson, and for students to “look ahead” to see what’s coming up in the lesson today.
If a school with 1:1 devices, students should log into their devices and pull up the appropriate documents.

II. Review Prior Learning (5-7 minutes):
a. Prior Knowledge – Content: This should follow the discussion of World War II, dropping of the atomic bombs, and the end of the war. Ask the following questions to link to prior knowledge:
i. “What events happened to make Japan surrender at the end of World War II?” (Discuss the entry of Russia into the Pacific as well as the atomic bombs.)
b. Prior Knowledge – Skills: A prior history of close-reading documents and articles would be useful in order to effectively “Close Read” Article 9 and the excerpt from the 1951 Treaty.
c. Engagement – Ask the class “What are we STILL talking about that’s “left over” from World War II?” See what they respond with. It may depend on what you’ve already discussed, and if students are familiar with current events (Comfort Women issues, the disputes between China and Japan in the seas, the resurfacing of tensions between Korea and Japan at times, tensions between Russia and Japan over islands, etc.)
i. Read them the introduction to the Graphic Organizer, or ask for a student volunteer to read the introduction.
ii. Talk about why the picture on the Graphic Organizer is of MacArthur and Hirohito. Who are those men, and why is the Japanese constitution sometimes nicknamed the “MacArthur Constitution?”

III. Main Activity (30 – 50 minutes depending on time and level of student):
a. Have the students read Article 9 individually prior to discussing it in small groups. As they discuss, students should answer the questions on the graphic organizer. Then come together as a class to discuss the answers to those questions, making sure students understand what Article 9 means for Japan in the 20th and 21st centuries.
b. Next, have the students read the introduction to the excerpt of the 1951 US – Japan Bilateral Security Treaty. Discuss the answer to the question as a class, making sure to point out the historical things that prompted the need for rearming Japan. You may need to give them a preview of what you have not yet covered as a class, depending on the order in which you teach certain events in the 1940s and 1950s, as each textbook is slightly different.
c. Next, the students should read the 1951 US-Japan Bilateral Security Treaty Excerpt. Have the students respond to the questions as a small group first, then discuss as a class their answers, focusing on what this means for both Japan and the United States, as Japan gets its independence and becomes a US ally.
d. Lastly, the students should read either the CNN Article (if it’s recent enough, this is recent as of Summer 2016) or another article that is recent concerning why Shinzo Abe and his administration are seeking to revise Article 9 of the constitution. If there is time, students could discuss the answers to their questions in small groups before coming together as a class, if not, a class-wide discussion could generate some very good answers. You may need to edit the questions in the graphic organizer if you choose a different article.

IV. Differentiation: To ensure all students learn
a. Modifications for Struggling Readers or those with IEPs/504s: Print out or provide electronically the “difficult vocabulary sheet” linked in the materials section above. This should help students to get past the difficult words or phrases, as they are already defined for the students on this sheet. While students generally can struggle with the language of treaties and constitutions, it is especially hard for English Language Learners, struggling readers, and those with IEPs and 504s for reading comprehension. By giving them this sheet, they can more quickly understand the material, which will stop these students from disengaging with the material due to a lack of understanding.
b. Extension for Gifted Learners: If gifted students understand this very quickly, there are options for enrichment:
i. Provide them with a copy of the 1960 Update to the Bilateral Agreement:
1. Have the students analyze why the Japanese government would “re-agree” to this arrangement in 1960. Also, are there any differences between the 1951 agreement and the 1960 agreement? Do they think the Abe government would re-sign this, if it were being signed in the modern era? Why or why not?
ii. The students could also independently research the Abe administration, what “Abenomics” means, and how that ties into his party’s desire to change Article 9. How would changing Article 9 lead to greater economic growth? How could it stunt the nation’s economic growth? (Two sides to every argument!)

V. Wrap Up and Formative Assessment (5 Minutes):
a. Provide Students with the Exit Slip (either electronic or on paper) of the following:
“What is YOUR opinion of revising Article 9 of the constitution? Will it cause more strife in the region, or would it be good for the Japanese economy and for Japanese security to revise Article 9? Why?

VI. Summative Assessment
a. An essay question could be “Analyze how Article 9 has impacted Japan in the 20th and 21st centuries.”
b. Stimulus-based multiple choice questions could be utilized. Examples are:

Utilize the excerpt to answer the following questions:

To what is the above quotation referring?
a. If Article 9 is revised, Japan may gain military forces, which will change Japan fundamentally.
b. The possibility that Japan could eliminate all of its nuclear weaponry if Article 9 is revised.
c. The almost assured removal of all American troops from Japanese soil if Article 9 is revised.
d. That if Article 9 is revised, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would be removed from office.

What is John Traphagen’s point in the above quote?
a. Japan should certainly revise Article 9
b. Japan should be cautious about revising Article 9
c. Japan should not revise Article 9, it would cause disaster
d. The United States should step in to help them revise Article 9

Which of the following does the above 2013 article tell us about history?
a. History is best left in the past and not discussed
b. The United States is always dominant in world affairs
c. The choices made in history also affect the present
d. Constitutions written by people are worthless

• Graphic Organizer for Students to fill out during class:
o Article 9 and Explanation:
o 1951 US – Japan Bilateral Treaty:
o Japanese Election Results Article:
• Vocabulary Sheet for Struggling Readers/504s/IEPs:
• Possible Gifted Learners Extension Source:

  • Kelsey Hudson
  • Valley High School
Grade Level
  • High School: 10, 11, 12
Time Frame
  • One 50 minute class

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