Education About Asia

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

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CD-ROM Review, Columns

Transport of Delight: The Ricksha Arts of Bangladesh

Aricksha, often called a cycle ricksha, is a three-wheeled, pedal-powered vehicle widely used to transport people and goods from place to place in many countries of monsoon Asia. It is the most popular and common transport vehicle in Bangladesh—both in urban and rural areas. Rickshas have collapsible, colorfully decorated plastic ‘baby-buggy’  hoods that provide relief to passengers from sun and rain as they ride behind the driver. Rickshas typically carry two passengers but may carry up...

Columns, Film Review

Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation is Sofia Coppola’s most ambitious film to date. It depicts the interaction of two Americans, both fish out of water in a hotel in Tokyo. Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is an over-the-hill American actor in Tokyo to film whiskey ads; “Charlotte” is a recent college graduate who has accompanied her photographer-husband to Tokyo and been left to amuse herself. Bob and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) spend time together, develop an affection for each other, and part. In one scene...

Columns, Film Review

The Golf War: A Story of Land, Golf, and Revolution

The genteel game of golf kills Filipinos! To oppose powerful developers intent on converting farmland and fishing areas in the Philippines into golf-course-enhanced tourist attractions is to risk life and limb. Politicized violence from the government and private armies (“guns, goons and gold”) are all too familiar in the Philippines and other late-industrializing countries. In this well-framed case study, carefully documented corrupt land deals stretch from local government in Hacienda Lo...

Book Review, Columns

The 2nd ASEAN Reader

The first ASEAN Reader was published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in 1992: ten years later the Institute’s director was convinced that a second reader would be appropriate and timely because of the many events that occurred within Southeast Asia during the decade following the initial reader’s publication. Drs. Sharon Siddique, a former Deputy Director of ISEAS and Sree Kumar, a former Institute Fellow, accepted the director’s invitation to compile materials to incl...

Book Review, Columns

Ash: A Novel

Holly Thompson, in her novel Ash, set in the Kyushu city of Kagoshima in 1985, traces the discoveries made by one such young American teacher in Japan. Caitlan, the protagonist, has an assignment in the similar but smaller scale program that preceded JET, the MEF, or Monbusho English Fellows. Although her teaching experience forms one strand of the story, readers gradually learn that what has really brought Caitlan to Japan is a quest to understand and come to terms with the death of a childhood...

Columns, Curriculum Materials Review

Religions and Philosophies in CHina: Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism

It is surely a daunting task for anyone to provide a good summary about topics as rich and complex as Chinese religion and philosophy. China’s size and diversity make this a formidable endeavor, yet Waka Takahashi Brown with the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education has provided teachers with a useful guide to give students a basic introduction to religion and philosophy in China....

Columns, Essay

Performance Art in the Classroom: Teaching through Kabuki and Chinese Opera

Performance art is a fundamental part of culture. Nations and regions of the world incorporate elements of music, dance, drama, puppetry, martial arts, and other active forms of “performance” into their cultural fabric. A very good way to introduce the study of a particular culture in today’s classroom is by using performance art as the vehicle....

Columns, Essay

Transculturation: A Pedagogical Approach to Asian Art

One of my concerns as an art history instructor at Seattle Central Community College has been how to communicate effectively with students of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds whose art history knowledge ranges from non-existent to sophisticated. Even those somewhat conversant with art historical issues are not familiar with the contributions other cultures have provided world art and architecture....

Columns, Essay

A Glimpse of Chinese Culture through Papercuts

THE ORIGIN OF PAPERCUTS Prior to the invention of paper, the ancient Chinese used silver and gold leaf to create patterns and ornaments, some of which were discovered in burial sites dating back to the Shang Dynasty (sixteenth–eleventh century BC).1 During the Western Han period, the emperor Liu Che (156–87 BC) was comforted by a court artist who, in order to relieve the emperor the agony of separation from Lady Li, his deceased wife, did a life-size papercut of her and placed it behind a s...

Feature Article

The Electronic Helmsman: Mao Posters on the Web

There can be no doubt that Mao Zedong played a major role in the People’s Republic of China since its founding in 1949. Explaining his political stature and the cult of personality surrounding him to students is a challenge, since there are no comparable figures in American history. The adulation accorded Mao and his pervasive presence in Chinese society can be conveyed, however, through an examination of his portrayal in Chinese posters. Fortunately, several collections of these posters are a...

Feature Article

Buddhist Art Styles and Cultural Exchange Along the Silk Road

Winding through the deserts and high mountain passes of Central and Inner Asia,2 the network of caravan routes collectively called the Silk Road linked China to the Middle East and Europe. From the second century BCE on, it was a major conduit for moving people, ideas, and goods. Monuments such as the towering fifty-three-meter (175 feet) high Buddha at Bamiyan in Afghanistan (destroyed by the Taliban in 2001) and the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas in northwest China bear witness both to the imp...

Feature Article

A Picture (A Statue or a Beaker) Is Worth a Thousand Words: Teaching Fundamental Chinese Cultural Concepts through Art

We live in a visually oriented culture. Advertisements, television, computer programs, and movies constantly bombard us with pictures meant to inform, attract, and inspire us to buy, eat, travel, vote, or covet. Therefore, students from very early ages are primed to respond to pictorial images. Combine this prominence of visual stimulation in contemporary society with the power of great works of art to awe, to communicate, and to stir emotions, and educators gain a powerful tool to teach abo...

Feature Article

How to Watch a Hindi Film: The Example of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

India is the most prolific film-producing country in the world. Of all its film production centers, Mumbai produces more films that are seen nationwide in India. The Mumbai film industry, also known as Bollywood, produces films in the Hindi language. This essay is intended to serve as an aid to teachers who wish to add Hindi cinema to their curriculum. It assumes readers have no prior knowledge of Hindi cinema, and aims to ease their first encounter with a Bollywood product. As a case study, th...

Feature Article

Genji to Godzilla: Using Art and Film to Teach Japan

Articles in past issues of EAA have suggested effective strategies for using Japanese film in the classroom to introduce Japanese culture.1 These include the works of internationally recognized masters of the format, as well as popular anime, Japanese animation, which has only recently attracted similar scholarly attention. In this essay, I propose that expanding the scope of the visual culture we discuss, and applying art historical pedagogy, can further students’ understanding of Japan, past...

Feature Article

Ainu-e: Instructional Resources for the Study of Japan’s Other People

There is a commonly held misconception in the West that the people of Japan are of one culture, a perfect example of human homogeneity. This belief is more than an observation by Westerners: it has been the official position of the Japanese government for almost 150 years. However, there is one recently-recognized indigenous people, 2 the Ainu. 3...

Feature Article

Japanese Art for the Classroom: Images, Texts, and Notes for Teachers

There are many reasons to bring art into the classroom. Of course, discussions may focus on art as art, i.e., the aesthetic, stylistic, or historical aspects of a work, but there are many other functions for which art may be used to achieve pedagogical objectives. Below, I describe a few of them, with examples available to me locally. A clearly related issue is HOW to bring the art into the room. For small groups, the best option is obviously the work of art itself. Some of us are lucky enough t...
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