Education About Asia: Online Archives

Browse and download over 1,500 articles – feature articles, lesson plans, interviews, classroom resources, and book and film reviews — from twenty-four years of Education About Asia (EAA).

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Feature Article

Poverty in Late Meiji Japan: It Mattered Where You Lived

We know only a few things about the coal collector who eked out an existence in Osaka’s slum neighborhoods early in the 1900s. He had a twenty-four-year-old wife, a three-year-old son, and wages of ¥12 or ¥13 a month—about half of what a railway con­ductor made, and a third as much as an ironworker. We know too that these wages barely covered food, housing, and rented bedding, leaving the family dependent for everything else on the ¥2 his wife made each month making straw sandals.1 The g...

Nation Versus People: Ashio and Japan’s First Evironmental Crisis

Farmers along the Watarase River sixty miles northwest of Tokyo had never worried much about the spring and summer floods, even the occasional big ones, because the waters brought rich top soil from the north and with it, better harvests. The floods of 1890 were different, however. New seeds refused to sprout once the waters evaporated; fish in the river died; silkworms ate mulberry leaves along the shore and shriveled up; sores broke out on field workers’ feet. And when even bigger floods cam...

Columns, EAA Interview

Japan and Imperialism: 1853-1945: A Brief Interview with James L. Huffman

Key Issues in Asian Studies (KIAS) booklets complement Education About Asia and are practical teaching resources for college, university, and senior high school teachers and students. James L. Huffman is H. Orth Hirt Professor of History Emeritus at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, where he taught East Asian history for thirty years. A former journalist, he also has taught at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Indiana Wesleyan University, and Dartmouth College. He is the author of se...

Feature Article

Looking Both Ways: The Use of Meiji Travel Literature in the Classroom

Although thirty-seven years have passed since my initial visit to Japan, the memories of my first twenty-four hours in Tokyo remain sharply etched in my memory. I still can see— and feel—it all: the dark rain of the first night, the customs officials’ rigidity, the hard bed at the Asia Center, the spaghetti lunch that came when I thought I had ordered a hot dog, the embarrassment of wearing my shoes into the living room of my new apartment, the lovely sour/sweet taste of the Calpis drink m...

Feature Article

Japanese Society in the Twentieth Century

By James L. Huffman Most American textbooks do a capable job of summarizing the political and economic facts of Japan's modern history. The country, in their telling, modernized quickly in the late 1800s, turned militant in the 1930s, went to war in the 1940s, reemerged under American guidance in the 1950s, and became an ''economic animal" in the 1960s. In the 1990s, the bubble burst. Unfortunately, most of these textbooks ignore the rich and varied lives of the Japanese people themselves: th...

Film Review Essay

Blending with Nature: Classical Chinese Gardens in the Suzhou Style

Written, directed, produced by Raymond W. Olson 2003. 53 Minutes. VHS. Color. Distributed by Sacred Mountain Productions 17404 SE 17th Way, Vancouver, WA 98683 Phone: 866-597-6800 E-mail: brolson@pacifier.com Web site: www.sacred-mountain.com Students usually react skeptically—or with puzzlement—when I point out that traditional Chinese scholars sought to be Confucian in the daytime and Daoist in the evening. The idea strikes them as contradictory. After seeing Blending with Nature, ...

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