Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

The Essentials: Seven Samurai

Kurosawa Akira’s Seven Samurai is a timeless masterpiece that has been widely recognized as the greatest foreign-language film ever made. The plot concerns a humble village hiring a band of samurai and protecting itself from pillage in war-ravaged sixteenth-century Japan. Since the wretchedness inflicted on the peasantry is evocative of all forms of human suffering, the honorable service conducted by the seven samurai takes on universal significance.

Feature Article

Revisiting Live Your Dream and Cocktail Party

Regge Life is the founder of Global Film Network Inc. Early in his career, Life worked as an American Film Institute intern on John Landis’s Trading Places. He went on to direct episodes of Sesame Street, The Cosby Show, A Different World, and Sister, Sister. He is Executive Producer/Director for documentaries such as Doubles, After America . . . After Japan, Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story, and Cocktail Party. He produced his first work in Japan, Struggle and Success: The...

Feature Article

Teaching Cultural, Historical, and Religious Landscapes with the Anime Demon Slayer

In 2020, the animated movie Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train (Japanese: Gekijō-ban “Kimetsu no Yaiba” Mugen Res-sha-hen) was No. 1 in the world for box office revenue.1 In the same year, it became the highest-grossing movie in Japanese history, surpassing Spirited Away, which had reigned No. 1 since 2001. Just as Miyazaki Hideo’s animated classic Spirited Away has been a staple for teaching about Japanese folklore and culture in classrooms around the world, Demon Sla...

Online Supplement

Make Your Documentary! A Call to Action

In 2008, I responded to a call in Education About Asia for Digital Asia: Documentary Digital Video Workshop, a two-day workshop sponsored by Asia Educational Media Service (AEMS) at the University of Illinois to introduce participants to the various aspects of filmmaking. Being one of roughly twelve participants selected from a pool of about forty applicants, changed the direction of my career. Prior to the workshop, I had watched hundreds of videos for material to use in my...

Columns, Film Review Essay

Day of the Western Sunrise

Day of the Western Sunrise is a Japanese-language, English-subtitled, animated documentary film that follows three surviving crew members of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru (Lucky Dragon No. 5). On March 1, 1954, this small wooden Japanese tuna fishing vessel was exposed to the United States’ Castle Bravo thermonuclear test near the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, where it stood eighty-five miles away from the epicenter of the blast. Because pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had circulated wide...

Book Review Essay

The Perry Expedition and the “Opening of Japan to the West,” 1853-1873: A Short History with Documents

The arrival of US Commodore Matthew Perry’s squadron of four ships into Tokyo Bay on July 8, 1853, is one of those great watershed moments of modern history. This event led to the rapid transformation of Japan from a weak isolated nation into one of the world’s major world powers in less than fifty years. The Japanese response to the West’s forced opening of its doors would soon alter the balance of geographical power around the world and create a model that other, lesser-developed nation...

EAA Interview

An EAA Interview with Alisa Freedman, Author of Japan on American TV: Screaming Samurai Join Anime Clubs in the Land of the Lost

Editor’s Note: Most EAA readers are familiar with Key Issues in Asian Studies but less so, if at all, with the AAS book series, Asia Shorts. The following brief description of Asia Shorts will assist readers in better understanding unique characteristics of the Asia Shorts series. ASIA SHORTS are concise, readable books written by authors—scholars, teachers, journalists, and policymakers—that engage broad audiences with up-to-date scholarship on timely topics in As...

Feature Article

Using Victory in the Pacific in High School and College History Survey Courses

The irony of a student complaining that a video is too old in a history classroom never ceases to amuse. But there is at least one thing that a nonletterboxed, standard-definition video can provide that the newest feature film cannot: eyewitness accounts of World War II in the Pacific. Victory in the Pacific, a CBS News television documentary that premiered in 1995, is a distinctive and useful classroom resource primarily because it features dozens of interviews with eyewitnesses in t...

Feature Article

The Essentials: How the Film Tora! Tora! Tora! May Be Utilized as a Teaching Tool About Pearl Harbor

The use of film in a history class can be an important learning tool for students. The traditional method of instruction based on pure lecturing can inform students of the basic facts, but the use of film can substantially enhance the learning experience. When I was a Professor of Asian Studies at a small women’s college in Virginia, I often used films as a way of enhancing my lectures. When teaching about modern Chinese history and culture, I would show such movies as Raise the Red Lantern (1...

Online Supplement

Excerpt from Japan on American TV: Screaming Samurai Join Anime Clubs in the Land of the Lost

Reader: Please watch the programs analyzed in Japan on American TV before reading this book. This way, you can enjoy shows that are meant to be entertaining, avoid spoilers, more fully understand my analysis, and come to your own conclusions about television’s representations of Japan. In the section after the bibliography, you can find a list of the main episodes and films discussed in this book. I have not suggested ways to access these shows because the platforms through which television ci...

Online Supplement

The Essentials: Barefoot Gen

When it comes to teaching the “big events” in history, it’s easy to do the numbers: these are the dates of when it happened, this is how many people it affected, this is how much money it cost, etc. It’s much harder to take those broad events and narrow their focus to the individual people involved, to tell (or just listen to) their stories. It takes the most moving literature, the most evocative artwork, or the most compelling film to make the monumental become personal.

Columns

In Memoriam: Ezra F. Vogel (1930–2020)

Those of us who are committed to studying East Asia lost an extraordinary scholar, teacher, and friend when the retired Harvard University Sociology Professor Ezra F. Vogel died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this last December.

Teaching Resources Essay

Final Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness

Final Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness (seventy minutes), directed by Suhee Kang and Patrick Lydon, is an exploration of the natural farming movement conducted primarily through interviews with practitioners based in Japan, Korea, and the United States. The late Larry Korn, translator of Masanobu Fukuoka’s The One-Straw Revolution (first published in 1975), the germ of this manifestation of the movement, is featured throughout, his explanations of the principles of natural farming providing struc...

Columns

Facts About Asia: Human Flourishing, Energy, and the Environment

By the end of 2019, four Asian countries ranked in the top ten world-wide in total energy consumption, the majority of which is derived from fossil fuels. The Asia Pacific region alone consumed 257.6 exajoules (a joule is a unit of energy measurement and one exajoule is one quintillion joules) of energy, the most in the world. China leads the world by a considerable margin with 141.7 exajoules of energy consumed, almost 50 more than the second-place user, the United States.

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Many Manifestations of Shintō: Key Issues in Asian Studies

As a child, I would gaze at the sky through pine needles in the deep woods of East Tennessee, often overcome with a vague but intense feeling about nature around and inside me. As I grew up, I was attracted to expressions of one’s connection to nature in Japanese poetry and cultural histories. I eventually came across Bashō’s Narrow Road to the Deep Interior in graduate school at the University of Oregon. Bashō traveled around the largest Japanese island, Honshū, molding his impres¬sions...

Columns, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

How to Measure a “Giant”?: A Short Guide to Gross Domestic Product Figures

Instructors in political science, history, and area studies have long known that the rapid economic growth of Asian countries is one of the most important world trends to teach students. Political scientists and international relations experts regularly view a country’s economic size as a reflection of its international power. The size of the economy helps set military budgets and acquisitions, foreign aid, and public diplomacy. These capabilities help a country influence other countries, or t...

EAA Interview, Resources

Teaching About Asia in a Time of Pandemic: A Conversation with David Kenley

In the spring of 2020, educators suddenly found themselves teaching remotely as they and their students began a multiweek period of pandemic-induced isolation. As weeks turned to months, administrators announced that students would not return to campus until the following school year and perhaps even longer. Teachers quickly scrambled to design new pedagogical approaches suitable to a socially distanced education. Teaching About Asia in a Time of Pandemic presents many lessons learned by educato...

Editor's Message

Editor’s Message

I wish all EAA readers who are fortunate enough to have the chance, a joyous, peaceful, and reflective holiday season. The special section “Teaching Asia’s Giants: India” commences with four solicited essays that build upon, beginning with Carol Gluck’s original essay “Top Ten Things to Know About Japan in the late 1990s,” a number of “Top Ten Things” essays we’ve published throughout the years. At the risk of using a term that has reached the point it perhaps has no...

Online Supplement

China, Global History, and the Sea: Case Study Guide

Study Guide Contents Decision Point Questions: The following six “Decision Point Questions” (DPQs) span the Mongol actions from 1270 through 1286 in a continuum. Case 1, the initial decision to invade, and Case 6, regarding a hypothetical third invasion, are both big strategic questions. The other DPQs chronologically in between are more operational and tactical, providing a strong DPQ mix for consideration. Case 1 The Mongol decision whether or not to invade Japan (1270) Case 2 Deci...

Online Supplement

China, Global History, and the Sea: Case Study

Contents Front piece: The Defeat of the Mongol Invasion Fleet Kamikaze, the ‘Divine Wind’ The Mongol Continental Vision Turns Maritime Mongol Naval Successes Against the Southern Song Korea’s Historic Place in Asian Geopolitics Ancient Pattern: The Korean Three Kingdoms Period Mongol Subjugation of Korea Mongol Invasions of Japan First Mongol Invasion of Japan, 1274 Second Mongol Invasion of Japan, 1281 Mongol Support for Maritime Commerce Reflections on the Mongol Maritime...