Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Japan and the World, 1450-1770: Was Japan a “Closed Country?”

Half-truths make the world go round. One conceit American pundits seem most determined to nurture is that in 1853 the US “opened” Japan to “civilization,” ending its days as a backward “closed country” (sakoku). Even though scholars—Ronald Toby most convincingly—established decades ago that Japan was not “closed,” the notion lives on in popular culture and public perceptions.1 The image of Japan as “closed” or “isolated” is reinforced by the companion notion, still fo...

Feature Article

Asia’s Environment, 1900-2000

By Conrad Totman What does the above title mean? Anything? Despite its admirable conciseness, it is in fact laced with semantic problems. Perhaps if we rephrase it, "On Thinking About Asia's Environment, 1900- 2000," we'd give ourselves occasion to explore those problems briefly. And if we do so, we may find a silk purse lurking in this sow's ear of a title....

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