Resource Page: Teaching WWII Japanese American Incarceration with Primary Sources

This page includes all the curriculum and instructions from our online course for teachers, “Teaching WWII Japanese American Incarceration with Primary Sources.” For more information about the course, please visit the course homepage.

*All downloads require Microsoft Word unless otherwise noted.

Course Overview

Historical Video: A Community Grows, Despite Racism
Ron Ritchhart: Using Primary Sources in Classroom

Thinking Routines: Overview and Teaching Tips
Related Common Core Standards

Lesson One: Introducing the Story

Classroom Video: Capturing Curiosity
Historical Video: Looking Like the Enemy

Zoom In Activity (Requires Microsoft PowerPoint)
Zoom In activity instructions

Additional sample images to use with Zoom In:
Political Cartoons
Ansel Adams Collection
Dorothea Lange Collection
George Ochikubo Collection
Image set from the Library of Congress website

Lesson Two: Government Explains

Government Newsreel: Japanese Relocation
Classroom Video: Exploring Why
Historical Video: American Concentration Camps

Explanation Game activity instructions
Explanation Game worksheet

Lesson Three: Responses to Camps

Classroom Video: Reflecting on Personal Stories
Historical Video: Japanese American Responses to Incarceration

Video excerpts from oral histories
Akiko Kurose: Hearing about the Bombing of Pearl Harbor
Gordon Hirabayashi: Deciding to Resist the Curfew
Kara Kondo: The Day of Mass Removal
Masao Watanabe: Feelings about Being Placed in an “Assembly Center”
Tosh Yasutake: A Difficult Decision to Join the Military
Frank Yamasaki: Making the Decision to Resist the Draft
Interview Transcripts

Color Symbol Image activity instructions
Color Symbol Image worksheet

Lesson Four: Examining Claims

Classroom Video: Examining Text
Classroom Video: Supporting a Claim

Sentence Phrase Word activity instructions
Sentence Phrase Word documents
Sentence Phrase Word worksheet
Claim Support Question activity instructions

Lesson Five: Different Perspectives

Classroom Video: Comparing Multiple Perspectives

Tug for Truth activity instructions

Lesson Six: Righting a Wrong

Historical Video: Righting a Wrong

I used to think… but now I think… instructions

Additional Resources

Timeline marks critical dates related to the Japanese American Incarceration.

Densho’s Note on Terminology (PDF)

The Densho Encyclopedia is an online resource with hundreds of articles about the history of the wartime exclusion and incarceration of Japanese Americans.

    Densho’s Primary Source Archives

  • is Densho’s new digital repository of historic photographs, documents, newspapers, letters and other primary source materials that tell the story of the Japanese American community, from immigration to the WWII incarceration and its aftermath.
  • includes over 800 video-recorded oral history interviews that are transcribed and indexed for research and educational purposes.

Densho’s List of Related Resources is a useful listing of web resources, printed materials, videos, and educational curriculum about the WWII Japanese American incarceration.

    Densho’s YouTube Channels

  • Densho Channel includes 150 video clips, organized by topic, of Japanese Americans talking about their experiences related to the WWII exclusion and incarceration.
  • Densho Education Channel includes the historical overview videos, classroom videos, and government film used in this online course.

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