By Maria Boyd,2014-06-18 20:52
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    1. The student will be able to locate Japan and bordering areas as well as the major features of the country.

    2. The student will be able to name the major islands, bodies of water, and cities on an outline map.

    3. The student will be able to explain how different variables influence the climate of Japan. 4. The student will make comparisons of size, location, and population density between Japan and other countries.


    1. Maps or atlases available in your school.

    2. Teacher background information summary.

    3. Student worksheets and outline maps.

    Time: One to two class periods


    1. Introduce the unit by emphasizing that the basic concepts will be:

    a. the size of Japan

    b. the location of Japan

    c. the composition of the islands

    d. topography

    e. climate

    f. population

    2. Review all vocabulary that has a potential for student misunderstanding, such as demography

    口学, topography地形学, climate气候学, typhoon台风, latitude纬度, and seismology.地震

    3. Hand out worksheets and ask students to work individually or in small groups. Depending on the resources available in your classroom, some questions may require library research. Fill in the maps.

    4. Using the teacher background information, fill in any gaps in the students' answers to the worksheet questions. Hand in worksheets or use them as the basis of a class discussion. 5. Review the information in the worksheets and then discuss the implications of the facts the students have learned. Go from the who? what? why? questions to analysis, synthesis and evaluation. What are the effects of being an island nation? Is being a nation composed of islands likely to be more or less significant a factor than it was in the past? How could Japan become so strong economically if it is so short of resources? Would you expect Japan's history to resemble that of another island nation, Great Britain? What would be the ideal birthrate for Japan? Remind the students that these questions can have many different answers.

    Extension ideas:

    1. Ask students to write a theme exploring one of the following topics:

    a. Several factors make it difficult for Japan to raise enough food for her population.

b. The people of Japan have a very crowded environment to live in.

    c. Most of the land in Japan is not used for buildings or farming.

    d. Japan could not export manufactured goods if it could not import raw materials. e. Japan would have a problem if the population increased rapidly.

    f. The sea is very important to Japan.

    g. Human resources are important to Japan because it has few natural resources. i. Most Japanese need to prepare for warm summers and cool winters.

    2. As an introductory activity, provide students with outline maps that do not show cities or political boundaries. Show the class maps which indicate topography, latitudes in relation to Asia and to the United States, and comparative size, such as Japan and California or Japan and the United States. Divide the class into small groups and ask the groups to determine Japan's areas of major population concentration and industrial activity. After 15 minutes, ask each group to show their map and explain why they made the choices they made. Then show them a map of population density and allow them to correct the maps they made.


    Teacher's Background Information

    The nation of Japan is a long and narrow island chain situated in the North Pacific Ocean parallel to the easternmost edge of the Asian continent. Spanning a distance of 2,360 miles northeast to southwest (from 45 degrees 33 minutes latitude at its northernmost point to 20 degrees 25 minutes latitude at its southernmost point), the country lies in close proximity to portions of the Soviet Union, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), the Republic of Korea (South Korea), and the People's Republic of China.

    The Japanese islands are separated from the Asian continent by the Sea of Okhotsk鄂霍次克海

    in the north and both the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea in the west. The Pacific Ocean lies off the southern and eastern coasts of Japan. The Korean Straits and the Straits of Tsushima对马

    海峡separate Japan from the Asian continent by a distance of 124 miles. In the north, the Russia lies just 186 miles off the coast of Hokkaido北海道, and some smaller islands are disputed

    territory between the two countries.

    Historically, these waters have served as a natural geographic barrier between the Japanese archipelago日本群岛 and Asia. Prior to the modern age, the distance across these waters kept foreign contact to a minimum and prevented any foreign forces from invading Japan. Mongol attempts in the late thirteenth century were turned back by kamikaze日本空军敢死队, divine

    winds. The American occupation after World War II was the only instance in the nation's history of a formal occupation of the country.

    This relative isolation has had a tremendous effect on the nature and direction of Japan's social and cultural development. As a benefit of this geographic isolation, the Japanese have been able to absorb and adapt elements of foreign culture and technology from nearby countries and the West without submitting to foreign political rule. A strong social and cultural identity was forged as a result of this natural isolation, and also as a result of the period of self-imposed isolation闭关自守

    from 1630 to 1853. However, this political and economic isolation was not total and some Western influences still entered the country by various means.

    Formed by volcanic action, the Japanese islands consist predominantly of numerous crests of mountains arisen from the sea. The distance from coast to coast is generally less than 200 miles. Yet, the mountainous terrain and the numerous swiftly flowing rivers and streams made the

    distance extremely difficult to travel before modern transportations systems developed. They also limit the land space suitable for agricultural production or human habitation. One twenty-fifth the size of China, the entire nation of Japan is just slightly smaller than the state of California. Encompassing a total land area of 145,843 square miles, this small nation of over 123 million people has one of the highest population densities in the world, 846 people per square mile.

    The four main islands in the Japanese archipelago account for approximately 98% of Japan's total land mass. Hokkaido, the northernmost island, is approximately 32,246 square miles in area; Honshu本州, the main island, is about 89,194; Shikoku四国, the smallest of the four, is about

    7,258; and Kyushu九州, the southernmost, encompasses an area of 17,135 square miles.

    The four main islands are surrounded by nearly 4,000 smaller islands, many of which are rocky, uninhabited, and barren. The most important island chains are the Okinawa Islands and the Kuriles, parts of which have been disputed territories with the Soviet Union since World War II. Three main ocean currents flow by Japan. The Japan Current is a salty warm-water current which flows northward on the southeastern side of Japan. Due to its high salt content, the current's appearance is purple in color and has earned it the name Kuroshio (Black Current). Another warm current, the Tsushima Current, flows northward off the southern coast of Kyushu through the Japan Sea. From the north, the cold Kurile Current flows southward to the east of the Kurile Islands and Hokkaido. The point where the cold Kurile Current meets the warm Japan Current is a bountiful fishing ground.

    The capital of Japan is Tokyo. The city has a total population of close to 12 million people. It has been the capital of Japan since 1868, from the beginning of the Meiji Period (1868-1912). From the early 17th century to 1868, Tokyo, then called Edo, had served as the headquarters of the Tokugawa Shogun. The Japanese emperor, who had no direct political power, resided in Kyoto, the official capital of the nation and the cultural center of the country. A few of the other historically significant Japanese cities are: Nara, the capital from 710-783; Kyoto, the capital from 784-1867; and Hiroshima, devastated by an atomic bomb on August 6, 1945. In all, there are 651 cities in Japan, not counting the 23 districts of Tokyo. Most of the Japanese cities are situated on the flat coastal plains or mountain basins of the country. As the population grew, these urban areas encroached upon valuable agricultural lands.

    Geographically diverse, the topography of Japan includes rocky coastal areas, flat plains, deep valleys, numerous mountains, and rushing rivers. Seventy-two percent of Japan's land is mountainous. A long backbone chain of mountains stretches along the body of Japan, separating the Pacific side from the Sea of Japan side. There are more than 500 mountains over 2,000 meters high in Japan, and one-tenth of the world's active volcanoes are located there. The highest and most famous mountain in Japan is Mt. Fuji. It stands 3,776 meters (12,388 feet) high. The Japanese refer to this majestic mountain as Fuji-san.

    Due to the mountainous terrain, the rivers of Japan are generally too swift to use for transportation purposes. However, they do serve as a valuable source of hydroelectric power, one of Japan's few natural sources of energy, and as a source of irrigation water. The longest Japanese river is the Shinano River which is only 229 miles long.

    Over 1,500 earthquakes are recorded by seismologists each year in Japan. Of those, only two or three per month are felt by the people. New building construction techniques have enabled the Japanese to build skyscrapers, despite this seismological activity.

    The 28% of the total land mass which is not mountainous is relatively flat, yet the fact that many of the nation's major cities are congregated in these lowlands means that flat arable land is precious. The Kanto Plain, on which the city of Tokyo is located, is only 5,000 square miles in area. Because Japan is so mountainous, only about 15% of the total land mass is suited to agricultural production. Sixty-eight percent of the country is covered by forests, yet the terrain makes timber harvest and tree planting difficult. In addition, 60 to 65% of the land with a slope of 15 degrees is cultivated. As a result, the average family farm is less than 3 acres in area and is often located on terraced hillsides or on land reclaimed from the sea. Despite the relative difficulty of agricultural production, farming has been one of the traditional means of livelihood for the Japanese. Importing rice, a staple of the Japanese diet, is an issue surrounded by controversy. Japan is located primarily in the Northern Temperate Zone. Yet, the country spans 2,360 miles northeast to southwest, and the climate varies between regions. During the winter, the average temperature ranges from about 60 degrees F. in the south to about 22.8 degrees F. in the northern areas. During the summer, the average ranges from about 83 degrees F. in the south to about 68 degrees F. in the north. The climate in Japan is most comparable to the middle belt of the eastern United States and to the countries of central and southern Europe. If Japan were superimposed on the eastern coast of the United States, the latitudes would run from Montreal in the north to Jacksonville, Florida in the south. In the west, it would stretch from Vancouver, B.C. to southern California.



    Name _________________________________

    General Directions: On your outline map, neatly and accurately label the following items. The following hints will make your map easier to understand.

    1. Print with small letters.

    2. If possible, print the words horizontally.

    3. Center names on large area items.

    4. For small items such as cities, use a dot and print the name beside the dot. Put the following items on your outline map:

    Cities: Bodies of Water: Mountain: Countries: Islands:

    Tokyo Sea of Japan Mt. Fuji Japan Hokkaido

    Yokohama Pacific Ocean the former Soviet Union Honshu

    Osaka Inland Sea People's Republic of China Kyushu

    Nagoya East China Sea North Korea Shikoku

    Kyoto Sea of Okhotsk South Korea Okinawa

    Sapporo Kuriles



Using an atlas, answer the following questions:

    Size and Comparison

    1. Between Japan and the mainland of Asia is found the


    2. Name the two countries located nearest to Japan.

    ______________________________and ______________________________ 3. Name two countries near Japan that are much larger in area than Japan. ______________________________ and ______________________________ 4. How does Japan compare in size with California?

    ______________________________________________________________ 5. How does Mt. Fuji compare in height to the highest mountain in the U.S.? ______________________________________________________________ 6. How does Mt. Fuji compare in height to the highest mountain in your state? ______________________________________________________________ Climate

    7. What U.S. state lies along the same latitude line as Japan's northern-most island? _______________________________________________________________ 8. What U.S. state lies along the same latitude as Japan's southern-most tip? _______________________________________________________________ 9. ______________________________ is a large city in the U.S. at approximately the same latitude as Sapporo.

    10. The latitude of Japan is similar to the latitude of the east coast of the United States.

    True ________ or false ________.

    11. Name two other factors besides latitude that influence Japan's climate. _______________________________________________________________ and _______________________________________________________________ 12. Average winter temperatures in Japan range from _____________ in northern Japan to _____________________ in southern Japan.

    13. Average annual precipitation in Japan is ______________________________________ Natural Features

    14. Why are there no long or large rivers in Japan?

    _________________________________________________________________ 15. Why does Japan have little arable land?

    _________________________________________________________________ 16. Why is most farmland located near the coasts of Japan?

    _________________________________________________________________ 17. What is the largest island in Japan?

    _________________________________________________________________ 18. Which Japanese city was devastated by a major earthquake in 1995? _________________________________________________________________ 19. What two kinds of natural disasters have threatened Japan over the centuries? ______________________________ and ________________________________ Population

    20. What is the population of Japan? ___________________________ 21. What is the population density of Japan? ____________________ 22. Which of the four major islands is least densely populated? _________________________________________________________________ 23. Where are areas of high population density generally located? _________________________________________________________________

    24. What is the birth rate in Japan? ____________________________ 25. What percentage of the people live in urban areas? _____________ Agriculture

    26. What is the main agricultural crop of Japan? ________________ 27. Why is fish such a popular source of food in Japan? __________________________________________________________________ Natural Resources

    28. What natural resources does Japan possess?


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