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The Curious Relevance of Japan (NCTA in-person Summer Program)

Tokyo Skytree, photo by Paul Dunscomb

May 3, 2023

This is an in-person program taking place at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Remember when Japan was poised to rule the world at the end of the 1980s (probably not)? Since 1989 the dominant narrative of Japan has been one of decline and increasing irrelevance. There are elements of truth in this story. Japan is a much different place today than it was thirty-five years ago. And yet, Japan has also proved a model for East Asia and other developed nations, economically, politically, demographically, and in terms of grappling with security and environmental challenges.

This 15 hour workshop will occur over two days during which the participants will join our instructors in examining some of the essential aspects and issues in recent Japanese history. These will serve as the basis for discussion of how to integrate this knowledge into their teaching. Rather than specific lesson plans, the object of this workshop is to stimulate thought. To provide teachers the opportunities to make new connections and inject new content regarding the curriculum they are required to teach. Outside of class participants will be responsible for readings and reflections on what they’ve encountered.

This program will be led by Paul Dunscomb, Professor of East Asian History at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and by Melanie King, Art historian and educator.

Dates and time

Monday, August 7, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Tuesday, August 89:00 AM – 5:00 PM

This program will take place at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Preparation and homework

In advance of attending the program, participants will need to complete readings, view a film, and write a reflection paper in preparation for the program. Upon completion of the program, a short reflection paper will be due.

Program benefits

  • Free books, materials and resources
  • UAA Professional Development credit and scholarship*

*UAA Professional Development: Students admitted to the workshop will receive credit through UAA. The course is entitled HIST A590 The Curious Relevance of Japan and is offered on an A-F graded basis. Students who complete HIST A590 will receive 1 credit. The East Asia Resource Center (EARC) sponsors the workshop and offers a scholarship to offset the 1 credit tuition cost, payable upon successful completion of the course


This program is free and open to current, in-service teachers of all grades and subjects. The deadline for applying to this program is Friday, July 28, 2023. Space is limited to 18 participants. To apply, please follow this link.

This program is sponsored by the East Asia Resource Center at the University of Washington and funded by a Freeman Foundation grant in support of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA)