Education About Asia

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

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

Feature Article, Special Segment: Maritime Asia

The Saga of Manjirō

Editor’s Note: Readers who enjoy this article will be interested in Junya Nagakuni and Junji Kitadai’s Drifiting Toward the Southeast (Spinner Publications, 2003). The same waves wash the moles of the new-built Californian towns, but yesterday planted by  the recentest race of men, and lave the faded but still gorgeous skirts of Asiatic lands, older  than Abraham; while all between float milky-ways of coral isles, and low-flying, endless,  unknown archipelagoes, and impenetrable Japa...

Web Gleanings

Website Resources: Asia: Biographies and Personal Stories, Part 1

JAPAN Emperor Hirohito Biography (video) URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LDU33-SzQQ Produced by the BBC, the almost-50-minute video focuses on the lifeof Hirohito during the years of World War II. The cinematic footage is interspersed with comments by scholars and others, including Professor Carol Gluck and the granddaughter of Tōjō. Andō Hiroshige Biography URL: http://www.hiroshige.org.uk/hiroshige/main/biography.htm In this brief biography of Hiroshige, the essential fact...

Online Supplement, Special Segment: Chinese Migration

Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography: Soong Mei-ling

Editor’s Note: The Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography promises to be a long-lived and unique pedagogical tool of immense value for instructors, students, and anyone else interested in China who can utilize English language resources. Currently, three volumes of the Dictionary are available, with the final volume (post-1979) scheduled for publication in spring 2015. We thank Berkshire Publishing for allowing us to publish the following sample Dictionary entry on Soong Mei-ling.  ...

Feature Article

Akhtar Hameed Khan: A Legendary Social Scientist

Such towering figures and lofty intellects as Akhter Hameed’s are quite uncommon.  Only a few emerge in any generation.  —Dr. Norman Uphoff.1 This is a story of a man who dedicated his life to alleviating poverty and helping people lift themselves out of their impoverished state. He was and is an inspiration to many at home and abroad, and his name is synonymous with participatory development, poverty alleviation, microfinance, endogenous rural development, grassroots approaches, and w...

Feature Article

The Story of An Chunggŭn

In 1909, the Korean An Chunggŭn (1879–1910) killed Itō Hirobumi, a high-ranking Japanese official responsible for the expansion of his country’s power into the Korean peninsula. An examination of An’s life and why he killed Itō can tell us much about why some Koreans chose to violently resist Japan’s growing empire. Moreover, this examination will reveal the connection between religion, politics, and the spread of modern knowledge in Korea.1 Background An was born in 1879, only th...

Feature Article

Vivekananda and Okakura On What East Offers West

When will the West understand, or try to understand, the East?1 —Okakura Tenshin, The Book of Tea As the turn of the twentieth century approached, Western nations had come to control much of the globe. These powerful nations regarded themselves as comprehensively superior to the non-Western peoples over whom they ruled. Such a dual reality—Western control plus the swaggering confidence that accompanied it—created an excruciating challenge for those on the receiving end: should they e...

Feature Article, Special Segment: Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography

Review of the Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography: Volume 2: Song Dynasty through the Ming Dynasty

The Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography is the product of a superb effort by numerous scholars to create a reference work for students to learn more about significant figures in Chinese history from all walks of life. This compilation of biographical sketches, illuminated with well-researched and contextualized information about the lives and achievements of the men and women featured here, is an impressive accomplishment. All students of Chinese history and scholars of China in general wi...

Feature Article, Special Segment: Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography

Review of the Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography: Volume 3: Qing Dynasty through the People’s Republic of China (until 1979)

In volume 3 of the Dictionary of Chinese Biography, Berkshire Publishing has provided a helpful and fascinating reference work that can be used by teachers in various classrooms. Covering the period from 1644 to 1979, the volume sheds valuable light on China’s modern era as seen through the lives of select individuals. Kerry Brown, the editor-in-chief of the three-volume series, unapologetically argues for the value of biography in the study of history. “While historians subscribe less a...

Feature Article, Special Segment: Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography

Review of the Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography: Volume 1: Xia and Shang Dynasties through the Tang Dynasty

Editor’s Introduction: The Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography promises to be a long-lived and unique pedagogical tool of immense value for instructors, students, and anyone else interested in China who can utilize English-language resources. Currently, three volumes of the Dictionary are available, with the final volume (post-1979) scheduled for publication in spring 2015. The first portion of this special segment includes three review essays by outstanding historians of China who also ...

Feature Article

A Tale of Two Warlords: Republican China During the 1920s

Usually translated into English as “warlords,” junfa were the bane of Republican China. Some were highly trained officers, others selfmade strategists or graduates of the “school of forestry,” a Chinese euphemism for banditry. In the words of a contemporary, they “did more harm for China in sixteen years than all the foreign gunboats could have done in a hundred years.”1 Warlords struggled for power between the death of would-be Emperor Yuan Shikai in 1916 and the end of the republi...

Feature Article

Popo’s World: Youth and College Life

Editor’s Note: When she learned about the EAA special section on biographies and personal stories, National Chengchi University (Taipei, Taiwan) Art History Professor Jane C. Ju sent our office a copy of her mother’s memoirs, Popo’s World and an inquiry as to whether portions of the work might be applicable for the special section. I was particularly impressed, as was an external reviewer, with the memoirs and am pleased to publish two excerpts in this issue. They are preceded by Professor...

Feature Article

Aung San Suu Kyi: A Leader Born, a Leader Made

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi is today feted around the world. Why is she so celebrated? Before 2010, she spent fifteen of the previous twenty-one years under house arrest, jailed by the country’s military rulers. In 1989, she faced down the guns of the regime’s soldiers.  In 1990, her party triumphed in elections rigged against it, only to be deprived of the chance to take power when the election results were ignored. In 1991, Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, something she says sh...

Feature Article, Online Supplement

Mori Arinori and Japanese Education (1847-1889)

Editor’s Note: This manuscript is based upon a considerably lengthier earlier book chapter by the author, Terumichi Morikawa, titled “Mori Arinori,” published in Ten Great Educators of Modern Japan: A Japanese Perspective, ed. Benjamin C. Duke (Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1989), 39–65. On the morning of February 11, 1889, Minister of Education Mori Arinori was scheduled to attend the promulgation ceremony of the new Imperial Constitution. Dressed in formal attire, he waited for th...

Film Review Essay, Online Supplement

Shifting Gender Roles in Postwar Japan: The On-Screen Life of Actress Hara Setsuko

Hara Setsuko (born Aida Masae, 1920) is one of Japan’s most admired actresses from its golden age of cinema. During her twenty-eight-year career, spanning the mid-1930s to early 1960s, she appeared in over one hundred feature films. Best known for her portrayals of ordinary, middle-class women, Hara’s performances were anything but ordinary. With large, expressive eyes and striking features, her unforgettable depictions of women from all stages of life, including daughters, wives, mothers an...

Film Review Essay, Online Supplement

Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful

“Be strong, be gentle, be beautiful” is not only the essence of the art and sport of judo, but a clear six-word biographical description of the life of Fukuda Keiko, AKA Mrs. Judo. The only woman in judo’s history (since 1882) to achieve the difficult tenth-degree black belt, Fukuda’s life is not only the story of achievement in a sport, but the struggle to overcome tradition and sexism. Japan’s men expected their wives to be at home each evening, when judo classes were taught. But Fuk...

Book Review Essay, Columns, Resources

Mountain of Fame: Portraits of Chinese History

For high school teachers and university lecturers hoping to improve their content knowledge and approach to China in world history survey courses, Mountain of Fame: Portraits in Chinese History by John Wills Jr. offers a tremendous introduction to the broad swath of Chinese history in a manageable and enjoyable volume. While the full volume is not appropriate for most high school general survey-level classes, there are countless passages where Wills’s biographical narrative outlines concepts i...

Columns, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Using “Makers of Modern India” to Teach about India

Makers of Modern India, edited by acclaimed Indian historian Ramachandra Guha, is a terrific addition to the growing body of work on India’s founders. More than just a compilation of excerpts from selected writings by India’s foremost political figures and theorists, this excellent book gives a sense of how the extraordinarily rich trove of work that these influential Indians produced between roughly 1830 and 1970 helped shape India and continues to inform Indians. This impressive book he...

Columns, Web Gleanings

Asia: Biographies and Personal Stories, Part II

JAPAN Portal Japan/Selected Biographies URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Japan/Selected_biography This page presents fourteen biographies of a variety of people associated with Japan, including some Japanese citizens. Many of them are from the arts and most of them were born in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. Each short biography is linked to a longer and more detailed one in the Wikipedia archives on the site. Japan: Peeps at History URL: http://tinyurl.com/ngrnmuk This...

Honda Sōichirō and the Rise of Japan’s Postwar Motor Vehicle Industry

Later dubbed the “Henry Ford of Japan,” Honda argued that limiting foreign auto imports would only perpetuate the inferiority of Japanese products and assure the nation’s defeat in world markets. For a manufacturing company to achieve success on a global scale, it must be willing to see past its domestic rivals and set its sights on challenging the world’s leading firms. In Japan in the late 1940s, however, few company presidents could foresee a time when their products would outperform...

Story of Hiroshima: Life of an Atomic Bomb Survivor

On August 6, 1945, there was a clear blue sky over Hiroshima. Hirano and his classmates were supposed to be engaged in demolition activity in the center of the city around 9:00 a.m. On August 6, 1945, the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. The nuclear bomb exploded over the center of the city, completely devastating it. The area within 1.2 miles of the hypocenter was entirely leveled and burned. According to the city of Hiroshima, approximately 140,000 people had died by the end of ...