Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review Essay, Resources

A Christian in the Land of the Gods: Journey of Faith In Japan

Joanna Reed Shelton’s recent book, A Christian in the Land of the Gods, is a beautifully written biography of her great-grandfather, the Reverend Thomas Theron Alexander (1850–1902), and her great-grandmother, Emma Edwina Alexander (1855–1937), who served as Presbyterian missionaries and teachers in Japan from 1877 to 1902. The value of this work is enhanced by the author’s in-depth analysis of the great difficulties foreign missionaries and teachers had in introducing Christianity into ...

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...

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement

Down and Out in Late Meiji Japan

BY JAMES L. HUFFMAN HONOLULU: UNIVERSITY Of HAWAI'I PRESS, 2018 362 PAGES, ISBN 978-0824872915, HARDCOVER Reviewed by Daniel A. Métraux Author James L. Huffman begins this study of the daily lives of Japan’s massive impoverished population around the turn of the last century by recounting an epigram he found on the wall of an old slave castle in Africa that said: “until the lion has his historian the hunter will always be the hero.” Huffman’s point is that no history of Japan’...

Feature Article

Baseball in Japan and the US: History, Culture, and Future Prospects

The essay that follows, with a primary focus on professional baseball, is intended as an introductory comparative overview of a game long played in the US and Japan. I hope it will provide readers with some context to learn more about a complex, evolving, and, most of all, fascinating topic, especially for lovers of baseball on both sides of the Pacific. Baseball, although seriously challenged by the popularity of other sports, has traditionally been considered America’s pastime and was for...

Book Review, Resources

Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back

Deep in the western suburbs of Tokyo in the city of Kodaira lies Tsuda College, a private school of about 2,500 students where, since its founding in 1900, female students have received a broad education in the liberal arts and languages. It is a beautiful, leafy campus with an abundance of impressive trees and flowers. It is a rare treat to visit in late March or early April, when the cherry trees are in full bloom. My own school, Mary Baldwin University, has a long tradition of receiving excha...

Feature Article

American Visitors to Meiji Japan

When Japan began its modernization process during the Meiji period (1868–1912), it turned to the West for advice and assistance. British, French, German, and other European influence on Japan’s modernization process was immense, but Japan’s ties with the United States were perhaps even deeper and more complex.1 During the nineteenth century, the United States and Japan developed a more personal relationship, which, though tragically broken after Pearl Harbor, found renewal in the postwar A...

EAA Interview, Feature Article

Serving in the Occupation: An Interview with Wilton Dillon

Born in Yale, Oklahoma, in 1923, anthropologist Wilton S. Dillon is now Senior Scholar Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution, where he has spent more than forty years. He came there in 1969 from the National Academy of Sciences as Director of Smithsonian International Symposia and later Founding Director of Interdisciplinary Studies. Dillon earned a 1951 BA at the University of California, Berkeley, in Communications and Public Policy. His 1961 Columbia Anthropology PhD dissertation was publis...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Pearl Harbor: A New Japanese Perspective

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is one of the seminal events of American history. It forced America’s entry into World War II and marked this country’s emergence as a world power and dominant actor on the world scene. Until that time, the US had been an economic powerhouse, but a military midget with little interest in pursuing global conquest. Unfortunately, few Americans today have any true understanding of why Japan, a comparatively small nation already engaged in a full scale war in ...

Feature Article

Democratic Trends in Meiji Japan

By Daniel A. Métraux When the victorious United States and its allies occupied Japan between 1945 and 1952, they imposed a new democratic constitution on the Japanese that placed popular sovereignty in the hands of the Japanese people. This was not the first time, however, that the Japanese had encountered such concepts as democracy, representative government, or the fundamental equality of all citizens. During the Meiji era (1868–1912), Japan was exposed to many Western ideas concerning d...

Feature Article

Jack London and the Yellow Peril

The term “The Yellow Peril” has long since passed out of fashion, but it was a widely used expression in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The nightmare of wild oriental hordes swarming from the East and engulfing the “civilized” societies of the West was a popular theme in literature and journalism of the time. Yellow Peril supposedly derives from a remark made by German Kaiser Wilhelm II following Japan’s defeat of China in 1895 in the first Sino-Japanese War. The ex...

Feature Article

The Mikado, Guranto Shogun, and the Rhapsody of US-Japanese Relations in Early Meiji

Relations between the United States and Japan, relatively close compared to Japan’s relations with European powers during the Meiji era (1868–1912), reached their pinnacle with the three month visit of General Ulysses S. Grant (1822–85) to Tokyo and its environs during the summer of 1879. Although only a private mission, the Japanese accorded Grant an exuberant welcome and readily sought his advice on a variety of issues that impacted their modernization program. Grant played a key role in...

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