Education About Asia

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Feature Article

Butter Diplomacy: Food and Drink as a Social Lubricant in Dutch East India Company Trade with Japan

Every year the monsoon winds of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea brought roughly half a dozen Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) ships to Nagasaki, carrying a valuable cargo consisting mainly of various types of silk and other types of cloth, and also Southeast Asian luxury goods, European “rarities,” and foodstuffs such as sugar and spices. After these VOC ships unloaded their precious and varied cargo, negotiations would begin to determine the price of t...

Essay, Resources

East Asian International Relations: Peaceful and Stable for Centuries

How did international relations function in East Asia from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries—that is, before the arrival of the Western colonial powers? We typically use European history and European ideas as the basis for thinking about world history and international relations. Ideas that emanated from the 1688 Peace of Westphalia include the independent sovereignty of each nation-state, the inherent equality of those nation-states, and “balance of power.” But, it may be that th...

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

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-...

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...

Feature Article

When the World Came to Southeast Asia: Malacca and the Global Economy

Situated in the west coast of the Malay Peninsula on the strait that bears its name, the port of Malacca is adjacent to one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Today’s Malacca (Melaka in Malay) is a small port city with few obvious signs of its former glory. Despite a growing tourist trade, most visitors are ignorant of the city’s spectacular maritime past as one of the most important trade centers in the early modern global economy, a past that put Malacca in the same league with Venic...

Book Review, Columns, Resources

The Company and the Shogun: The Dutch Encounter with Tokugawa Japan

The Company and the Shogun examines the “politics of encounter” operative between the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or VOC) and the Tokugawa regime during the so-called first age of globalization corresponding here to the seventeenth century. Along the way, the book addresses general questions regarding the extent to which European power was apparent in Asia, how Europeans managed their encounters with Asian states such as the Tokugawa, and the nature of the p...

Feature Article

Shibusawa Eiichi and the Merger of Confucianism and Capitalism in Modern Japan

  Modern economic development depends greatly on a favorable institutional framework and a supportive cultural environment, both of which encourage the investment of talent and resources into commercial enterprises. In Japan’s Meiji 1868–1912 transition to a modern economy, government oligarchs and business leaders made economic growth a national priority to compete with the Western powers. Leaders built modern economic institutions like banks, insurance companies, and stock exchange...

Feature Article

The Story of Indian Business: The Great Transition into the New Millennium

Indian entrepreneurship, innovation, and business firms have gone through a plethora of changes, particularly in the last three decades. The most significant change is the result of national government policies that had the effect of moving away from postcolonial Nehruvian socialism and creating a climate for more economic freedom for entrepreneurs and private businesses. The 1990s was the watershed decade for these revolutionary changes. Indian business suddenly took off with a new outburst of ...

Feature Article

The Importance of Entrepreneurship in Japan’s Late Nineteenth-Century Meiji Industrail Transformation

Japan’s rapid transformation in the late nineteenth century, from an agricultural society governed by the feudal samurai warrior class into an industrial power, is an unusual story in world history. When samurai leaders from Satsuma, Chōshū, and other domains joined forces to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate and rule in the name of Emperor Meiji in 1868, they might have been expected to establish a similar form of government that maintained the existing class structure and protected the samu...

Feature Article

Boom Country? An Interview with Alan Rosling

Alan Rosling is an entrepreneur and strategic adviser who has had a deep engagement with India over the past thirty-five years. He is co-founder of ECube, an investment manager dedicated to raising standards of environmental social and governance compliance. He cofounded Kiran Energy after leaving the Tata Group, where he was the first non-Indian Executive Director of Tata Sons (the holding company of the Tata Group), charged with internationalization of the company. His earlier career included ...

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...

Feature Article

Property Rights and One Indian Village: Reform, Enterprise, and Dignity

Despite impressive national progress that occurred with the 1990s sea change away from democratic socialism and toward economic liberalization, large numbers of Indians remain desperately poor and plagued by a lack of educational and economic opportunities, often corrupt and unresponsive bureaucrats, and an inability to secure basic property rights. Introduction: One Poor Village and an NGO Despite impressive national progress that occurred with the 1990s sea change away from democratic social...

Feature Article

The History of Economic Development in India since Independence

The Background The task that the democratically elected leaders of newly independent India embarked on in the early 1950s was not for the faint of heart. It was to lift living standards of a people accounting for one-seventh of the world’s population who earned an average income that was one-fifteenth of the average American income of the time.1 Three-fourths of the Indian people were engaged in agriculture working with primitive tools and techniques, as either destitute landless laborers, hi...

Curriculum Review, Resources

Economic Development: The Case of South Korea

Economic Development: The Case of South Korea includes a comprehensive introduction for teachers, the provision of supplemental teacher information included at various places in the unit, and student opportunities to engage in a wide range of activities and assignments. South Korea is a country that the world should know better. It is the third-largest economy of East Asia and the thirteenth-largest in the world. It is one of the Asian “miracle” economies that rose from poverty and the ashe...

Feature Article

Taiwan’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

This essay is a basic introduction to Taiwan’s vibrant small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In what follows, we define SMEs, provide an overview of their importance to Taiwan’s economy, explain SME organization and management, and share case studies of two successful SMEs. SMEs are businesses whose employees are below a certain limit. The European Union limits small enterprises to fifty people and medium-sized enterprises to 250 people. In contrast, Taiwan’s government separates SMEs in...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching with China’s Great Migration: How the Poor Built a Prosperous Nation

Syrian refugees on rafts in the Mediterranean Sea, Rohingya fleeing ethnic cleansing in Burma, Somalians and Sudanese fleeing military conflict and famine on the rim of Ethiopia—migration is perpetual headline news. In the US, the story is of stemming the tide of migrants from Mexico and the Caribbean. In all cases, migration is viewed as a problem to be controlled or stopped. While news reports focus on migration across national borders, the benefits of migration are best illustrated withi...

Feature Article

Asia’s Role in the Four Industrial Revolutions

The United States and Europe have been at the forefront of the Industrial Revolutions over the last two and a half centuries. Almost all Asian countries, except Japan, were latecomers to these revolutions. Nevertheless, many of them, including China, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia, made significant progress by the end of the Third Industrial Revolution. What follows is a brief depiction of the involvement of Japan; the “Asian Giants,” China and Indi...