Education About Asia

(culture, history, art, marriage, etc...)

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Feature Article

Japan, the U.S. and the Asian-Pacific War

Few historians today would quibble with the idea that the war against Nazi Germany was necessary. Japan, Hitler’s only major ally, has fared far better with many historians in the West—much better than in Imperial Japan’s former Asian colonies. Because the war ended with the atomic bomb, many in the West today look at the Pacific War in terms similar to what was called “moral equivalence” in the Cold War. That view shows disregard for the nightmarish world that existed during total war...

Feature Article

The U.S. as a Pacific Nation

America’s Pacific Presence On his inaugural visit to Asia as president in November 2009, Barack Obama declared himself “America’s first Pacific president” and the US a “Pacific nation.”(note 1) President Obama’s self-characterization, based no doubt on his unusual biography of having been born in Hawai`i and partly raised in Indonesia, is novel. Identifying the US as a Pacific nation, however, is a longstanding tradition, increasingly common today and one that resonates for many r...

Feature Article

A Tour of Music Cultures in South Asia: Classical and Devotional Music

An audience of about 3,000 descends on the open-air Nazrul Manch Theater in South Kolkata (Calcutta) every winter at the Dover Lane Music Festival to hear the senior legends and the emerging stars of North Indian classical (or Hindustani) music. The crowd, made up of the urbane intellectuals of Kolkata and a good number of foreigners, is lively. Audience members move in and out of the hall for tea and snacks between performances, but every seat is filled for the senior artists who perform betwee...

Feature Article

Teaching Chinese History and Culture through Film

For many of my students, China is a faceless, distant land. Others who teach undergraduates indicate that their students view China as an economic or national security threat. I have found the use of film in teaching about China to be most useful in giving students different perspectives on China than those directly connected with either economics or national security.  However, in my first attempts to show Chinese films in world history classes or other courses, I encountered resistance. Stude...

Feature Article

The Trickster in Japanese Art

A story: Once upon a time, a priest at a temple called Morinji was about to hang a tea kettle over the fire when it suddenly sprouted a head, tail, and feet. The priest called in his novices to see the sight, and everyone stood aghast as the furry tea kettle scampered about the room. The monks attempted to catch it, but the kettle flew about the room, just out of reach. Finally, someone managed to snatch the little kettle and thrust it into a box. The kettle had turned into tanuki, or rather, a ...

Feature Article

The Qin: China’s Most Revered Musical Instrument

Editor’s Note: Readers can visit the EAA spring online supplement for audio and performance examples of the music specifically discussed in this essay. China is home to numerous distinctively Chinese musical instruments, but none is more revered than the qin (pronounced something like the English word “chin” and sometimes written “ch’in”). The instrument’s name is often translated as “Chinese lute” or “ancient lute” (guqin). The qin is associated with the elite class of s...

Feature Article

An Environmental Ethic in Chinese Landscape Painting

Landscape painting in Western art did not develop into an important category of painting until the seventeenth century. In contrast, landscape painting in China was already a prized art form by the ninth century. (note 1) In fact, when Chinese art was systematically introduced to the West during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the prominence afforded nature—as opposed to humans— in Chinese art startled Western audiences. One reviewer of a pioneering exhibition of Chinese art at the B...

Feature Article

How China’s Approved Destination Status Policy Spurs and Hinders Chinese Travel Abroad

Chinese tourists can be a real contributor to the global economy and world peace. China needs the world, and the world needs China. —Zhang Guangrui, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (note 1) By the end of this decade, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts that the People’s Republic of China (hereafter referred to as China) will be sending 100 million tourists abroad each year. (note 2) By then, China is expected to be the world’s largest tourist-generating country. How ...

Feature Article

Bringing Students into the World: Asia in the World Literature Classroom

The term Weltliteratur (world literature) was first coined by German author Johann Wilhelm von Goethe in the late 1820s. Writing during a period of great political upheaval in Europe, he hopefully noted: There has been talk for some time of a general world literature, and indeed not without justice. For the nations, after they had been thrown into confusion by the most terrible wars [ie, the Napoleonic Wars], could not return to their independent life again without noticing that they had uncon...

Feature Article

Cyberbullying in Asia

In Japan, a high school male attempted suicide twice and rarely left his room after receiving intimidating messages on his cellphone and having embarrassing photographs posted on the Internet. When a seventeen year-old female in India started to refuse to go to school, her mother discovered that material of a sexual nature was posted on her social networking site and that her peers were teasing her about it. A young male in India received death threats on his cellphone, warning him of dire conse...

EAA Interview, Feature Article

Social Media in the South Korean Presidential Election: An Interview with Hoon Lee

Hoon Lee (PhD, Communication, University of Michigan) is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Nam Center for Korean Studies and a Visiting Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan. Prior to the doctoral program at Michigan, he studied the political economy of East Asia at Stanford University. Lee’s current research agenda centers on emerging social media and how they intersect with interpersonal communication to shape the attitudes and behaviors of ci...

Feature Article

Wa Minority Youth and Mobile Phones in Urban China

This is a tale of labor migration and the social networking experiences of China’s Wa ethnic minority group. The PRC government classifies the Wa people as one of fifty-five ethnic minorities in the country. Facing poverty and dismal economic opportunities in their rural homelands, the Wa—along with innumerable minority youths in their teens and twenties, such as the Miao and Tibetans—have migrated to China’s coastal manufacturing centers in search of menial factory work. These “floa...

Feature Article

China’s Happy Farm and the Impact of Social Gaming

Social network games (SNG or social games), the online games played through social network sites (SNS) or mobile devices, began to grow in 2008, after SNS such as Facebook opened up for developers to make video games in 2007. SNG distinguish themselves from other types of online games in that they are embedded in SNS, where people usually connect to real-life friends and family members with real-life identities. SNG are often casual, easy-to-pick-up, multiplayer experiences that allow interactio...

Feature Article

China’s Weibo: Political and Social Implications?

Sina Weibo, China’s microblogging answer to Twitter, has become one of the most popular sites in China’s cyberspace since its debut in 2009. Today, the microblog has about 140 million active users. (note 1) Compared to noninteractive communication channels, Weibo and similar social networking sites have the potential to challenge China’s authoritarian rule. (note 2) What follows are depictions of how this microblogging technology is being used in China as a source of news, as a tool for c...

Feature Article

New Media in Korea and Japan: Emergent Trends

Japan and the Republic of Korea (South Korea henceforth) have highly developed mobile and broadband Internet infrastructures and enthusiastic, innovative mobile media cultures. Japan pioneered new forms of communication and entertainment, and Japanese society still produces startling innovations in the use of technology, for example, using robots as surrogate pets and as nursing attendants. South Korea has more recently overtaken Japan and everyone else to enjoy the world’s best Internet servi...

Feature Article

The Mongolian World Empire: Does It Matter?

I teach a variety of Asian civilization courses, and when we come to the Mongol world empire, students invariably question my credibility. “Pax Mongolica?” they say. “Mongolian Peace? Are you nuts?” “Well, yes,” I am forced to admit, “but not right now and not about this.” When I poll the students about their knowledge of Chinggis Khan (a.k.a Genghis Khan), without exception they report that he was the most irredeemably destructive conqueror of all time. “That’s because all t...

Feature Article, Focus on Korea: Economic Giant

A Commentary on Economic Education in the ROK and the U.S.

Editor’s Note: Tawni Ferrarini, a prominent American economic educator who has worked on Korea, was invited to contribute the following comparative commentary. Professor Ferrarini  is the Sam M. Cohodas Professor of the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship at Northern Michigan University (NMU). In her work, she focuses upon the use of classroom technology and the integration of economics across subjects, settings and, countries. In 2012, the Council for Economic Education honore...

Feature Article, Focus on Korea: Korean Democratization

Economic Education in the Republic of Korea: New Directions

Sustaining the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) outstanding economic achievements in part means improving economic education. Historically, an agriculturally based economy with little industrialization, culture, and tradition shaped the ROK’s economy; and little advanced economic reasoning or understanding was required. Now that the ROK is an advanced economy, widespread economic literacy is imperative. Examples of critical economic knowledge and skills include rational consumption and production d...

Feature Article, Focus on Korea: Economic Giant

The U.S.-South Korea Economic Relationship

In 1979, Deng Xiaoping rose to power in China and began the process of economic modernization that has seen China develop into the world’s second-largest economy and become one of the United States’ largest trading partners. As significant as China’s economic development has been, much of what has been achieved in China follows prior economic successes in East Asia by Japan, the Republic of Korea—more commonly known as South Korea—and the other three “Little Dragons”: Hong Kong, Si...

Feature Article, Focus on Korea: Economic Giant

Tigers, Hard Workers, and Online Gamers: South Korea’s Political Economy Since 1980

Winter Sonata Warms up Japan In 2003, a new Korean drama debuted on Japanese television. Called Winter Sonata, it was the story of a young woman whose high school boyfriend dies, and years later, she meets another man who looks exactly like her former love. The show interwove themes of love, loss, and loyalty and quickly became Japan’s most popular foreign program—more watched than any American fare combined. The program’s male lead, Bae Yong-joon, developed a huge following among middle-...