The objective of this multi-part assignment is to use geo-spatial mapping, analysis of visual and material culture, and local history to understand the popularity of Utagawa Hiroshige’s Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō (Tōkaidō Gojūsan-tsugi, Hōeidō edition, 1833-1834). Rather than the approach that I take for my semester-long Arts of Japan course, where students will create their own independent StoryMapJS of a single work of art, this compressed interim course project emphasizes collaboration in the reconstruction of the historical travel route called the Tōkaidō, or Eastern Sea Road.
Each student will be responsible for writing up short 250-word catalogue entries for two locations/prints. They will need to consult primary and secondary readings related to the culture and history of Edo Japan, in addition to a variety of online resources. Before final submission, students will trade entries with a peer to get constructive feedback. After final submission, each student will be responsible for a written response paper that analyzes the connections between a four-stop stretch along the route, using the entries previously written by their peers. In this way, students are not only creating the content for the project, but they will be using it as a resource for a later part of the assignment.