Why Learn the History of Japan?
Catholic homeschool online classes for the 2022-2023 school year have recently been announced. Today, I’d like to introduce you to our history teacher Mr. Phillip Campbell who is offering a high school world history course titled The History of Japan. The History of Japan will trace the development of the Japanese nation and culture from remote antiquity to the modern age. Students will learn about the cultural and political development of the Japanese nation, as well as notable persons, battles, and events that were instrumental to the formation of Japan.
But why should you consider enrolling your student in The History of Japan? Why should an English-speaking homeschooler in the West devote a semester to the study of Japanese history?
There are many excellent reasons!
1. Enrich Your History Curriculum With Non-Western Studies
For decades, Catholic homeschooling curricula have been characterized by a western-centric take on history. This was understandable; in a climate where the contributions of Catholics and the Catholic Church has been systematically scrubbed from secular education, Catholics were in dire need of curricula that told the story of western civilization in a way that gave full consideration to its Catholic heritage. But the situation is not the same today as it was back in the 80s and 90s. Today there are scores of excellent western civ resources available for Catholics; Mr. Campbell’s own Story of Civilization series is a perfect example. Anne Carrol’s Christ the King, Lord of History and all of the amazing resources from RC History are other examples. In other words, Catholic homeschoolers have the bases covered with western civ, meaning we now have the luxury to branch out and enrich our historical studies with non-western courses. So, if your student is interested in adding some non-western history to their studies, The History of Japan is an excellent choice.
2. Importance of Japan in the Global Community
Japan in particular is a tremendously important country in the global community and to the U.S.A. in particular. Whether we consider America’s historical military conflicts with Japan, or our vibrant trade relationship, or Japan’s booming industrial and technological influence, Japan has been instrumental in shaping the modern world. It holds a unique place in the geo-political affairs of East Asia and is a key U.S. ally counterbalancing Communist China. With so much of our own economy, technology, and foreign policy in East Asia bound up with Japan, why not devote some time to learning more about this great country?
3. Japanese Culture is Popular Among Western Youth
Perhaps you’ve noticed, perhaps not, but Japanese culture is extremely popular among American youth today and looks to only become more popular in coming years. Anime (animated programming produced in Japan) is one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the world, with 2 billion people watching some form of anime regularly. Anime is very popular amongst Catholic homeschoolers as well; our own HSC student Café has multiple chats and student clubs dedicated to anime appreciation. Did you know that sales of manga (Japanese graphic novels and comics) have been outpacing traditional American comic books in the U.S.A. for years and will soon be the most popular form of teen literature in America? Japanese restaurants and sushi bars have exploded in popularity in the United States. Did you know the biggest entertainment franchise in the world is Pokémon, bigger than Star Wars or Disney princesses? In other words, people—specifically young people—love all things Japanese!
4. Japan’s Catholic Heritage
Though a minority in Japan, the Catholics of Japan of a rich heritage. Catholicism was brought to Japan in 1549 by St. Francis Xavier and the Jesuits in the 1540s. The Church flourished there; within a decade there was over 100,000 converts. The Church in Japan was sanctified by hundreds of martyrdoms; between 1597 and 1649 somewhere around 400 Japanese Catholics suffered death at the hands of Japanese authorities. Japanese Catholics maintained the faith for centuries in isolation from the Universal Church; the Catholic hierarchy was not restored in Japan until 1891. Throughout the early 20th century there was a flourishing Catholic community at Nagasaki. In other words, Catholicism has a very old and rich history in Japan that merits the attention of all historically-minded Catholics
5. Mr. Campbell
And hey, whatever course Mr. Campbell teaches, you can be sure it will be both fun and educational! But don’t take our word for it; check out some of his student testimonials here.
If you are interested in enrolling your student in The History of Japan or learning more about the class, please click here.
UPDATE: The LIVE course has filled and closed. You can take it as a recorded, independent-learning course through our Unlimited Access Catholic homeschool program after June 15, 2023.