Education About Asia

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

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

Book Review, Resources

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

BY KATHERINE BOO NEW YORK: RANDOMHOUSE, 2012 288 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1400067558, HARDBACK At the 2012 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Asia Conference, keynote speaker Professor Yasmeen Mohiuddin concluded that India’s greatest challenge in the future is to spread its concentrated wealth among more of its citizens. Katherine Boo’s nonfiction book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, portrays that challenge in heart-wrenching detail. This is an excellent read for high school and college stud...

Book Review, Resources

Things Chinese: Antiques, Crafts, Collectibles

BY RONALD KNAPP TUTTLE PUBLISHING, 2011 144 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0804841870, HARDCOVER Defining culture through a collection of objects is a challenging task. How are history, aesthetics, technology, and belief systems revealed in a sampling of material artifacts? How many and what objects are required to tell such a story? In a handsomely designed compendium of things Chinese, cultural geographer Ronald G. Knapp has selected and explained sixty items that together exhibit a distinct sense of ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

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...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

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...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

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...

Online Supplement

Emily of Emerald Hill: A Reaffirmation of Peranakan Culture

Stella Kon’s Emily of Emerald Hill is one of Singapore’s most enduring plays. Written in English and interspersed with Singlish (colloquially spoken English) expressions, this one-woman play recounts Emily’s life in the 1950s. Through her memories, the audience learns about the life, culture, and traditions of the Peranakans, a group of overseas Chinese long-resident in Penang and Malacca, who adopted Malay language and culture. Known variously as Babas, Straits Chinese, Melaka Men, and Pe...

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...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Water Puppetry in Vietnam: An Ancient Tradition in a Modern World

Water Puppetry in Vietnam An Ancient Tradition in a Modern World PRODUCED BY SAM PECK 31 MINUTES, COLOR BERKELEY MEDIA LLC, 2012 Water  puppetry arose in the Red River delta and other rice-growing regions of northern Việt Nam a thousand years ago, during the Lý dynasty. Villagers staged water puppet performances to celebrate the end of the rice harvest, at religious festivals, and simply for entertainment. Today, watching a performance of this unique folk art has come to be mandatory fo...

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 ...

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, ...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story

Nearly 20,000 lives were lost in the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011. With such devastating losses, including over US $500 billion in property destruction, it is a challenge to sort out the many tributes to the many lives lost. However, Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story stands out as personal, reflective, honest, and richly filled with a sense of hope. While there are several YouTube, Facebook, and written remembrances of the lives lost in the quake (and sub...

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...

Film Review Essay, Online Supplement, Resources

Teaching Post-Mao China: Two Classic Films

Introduction The Story of Qiu Ju and Beijing Bicycle are two films that have been used in classrooms since they were produced (1992 and 2001, respectively). Today, these films are still relevant to high school and undergraduate students studying history, literature, and related courses about China, as they offer a picture of the grand scale of societal change that has happened in China in recent decades. Both films illustrate contemporary China and the dichotomy between urban and rural life the...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Honor and Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story

Honor and Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story is an excellent case study that vividly illustrates issues surrounding early twentieth-century Japanese immigrants to the United States, their American-born children, and Japanese American military service during the Second World War. Narrated from the perspective of Roy Matsumoto’s daughter, Karen, the film has the intimate tone of a friend telling old family stories. The narrative begins with Roy’s father, Wakaji Matsumoto, arriving from Jap...

Feature Article

Symphony of Nature and Life: Mongolian Horse Culture

EDITOR’S NOTE: Special thanks go to JUEFEI WANG of the Freeman Foundation for his role in procuring this article and his invaluable help in assisting with its development. Roaming on the Mongolian Plateau and traveling through Mongolian herdsmen’s meadows, you will always hear heartfelt words of praise for horses—the spirit of the grassland. The brief essay that follows accentuates the inseparable role of the horse in Mongolia’s contemporary, historical, economic, and religious/spiritua...

Online Supplement

Globalizing Science and Engineering Through On-Site Project-Based Learning

Introduction Ease of international travel, instant communication, and new corporate structures that span multiple countries all point to the necessity of globalizing the way we teach STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. In fact, corporations involved in applied research have evolved into operations with fluid frameworks that span multiple countries, with headquarters in one country, sourcing in a second, marketing in a third, and research laboratories in yet another. Sci...