User Menu

MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

The Mirror of Tokugawa Social Life in Hokusai's Art

This lesson is intended for high school World History students to observe the Japanese social order of the late Tokugawa period through close observation of prints and paintings by Hokusai and his contemporaries


Learning goals:

Through the observation and close reading of art objects students will gain

an understanding of:

   --the social order of traditional Japan

   --the roles of the main groups: samurai, farmers, artisans, merchnts

   --the role of art, especially mass-produced art, in reflecting and popularizing urban culture

Intended Audience:

  High School World History and Art teachers

  Students 9-12 in World History, Art, Humanities courses

Resources include:

 Japan collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and catalogue accompanying the Hokusai

 exhibition (MFA Publications, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2015)





Lesson Plan:


Target Students: 9th and/or 10th Grade World History and World History AP

                            Visual Arts Students 9-12, can be coordinated with History

                             And team taught


Duration:  2 or 3  45-50 minute classes

   Follows coverage in class by lecture/discussion of Feudal Japan and Tokugawa Periods.


Learning Goals: students will understand the main events and social order of Tokugawa Japan through interfacing with great art of the period. 



       Before first class:  read and view Asia for Educators video “Social System”

Created By

Elizabeth Forman


History/Social Studies, The Arts

Grade Level


Related Resources