Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Film Review Essay

Two Essays on Japan’s Peace Constitution: The Constitution of Japan

Editor’s Note: Japan’s 1947 Constitution, imposed upon the country by US Occupation authorities, has never been amended. Currently, fierce political debate is occurring over the question of whether to amend Article 9 of the Constitution, the famous Renunciation of War section of the document. The full text of the article is as follows: Article 9 1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the n...

Columns, Film Review

Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation is Sofia Coppola’s most ambitious film to date. It depicts the interaction of two Americans, both fish out of water in a hotel in Tokyo. Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is an over-the-hill American actor in Tokyo to film whiskey ads; “Charlotte” is a recent college graduate who has accompanied her photographer-husband to Tokyo and been left to amuse herself. Bob and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) spend time together, develop an affection for each other, and part. In one scene...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor and American Innocence: Thoughts on the Film

Hollywood has as its goal entertainment, not education. Still, we know that many Americans, both children and adults, learn their history more from Hollywood and the other media than from textbooks or from our classrooms. (Not, of course, that either our textbooks or our classrooms are less suspect than Hollywood and the media!) Over the past several years, much of the Hollywood/media focus has been World War II. Saving Private Ryan is blockbuster exhibit #1, with Tom Brokaw’s best-selling boo...

Essay, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Lost Names, Master Narratives, and Messy History

“Problematize the master narrative!” These were the words some years ago at an NEH summer institute for teachers. The speaker’s language wasn’t mine then (it is now), but I realized that that’s what I’d been doing in my teaching for years: making an issue of the dominant interpretation (usually that of a textbook). It is what more of us need to focus on, at all levels and in all subjects. Textbooks are always wrong. History is never simple. As a professor of Japanese history at a ...

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