Education About Asia

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

NOTE: Archive articles may be downloaded and reproduced for personal or classroom use only.

Resources, Web Gleanings

Website Resources: Asian Visual and Performing Arts–Part I

VISUAL ARTS Asia, General The Art of Asia URL: http://www.artsmia.org/art-of-asia/introduction/ The collections of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese works of art have been added to this site, produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. From this introductory page, one can access the collections by culture,  period, or themes. There are thousands of objects, including 368 ukiyo-eand an extensive guide to Chinese ceramics. South and Southeast Asian Art URL: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hi...

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement, Resources

China’s Rise in Historical Perspective

EDITED BY BRANTLEY WOMACK LANHAM: ROWMAN AND LITTLEFIELD, 2010 286 PAGES, 978-0-7425-6722-1, PAPERBACK Although China’s Rise in Historical Perspective, edited by Brantley Womack, may be too advanced for secondary schools or lower-level undergraduate classes, it is an important book meriting serious attention from teachers at all levels for deepening their understanding of how China has come to challenge the economic primacy of the United States in such a short time. Discussion of China’...

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...

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement, Resources

The Routledge Handbook of Japanese Politics

ALISA GAUNDER, EDITOR LONDON AND NEW YORK: ROUTLEDGE, 2011 464 PAGES ISBN: 978-0415551373, HARDBACK Japan’s political economy has changed markedly in the past fifteen years. Long-term dominance by the Liberal Democratic Party in alliance with an elite bureaucracy crumbled in the 1990s in the face of unstable party politics and new societal pressures. These changes have been documented and analyzed by scholars, but a comprehensive overview of changes and continuities in Japan’s politics ...

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...

Film Review Essay, Resources

More About Mizusawa

More About Mizusawa is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Can’t Go Native (2010), a personalized, anthropological history of Japan. Featuring the lifelong work of American anthropologist Keith Brown in northern Japan, this second DVD delivers the details and delights of ancient Japan and the connections to Japan’s modern culture. Most of the film takes place in a Japanese home, as Dr. Brown is interviewed by various American experts—no doubt well-heeled in Japanese culture and hist...

Film Review Essay, Resources

The Nine Lives of Norodom Sihanouk

Throughout Cambodia’s modern history, marked as it has been by drama and tragedy in almost equal measure, there has been one constant: the presence of Norodom Sihanouk in his multiple roles. He has been king twice; chief of state; prime minister several times; and most controversially, an associate of the Khmer Rouge, who took power under Pol Pot in 1975. Still alive today at the age of eighty-nine and enjoying the title of King Father, Sihanouk is one of international politics’ great surviv...

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

Contemporary Chinese Art: Uses and Reuses of the Past

Contemporary artists in China are now free to make an array of different kinds of art. Artists, emerging from the limited forms of expression allowed during the second half of the twentieth century, are exploring their ancient traditions that were restricted during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) when the “four olds” (Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas) were forbidden. A second source of inspiration is the breadth of Western global art that had also been strictly criti...

Feature Article

A Brief Introduction to Beijing Opera

Beijing opera is a colorful, spectacular performance art that dazzles, fascinates, and often puzzles foreigners. A quintessentially Chinese art form, its elaborate costumes and makeup, gestural and acrobatic stage movements, highly symbolic and stylized content, and unique musical style amaze and intrigue audiences. The art might be best thought of as a confluence of stylized patterns of dress, makeup, action, staging, text, and music (instrumental and vocal). Each of these parameters is the fru...

Feature Article

Performing Arts of Mongolia: Treasure of a Nomadic Culture

The vast steppe of northern China has nurtured a brilliant and unsophisticated grassland culture, including the arts of the nomadic “horseback people” who reside on the steppe. A new form of arts came into being in order to adapt itself to the region’s natural environment and ecological system. Mongolian herdsmen have lived on the grasslands of northern China for many generations (Figure 3). They left a cultural legacy of romantic simplicity that is still revered today. However, real nomad...

Feature Article

Prodigy of Taiwan, Diva of Asia: Teresa Teng

Teresa Teng (1953–1995) is the best-known and most beloved singer in the history of modern East Asia. Born on the island of Taiwan soon after it became the seat of the anti-Communist Republic of China (ROC), Teresa quickly emerged as a Mandarin pop sensation among overseas Chinese. In her early twenties, she proceeded to take Japan by storm as a surpassing singer of pensive Japanese ballads. By the end of the 1970s, in turn, her fame had spread far into the People’s Republic of China (PRC), ...

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

Which Buddha is This Anyway? Notes on Identifying the Enlightened Ones

For most American educators, the imagery of Christian, Jewish, and, to a lesser extent, Muslim religious art is relatively familiar. Not only are angels and devils instantly recognized, even when they appear in the context of Saturday Night Live, but many of us heard Bible stories growing up, and some could recite a whole litany of saints and other holy beings. However, in our globalizing times, images from other religions also appear more frequently than ever—particularly in museums and galle...

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...

Feature Article

Butter Diplomacy: Food and Drink as a Social Lubricant in Dutch East India Company Trade with Japan

Every year the monsoon winds of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea brought roughly half a dozen Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) ships to Nagasaki, carrying a valuable cargo consisting mainly of various types of silk and other types of cloth, and also Southeast Asian luxury goods, European “rarities,” and foodstuffs such as sugar and spices. After these VOC ships unloaded their precious and varied cargo, negotiations would begin to determine the price of t...

Essay, Resources

East Asian International Relations: Peaceful and Stable for Centuries

How did international relations function in East Asia from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries—that is, before the arrival of the Western colonial powers? We typically use European history and European ideas as the basis for thinking about world history and international relations. Ideas that emanated from the 1688 Peace of Westphalia include the independent sovereignty of each nation-state, the inherent equality of those nation-states, and “balance of power.” But, it may be that th...

Essay, Resources

Chinese Foreign Direct Investment: Looking Abroad from an Emerging Economy

Foreign direct investment (FDI) can occur when a firm either establishes operations or purchases a controlling interest in the business operations of a company in another country. Companies often engage in FDI for three straightforward reasons: to grow their sales, to expand their geographical market range, or to take advantage of the firm’s own assets (e.g., brand name, technologies). If a firm is to increase its revenue, domestic sales are often not enough, and the company is required to exp...

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...