Education About Asia

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

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Feature Article, Taiwan The People's Republic of China and the US: A Symposium

China, Don’t be Stupid

An anonymous diplomat from Taiwan said: Personally, I think we Taiwanese should not depend on this kind of wishful thinking that America will help us. We should get prepared and more globalized, so that it is such an important link in the world that China will think twice before taking any stupid actions. (May 2012) This anonymous diplomat was referring to the possibility that China will attack his country when I asked him whether, in his opinion, the US would react militarily. Currently, an...

Feature Article, Taiwan The People's Republic of China and the US: A Symposium

Calm or Dangerous? The Taiwan Strait

Relations between Taiwan (Republic of China-ROC) and China (People’s Republic of China-PRC) are dynamic, and Taiwan-US relations in the Asia Pacific are of vital interest for the US. When two tigers are fighting in a valley, it is good to watch them from the top of a hill. This Chinese saying reflects at this moment the situation with Taiwan (ROC) and the People’sRepublic of China (PRC), as the PRC and Japan continue a tough diplomatic struggle about the uninhabited Diaoyu Islands (Japan...

Taiwan The People's Republic of China and the US: A Symposium

A Unique Trilateral Relationship: The US, the PRC, and Taiwan since 1949

The US was an ally of China—the Republic of China (ROC)—during World War II. After WWII, the Kuomintang (KMT) that ruled the ROC and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) engaged in a bloody civil war. With the Communist victory imminent, the KMT government retreated to Taiwan. In October 1949, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established on the mainland. During and after WWII, the US became disenchanted with the corrupt and inefficient KMT. As the Communist forces swept across the ...

Feature Article, Taiwan The People's Republic of China and the US: A Symposium

Why Are We Still Talking About Taiwan?

Editor’s introduction: Taiwan-PRC relations and their ramifications for the US, as well as Asia’s stability, are critical regional and world topics. In what follows, academics and journalists, all of whom share substantial knowledge regarding the Taiwan issue, provide different perspectives on various aspects regarding this critical issue. With twenty-three million people and 14,000 square miles of territory, Taiwan ranks between Madagascar and Mozambique in population and Belgium and Bhu...

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, Resources

Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia

BY THOMAS DAVID DUBOIS CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITYPRESS, 2011 272 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1107008090, HARDBACK Undoubtedly, the vast majority of surviving art produced in both the Western world and Asia in the past millennia has been religious in subject. From an art historical perspective, the significant role religions play in shaping the creative visual expression of cultures is obvious. Historians more often tend to view history from political, economic, military, and, in recent years, social perspec...

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...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

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...

Online Supplement

Internet Links to accompany the Teaching Resources Essay “Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative: An Introduction”

Editor’s Note: See the print article in EAA vol. 18: 2 for more information about the archive and the links below. 1. “Alpamysh: Central Asian Identity under Russian Rule” http://tiny.cc/q7pc1w In this extensive work written in 1989, HB Paksoy writes about Alpamysh, an ornate Turkish oral history (or dastan) set mostly in verse. Paksoy describes the importance of Alpamysh as a repository of Turkish history and culture and the struggle of Central Asians to preserve it in the wake o...

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

Kim Dae-jung’s Role in the Democratization of South Korea

South Korea in the twenty-first century is a very different place than it was two centuries ago. In the nineteenth century, it was an absolute monarchy. Today, South Korea is a vibrant democracy with a president and parliament selected through hotly contested elections. Two centuries ago, the Korean economy was overwhelmingly agrarian, and Korea engaged in very little foreign trade. Today, South Korea is an industrial and commercial powerhouse producing automobiles and smartphones that are in gr...

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...

Feature Article, Focus on Korea: Korean Democratization

Early Visions of Reform and Modernity: Sirhak and Religious Movements in Choson Korea

South Korea in the twenty-first century is a very different place than it was two centuries ago. In the nineteenth century, it was an absolute monarchy. Today, South Korea is a vibrant democracy with a president and parliament selected through hotly contested elections. Two centuries ago, the Korean economy was overwhelmingly agrarian, and Korea engaged in very little foreign trade. Today, South Korea is an industrial and commercial powerhouse producing automobiles and smartphones that are in gr...

Feature Article

Looking for Confucius at the Asian Art Museum

Students in my East Asian civilization course learn about Daoism in part by practicing Tai Chi with a credentialed Tai Chi master who brings both a saber and a sword to class for a demonstration. Our outdoors practice session produces some Daoist awareness of the natural world; many students comment later that they had heard things while practicing that they had not heard on campus before, such as the wind in the trees or birds singing. We learn about Zen Buddhism in part by practicing seated me...

Book Review, Resources

A Reader’s Companion to the Confucian Analects

This brief book is part of the Palgrave Pivot imprint, whose purpose is to provide a venue for scholars to print works of a length between the article and the monograph. Accordingly, this work is very concise at eighty-eight pages, and it is clear the author intended it to be something that one keeps by one’s side while reading the Analects of Confucius. The idea of a reader’s companion is a good one; the Analects can be very confusing for the student or novice. Containing a miscellany of sa...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Maritime Archaeology in the Classroom: Resources on the Online Museum of Underwater Archaeology

The online Museum of Underwater Archaeology (MUA, http://www.themua.org) hosts a number of resources to introduce maritime archaeology and the history of Asia to a classroom audience. The projects highlighted in the museum contain information that is of interest not just to history or archaeology teachers, but also has applications in classroom discussions on art, geography, science, cultural studies, political science, and even international law. The MUA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, a...

Feature Article, Symposium: Conflict in the East and South China Seas

Taiwan’s Policy toward the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands Dispute and the Implications for the US

The long-standing but subdued territorial disputes over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, known as Diaoyu in China, Diaoyutai in Taiwan, and Senkaku in Japan, reignited in September 2012 when the Japanese government “nationalized” the islands in a purported “purchase” to preempt the controversial purchase proposed by the then-governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara. While most analysts focus their attention on the rising tensions between China and Japan and the implicati...

Symposium: Conflict in the East and South China Seas

Explaining Recent Senkaku/Diaoyu Tensions: The Domestic Dimension

China and Japan have an ongoing territorial dispute over a series of small islands (called Diaoyu 钓鱼 in Chinese or Senkaku 尖閣諸島 in Japanese) in the East China Sea. This brief essay begins with a cursory synopsis of recent events (since 2012) between China and Japan regarding this conflict. I then summarize China’s perspective on the dispute before offering some hypotheses regarding possible domestic drivers of Chinese foreign policy behavior in this context. The article concludes b...

Feature Article, Symposium: Conflict in the East and South China Seas

The Senkaku Islands and Japan’s Evolving Diplomacy

With surprising rapidity, tensions between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands, a small group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, are raising the specter of a potential armed clash between Asia’s two major powers. In 2010, a Chinese fishing trawler rammed two Japan Coast Guard (JCG) vessels in the waters around the Senkakus. For the first time, the Japanese government decided to indict the fishing trawler captain because of his dangerous and provocative behavior. A two-week ...