Education About Asia: Online Archives

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

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

Essay, Resources

How to Teach and Learn about Afghanistan: A Digital Humanities Approach: Why Study Afghanistan?

We all know about Afghanistan, but how well do we understand it? Afghanistan is America’s longest war, and millions of children from military families are affected by it, but only 12 percent of students can find Afghanistan on a map. The US hopes to transition from military to soft power as a way to stabilize the region and end the war, but, with so little knowledge and thinking about the region, there is little hope of finding peace unless education in and about the region becomes a higher pr...

Essay, Resources

Introduction to Contemporary Korean Ceramic Artists

Mei-ling Hom is an artist and independent scholar. In 2007, she was awarded a Fulbright research grant to study and document contemporary Korean ceramics. She traveled for ten months with a fellow artist, David McClelland, throughout South Korea, seeking Korean ceramic artists to interview and document. From their research, they produced a CD called “Contemporary Korean Ceramic Artists.” Besides art installations, sculpture, and ceramics, Hom’s artwork includes public art commissions at th...

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...

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

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, Key Issues in Asian Studies, Resources

Three New Volumes: Key Issues in Asian Studies

Editor’s note: Key Issues in Asian Studies (KIAS) is a series of booklets engaging major cultural and historical themes in the Asian experience. KIAS booklets serve as vital educational materials that are both accessible and affordable for classroom use. This series is particularly intended for teachers and undergraduates at two- and four-year colleges as well as high school students and secondary school teachers engaged in teaching Asian studies in a comparative framework. What follows are br...

Essay, Resources

Why Japan Matters

By Norman T. Masuda First Winner, Language Category, 2002 Japan has been in the news the past few months because of the natural and manmade disasters that have occurred in northeastern Japan. During the writing and broadcasting of the calamities that have struck the Japanese people, the news media pointed out the phenomenon of a population that waited patiently for food, water, and medical attention. Seeing and reading about the Japanese reaction to such devastation, one asks why this rea...

Essay, Resources

Why Japan Matters

By Alejandro Echevarria Japan matters in the history classroom because its development as a modern country offers rich opportunities for comparison. Japan’s rapid change from a system with some characteristics of feudalism in the Tokugawa period to modernization in the Meiji period is unlike any other shift in world history. The economic, social, and political changes were so rapid that they destabilized the fabric of the nation and put them on the path toward conflict with the Western nation...

Essay, Resources

Why Japan Matters

By Patricia Burleson There are many reasons that Japan still matters, most of them well founded in economic statistics and geopolitical analyses. For this commentary, I decided to bypass those and focus instead on my personal experiences and those of local high school students. Students quoted here were participants in one of eleven annual study tours I have led in Japan. I think that Japan matters because there are many lessons about life that can best be learned from the Japanese. Students...

Essay, Resources

Japan Matters: Promoting World Peace through Education, Science, and International Partnerships

By Patience Berkman First winner, Humanities Category, 2002 Headlines in 2011 have trumpeted China bypassing Japan as the second-largest economy in the world. Japan’s move to number three was not surprising, nor should it be alarming. What is remarkable is that Japan, with limited resources, smaller than the state of California, maintained a position of economic dominance for so long. After the devastating earthquake and tsunami, Japan, far from being in free-fall, continues to be a committe...

Essay, Resources

Advice to Students Choosing a Foreign Language: Go Asian

Having been a college professor for more than three decades, I have come to expect that one or two students will ask—almost weekly— what language he or she should study in college and why. First, I tell my students that studying a foreign language requires a considerable commitment of time and energy, and it should be viewed as a lifetime endeavor; thus, the choice deserves careful consideration. Then I tell them that to answer the question, one must ask: What languages are going to be the ...

Essay, Resources

Elgin Heinz Winners Teaching Ideas

from Patience Berkman The Doctor’s Wife by Ariyoshi Sawako URL: http://tinyurl.com/3arorhd This moving historical novel tells the story of Seishu Hanaoka (1760– 1835), a Japanese physician who specialized in breast cancer and pioneered the use of general anesthetics in surgery. The novel focuses on the courageous wife and domineering mother of this surgeon and personalizes the story. I highly recommend this novel for high school students. from Patricia Burleson Hiroshima Peace Site: O...

Columns, Essay

Grave of the Fireflies and Japan’s Memories of World War II

“September 21, 1945 . . . That was the night I died,” says the spirit of Seita, a fourteenyear-old boy, at the beginning of the 1988 animated film, Grave of the Fireflies.1 The movie opens in a train station in Kobe, Japan. Orphaned and alone, he lost his family and home during the firebomb raids, and he finally succumbed to weakness and delirium caused by slow starvation. The boy dies clutching his only possession, a small candy tin that had become his four-year-old sister’s funeral urn. ...

Columns, Essay

International Teaching Jobs: Focus upon Asia

Without a doubt, teaching in American and international schools overseas for seven years provided the most rewarding personal and professional experiences of my life. I answered a newspaper ad and obtained my first position, but now, international teacher and administrator recruitment is more sophisticated and competitive. In the essay that follows, a number of job-hunting tips and helpful resources are provided for those who seek international elementary and secondary positions. Although a su...

Essay, Resources

Analyzing the Appeal of Manga: Teaching Information Literacy Skills through Japanese Popular Culture

By Maureen Donovan Manga’s rapid rise in popularity around the world in the twenty-first century is an example of the diffusion of information and culture across borders in today’s “global information society.” Manga (Japanese comics) are appealing and accessible to high school and college students who sometimes pursue an avid interest and go on to become independent learners in the world of Japanese popular culture. With thousands of manga volumes published in English translation ove...

Columns, Essay

Why Perspective Matters

Something happens in the humanities classroom when the student realizes that his/her world is infinite, without borders, and that knowledge is not solely confined to a textbook. They reach the understanding that they know. In my classroom, understanding and gaining perspective is the essential outcome I want for them. The memorization of historical dates and trivia, knowing the state standards, and scoring “above proficient” on standardized tests pale in comparison. In fact, I think none of...

Essay, Resources

Teaching Katakana to Social Studies Students

As a first grader, I pretended to write cursive. My friends and I felt very grown up, connecting our printed letters into a flowing stream of imaginary words. In second grade, I went one step further and began writing imaginary words in “Japanese.” Later, I became fascinated with “real” Japanese that I found in a book in my parents’ library. I painstakingly copied the Kanji, having no idea what the words were. In my rural Midwest community, there were no Japanese people, no Japanese la...

Essay, Resources

Pointers, Practicalities, and Pitfalls of Directing a Field Course in Asia

As novices in directing a field course, we felt that our trip, while immensely successful and enjoyable, yielded a number of lessons to be shared with others. It is difficult to imagine a teaching challenge more daunting and yet more rewarding than directing an international field course. Picture adding to the standard demands and pleasures of teaching the tasks of guide, accountant, publicist, recruiter, travel agent, menu planner, goodwill ambassador, medical advisor, and, for some of us, tra...

Essay, Resources

Nagasaki Survivors: Stories of Endurance and Courage

Between 1966 and 1995, as I interviewed atomic survivors, I frequently traveled from Hiroshima to Nagasaki by train. As I took the train south to Nagasaki, I had to change from the fast express train to the slower, regional train in northern Kyushu. The train wound slowly past small fishing villages, sometimes right next to the beaches. Fishing nets were piled on the sea walls. Narrow streams coming out of the mountains emptied into the ocean. Blue and brown fishing boats on mud flats leaned to ...

Essay, Resources

Asian Fiction of the Twentieth Century: A Novel Approach to History

By Andrea Caron Kempf History viewed through the lens or fiction can enhance a standard textbook, making the subject more immediate and compelling to students. Anecdotal evidence suggests that students who read a novel in conjunction with a history class become more engaged with the subject. Both the grand themes of a work of fiction and its quotidian details inform and educate, remai1ning with a reader long after the novel or the course in which it was assigned is completed. The cataclysmic ...

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