Education About Asia

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

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Feature Article

Japan, the U.S. and the Asian-Pacific War

Few historians today would quibble with the idea that the war against Nazi Germany was necessary. Japan, Hitler’s only major ally, has fared far better with many historians in the West—much better than in Imperial Japan’s former Asian colonies. Because the war ended with the atomic bomb, many in the West today look at the Pacific War in terms similar to what was called “moral equivalence” in the Cold War. That view shows disregard for the nightmarish world that existed during total war...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Joe Rochefort’s War: The Odyssey of the Codebreaker Who Outwitted Yamamoto at Midway

Elliot Carlson’s Joe Rochefort’s War: The Odyssey of the Codebreaker Who Outwitted Yamamoto at Midway is a literary masterpiece. This is a long overdue biography of an individual who helped shape the events of the Pacific War following Japan’s raid on Pearl Harbor. It is not a light read, as each of the 456 pages is packed with first-rate research and brilliant analysis. Carlson’s online audio and video descriptions of his book are helpful for teachers and the general reader. But for thi...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Modern Chinese History: An Interview with Key Issues Author, David Kenley

In addition to being the most populous country, China is projected to surpass the United States in gross domestic product within a few years. It has a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and wields tremendous “soft power” throughout the world. For these and other reasons, Americans are fascinated with China. Yet this fascination remains tempered by fear and ignorance. Modern Chinese History is not designed specifically to alter American attitudes toward China, but it does p...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

“Confucius in East Asia”: An Interview with “Key Issues” author, Jeffrey L. Richey

Confucius in East Asia introduces fundamental patterns of East Asian history, spirituality, society, and politics through the lens of Confucianism’s development and impact in the region. For millennia, no East Asian regime has governed independently of Confucian influence; and even when Confucius and his tradition have been criticized or condemned, as has often been the case during the past century or so, they have been conspicuously present in East Asian affairs. It is impossible to understan...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

“The Story of Viet Nam: From Prehistory to the Present”: An Interview with “Key Issues” Author, Shelton Woods

The Story of Việt Nam is an overview of Việt Nam’s history from the first days of village life along the Red River in the north to the rise of the modern mega metropolis of the south’s Hồ Chí Minh City. As the title suggests, the book is a tale—a narrative that is built around four themes: land and freedom, persistence of cultural values, shifting tides of global interests in Việt Nam, and the vital role Việt Nam will play in shaping the twenty-first century....

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

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

Links to Internet Materials to accompany the feature article “The Qin: China’s Most Revered Musical Instrument”

INTRODUCTION TO THE QIN UNESCO‘s intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity site includes a short description of the Qin, photographs, and a brief video (just over four minutes) narrated in English. the music includes singing with the qin, and some strains of yang Guan san Die are heard in the background. Playing techniques and some of the symbolism involved in the Qin’s construction are also discussed. url: http://tiny.cc/p7cksw CONTEXT, HISTORY, AND SYMBOLISM OF THE QIN Wang Fei and her ...

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...

Feature Article

The Qin: China’s Most Revered Musical Instrument

Editor’s Note: Readers can visit the EAA spring online supplement for audio and performance examples of the music specifically discussed in this essay. China is home to numerous distinctively Chinese musical instruments, but none is more revered than the qin (pronounced something like the English word “chin” and sometimes written “ch’in”). The instrument’s name is often translated as “Chinese lute” or “ancient lute” (guqin). The qin is associated with the elite class of s...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China’s First Great Victory over the West

Lost Colony The Untold Story of China’s First Great Victory over the West BY TONIO ANDRADE PRINCETON: PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2011 456 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0691144559, HARDBACK In Lost Colony, Tonio Andrade offers a highly readable account of the Sino-Dutch War of 1661–62 that resulted in the loss of the Dutch colony on Taiwan, which will be of great use for educators, their students, and general readers. Andrade treats the war as a case study to test competing explanations ...

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

The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Course Readers

The first four of fifteen scheduled readers published by Professor Laura Hein’s The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Course Readers project are certainly a technological triumph. Each online reader reprints Asia-Pacific Journal articles, endnotes, and suggestions for further readings. Links allow visitors to view individual articles; go directly to suggested further readings if these are online; and, in some cases, access relevant material in individual articles. The editor includes a number ...

Feature Article

The Mongolian World Empire: Does It Matter?

I teach a variety of Asian civilization courses, and when we come to the Mongol world empire, students invariably question my credibility. “Pax Mongolica?” they say. “Mongolian Peace? Are you nuts?” “Well, yes,” I am forced to admit, “but not right now and not about this.” When I poll the students about their knowledge of Chinggis Khan (a.k.a Genghis Khan), without exception they report that he was the most irredeemably destructive conqueror of all time. “That’s because all t...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Bing: From Farmer’s Son to Magistrate in Han China

In a recently published study, Paul R. Goldin takes stock of the advances and limitations of the study of early China in Canada and the United States. Acknowledging the seminal contributions of earlier scholars in the field, he also points out liabilities that arise from the way in which North American scholars have shaped our understanding of early Chinese culture. Especially misleading, according to Goldin, is the widespread notion that “there was no room in early China for named individual ...

Book Review, Resources

Tears of Blood: A Korean POW’s Fight for Freedom, Family, and Justice

Tears of Blood: A Korean POW’s Fight for Freedom, Family, and Justice by Young-Bok Yoo is a riveting, highly readable, and concise account of a survivor of the Korean War who suffered harsh imprisonment and forty-seven years of extreme hardship in North Korea until he escaped to freedom in South Korea at age seventy. Young-Bok Yoo’s narrative brings to life not only the chaos and suffering experienced by Koreans during the Korean War but also informs the reader about an aspect of the war tha...

Book Review, Resources

China’s Environmental Challenges

Judith Shapiro is imminently qualified to address China’s environmental problems because she has spent years in China, is well-known for previous publications, and is a specialist in global environmental politics. The most significant feature of China’s Environmental Challenges is her multidisciplinary approach. Most of the book encompasses the time period after 1900, and the author effectively contrasts environmental policies in the People’s Republic of China and the reality of environmen...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

The Secret History of the Mongols

Four English translations are now available of The Secret History of the Mongols, a thirteenth-century Mongolian epic that recounts the biography of Genghis Khan.(note 1) Beginning with his mythological ancestors, it narrates his miraculous birth, the assassination of his father, his humble childhood and adolescent adventures, the gradual unification of the Mongolian tribes, his recognition as their supreme leader, and his death. A short section, more than likely added later to the end of the ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Voices of Early Modern Japan: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life during the Age of the Shoguns

We live in an age in which most K-16 educators are required to do more, are held accountable for doing more, and are “rewarded” less and less. The increasing demands for more content (but what?), more skills (which ones?), and better display of “mastery” in ever-changing and higher stakes assessments distract us, at times, from the basic goals of education. To return to those goals and balance the content with skills seem increasingly difficult. Constantine Nomikos Vaporis’s new book, ...

EAA Interview, Resources

An EAA Interview with 2013 Franklin R. Buchanan Winner Constantine Vaporis

This is our seventeenth consecutive interview with recipients of the AAS Franklin Buchanan Prize. This year’s winner is Constantine Vaporis (PhD, Princeton University), for his outstanding book Voices of Early Modern Japan: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life during the Age of the Shoguns. Dr. Vaporis is the Director of Asian Studies and Professor at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He teaches Japanese and East Asian History and has received numerous fellowships for research in Ja...