Social Issues Web Easy: Vol. 1 U.S. Military Presence in Okinawa by Sachiko Kamioka

created on Aug 31, 2018 modified on Sep 26, 2018 07:36


Many learners of Japanese are interested in current social issues of Japan. Without advanced proficiency, however, reading Japanese newspapers is challenging and time-consuming. As result, learners resort to media in their first language and receive only limited information. Websites such as News Web Easy and NHK News Web Easier summarize selected daily news in short monographs using simple Japanese. Reading support tools such as Reading Tutor and enable those with low proficiency to read any text by making the meaning of each Japanese word available with a pop-up dictionary. What remains missing, however, is comprehensive, yet, easy-to-grasp information on social issues of Japan accessible to learners with intermediate proficiency via Internet. My project, "Social Issues Web Easy" aims to fill in this gap with a collection of e-booklets. The project will be implemented in an Intermediate-Low level Japanese class for graduate students in the School of Global Policy and Strategy. In each quarter, students will create an e-booklet on a selected social issue. The first quarter will focus on the social issue surrounding U.S. military presence in Okinawa. The project's target public audience, purpose, problem it intends to address, and product are summarized in the project square

Okinawa, an island of Japan consisting only 0.6% of Japan's land area, houses 74 percent of the nation's U.S. military bases. Military-related problems - jet noises, crashes, crime, and environmental degradation - have long been ignored by both countries. Even after 46 years since Okinawa's reversion to Japan and 73 years since the WWII, Okinawans are burdened in the name of national security. The first e-booklet will focus on this long-standing social issue. 

This four-to-five week project is designed for a course titled "Intermediate Japanese Language for Professional Proficiency " offered at the University of California San Diego's School of Global Policy and Strategy (graduate school). The course meets twice a week for eighty minutes each. This project is designed for eight-to-nine classes. 

Students learn about the issue in Okinawa through a documentary film, reading, individual research, and interviews with activists and ordinary citizens in Okinawa. A college professor in Okinawa who is a specialist in Okinawa politics and have written many books on this very topic will serve as our editor-in-chief and provide guidance as students create their booklet.

Academically, students will engage in sustained inquiry as they move towards their goal of creating a booklet that illustrates the issue comprehensibly and as they work closely with the content specialist (community partner) and hear relevant people's voices in interviews. Students will also gain pragmatic competence though preparations of interviews and email writing. Students will engage in all modes of communication in the National Standards: interpretive (watching a film and video; reading articles); interpersonal (conducting interviews and review sessions); and presentational (writing a book proposal and articles). As for the 21st Century Skills, students cultivate their critical thinking skills (reasoning; making choices; asking significant questions; analyzing and synthesizing information), collaboration skills, and technical skills through their creativework of designing, revising, and finalizing the booklet. The project also sets ESS01.02.02, ESS01.02.04, and ESS01.02.07 of the Career Pathways as goals.

Main activities are as follows: 

1. Watch a documentary film

2. Initial learning about the Okinawa issue with lecture, video, and base-reading

3. Learning about the project 

4. Individual research and sharing

5. Book proposal 

6. Feedback from editor-in-chief (a specialist as a community partner)

7. Interviews and draft-writing

8. Feedback from editor-in-chief (email and video conferencing)

9. Finalize articles and add language support

10. Create a booklet 

11. PR of the booklet

List of references can be found here.

National Foreign Language Resource Center
Sept. 26, 2018
Prof. Manabu Sato (Okinawa International Universtiy)

Language: Japanese

Subject Area(s): society, communities, history

Instructional Context

Target Audience Description:
Students enrolled in "Low Intermediate Japanese" (GPLA410) offered by the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California San Diego.

Audience Role:

Heritage Learners:

Audience Location:
San Diego, CA

Product Description:
An e-booklet to inform second language learners of Japanese of the issue related to U.S. military presence in the island of Okinawa, Japan. The booklet will be equipped with language support in simpler Japanese and in English.

Product Target Culture:
U.S. and beyond

Language Proficiency

ILR Scale Listening:

ILR Scale Writing:

ILR Scale Speaking:

ILR Scale Reading:

ACTFL Scale:
4 5

World Readiness Standards


Cultural comparisons


Language comparisons

Lifelong Learning
School and Global

Relating Cultural Products to Perspectives
Relating Cultural Practices to Perspectives

Making Connections
Acquiring Information and Diverse Perspectives


21st Century Skills

Life and Career Skills
Initiative and Self-Direction

Information, Media, and Technology Skills

Life and Career Skills
Leadership and responsibility
Productivity and Accountability
Social and Cross Cultural Skills
Flexibility and adaptability

Information, Media, and Technology Skills
Technology Literacy
Media Literacy
Information Literacy

Interdisciplinary Themes
Global Awareness
Civic Literacy
Health Literacy
Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy

Information, Media, and Technology Skills
Creativity and Innovation

Project Sequence Overview

Preparing for the Project

1. Learn "Easy Japanese" - Students learn guidelines for composing "Easy Japanese." more detail

2. Pre-viewing - Pre-viewing activities to scaffold students' learning more detail

3. Film Viewing - Students watch "We Shall Overcome" in two classes. more detail

Launching the Project

1. Project Kick-off - Students learn about the project. more detail

Managing the Project

1. Base "Reading" Activity - As a base material (for everyone to view/read), students watch "Seven Points of New-Military-Base-in-Henoko Issue." more detail

2. Individual Research and Sharing - Students conduct individual research and share what they have learned. more detail

3. Booklet Proposal and Preparation for Teleconference - Students write a booklet proposal and prepare for a teleconference with Prof. Sato. more detail

4. Feedback Session, Interviews, and Booklet Draft - Dr. Sato gives students his feedback on their booklet proposal. Based on the input, students gather information via interviews and research to compose a draft of the booklet. more detail

5. Publication and Dissemination - Students revise and finalize the booklet, and then disseminate it. more detail

6. Reflection - We reflect on the project. more detail


1. Assessment of Research Presentation - Peer and instructor evaluation of research presentation more detail

2. Assessment of Feedback Sessions - Peer and instructor assessments of feedback sessions with editor-in-cheif more detail

3. Assessment of Booklet Articles - Peer and instructor assessments of booklet articles more detail

4. Assessment of Final Product - Each student evaluates the final product. more detail