Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Sacred Mountains of Japan, with a Particular Look at the Shikoku Pilgrimage

Japan is an island country, blessed with many peaks rising up to the clouds. It should come as no surprise that many of the mountains of Japan are treated as sacred spaces, and that visiting those heights may be an act of worship in and of itself. Of course, though we can think of all mountains as sacred, it is important to note that some are particularly venerated as holy peaks, or reizan. Mt. Fuji, probably the best-known of Japanese mountains, is the home of a Shintō goddess, the center o...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Some Notes on “Japanese Pirates”

Images of Pirates When today’s students think of pirates, the first image that likely pops into their minds is of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films from Disney Studios. While I feel certain that my colleagues specializing in maritime history find many inaccuracies in that image—as I’m sure they would find in the swashbuckling seafarer played by Douglas Fairbanks in The Black Pirate or the romanticized figures of Black Dog and Billy Bones in Robert L...

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

Japanese Art for the Classroom: Images, Texts, and Notes for Teachers

There are many reasons to bring art into the classroom. Of course, discussions may focus on art as art, i.e., the aesthetic, stylistic, or historical aspects of a work, but there are many other functions for which art may be used to achieve pedagogical objectives. Below, I describe a few of them, with examples available to me locally. A clearly related issue is HOW to bring the art into the room. For small groups, the best option is obviously the work of art itself. Some of us are lucky enough t...

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