Japan 2 What was life like for aristocrats during the Heian period by 5Vz7hR9


									What was life like for aristocrats during the Heian period?

In Writing for Understanding activity, students learn about aristocratic life and the
cultural accomplishments of Japan during the Heian period by “visiting” the home
of a Japanese aristocrat. They learn how a Japanese aristocrat might act in certain
situations, and then write a diary entry describing a day in the life of a Heian noble.

In the course of reading this chapter and participating in the classroom activity,
students will

Social Studies
• describe the golden age of literature, art, and drama in medieval Japan.
• explain the significance of the Tale of Genji, and its influence on modern
Japanese culture.
• identify the causes that ended the Heian period and brought about the rise of the
military class.

Language Arts
• write a coherent diary entry that structures sentences clearly and effectively.
• articulate the purpose and characteristics of a novel.

Social Studies Vocabulary
Key Content Terms Heian period, golden age, courtier, Tale of Genji
Academic Vocabulary aristocrat, conduct, significant, erode

Activity Suggested Time Materials
Preview 15 minutes
Vocabulary Development 30–40 minutes
Writing for Understanding
• Step 1, classroom set up 30 minutes
• Steps 2–6, visiting the various “rooms” of the aristocrat’s house 90 minutes
• Step 7, writing the diary entry 30 minutes (4 regular periods) (2 block periods)

Processing (optional)
Assessment 40 minutes

History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond
Interactive Student Notebooks
CD Track 11
Visual 20
Placards 20A–20G
Lesson Masters
• Information Masters 20A and 20B (1 transparency of each)
• Vocabulary Development handout (1 per student, on colored paper)
2 sheets of paper folded into fans with 12 folds
20 small stones
2 lightweight balls or paper squeezed into balls string
1 Use art to introduce the Heian period.

Project Visual 20: the Golden Age of Japan and analyze the painting as a class.
• What are some interesting details you notice in this painting?
• Who might have lived in a house like this?
• What do you think life was like for the people who lived here?

Tell students that during the Heian period, wealthy Japanese lived in mansions like
this one. A house typically had two or three main buildings connected by covered
walkways. Each building consisted of a single room. Decorated screens divided
each large room into sections.

2 Have students complete the Preview activity in their Interactive Student
Review the directions with students and ask if they have any questions.

3 Have students share their responses in pairs or with the class.

4 Connect the Preview activity to the chapter.

Tell students that in the Preview activity they viewed the home of a wealthy
aristocratic family during Japan’s Heian period. As students read the chapter, they
will discover how aristocrats lived during this period, a time in Japanese history in
which manners were very important. The smallest social mistake could mean a
person would never again be included in the social events of the upper class, and
therefore, would be excluded from political power. Aristocrats enjoyed a life of
luxury and leisure. Many devoted their days to such activities as creating the
perfect perfume to wear to a party. It was also a time when the Japanese produced
outstanding works of art and literature.

Vocabulary Development
1 Introduce the Key Content Terms.
Have students locate the Key Content Terms for the chapter in their Interactive
Student Notebooks. These are important terms that will help them understand the
main ideas of the chapter. Ask volunteers to identify any familiar terms and
suggest how they might be used in a sentence.

2 Have students complete a Vocabulary Development handout.
 Give each student a copy of the Vocabulary Development handout of your choice
from the Reading Toolkit at the back of the Lesson Masters. These handouts
provide extra Key Content Term practice and support, depending on your students’
needs. Review the completed handout by asking volunteers to share one answer for
each term.

Vocabulary Development:

Metaphor Explain that the term “golden age” is a metaphor that was used by Greek
and Roman poets to refer to an ideal time of peace and prosperity. Talk about why
we would refer to an ideal state as golden, and how this word carries connotations
of goodness and value. To further explore the connotations of the metaphor, you
might contrast the term “silver age”; you might also have students extend the
metaphor to a period in their own lives or the lives of their parents, their ancestors,
or others in their community.

1 Introduce the Essential Question and have students read Section 20.1.

Have students identify the Essential Question on the first page of the chapter:

What was life like for aristocrats during the Heian period?

Then have students read Section 20.1. Afterward, have students respond to these

• What event marks the beginning of the Heian period in Japan?
• Why is this period often called Japan’s golden age?

2 Have students complete the Reading Notes for Chapter 20.
Assign Sections 20.2 to 20.10 during the activity, as indicated in the procedures for
the Writing for Understanding. Remind students to use the Key Content Terms
where appropriate as they complete their Reading Notes.

Writing for Understanding
1 Before class, prepare materials and the classroom for the activity.
Follow these steps:
• Arrange your desks according to the diagram and connect them with string to
create six small “rooms” that will represent the home of a Japanese aristocrat.
Indicate “doors” through which students can walk to reach the various rooms.
• Create the following stations in the rooms. The directions for students are found
on Placards 20A–20G. To make the activity run more smoothly, consider creating
another set of placards from www.teachtci.com. Also, consider placing a few
copies of History Alive! Medieval World and Beyond at each station for students to
use as they complete their Reading Notes.

(Note: Consider asking a parent or adult aide to help monitor stations during this

Station A: Tape Placard 20A on the wall as indicated in the diagram.
Station B: Place two paper fans and Placard 20B on the floor.
Station C: Place the CD player cued to CD Track 11, “Japanese Thoughts on
Beauty,” on a desk. Place Placard 20C on the floor.
Station D: Place Placard 20D on the floor.
Station E: Place Placard 20E on the floor.
Station F: Place Placard 20F on the floor.
Station G: Place a lightweight ball and 10 small stones on each of two desks as
indicated. Place Placard 20G nearby.
Station A
Station G (Garden)
Station B Station C
Station F Station E Station D
Key yarn, desk, ball, stone
CD player – fan
Beauty and Fashion

2 Place students in pairs and have them read Section 20.2 and complete the
Reading Notes.
Have students sit with their partners in one of the rooms you have created to read
Section 20.2 and complete the Reading Notes. This section provides background
on how Heian-kyo came to be Japan’s capital city.

3 Introduce the activity.
Project Information Master 20A: Procedures for Visiting a Japanese Noble’s
House so that only the classroom map and the first paragraph show. Explain that in
this lesson students will suppose they are aristocrats during the Heian period. They
have just been invited to a noble’s shoen, or house. The tape on the classroom floor
(or string) represents the decorative screens used to divide a large room. As
students move from room to room in the noble’s home, they will find objects or
situations they do not understand. They will use History Alive! The Medieval
World and Beyond to discover how to behave in each situation. Afterward, they
will write a diary entry about life during the Heian period.

4 Review the procedures for the activity.
Uncover Steps 1 through 5 of Information Master 20A and review the directions
with students.

5 Have pairs visit the stations.
When pairs finish at each station, use the Guide to Reading Notes to check their
work and, optionally, to award points.

6 Review how students chose to act in each situation.
Once pairs have visited every room and completed their Reading Notes, read the
“Situation” and “Problem” off each placard and have volunteers explain what they
did in each circumstance, and why.

7 Have students read Section 20.10 and complete the Reading Notes for that
When everyone has visited all stations, have students read Section 20.10 to learn
about the influences of the Heian period on modern Japan.

8 Review directions for completing a diary entry about daily life during the
Heian period

Project Information Master 20B: Creating a Diary Entry and go over the criteria.
Remind students that a tanka has 31 syllables in five lines of 5, 7, 5, 7, and 7
syllables. Distribute paper for students to write their diary entries.

(Note: You may wish to have students write rough draft s on scrap paper and final
draft s on specially decorated paper, as was done during the Heian period. To
create such paper, have students wet a piece of drawing paper and place large
drops of watercolor paints on it, allowing the colored drops to run together. When
the paper is dry, they can copy or print the diary entry onto it.)

1 Understand the intent of the Processing activity.
The diary entry serves as this chapter’s processing activity. Should you choose to
not have students do the writing assignment, you might use the optional Processing
activity in the Interactive Student Notebook.

2 Have students complete the Processing activity.

3 Have students share their answers with their partners or with the class.
Quicker Coverage
Omit the Room Set-Up
Instead of setting up your room to resemble a noble’s home, skip Steps 1, 3, 4, and
5. Instead, make transparencies of each placard. Read through the situations and
problems on each placard as a class and discuss what students might do in each
situation. Then have students read the sections indicated and complete their
Reading Notes.

Omit the Diary Entry
Instead of having students complete the diary entry in Step 8 of the activity
directions, have them create a sensory figure for a Japanese aristocrat during the
Heian period. Have them first draw their figure in the center of a piece of paper.
Then, in five boxes around their figure, have them write the following sentence

With my ears, I . . .
With my eyes, I . . .
With my hands, I . . .
With my mouth, I . . .
With my nose, I . . .

In each box, students should complete the sentences by describing a detail of
aristocratic life during the Heian period. Challenge students to refer to a different
aspect of court life in each sentence.
Applying Social Studies Skills
17. Sample answers: it is large; it has many buildings and gardens
18. Sample answers: stairs leading up to the door; posts raising the house above the
19. Sample answers: using trees and gardens; streams running through the grounds

Exploring the Essential Question
20. Answers should include all the elements requested in the prompt.

Scoring Rubric
Score Description
3 Student completes a letter that addresses all four bulleted points.
The letter is clearly stated, is supported by details, and demonstrates command of
Standard English conventions.
2 Student responds to most or all parts of the task, but the letter may lack details or
not be clearly stated.
1 Student responds to at least one part of the task. The letter may contain factual
and/or grammatical errors and may lack details.
0 Response does not match the task or is incorrect.

Mastering the Content
1. D
2. A
3. C
4. B
5. B
6. D
7. A
8. C
9. A
10. B
11. C
12. A
13. B
14. D
15. D
16. B
English Language Learners
Reduce the Diary Entry
Alter the Writing for Understanding diary entry (see Information Master 20B) by
making the tanka poem optional. Also, have students focus on writing about and
illustrating only three key aspects of life as a Japanese noble during the Heian
period. Finally, reduce the minimum length of the diary entry to one page.

Learners Reading and Writing
Below Grade Level
Provide Additional Support for the Reading Notes
Consider providing students with copies of Sections 20.3 through 20.9 with the
paragraphs where they will find the answers to the Reading Notes questions
highlighted or underlined.

Learners with Special Education Needs Provide Support for the Writing
 Help students write their tanka poems by having them review Section 19.7 from
the previous chapter. Then project the annotated tanka poem below on a
transparency, and have students practice pausing after each syllable and counting
the syllables.

A/ ska/ter/ glides/ by (5 syllables)
and/ be/comes/ one/ with/ the/ ice (7 syllables)
mas/ter/ of/ her/ world (5 syllables)
I/ weep/ at/ such/ per/for/mance (7 syllables)
this/ po/e/try/ in/ mo/tion. (7 syllables)

Finally, have students write their own tanka poem, and have a classmate check its
syllable count.

Literature Recommendations
The following books offer opportunities to extend the content in this chapter.
Jingu: Th e Hidden Princess by Ralph Pray (Walnut Creek, CA: Shen’s Books,
Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (North Clarendon, VT: Charles E. Tuttle, 2000)
What Life Was Like for the Ancient Japanese by Fiona MacDonald (London:
Anness Publishing, 2001)
Guide to Reading Notes 20
Section 20.2
1. The emperor moved Japan’s capital from Nara to Heian-kyo because he thought
the priests’ power was damaging to the government, and he wanted a larger,
grander city for his capital.

2. Answers will vary. Sample answer: My life in Heian-kyo is filled with beauty
and elegance. For instance, the mansion I live in has beautiful gardens and artificial
lakes. Though the grounds of my home are large, they are surrounded by a well-
kept stone wall. The large rooms of my home are divided by screens and connected
by open-air hallways.

Section 20.3
1. If your class is doing the activity, students should bow to Fujiwara Michinaga
because he led Japan and was shown respect by everyone around him.

2. The Fujiwara family gained and used power by marrying into the emperor’s
family, and they acted as advisers to the emperor.

3. Students’ sketches will vary.

Section 20.4
1. If your class is doing the activity, students should not use the fan because it has
too few folds for a person of their rank.

2. During the Heian period, rank was determined by the rank of a person’s birth

3. Drawings will vary but should include nine ranks with the top three ranks
labeled “nobles.” The fourth and fifth ranks should be labeled “less important
officials.” The sixth through ninth ranks should be labeled “minor officials, clerks,
and experts in certain fields.”

Section 20.5
1. If your class is doing the activity, students’ responses will vary. Possible
response: I would tell her to use white powder on her face and touches of red on
her cheeks. She should paint on a small red mouth, pluck her eyebrows, and paint
new eyebrows high on her forehead. She should blacken her teeth.

2. During the Heian period, people were judged on whether or not they had good
taste and on their family ties.

3. Students’ sketches about Heian beauty, fashion, and manners will vary.
Section 20.6
1. If your class is doing the activity, students’ responses about the kemari and the
stone balancing game will vary.

2. c. Festival of the Snake; e. bugaku; a. sumo wrestling; b. rango; d. kemari

3. Students’ sketches illustrating an important idea about recreation during the
Heian period will vary.

Section 20.7
1. If your class is doing the activity, students should praise Painting 2 because it
shows the new Japanese style of painting adopted during the Heian period.

2. During the Heian period, sculptors began to carve statues from carefully selected
pieces of wood that were then joined together.

3. Painters drew thin lines and filled them in with bright colors. Lines were made
quickly to show movement. Scroll paintings showed scenes from right to left to
show the passage of time. Interior scenes were painted as if viewed from above.

Section 20.8
1. If your class is doing the activity, students should borrow the Tale of Genji
because it is a romance novel that follows the love life of Genji, a fictional prince.

2. People were expected to make up poetry in public, while men and women
created poetry to charm one another. If someone received a poem from a family
member or friend, he or she was expected to write a poem in response.

3. The Tale of Genji is significant even today because it serves as a model for the
modern romance novel, is regarded as one of the world’s great works of literature,
and creates a vivid picture of Heian court life.

Section 20.9
1. If your class is doing the activity, students should have an unsympathetic
attitude toward the poor in order to be accepted by the aristocrats.

2. The Heian period ended for these three reasons:
(1) The wealthy owners of large estates paid no taxes, which weakened the
imperial government.
(2) Law enforcement broke down, and bandits roamed the land.
(3) Struggles over land and power led to civil war and the rise of new military

3. Students’ sketches will vary.
Section 20.10

Use the answers below to check students’ spoke diagrams on the influences of the
Heian period on present-day Japan.

Literature: Murasaki Shikibu and Sei Shonagon still influence Japanese writers,
and their works are considered Japanese classics.

Poetry: Tanka poetry is still a vibrant part of Japanese literature.

Drama: Bugaku led to Japan’s Noh Theater in which a chorus sings a heroic story
as performers dance and act it out.

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