Education About Asia

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

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Feature Article

South Korean Action Films as Indicators of Fear of and Hope for Reunification

Film criticism techniques such as “social representation” and the similar technique of “social film history” help people understand how social issues are portrayed in one of the most persuasive forms of popular culture, film. These analysis techniques are applicable to many films, but they can be particularly useful when looking at films that reflect social issues, whether past or present. These techniques are used in this study of two films that deal with the conflict between the Koreas...

Feature Article

Reasonably Informative, but Downplaying the Ravages of Dictatorship: Recent Pre-Collegiate US Textbook Treatments of Mao Zedong’s Rule

By Philip F. Williams Although the 1960s have often enjoyed a reputation for youthful ferment, that decade's US published pre-collegiate history textbook still focused mostly on Western civilization and American history in particular. Asia east of the Levant seldom entered the picture, except occasionally through a current-events context in social studies courses. While some contemporary back-to-the-basics intellectuals express nostalgia for a simpler era when Euro-American civilization was s...

AEMS Film Review Section, Film Review Essay

The Sound of the Violin at My Lai

Directed by Tran Van Thuy Produced by the Central Documentary and Scientific Film Studio, Hanoi ”Best Short,“ 1999 Asian Pacific Film Festival, Bangkok 1998. 32 Minutes. VHS. Color. Distributed by The Video Project P.O. Box 411376, San Francisco, CA 94141-1376 Phone: 415-241-2514 or 800-4-PLANET FAX: 415-241-2511 E-mail: video@videoproject.net Web site: www.videoproject.net The Sound of the Violin at My Lai, winner of “Best Short” at the 1999 Asian Pacific Film Festival in Bangko...

Feature Article

The Need to Reposition the Teaching of Contemporary Korean Literature

On the first day of class, I gaze out onto a sea of eager young faces. I can already sense the students will be highly engaged, yet I secretly hope for more than sheer enthusiasm. In my ideal Korean literature class, students take the course because of an interest in literature and not necessarily to explore their Korean identity. I certainly do not object to teaching students who want to know more about Korea, but it is difficult to teach literature to those who have little training or interest...

Feature Article

Prospects for Korean Unification

I seemed to be the only Korean in a sea of Germans, and the occurrence made me excited and sad. I thought of the millions of dispersed family members in Korea, including my own. At one minute past midnight on October 3, 1990, Germany was officially reunified, ending forty-five years of national division. On that night I was standing in the middle of seventy thousand spectators at Deutches Eck (the “corner of Germany”) in the city of Koblenz, at the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine rive...

Feature Article

Another Look at the Occupation of Japan: Through the Minefields of Japanese History

Observing the difficulties encountered in the American occupation of Iraq in the summer of 2003, we are reminded of just how hard it is to impose democratic rule by military force on a nation unaccustomed to democracy. And, with the perspective of more than a half a century, we can marvel at the success of the American occupation of Japan. History beguiles us with its apparent inevitability. We tend to forget alternative courses that could have been taken. In the case of the occupation of Jap...

Book Review, Resources

China: Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future

ANN ARBOR:CENTER FOR CHINESE STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, 2002. 644 PAGES. PAPERBACK. ISBN: 0-892-64156-8 In the Preface, China: Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future is described as the newest textbook on Modern China. To many readers, it may look more like a modified reader. There are six thematic sections, each introduced by a distinguished scholar. It is these long introductions that support the claim to be a text. Thomas Buoye provides an introduction of more than twenty pages...

Book Review, Resources

The Rise of Modern Japan

CURRICULUM RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT GROUP UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII PRESS, 2003 274 PAGES. HARDCOVER ISBN: 0-8248-2531-4 It’s amazing how, post-9/11, the great cultural debate over whether or not we need a global curriculum has just gone away. We need one, and it’s hard to find anyone who still wants to argue that European and American history are sufficient for American students. But where are the teachers with the background to teach non-Western classes? And where are the resources to help t...

EAA Interview, Resources

EAA Interview with Buchanan Prize Winners Linda K. Menton, Noren W. Lush, Eileen H. Tamura, and Chance I. Gusukuma

EDITOR’S NOTE This is our seventh interview with the winners of the Franklin R. Buchanan Prize. The Association for Asian Studies awards the prize annually for the development of outstanding curriculum materials on Asia. Linda K. Menton, Noren W. Lush, Eileen H. Tamura, and Chance I. Gusukuma won the 2003 prize for the development of The Rise of Modern Japan. The authors of this outstanding work are all affiliated with the Curriculum Research & Development Group, an organized research unit...

Book Review, Resources

Living Dangerously in Korea: The Western Experience, 1900–1950

BY DONALD N. CLARK NORWALK, CT: EASTBRIDGE, 2003 454 PAGES. PAPERBACK ISBN: 1-891936-11-5 Donald Clark has written an engaging account of the small number of Westerners who lived and worked in Korea during the turbulent first half of the twentieth century. This period saw the end of the five-century-old Yi dynasty, the four-decade-long occupation of Korea by Japan, the Second World War, the division and occupation of the country by the Soviet Union and the United States in 1945, and the outb...

Book Review, Resources

The Koreas: A Global Studies Handbook

SANTA BARBARA: ABC-CLIO, 2002 286 PAGES. HARDCOVER ISBN: 1-57607-277-0 “You know, Korea’s the most interesting of the Asian cultures.” The author’s preface invites the reader to explore one of the richest, and most often ignored, cultures in East Asia. Many educators have left Korea out of their curricula mainly due to the lack of available material. This ambitious book seeks to remedy this problem by providing a general introduction to Korea through history, contemporary culture, and...

Book Review, Resources

The Korean War: An Encyclopedia

GARLAND PUBLISHING, INC., NEW YORK AND LONDON, 1995 416 PAGES. HARDCOVER ISBN: 0-8240-4445-2 Ever want to know all about M*A*S*H* units —for real, not just on TV’s famed series M*A*S*H*? Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals provided emergency medical surgery: after initial treatment, wounded personnel could be picked up by a Medevac chopper and flown to the interior for additional treatment. M*A*S*H* units were important during the Korean War, treating those whose brain and spinal cord damage r...

Essay, Resources

Bringing Korea into the Curriculum: United States, World, and European History

THE RATIONALE FOR A DBQ LESSON Document-Based Essay (DBQ) questions teach students who are enrolled in Advanced Placement classes invaluable thinking and writing skills. Students learn to interpret primary source documents, critically examine different points of view, and deepen their understanding of textbooks and classroom discussions. Students in World, European, and United States History AP classes learn to combine outside information with the primary source material, an important step for ...

Book Review, Resources

Modern Japan: A History in Documents

By JAMES l. HUFFMAN OXFORD, UK: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2004. 155 PAGES, PAPERBACK, ISBN: 0-765613-36-0 There is no shortage of fine textbooks on the history of modern Japan. But all- from the old standards authored by Peter Duus, Mikiso Hane and Kenneth Pyle, to more recent volumes from Andrew Gordon, James McClain, and Conrad Totman- follow the same familiar formula. All are long, content-rich, chronological narratives written in the dispassionate, authoritative voice of a detached, ...

Feature Article

Teaching Twentieth-Century Chinese History

By Lesley Solomon In an ideal world of American education. both high school students and college undergraduates would begin the study of twentieth-century China with a deep understanding of the development of Chinese civilization and its place in world history. Certainly, the much-publicized economic challenge posed by contemporary China, . as well as its expanding leadership role in East Asia and beyond, would make such an in-depth study crucial for all American students. Unfortunately, stat...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Teaching About “The Forgotten War”

By Michael Seth VOICES OF THE KOREAN WAR Personal Stories of American, Korean, and Chinese Soldiers BY RICHARD A. PETERS AND XIAOBING LI LEXINGTON: UNIVERSITY PRESS OF KENTUCKY, 2004 HARDCOVER: 288 PAGES ISBN: 0-813-12293-7 Although often labeled the "forgotten war," there is a large and growing literature on the Korean War. The two very different books reviewed here present additions to this body of work that are useful for teachers and students....

Essay, Resources

Integrating Study of Asia into the Curriculum

Co-recipient of the 2003 United States–Japan Foundation Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award—Humanities Category In the context of state standards, high-stakes testing of reading, writing, and math skills, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the renewed sense of patriotism in our country, it can be quite difficult for a teacher to justify teaching about the world. But what if we don’t? What if students leave our classrooms with no sense of global responsibility? As a classroom teacher ...

Book Review, Resources

The Vietnam War: A History in Documents

EDITED BY MARILYN B. YOUNG. JOHN J. FITZGERALD, AND A. TOM GRUNFELD OXFORD, UK: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2002 PAPERBACK: 176 PAGES. ISBN: 0-195-16635-3 We owe a great debt to Marilyn Young. John Fitzgerald, and Tom Grunfeld, who, in The Vietnam War: A History in Documents, have intelligently compiled and introduced a comprehensive collection of primary sources on one of the most contentious events in twentieth-century international history. Covering the period from the First Indochina War ...

Feature Article

Why Did Japan Succeed and China Fail? And Isn’t Modernization the Same Thing as Westernization?

While walking through the hallways of a high school near the university where I teach, a set of posters hanging outside a classroom caught my attention. The posters had been drawn by students in a tenth grade world history class. Their assignment, I learned later, was to represent in visual form the differences between the modern historical experiences of Japan and China, particularly in relation to the two countries’ responses to Western imperialism in the nineteenth century. (note 1)  Th...

Feature Article

Using The Quiet American in the Classroom

A relatively painless way to encourage students to embrace a new and unfamiliar viewpoint is via film and fiction. In Asian-related courses this task is made easy by the ready availability of high quality engaging fiction, autobiography, and film offering sympathetic portrayals of Asian characters. Many of us have encouraged our students to make important leaps to new and unfamiliar points of view by using materials on China like Ha Jin’s Waiting, Jung Chang’s Wild Swans, and Zhang Yimou’s...
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