Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

The Importance of Entrepreneurship in Japan’s Late Nineteenth-Century Meiji Industrial Transformation

Japan’s rapid transformation in the late nineteenth century, from an agricultural society governed by the feudal samurai warrior class into an industrial power, is an unusual story in world history. When samurai leaders from Satsuma, Chōshū, and other domains joined forces to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate and rule in the name of Emperor Meiji in 1868, they might have been expected to establish a similar form of government that maintained the existing class structure and protected the samu...

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement

The Entrepreneur Who Built Modern Japan: Shibusawa Eiichi

Shibusawa Eiichi BY SHIMADA MASAKAZU TRANSlATED BY PAUL NARUM TOKYO: JAPAN PUBlISHING INdUSTRY FOUNDATION FOR CULTURE, 2017 196 PAGES, ISBN 978-4916055798, HARDCOVER Reviewed by John H. Sagers Shibusawa Eiichi (1840–1931) was one of Japan’s most famous and prolific entrepreneurs, who launched nearly 500 business enterprises–including the dai-Ichi Bank, Oji Paper, Sapporo Beer, and Tokyo gas. living ninety-one years during Japan’s transition from the world of the samurai under...

Feature Article

Shibusawa Eiichi and the Merger of Confucianism and Capitalism in Modern Japan

Modern economic development depends greatly on a favorable institutional framework and a supportive cultural environment, both of which encourage the investment of talent and resources into commercial enterprises. In Japan’s Meiji 1868–1912 transition to a modern economy, government oligarchs and business leaders made economic growth a national priority to compete with the Western powers. Leaders built modern economic institutions like banks, insurance companies, and stock exchanges and inve...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Honor and Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story

PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY LUCY OSTRANDER AND DON SELLERS DVD, 28 MINUTES, COLOR STOURWATER PICTURES, 2013 Reviewed by John H. Sagers Honor and Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story is an excellent case study that vividly illustrates issues surrounding early twentieth-century Japanese immigrants to the United States, their American-born children, and Japanese American military service during the Second World War. Narrated from the perspective of Roy Matsumoto’s daughter, Karen, the film has ...

Book Review, Columns

Japan in World History

Reviewed by John H. Sagers This splendidly lucid text will delight teachers and students looking for a concise, well-written, and up-to-date introduction to Japanese history. Despite the title, this new book is unlikely to be widely adopted in world civilizations courses typically dominated by texts covering many regions at once. And while it contains a respectable set of maps, black and white photos, and a timeline, the publisher has kept costs down by sacrificing color and features like prima...

Film Review Essay

Teaching Narrative Analysis with A&E’s “Biography”

Hồ Chí Minh AN A&E BIOGRAPHY PRODUCTION DISTRIBUTED BY A&E HOME VIDEO DVD, 50 minutes, color, 2000 Kim Jong Il AN A&E BIOGRAPHY PRODUCTION DISTRIBUTED BY A&E HOME VIDEO DVD, 50 minutes, color, 2003 Dalai Lama: The Soul of Tibet AN A&E BIOGRAPHY PRODUCTION DISTRIBUTED BY A&E HOME VIDEO Reviewed by John H. Sagers A&E’s Biography series provides a valuable source for analyzing narrative and representation of Asian subjects on American commercial tele...

Essay, Resources

Power, Legitimacy, and the Japanese Emperor

By John Sagers To integrate the study of Japan into the world history curriculum, it is important to find themes of comparison. Political legitimacy provides one such theme. Even when regimes have the power to rule, they try to establish their right to govern. As the oldest reigning dynasty in the world, the Japanese monarchy has evolved over nearly two millennia to support governments in a variety of historical contexts, from primitive society to a modern nation-state. This essay will outlin...

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