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Day of The Western Sunrise: An Interdisciplinary Toolkit for Teaching

Screenshot via “Day of the Western Sunrise” Vimeo trailer

Teachers engaged in cross-curricular critical thinking opportunities in this online workshop that followed the process of creating and producing the modern animated documentary film Day of the Western Sunrise using traditional Japanese storytelling techniques.

The program began with a brief background of the film presented by its director, Keith Reimink, who brought the story of the Japanese fishing boat Lucky Dragon #5 to life.  On March 1, 1954, the Japanese crew of a tuna boat was contaminated by nuclear fallout from the U.S. Castle Bravo thermonuclear weapon test in the Bikini Atoll.  With a great deal of research, interviews with survivors, collaboration with the memorial museum in Japan, and work with an animation team coupled with grassroots help from activists in Japan, Keith developed an invaluable teaching tool for multiple disciplines.  Keith discussed the process of working with the museum, obtaining interviews, writing the story and creating artwork.  He finished up by describing the steps necessary for editing and releasing the film for public use.

Keith’s introduction to the filmmaking process was followed by a presentation made by Social Studies and Art teacher Angie Stokes, who spoke about the curriculum developed for the film and explained how she integrated the film and its lessons into her own high school class. This curriculum unit offered teachers an assortment of easily adaptable lessons that help bring the message of the Lucky Dragon’s survivors to life. Using the primary and secondary sources of the film and curriculum unit, teachers learned ways to integrate these activities into their lessons through the investigation of storytelling, historical thinking, and human rights.


Angie Stokes, 7-12 Teacher, Wayne Trace Junior/Senior High School, Haviland, Ohio, and Keith Reimink, Writer/Developer.


This program took place online on June 2, 2020, from 3:00 to 5:00 PM (PST).

Program Benefits

  • Free online access to the documentary Day of the Western Sunrise. Participants were be required to watch the film on their own prior to the program.
  • Online access to Day of the Western Sunrise: An Interdisciplinary Toolkit for Teaching. 
  • 3 free Washington State OSPI clock hours.