Education About Asia: Online Archives

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

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Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Contextualizing Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko

Pachinko By Min Jin Lee New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2017 496 pages, ISBN: 978-1455563937, Hardcover Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko, nominee for the 2017 National Book Award for fiction, is a sweeping historical saga of one family’s experience living as “forever foreigners” in twentieth-century Japan. Despite its heft (496 pages in the hardcover edition), the novel is written in an accessible and engaging style appropriate for both undergraduates and high school students. Moreover, Pa...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching about the Comfort Women during World War II and the Use of Personal Stories of the Victims

[caption id="attachment_7067" align="alignnone" width="1113"] Four Korean comfort women after they were liberated by US-China Allied Forces outside Songshan, Yunnan Province, China on September 7, 1944. Source: The Hankyoreh website at https://tinyurl.com/y4dddxjn. Photo by Charles H. Hatfield, US 164th Signal Photo Company. Note: The original photo is available in the National Archives Catalog at https://tinyurl.com/yyumu88z.[/caption] “Comfort women” refers to the system of sexual slave...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Using the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index to Teach Social Science: A Plan for a Facilitated Discussion

The Lowy Institute, one of Australia’s most well-regarded think tanks, released its second annual Asia Power Index in May 2019 (available at https://power.lowyinstitute.org). High school and college educators can use this resource to get students doing hands-on explorations of Asian political, military, economic, and diplomatic power using data. Students can learn about Asia while enhancing their data literacy and critical-thinking skills. This essay provides a plan for an interactive discussi...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

EngageAsia: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Creating Transnational Communities

EngageAsia (www.engageasia.org), a New York-based 501(c)(3) non- profit with the mission of building community in the Asia–Pacific through education, was born out of a need for a new organization with Asia-focused teacher professional development at its core, through intensive discussions between its cofounders and inaugural board, and on culling best practices from years of working with US–Japan teacher professional development programs. Most importantly, the creation of this new organizati...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

The Nomads of the Steppe: Resources for Teachers

The nomadic pastoralists of the inner Asian steppe had an impact on history out of all proportion to their small population. The cultures and politics of societies across Asia experienced profound change at their hands. China presents a good example of this phenomenon. The nomads on the steppe posed a perennial challenge to the Chinese political structure, making management of the nomads always one of the chief concerns of every Chinese dynasty. The Great Wall of China is the most famous dem...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching China Through the Lens of Girls’ and Women’s Lives

Illiterate paternal grandparents raised Jin Shan, a teenage girl living in rural China. Her parents, unable to afford milk for their child, had no choice but to become migrant workers when Shan was seven months old. Shan remained behind with her grandparents, who farmed in the town of Xixiashu in Jiangsu Province, and did not live with her parents again until the age of ten. Shan’s experience was not unusual. In fact, it was anything but rare. Her story places her among millions of “left-...

Teaching Resources Essay

Leading a Short-Term Study Trip for Students in Japan

The best way for students to study the history, culture, and livelihoods of another country is through an organized in-country experience. There are various benefits that can accrue through such an endeavor. One can learn about a part of the world away from home while at the same time gaining a deeper appreciation of one’s own culture by looking at it from the outside. Ideally, a student will spend a full semester or year studying abroad, but that is a luxury that many cannot afford in terms o...

Teaching Resources Essay

Population Trends and Issues: Bangladesh

A discussion of the possibilities available for having students use data sources beyond the textbook to explore Bangladesh’s demographic challenges. In demographic studies, much discussion in academic circles centers around either the challenges faced by aging populations in places such as Japan, Germany, or Italy, or the impacts of pronatal and antinatal policies (policies meant to increase or decrease birthrate), such as China’s One-Child Policy or Australia’s Baby Bonus. With a popul...

Teaching Resources Essay

Graduate School Confidential: Misguided First Impressions of Japanese Preschools

I started graduate school in 1980 after living in Japan for four years. In my second semester, a nearby college held a colloquium for business and community leaders in Detroit, Michigan, on “What We Can Learn From Japan.” They asked me to talk about Japanese education, specifically high achievement test scores. There wasn’t much scholarship available on Japanese education then, but after an extensive card catalog search at the University of Michigan library, I discovered some Japanese g...

Teaching Resources Essay

The Great Courses: Books that Matter: The Analects of Confucius

“Imagine a world,” author/narrator Professor Robert André LaFleur suggests, “in which the gift of a book could change your life forever. Imagine a world in which you didn’t just read, but read, reread, read again, and lived a book.” This is the dynamic instruction that drives twenty-four half-hour lectures on Confucius and the Analects for listeners/viewers who are new to, or even those well-acquainted with, the teachings of one of China’s greatest thinkers and educators. The Ana...

Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching About the 1947 Partition of British India: Literature and Oral History

How do you divide a nation into two respective nation-states? Who is authorized to draw the borders, and what happens to the people on either side of these borders when they resettle due to their religion? How did South Asian literature and oral narrative come to terms with the violence that accompanied decolonization processes after 1947, and why is the history of Partition relevant today? The year 1947 marks Indian Independence from British colonial rule and the Partition of British India into...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Chinese Naval Shipbuilding: An Ambitious and Uncertain Course

The thesis of Chinese Naval Shipbuilding: An Ambitious and Uncertain Course is that the People’s Republic of China, since 2000, has become the world leader in commercial shipping and that its navy is emerging as a rival to the dominance of the United States Navy (USN) in Asian waters. China’s fast rise in maritime power is yet another aspect of the country’s significance in world affairs. In China, naval forces constitute a branch of the People’s Liberation Army. The correct English tran...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching with China’s Great Migration: How the Poor Built a Prosperous Nation

Syrian refugees on rafts in the Mediterranean Sea, Rohingya fleeing ethnic cleansing in Burma, Somalians and Sudanese fleeing military conflict and famine on the rim of Ethiopia—migration is perpetual headline news. In the US, the story is of stemming the tide of migrants from Mexico and the Caribbean. In all cases, migration is viewed as a problem to be controlled or stopped. While news reports focus on migration across national borders, the benefits of migration are best illustrated withi...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Japan’s Declining Population: Beyond the Textbook

Geography, as a discipline, allows students to explore, analyze, and understand the places that comprise our world. Most geography curricula focus on both physical and human geography, often in the context of "issues"-based learning; this serves to demonstrate the dynamic and applicable nature of the subject to learners. Within the context of human geography, population is an area of study that enables geographers to plan the use of Earth’s resources, make sense of the underlying factors influ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Aging Populations: A Comparison between Japan and Germany

When comparing population trends of Japan and Germany, numerous similarities stand out. Both countries have an identical total fertility rate (TFR) per woman of 1.4 with a population growth rate of -0.2 percent (Table 1). While both countries have high life expectancies, Japan’s eighty-five-year life expectancy is among the world’s longest, leading to a higher elderly dependency ratio in 2017 (Table 1). Similarities between the countries related to below-replacement-rate population growth, a...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Asia’s Missing Millions: How Policy and Social Pressure Made Millions of Women Disappear

In 1990, Nobel Prize-winni ng Indian economist Amartya Sen noticed something remarkable. By his count, there were approximately 100 million “missing women” in Asia. They hadn’t been kidnapped or stolen or died as the victims of a female-specific plague or war . . . Yet a population equivalent to every single girl and woman in the United Kingdom, France, and Italy was missing. Using records collected by governments, Sen observed that relative to the number of men, there were far too ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

After Thirty Years, You Still Can’t Drink the Water

I first went to China in 1986 as a member of a group of fifteen professors of world history from West Virginia. Under a grant from the US Department of Education, all had to agree to increase our coverage of China and to produce modules that would be circulated to our West Virginia colleagues in the hopes that they would also expand their treatment of China. Agree? This was one of the biggest no-brainers of my career. Over the next thirty years, I’ve been to China an additional thirteen times...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Rain Gods and Rice Farmers in Rural Japan

In the mountains above the town of Chitose flowed a narrow stream. Clear, cold water zigzagged around trees and tumbled wildly over rocks before finally being corralled into cement-lined troughs that directed the water to the valley below, where it filled the rice paddies and then spilled into the Hozu River, and, flowing wild again, cascaded through the rocky gorge and into the city of Kyoto. A short hike up the mountain from my house on the edge of the paddies, the water tumbled over a twen...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Top Ten Things to Know about Singapore in the Twenty-First Century

1. MANY NAMES OF SINGAPORE. A place of human habitation long before 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles established the British settlement, Singapore is the English version of the Malay word “Singapura,” which literally means “Lion City.” Legend has it that when Sang Nila Utama, once ruler of the Srivijaya Empire in Sumatra, discovered the island with white sandy shores in 1299, a storm nearly capsized his boat until he threw his crown into the turbulent waters. When they landed, they spo...

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