Picture #1: Black and white sketch
Picture #2: Colored picture
Picture #3: Black and white portrait
The above three pictures represent different view points. Do you know what these pictures are?
Picture #1 is a sketch of Commodore Perry (Black Ship Scroll: Honolulu Academy of Arts). This sketch labeled "true portrait" of Perry represented the widespread Japanese idea of a Westerner. Picture #2 is am image of an oni or a demon that represents an evil in Japanese folk tales. Do you see the resemblance between the two? Picture #3 is an official American portrait of Commodore Perry painted by John Beaufain Irving (United States Naval Academy Museum).
In 1853, Matthew Calbraith Perry was sent on the mission to Japan, a country that had been closed to outsiders since the 17th century. On July 8, he led a squadron of four ships (Black Ships) into Tokyo Bay and presented representatives of the emperor with the text of proposed commercial and friendship treaty.
Why do you think that the images of the picture #1 and #2 are so much alike? Is it coincidence? Is the Japanese view of Commodore Perry biased?
Do the dates August 6 and August 9 mean anything to you? They are some of most important dates for the people in Japan. For many Americans, December 7 has more significance. Why?
When President Nixon put pressure on Japanese Prime Minister Tanaka over trade issues, Tanaka replied, "I will take it under consideration." After one year from the first meeting between the two heads, no improvements had been made and Nixon was very upset. How did this miscommunication happen? Among Japanese politicians, "I will take it under consideration" means "I am not going to do anything about it so you might as well forget about it." Could this misunderstanding have been avoided?
Many misunderstandings and miscommunications between Japan and the United States have happened because politicians did not know the different view points. As the future generation, it is imperative for you to know many view points. By researching and analyzing various view points, you can establish your own view point with no or less slant (bias).
In order to become a person who has a view with no slant...
you will compare and contrast how historical events are taught in different cultures. In the process you will communicate with experts and other students of Japan using high technology such as e-mail and Internet. The final result of what you find will be displayed in the method of your choice such as play performance and web page. The display will be presented at the annual Foreign Language Festival in the Spring.
Please go to the student task page to find out your road to became a person who has a view with no slant.