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

Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language

BY DEBORAH FALLOWS NEW YORK: WALKER AND COMPANY, 2010 208 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0802779137, HARDBACK Breaking the Code: Language Is Key At once charming, eye opening, and educational, Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language is a literary journey using the Mandarin language as a tour guide. Deborah Fallows intends to unlock Chinese culture for her readers through an exploration of the language and of the nuances of Chinese communication. She uses her own experience of liv...

Book Review, Resources

Bamboo People

BY MITALI PERKINS WATERTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS:  CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING, 2010 272 PAGES, ISBN-10: 1580893287, HARDBACK Bamboo People is a coming-of-age story about two teenage boys caught up in the Burmese government’s brutal regime and its systematic repression of ethnic minority groups. The story touches upon each boy’s struggle to maintain a sense of morality, identity, and compassion in a world filled with cruelty and injustice. It is a tale that addresses current conditions of human r...

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement, Resources

Teaching the Daode Jing

GARY D. DEANGELIS AND WARREN G. FRISINA, EDITORS OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, NEW YORK, 2008 206 PAGES, 978-0-19-533270-4, PAPERBACK Why the Daode Jing is a special text comes out clearly in Teaching the Daode Jing. In general, this volume will be more useful to college/university nonspecialists than high school teachers. Some essays, however, will be more helpful than others for teachers such as those by Judith Berling, Geoffrey Foy, and John Thompson, which offer more “nuts and bolts” class...

Online Supplement

Music as a Gateway to Learning about East Asia

Introduction: Music and Cultures Music can be an enticing gateway to other cultures, and because music is more than just sound, it can lead to learning about the people who produce the music. Music—the sound—is a scientific phenomenon that can be measured, documented, and replicated. Music—the phenomenon—has meaning it acquires through the culture that produces it, and to understand music—from our own or from a foreign culture—it is vital to learn about music the phenomenon. When w...

Feature Article

Understanding Cultural Perspectives through Greek and Hindu Theater

As educators, we are constantly being asked to diversify our teaching to broaden students’ knowledge about the world in which they live. But for many, teaching about other cultures can pose significant problems. Providing materials that students find accessible yet engaging— that helps them develop creative and critical thinking—is a challenge teachers must confront. One way to begin to overcome these struggles is to look to the primary sources available to us, connect them directly to the...

Feature Article

Familiar Story, Macbeth—New Context, Noh and Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood

This article explores the effects of Akira Kurosawa’s adoption of Noh conventions through an in depth analysis of Kumonosu-jō (Castle of the Spider’s Web, also known as Throne of Blood, ©1957 Toho Company), an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Traditional Japanese Noh theater is an enigma to many students in other countries. Discussing the influence of Noh on a Japanese film based on a well-known Western drama makes a connection with a culture that is unfamiliar to students who have n...

Feature Article

Asia, Shakespeare, and the World: Digital Resources for Teaching about Globalization

In the marooned rehearsal of a school play in an urban comedy, a stuttering student asks their drama coach if he could play Romeo. A young lady rolls her eyes and challenges her classmate: “What makes you think that you can play Romeo? You don’t have the looks, and you can’t even speak properly.” She is quick to point out that the other student, originally cast for the male lead, is eminently more qualified even if he cannot remember his lines: “Nick, on the other hand, looks like Leon...

Essay, Resources

Using The Shambhala Anthology of Chinese Poetry in the Classroom

TRANSLATED ANDEDITED BY J. P. SEATON BOSTON: SHAMBHALA PUBLICATIONS, 2006 272 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1570628627, PAPERBACK For The Shambhala Anthology of Chinese Poetry, Professor J.P. Seaton draws upon a lifetime of translating and teaching Chinese philosophical classics as well as off-beat poets who prefer as an artistic subject “a rat, with some scurry left in him” to “elegant dragons” (207). In his introduction and notes, Seaton’s high regard for teaching and for Chinese poetry is e...

Curriculum Materials Review, Resources

Western Civilization with Chinese Comparisons, 3rd edition

JOHN G. BLAIR AND JERUSHA HULL MCCORMACK SHANGHAI: FUDAN UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2010 635 PAGES WITH CD-ROM Since ancient times, the peoples of what are now known as China and the West have gazed at one another across vast distances of cultureand geography with intense interest, occasional enmity, and no small amount of exoticism. Han dynasty scholars wrote with wonder of the land of Daqin (Roman Syria), where seemingly every Chinese custom was turned upside down. The rulers of Daqin minted silver ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Korean Culture and History through Korean Literature

“What am I looking for? Soul, my blind soul, endlessly darting like children at play by the river, answer me: where am I going?” (note 1) Written in response to Japan’s occupation of Korea (1910–1945), these lines from nationalist writer Yi Sanghwa’s poem convey a deep sense of desperation and uncertainty. In 1910, Japan annexed Korea and set up a colonial government that would remain in power for thirty-five years. Yi’s poem expresses the alienation Koreans endured bec...

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement

Neo-Confucian Self-Cultivation

  BY BARRY C. KEENAN HONOLULU: UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI'I PRESS, 2011 132 PAGES, ISBN:978-0824835484, PAPERBACK It is not a question of whether Professor Keenan’s new book is accessible for high school juniors and seniors—it is— in general. It is also not a question about whether the book is a good backgrounder for high school teachers who are interested in integrating Neo-Confucian related content into history and/or literature classes— again, it is. The real question is whether stu...

Online Supplement

Remembrance: Dissident Vietnamese Poet Nguyen Chi Thien

We would like to thank Dan Duffy, editor and publisher of the Việt Nam Literature Project, for providing this tribute to Nguyen Chi Thien, an outstanding twentieth-century Vietnamese poet who recently died. What follows is a short essay about Thien accompanied by examples of his poetry. My Mother My mother on anniversaries or festival days is wont to put her hands together and pray for a long time Her old saffron dress has somewhat faded But I would see her take it out for the occas...

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 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

The Wheelwright and the Butcher: Master Zhuang’s Recipe for Mindful Living

Some years ago, I was taking a stroll through a museum in the town of Tainan, the old capital of the island of Taiwan. In one room, I came across a large cart wheel carved out of solid wood (see photo). It was about five feet in diameter and consisted of three separate pieces joined together. Most people probably would not have been overly excited to see such a mundane artifact, but I was immediately struck by this wheel because it answered a question that had long rattled at the back of my mind...

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

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 ...

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...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Between the Floating Mist: Poems of Ryokan, and Lotus Moon: The Poetry of Rengetsu

Between the Floating Mist Poems of Ryōkan TRANSLATED BY DENNIS MALONEY AND HIDEO SHIRO BUFFALO, NY: WHITE PINE PRESS, 2009 96 PAGES, ISBN 978-1935210054, PAPERBACK Lotus Moon The Poetry of Rengetsu TRANSLATED BY JOHN STEVENS BUFFALO, NY: WHITEPINEPRESS, 2005 130 PAGES, ISBN 978-1893996366, PAPERBACK In addition to its importance as a major world religion, Buddhism has produced one of the longest-running, most multifaceted, and brilliantly textured literary culture...

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...