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SUBJECTS — U.S./ 1945 - 1991 & Diversity; World/Japan;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Male Role Model; Friendship;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Trustworthiness; Respect.
Age: 12+; Not Rated; Drama; 1957; 147 minutes; Color.
Beginning with the occupation of Japan in 1945, many American soldiers met and fell in love with Japanese women. However, the U.S. government forbade marriages between soldiers and Japanese nationals. During the Korean War, Japan was a major staging ground for U.S. forces. The presence of additional U.S. troops in Japan only worsened the problem of soldiers wanting to marry Japanese women. This film is the story, from the novel by James Michener, of three soldiers who fall in love with Japanese women and how two of them try to buck the Air Force bureaucracy to marry them.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to Sayonara will show teachers how to use the movie to supplement history classes that cover the Korean War. The movie shows the pain that can be caused by prejudice and by wrongheaded government policies. Colonel Gruver is a role model for a man who can grow beyond the limitations of his origins by rejecting the prejudices of his class.
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Sayonara shows some of the difficulties met by American troops in Japan.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To give you a sense of how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to develop lesson plans, and by parents to supplement school curriculum or for homeschooling, we have set out below a paragraph from the Learning Guide to Sayonara.
Until recently, marriage between the races has been discouraged. Prejudice against it was particularly strong in the Southern U.S. Intermarriage between the races only became accepted in the last half of the 20th century, and then only by some people. During the U.S. occupation of Japan after the Second World War and through the Korean War, the U.S. military did everything it could to discourage marriage between U.S. servicemen and Japanese nationals. If soldiers did marry Japanese women, they were not allowed to take their wives home. As Japan became a U.S. ally, the pressure to change a policy that caused needless heartache grew in strength. Congress then passed a law permitting the GIs to bring their Japanese brides home to the U.S.
The Learning Guide to the film Sayonara contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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