Education About Asia

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

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

Book Review Essay, Resources

A History of East Asia: From the Origins of Civilization to the Twenty-first Century

BY CHARLES HOLCOMBE NEW YORK: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2011 456 PAGES, ISBN 978-0-521-51595-5, HARDBACK; ISBN 978-0-52173164-5 PAPER Charles Holcombe has given instructors of East Asian history courses and world history teachers a welcome gift: his book, A History of East Asia. This volume is packed with both information and insights. The author provides interesting facts that will spice up lectures and illuminating statistics that will give students a vivid sense of East Asia’s size a...

Feature Article

The Korean War 101: Causes, Course, and Conclusion of the Conflict

North Korea attacked South Korea on June 25, 1950, igniting the Korean War. Cold War assumptions governed the immediate reaction of US leaders, who instantly concluded that Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin had ordered the invasion as the first step in his plan for world conquest. “Communism,” President Harry S. Truman argued later in his memoirs, “was acting in Korea just as [Adolf] Hitler, [Benito] Mussolini, and the Japanese had acted ten, fifteen, and twenty years earlier.” If North Korea...

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...

Book Review, Resources

Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West

BY BLAINE HARDEN NEW YORK: VIKING, 2012 224 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0670023325, HARDBACK This is a book that should be read by anyone interested in North Korea and in human rights issues. It joins Kang Chol-Hwan and Pierre Rigoulot’s The Aquariums of Pyongyang and Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy as among the most engaging and insightful accounts of life in that secretive country. Escape From Camp 14 is the story of Shin Dong-hyuk, the only known inmate in North Korea’s “total control” p...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Waxen Wings: The Acta Koreana Anthology of Short Fiction from Korea

BRUCE FULTON, EDITOR ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, KORYO PRESS, 2011 250 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1597432030, PAPERBACK As a teacher of world literature to high school seniors, I have experimented with many works in translation, attempting to introduce unfamiliar cultures through story. When the references are too vague or the background too intimidating, students close the book before they give the literature (and sometimes the culture) a chance. That is why Waxen Wings is a welcome work. While Korean reader...

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...

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...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

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...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

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, ...

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...

Book Review, Resources

Tears of Blood: A Korean POW’s Fight for Freedom, Family, and Justice

Tears of Blood: A Korean POW’s Fight for Freedom, Family, and Justice by Young-Bok Yoo is a riveting, highly readable, and concise account of a survivor of the Korean War who suffered harsh imprisonment and forty-seven years of extreme hardship in North Korea until he escaped to freedom in South Korea at age seventy. Young-Bok Yoo’s narrative brings to life not only the chaos and suffering experienced by Koreans during the Korean War but also informs the reader about an aspect of the war tha...

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...

EAA Interview, Focus on Korea: Economic Giant

The Korean Economy: Past, Present, and Future: An Interview with Marcus Noland

Marcus Noland (PhD, Johns Hopkins University) is a Senior Fellow and the Executive Vice President and Director of Studies, Peterson Institute for International Economics, where from 2009 through 2012, he served as the deputy director. Noland is also a Senior Fellow at the East-West Center. He has held teaching or research positions at places such as Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Southern California, Tokyo University, the Korea Development Institute, and the East-West C...

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-...

Feature Article, Focus on Korea: Economic Giant

Park Chung-Hee: An EAA Interview with Carter J. Eckert

Carter J. Eckert (PhD, Korean and Japanese History, University of Washington) is the Yoon Se Young Professor of Korean History at Harvard University, a position he has held since 2004. Professor Eckert has served as the Director of the Korea Institute at Harvard from 1993 to 2004. He has been teaching modern Korean history at Harvard since 1985. Eckert’s book Offspring of Empire: The Colonial Origins of Korean Capitalism received both the John K. Fairbank Prize in East Asian History from the A...

Feature Article, Focus on Korea: Economic Giant

An Unpromising Recovery: South Korea’s Post-Korean War Economic Development: 1953-1961

Introduction: South Korea Lags Behind the North In 1953, both North and South Korea were shattered by the destructive three-year Korean War that left upward of two million dead and cities and towns in ruin. Already poor prior to the war, neither country had very promising prospects for the future. However, in the first eight years after the conflict, North Korea carried out an impressive recovery under a highly organized, purposeful government that appeared to be laying the foundations for a m...

Key Issues in Asian Studies, Online Supplement, Resources

Key Issues in Asian Studies: East Asian Societies

Editor’s note: Authors of the two most recent Key Issues in Asian Studies have each contributed an essay about their volume. For more information about this pedagogical resource, visit www.asian-studies.org/publications/KIAS.htm Few students approach their study of Asia with a blank slate; rather, most start with a mixture of stereotypes, misconceptions, and fragments of accurate information. East Asian Societies attempts to convey the excitement and significance of East Asia to American te...

Feature Article, Focus on Korea: Korean Democratization

Korea’s Rough Road to Democracy

On October 17 2013, I took part in a one-day conference in Seoul titled Dialogue with Ambassadors. It was sponsored by the Korea Foundation in Seoul and the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, DC. Participants were six former Korean ambassadors to Washington and five former American ambassadors to Seoul, of which I was the earliest, having served from 1989–1993. There was general agreement among the eleven participants that the Korean-American alliance was in ve...

Feature Article, Focus on Korea: Korean Democratization

Americans and the Development of Civil Society in Modern Korea

Vibrant civil societies, communities of citizens linked by common interests and collective identities, are critical for the perpetuation of free societies. (note 1) South Korea today is widely regarded as a successful democracy that rests on the solid foundation of a civil society. The building blocks of this foundation include a strong and thriving middle class; a constitution that guarantees basic freedoms, such as a free press and the freedom to associate; a political system that is supported...