Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Contextualizing Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko

Pachinko By Min Jin Lee New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2017 496 pages, ISBN: 978-1455563937, Hardcover Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko, nominee for the 2017 National Book Award for fiction, is a sweeping historical saga of one family’s experience living as “forever foreigners” in twentieth-century Japan. Despite its heft (496 pages in the hardcover edition), the novel is written in an accessible and engaging style appropriate for both undergraduates and high school students. Moreover, Pa...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching about the Comfort Women during World War II and the Use of Personal Stories of the Victims

“Comfort women” refers to the system of sexual slavery created and controlled by the Imperial Japanese government between 1932 and 1945. It is the largest case of government-sponsored human trafficking and sexual slavery in modern history. Many scholars have argued that the term comfort women, a euphemism coined by the Japanese military, obscures the gravity of the crime. While the authors agree that “military sexual slaves” is a much more accurate and appropriate phrase, we use the term...

Online Supplement

Resources and Chapter Guide for “Contextualizing Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko”

Editor’s Note: Please see Todd Munson’s teaching resources essay “Contextualizing Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko” from the winter 2019 issue of Education About Asia beginning on p. 54. Names and locations in the chapter outline use the Revised Romanization of Korean. Suggested Resources and Chapter Guide for “Contextualizing Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko” Abroad in Japan. “Japan’s Biggest Gaming Obsession Explained | Pachinko.” YouTube Video, 11:06. July 20, 2018. https://youtu.be/-tBy2...

Feature Article

Fiction: A Passport to the Past

Twenty-five years ago, preparing to teach my first undergraduate survey of early East Asian history, I panicked. A Japanese auto company had recently built a plant in the area, and I knew that student interest in Japan was strong, but my training in that field was spotty at best. I called on friends for advice: assign Tale of Genji, I was told. Somewhat skeptically, I put several chapters of the Seidensticker translation of Genji on my syllabus and was amazed by the positive response from the cl...

Book Review Essay, Resources

A History of East Asia: From the Origins of Civilization to the Twenty-first Century

BY CHARLES HOLCOMBE NEW YORK: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2011 456 PAGES, ISBN 978-0-521-51595-5, HARDBACK; ISBN 978-0-52173164-5 PAPER Charles Holcombe has given instructors of East Asian history courses and world history teachers a welcome gift: his book, A History of East Asia. This volume is packed with both information and insights. The author provides interesting facts that will spice up lectures and illuminating statistics that will give students a vivid sense of East Asia’s size a...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Korean Culture and History through Korean Literature

“What am I looking for? Soul, my blind soul, endlessly darting like children at play by the river, answer me: where am I going?” (note 1) Written in response to Japan’s occupation of Korea (1910–1945), these lines from nationalist writer Yi Sanghwa’s poem convey a deep sense of desperation and uncertainty. In 1910, Japan annexed Korea and set up a colonial government that would remain in power for thirty-five years. Yi’s poem expresses the alienation Koreans endured bec...

Essay, Resources

Introduction to Contemporary Korean Ceramic Artists

Mei-ling Hom is an artist and independent scholar. In 2007, she was awarded a Fulbright research grant to study and document contemporary Korean ceramics. She traveled for ten months with a fellow artist, David McClelland, throughout South Korea, seeking Korean ceramic artists to interview and document. From their research, they produced a CD called “Contemporary Korean Ceramic Artists.” Besides art installations, sculpture, and ceramics, Hom’s artwork includes public art commissions at th...

Essay, Resources

Chinese Foreign Direct Investment: Looking Abroad from an Emerging Economy

Foreign direct investment (FDI) can occur when a firm either establishes operations or purchases a controlling interest in the business operations of a company in another country. Companies often engage in FDI for three straightforward reasons: to grow their sales, to expand their geographical market range, or to take advantage of the firm’s own assets (e.g., brand name, technologies). If a firm is to increase its revenue, domestic sales are often not enough, and the company is required to exp...

Essay, Resources

East Asian International Relations: Peaceful and Stable for Centuries

How did international relations function in East Asia from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries—that is, before the arrival of the Western colonial powers? We typically use European history and European ideas as the basis for thinking about world history and international relations. Ideas that emanated from the 1688 Peace of Westphalia include the independent sovereignty of each nation-state, the inherent equality of those nation-states, and “balance of power.” But, it may be that th...

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...

Online Supplement

Music as a Gateway to Learning about East Asia

Introduction: Music and Cultures Music can be an enticing gateway to other cultures, and because music is more than just sound, it can lead to learning about the people who produce the music. Music—the sound—is a scientific phenomenon that can be measured, documented, and replicated. Music—the phenomenon—has meaning it acquires through the culture that produces it, and to understand music—from our own or from a foreign culture—it is vital to learn about music the phenomenon. When w...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Asian Visual and Performing Arts–Part I

VISUAL ARTS Asia, General The Art of Asia URL: http://www.artsmia.org/art-of-asia/introduction/ The collections of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese works of art have been added to this site, produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. From this introductory page, one can access the collections by culture,  period, or themes. There are thousands of objects, including 368 ukiyo-eand an extensive guide to Chinese ceramics. South and Southeast Asian Art URL: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hi...

Book Review, Resources

To the Diamond Mountains: A Hundred-Year Journey through China and Korea

BY TESSA MORRIS-SUZUKI NEW YORK: ROWMAN& LITTLEFIELD, 2010 216 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1442205031, HARDBACK Reviewed by Constance Vidor Retracing the steps of historical travelers has become a popular scaffolding for travel, adventure, and historical narratives. This device allows the writer to present a region through the double vision of her own perceptions and those of the historical figure. The reader benefits from two sets of insights, each filtered through a different personality, each re...

Book Review, Resources

Modern East Asia

BY JONATHAN LIPMAN, BARBARA MOLONY, AND MICHAEL ROBINSON NEW YORK: PRENTICE HALL, 2011 480 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0-321-23490-2, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Anne Prescott Modern East Asia is an engaging East Asia history textbook that offers a new approach to the topic and is suitable for both high school and postsecondary classes. It focuses on the history of China, Japan, and Korea (including North Korea and Taiwan) from 1600 to the present, with roughly two-thirds of the book devoted to the past 150 ...

Feature Article

Globalizing Asian Cuisines: From Eating for Strength to Culinary Cosmopolitanism —A Long History of Culinary Globalization

Visit a restaurant or home kitchen in America or Europe today, and you inevitably find a salt and pepper shaker on the table or by the stove. While salt is a physiological necessity for human beings, pepper is a culinary necessity with negligible nutritional value. Its origins as a cultural necessity for Western peoples lie in very ancient patterns of culinary globalization. In 30 BCE Rome, under Octavian, conquered the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt. For the next five centuries, annual fleets of ov...

Online Supplement

Understanding Contemporary Asia through Food

While once-exotic Asian foods have become a familiar part of American life, the study of Asian food continues to be a sharp lens, giving focus to the broad sweep of history and the complex patterns of contemporary Asian societies. The eating habits and culinary practices (foodways) of Asian societies are both local and global, revealing the historical impact of past events and the everyday tensions of contemporary Asian societies. Humans often use food to distinguish their own group from others....

Essay, Resources

Three New Volumes: Key Issues in Asian Studies

Editor’s note: Key Issues in Asian Studies (KIAS) is a series of booklets engaging major cultural and historical themes in the Asian experience. KIAS booklets serve as vital educational materials that are both accessible and affordable for classroom use. This series is particularly intended for teachers and undergraduates at two- and four-year colleges as well as high school students and secondary school teachers engaged in teaching Asian studies in a comparative framework. What follows are br...

Book Review Essay, Resources

East Asia Before the West: Five Centuries of Trade and Tribute

BY DAVID C. KANG NEW YORK: COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2010 240 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0231153188, HARDBACK David C. Kang examines East Asia during a time when relations between centers of power were well established but before the Westphalian concepts of “states” and “countries” were established. Kang presents a detailed study of the politics and history of the region that challenges the Eurocentric assumptions so often accepted by teachers and students in the West; how power was exerted an...

Feature Article

Asia in Focus: The Koreas

The comprehensive, authoritative survey of Korean history will attract post-secondary Asian history scholars to consider this publication as a course textbook. Its scope, however, extends well beyond the peninsula’s past. From the first pages, we are immersed in everything Korean: politics, geography, food, music, language, art, and belief systems. Additionally, we take in a timely briefing on what could soon be one of the world’s ten leading economies.

Feature Article

Korea: Traditional and Modern Culture in Pictures

Korea identifies six “Hans” that are important Korean cultural heritages for internationalization: Hangul(Alphabet), Hansik(Food), Hanbok(Clothing), Hanok(Traditional Housing), Hanja (Chinese Characters), and Hanguk-Eumak (Music). These are the main themes of Korean culture that embody Korean spirit. South Korea has a culture of deep spiritual beliefs. Of nearly fifty million people, twelve million are Christian; an equal number are Buddhist. Beneath this, most Koreans are influenced by S...

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