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Memories of War: Exploring Victim-Victimizer Perspectives in Critical Content-Based Instruction in Japanese

  • Author(s): Kubota, Ryuko;
  • et al.

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This article presents a language specialist’s content analysis of four topics related to the memory of World War II. The purpose of the analysis is to develop critical content-based instruction (CBI) in an advanced Japanese language course that will be implemented at a Canadian university. These specific topics are: Atomic bombs (A-bombs) in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Canada’s involvement in the development of the A-bombs, the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, and representations of peace and war in language arts and history textbooks used in Japan. I identify higai and kagai [suffering from harm vs. causing harm] relations in various materials including articles, literature, textbooks, and films, while demonstrating how these victim-offender relations reflect complex international and domestic relations of power rather than a simple binary. Such intellectual engagement will enable learners to gain multiple perspectives for ethical understandings of historical events in the target and in their own societies. Some examples of materials and activities are presented.

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