Participating Scholars
Gary Mukai

Project Description


Institutional Participants



Staff and Advisors

English Japanese
Spanish Portuguese

Japanese American
National Museum

Gary Mukai is the Director of the Japan Project and Asia/Pacific Project, Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education at Stanford University. He received an M.A. degree in International Development Education from Stanford University in 1981 and has more than twelve years of experience teaching grades K-12th grades in the U.S. His has published numerous books and articles that focus on the Asia/Pacific Region and U.S.-Japan relations. In 1997, he was awarded the Franklin Buchanan Prize for the development of curricular materials on Asia and U.S. -Japan Relations.


Research Proposal Abstract
Japanese Migration to the Americas

Gary Mukai's professional goal is to make scholarship accessible to young audiences. In this project, he proposes to develop a curriculum unit called "Japanese Migration to the Americas." This work will build upon the three-part series on U.S.-Japan relations produced in 1993-1995, by the Asia/Pacific Project, Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. The goals of the curriculum unit will be: (1) to introduce historical perspectives of Nikkei migration to the Americas; (2) to present multiple perspective on the Nikkei experience in the Americas; and (3) to explore how Nikkei experiences in the Americas impacted Japan-American relations. The proposed curriculum unit will focus on Japanese migration to the Americas with a specific focus on "picture bride" experiences in the countries of Brazil, Peru and the United States. It will provide students with the historical context for Japanese migration to the Americas as well as illustrate how key historical events had a significant impact on Japan-American relations. Students will examine primary source documents such as the immigration documents of Japanese picture brides and engage in small group activities. These group activities will incorporate Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences theory, which recognizes seven different talents and encourages students to learn through their best abilities. Students will be asked to make cross-cultural comparisons between the Japanese migration experience to the United States and Latin America.

The development of the high school curriculum unit, Japanese Migration and the Americas: An Introduction to the Study of Migration, was an effort to make the research of scholars associated with the International Nikkei Research Project accessible to a younger audience.

This curriculum unit introduces students to the study of migration, including a brief overview of some categories of migration and reasons why people migrate. In this introductory study, the Japanese migration experience in the Americas is used as a case study. Students are introduced to categories of migration such as rural-urban migration, urban-urban migration, cyclical migration, forced migration, return migration, remigration, and U-turn migration. Case studies of migration are drawn from the Japanese experience in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and the United States. A brief history of the Japanese experience in each of these countries is presented to students as well as small group activities that focus on migration-related events. Students are encouraged to consider how migration has affected their families’ lives as well.

INRP scholars contributed not only their content expertise on the Nikkei experience in various countries but also primary source materials utilized in many of the small group activities. Many of the activities have been fieldtested in classrooms in the United States and independent schools in China (including Hong Kong), Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. Teachers have found the unit to be a useful and unique way to teach about migration.
>Many have also commented that an examination of migration from Asia helps to balance the traditional focus in the curriculum on migration from Europe to the Americas. Including explicit linkages to teachers’ curriculum frameworks, either public or private, were deemed important to teachers. Students, in general, were quite fascinated with the variety of primary sources included in the unit, and many were inspired to compare their families’ experiences with migration with the Japanese migration experience in the Americas.
This curriculum unit will be published this year and included in the 2000 SPICE (Stanford Program on International and Cross-cultural Education) catalog. SPICE is an non-profit, educational outreach program on the Institute for International Studies, Stanford University.