Education About Asia

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

NOTE: Archive articles may be downloaded and reproduced for personal or classroom use only.

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Korean Politics through Cinema

Korean studies in the US have experienced a tremendous growth over the last decade in undergraduate institutions, as well as in some high schools. The numerical surge of Korean heritage students interested in learning their cultural background, the rising popularity of pop culture originating from South Korea, the frequency of North Korea appearing in the media headlines, and the aggressive expansion of funding by the Korean government may have all contributed to the enlarged visibility of Korea...

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The Wheelwright and the Butcher: Master Zhuang’s Recipe for Mindful Living

Some years ago, I was taking a stroll through a museum in the town of Tainan, the old capital of the island of Taiwan. In one room, I came across a large cart wheel carved out of solid wood (see photo). It was about five feet in diameter and consisted of three separate pieces joined together. Most people probably would not have been overly excited to see such a mundane artifact, but I was immediately struck by this wheel because it answered a question that had long rattled at the back of my mind...

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Modern Chinese History: An Interview with Key Issues Author, David Kenley

In addition to being the most populous country, China is projected to surpass the United States in gross domestic product within a few years. It has a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and wields tremendous “soft power” throughout the world. For these and other reasons, Americans are fascinated with China. Yet this fascination remains tempered by fear and ignorance. Modern Chinese History is not designed specifically to alter American attitudes toward China, but it does p...

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“Confucius in East Asia”: An Interview with “Key Issues” author, Jeffrey L. Richey

Confucius in East Asia introduces fundamental patterns of East Asian history, spirituality, society, and politics through the lens of Confucianism’s development and impact in the region. For millennia, no East Asian regime has governed independently of Confucian influence; and even when Confucius and his tradition have been criticized or condemned, as has often been the case during the past century or so, they have been conspicuously present in East Asian affairs. It is impossible to understan...

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“The Story of Viet Nam: From Prehistory to the Present”: An Interview with “Key Issues” Author, Shelton Woods

The Story of Việt Nam is an overview of Việt Nam’s history from the first days of village life along the Red River in the north to the rise of the modern mega metropolis of the south’s Hồ Chí Minh City. As the title suggests, the book is a tale—a narrative that is built around four themes: land and freedom, persistence of cultural values, shifting tides of global interests in Việt Nam, and the vital role Việt Nam will play in shaping the twenty-first century....

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Engaging Inner-City Students in East Asian Studies: Martial Arts, Warriors, and Gender

For the past two years, I have taught high school students from urban schools in Chicago that were targeted by the University of Illinois at Chicago as a part of the Transforming Roadblocks into Opportunities (TRiO)Academic Support Program. Students who come from low-income families, families with no college graduates, or who are individuals with learning disabilities can participate in the program and may bring their brothers and sisters. My students are African-American and Hispanic, and the h...

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What Is Teachable about Japanese Tea Practice?

The Japanese art known as the “way of tea” (chadō or chanoyu—often translated into English as the slightly misleading “tea ceremony”) is the highly stylized and artistically nuanced preparation of matcha (powdered green tea), often in a tearoom or freestanding structure specifically designed for that purpose. (note 1) While the consumption of tea in Japan began as a largely aristocratic activity during the twelfth century, by the sixteenth century, tea drinking had matured into a high...

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Calligraphy as a Resource in the East Asian Studies Curriculum

Brush calligraphy, a fundamentally intercultural and interdisciplinary art form, can be extremely useful as a teaching tool in K-12 and undergraduate education about East Asia. The complexity of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean writing systems presents language instructors with formidable tasks in developing student literacy skills. For many students, however, the writing system is the major factor of their appeal. Though brush calligraphy in its sophisticated forms requires considerable traini...

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Values Lesson Plan: How Currency Reveals Cultural Values

King Sejong is the most well-known and celebrated ruler in Korean history. Even though he lived more than 500 years ago, the Korean people continue to honor him for his relentless efforts to improve the lives of the common people. He governed with compassion and wisdom and led Korea into a golden age of cultural and scientific progress. In his youth, Sejong became known as “the reading prince” and began his lifelong quest to learn everything he could about the world around him. At the age...

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Using Korean Bojagi in the Classroom

Bojagi: An Introduction Bojagi (sometime written pojagi) is a traditional Korean folk art consisting of patchwork cloths made from scrap fabrics such as cotton, silk, ramie, and hemp. These practical cloths of varying sizes were present in Korea as early as the fourteenth century and were used to cover and contain items such as gifts, beds, tables, and foods. The art has historically been passed down through generations of unnamed female artists and were used by Korean people from all classes, ...

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Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative: An Introduction

Editor’s Note: Readers can visit the fall online supplement to directly access the links in the chronological order that they appear in the Notes section. The Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative (ATON) (http://aton.ttu.edu) is located at Texas Tech University. The ATON website currently contains fifteen million words arranged in documents of varying lengths, mostly in PDF format. There are also over forty hours’ worth of music files in MP3 format. The ATON website’s main page offer links t...

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My Favorite Asia-Related Digital Media: Japanese Anime and Korean Music

There are many aspects of Asian-related media that I have grown to love, but my top two favorites are Japanese anime and the South Korean record label SM Entertainment Company (SMENT). For the majority of my childhood, I knew nothing about Asian countries or their unique digital media. During my first year of high school, I learned more about these countries and began to explore their different cultures. My world geography teacher helped create my interest in East Asia. He required our class to ...

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My Favorite Asia-Related Digital Media: Japanese and Korean Pop Music

While watching Japanese anime and playing video games, I fell in love with Asian media, especially its music. Genres like Japanese Rock (JRock), Visual Kei, Korean Pop (KPop), and Korean Hip-hop (KHip-hop) became the major focus of my personal playlist. After discovering these styles of music, I became fond of two particular companies: Pony Canyon Studios in Japan and YG Entertainment in South Korea. These two important Asian media companies have been dishing out quality entertainment and music ...

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My Favorite Asia-Related Digital Media: Asia-Crossing Cultures Online in the K-12 Classroom

Through the Internet, students in the United States and other countries have unprecedented opportunities to learn about Asia. Various factors influence a teacher’s ability to provide connections and relevant activities to engage students in topics relating to Asia. The age of modern media provides an accessible vehicle for all students to travel to the opposite side of the globe. Classroom instruction is readily supplemented with web resources that address current topics and explore historical...

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My Favorite Asia-Related Digital Media: Korean and Japanese Films

My Sassy Girl Directed By KWAKJAE-YONG Produced By SHIN CHUL CINEMA SERVICE DVD, 123 MINUTES, 2001 Pingu-Pongu (Ping Pong) Directed By FUMIHIKO SORI Produced By TAMOTSUSHIINA (AND OTHERS) ASMIK ACE ENTERTAINMENT, TBS DVD, 114 MINUTES, 2002 “I believe . . . When you are not with me there are no stars in the sky. I believe . . . The way back to you will feel a little far. . . . I’ll be waiting. I do it for you.” These words, translated from the theme song “I Believe” from...

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The Asia Matters for America Initiative and US-Asia Relations

America’s relations with Asia have never been all or only about issues of war, peace, and treaties; and participants in these relations have never been based only in national capitals. Former US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific James Kelly has remarked that the “general public has a growing sense that something big is going on in Asia.” (note 1) Public opinion polling bears this out. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs Survey for 2012 showed that, for the first ...

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The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Course Readers

The first four of fifteen scheduled readers published by Professor Laura Hein’s The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Course Readers project are certainly a technological triumph. Each online reader reprints Asia-Pacific Journal articles, endnotes, and suggestions for further readings. Links allow visitors to view individual articles; go directly to suggested further readings if these are online; and, in some cases, access relevant material in individual articles. The editor includes a number ...

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The Secret History of the Mongols

Four English translations are now available of The Secret History of the Mongols, a thirteenth-century Mongolian epic that recounts the biography of Genghis Khan.(note 1) Beginning with his mythological ancestors, it narrates his miraculous birth, the assassination of his father, his humble childhood and adolescent adventures, the gradual unification of the Mongolian tribes, his recognition as their supreme leader, and his death. A short section, more than likely added later to the end of the ...

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Voices of Early Modern Japan: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life during the Age of the Shoguns

We live in an age in which most K-16 educators are required to do more, are held accountable for doing more, and are “rewarded” less and less. The increasing demands for more content (but what?), more skills (which ones?), and better display of “mastery” in ever-changing and higher stakes assessments distract us, at times, from the basic goals of education. To return to those goals and balance the content with skills seem increasingly difficult. Constantine Nomikos Vaporis’s new book, ...

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The Oratory of Khans and Queens: Reading The Secret History of the Mongols Rhetorically

Four English translations are now available of The Secret History of the Mongols, a thirteenth-century Mongolian epic that recounts the biography of Genghis Khan. (note 1) Beginning with his mythological ancestors, it narrates his miraculous birth, the assassination of his father, his humble childhood and adolescent adventures, the gradual unification of the Mongolian tribes, his recognition as their supreme leader, and his death. A short section, more than likely added later to the end of the ...