Japan and America

Historical content: 
World History
Historical skills: 
Contextualization, Sourcing, Use of evidence

Assessment

Directions: 

Use the document and source information to answer the question that follows.

Source: 

Japanese artist Utagawa Hiroshige made this print in 1861. It depicts life in America at the time. 

Additional facts related to Picture of Flourishing America:

1.  Utagawa Hiroshige was a famous Japanese print artist at the time.
2.  American naval officer Commodore Matthew Perry was one of people most responsible for forcing Japan to open its harbors to Western trade in the 19th century.
3.  The building in the back is identical to Frederiksborg Castle in Denmark, images of which had appeared in international newspapers the year that this print was made.

Question: Which 1 of the 3 facts above might cause you to question the reliability of the print as evidence of life in America at this time? 

About the Assessment

This assessment gauges students' ability to source and contextualize a document. Students first look at an image created in Japan about life in America. Students then analyze three historical facts and determine which one can help determine whether the image is a historically reliable depiction of life in America. Strong students will select Fact 3 and explain how the artist's misrepresentation of American architecture suggests that he may not have been basing the image on reliable information about the United States at the time.