An Introduction to Japanese Government

*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 — Reading
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.2 — Reading
Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4 — Reading
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.6 — Reading
Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7 — Reading
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.9 — Reading
Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.10 — Reading
Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.1 — Writing
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.2 — Writing
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.3 — Writing
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 — Writing
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.6 — Writing
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7 — Writing
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.8 — Writing
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.9 — Writing
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1 — Comprehension and Collaboration
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1.a– Comprehension and Collaboration
Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1.b — Comprehension and Collaboration
Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1.d — Comprehension and Collaboration
Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.2 — Comprehension and Collaboration
Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.4 — Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.

South Carolina World Geography Standards:
WG-7.1 Explain how cooperation and/or conflict can lead to the control of Earth’s surface (e.g., the establishment of new social, political, or economic divisions).

Advanced Placement Human Geography:
Compare and contrast forms of governance.

– Identify Japanese governmental structure
– Compare and contrast Japan’s and the United States’ Constitutions
– Evaluate and judge the Japanese Constitution

Activity 1: Vocabulary Four Square (See “Vocabulary Four Square” under Resources)
Students will work in groups of 3-4 to create one pagers using the following terms using the glossary in government, history, geography, or other available textbooks or online:
• Executive Branch
• Legislative Branch
• Judicial Branch
• Federal Government
• Unitary Government
• Monarchy
• Constitution
• Parliament/Parliamentary
• Suffrage
• Prime Minister
• Diplomat

Activity 2:
Students will complete a scavenger hunt (or web quest) using the CIA World Factbook to answer the following questions.
1. What government type does Japan have?
2. What are Japan’s administrative divisions called and how many are there?
3. When was the most recent constitution put into effect?
4. How does one gain Japanese citizenship?
5. What is the age of suffrage?
6. Who is the current chief of state?
7. Who is the current head of government?
8. What is the name of Japan’s national legislature?
9. How many houses make up the legislature? What are they called and how long are their terms?
10. What is the highest court in Japan?

Activity 3: Socratic Seminar Research
Students will compare and contrast the Japanese Constitution with the Constitution of the United States of America.
1. Students should be put in groups of 3-4 and each given a copy of the Japanese Constitution and the Constitution of the United States of America.
2. Students will need hi-lighters of the same color.
3. Part 1: In groups, students are to read through both and hi-light areas that are the same are similar.
Part 2: Each group trades 2 of their members for two members from a different group and compare hi-lighted areas, adding or scraping areas after discussion. Repeat until each group has shared members with each of the other groups.
4. Each group will compose beginning discussing the following questions:
a. Which word or phrase do you think is most important in the two constitutions?
b. Is there evidence of ulterior motives in the texts?
c. How do you think modern day citizens of both countries would react to the constitutions?
5. Students should review the texts and prepare for a Socratic Seminar comparing the Japanese and United States’ Constitutions.

Activity 4: Socratic Seminar
To conclude, students will participate in a Socratic Seminar. Teachers may use any method of Socratic Seminar that best fits his or her class.

The Constitution of Japan

  • Evan Sellers
  • West Florence High School
Grade Level
  • High School: 9
Time Frame
  • 3 90 minute Blocks

If you have any questions about this lesson plan, or if you wish to contact the author, please email us at [email protected]