Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review Essay, Feature Article

The Sorrow of the Things They Carried: The American War in Việt Nam and Stories Told by Combat Soldiers from Both Sides

Bao Ninh’s (b. 1952) The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam (1990) and Tim O’Brien’s (b. 1946) The Things They Carried (1990) are Việt Nam classics that depict traumatic memories of war veterans. These two novels bring the reader into communion with the enormous weight of sorrow that resulted from fighting in a devastating war. The Things They Carried, a semi-autobiographical novel that reads like a collection of short stories, is one of the finest and most widely read books about t...

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...

Feature Article

Helen Foster Snow in Revolutionary China, the Cold War, and Contemporary America

Life stories about individuals involved in US–China relations offer compelling ways to engage students. These narratives demonstrate historical concepts such as change over time, interpretation, perspective, and subjectivity. They also invite consideration of how the past is used in different historical periods. Although these life stories are often unlikely to affect large-scale political and international strategic security concerns, some demonstrate how individuals have influenced positive ...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Proof of Loyalty: Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawai`i

Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawai`i Produced and Directed by Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers DVD, 55 minutes, Color Stourwater Pictures, 2017 Reviewed by David Huebner Awards: 2017 Audience Choice Award, Documentary—Asian American International Film Festival Best Feature Documentary—Celluloid Bainbridge Film Festival Official Selection: Asian American International Film Festival, Gig Harbor Film Festival, Friday Harbor Film Festival, Celluloid Bainbridge Film Festival, Ha...

Feature Article

Debating the Allied Occupation of Japan (Part Two)

In the fall 2016 issue of Education About Asia, I outlined three policy decisions, which I consider a fascinating way to discuss the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–1952). The three—the decision to keep the Shōwa Emperor (Hirohito) on the throne, punish selected individuals for war crimes, and create a new constitution that (in Article 9) seemed to outlaw war as an instrument of national policy—were all urged upon the Japanese by SCAP, a term for both the Supreme Commander of the Allied ...

Film Review Essay, Online Supplement, Resources

Film Review: Cocktail Party

Cocktail Party Directed and Produced by Regge Life 108 minutes, Color Lifecycle Productions, 2016 Based on the Akutagawa Prizewinning Novel by Tatsuhiro Oshiro Reviewed by David Huebner As a frequent film critic for Education About Asia, I have viewed and critiqued several documentaries. Cocktail Party, however, is the first full-length movie I’ve reviewed. It features superb acting, an intriguing plot, and an informative portrayal of the social conditions on Okinawa that have complicate...

Feature Article

Debating the Allied Occupation of Japan (Part One)

The Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–1952) was an extraordinary time in world history. Working through SCAP, a term that stands for both the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (General Douglas MacArthur until 1951) and the largely American bureaucracy, the United States and its allies insisted that Japan must enact major reforms before regaining independence. Conservative Japanese naturally resisted, but massive casualties, two atomic bombs, anger at the militarists, and fears that the Sov...

Feature Article

Baseball in Japan and the US: History, Culture, and Future Prospects

The essay that follows, with a primary focus on professional baseball, is intended as an introductory comparative overview of a game long played in the US and Japan. I hope it will provide readers with some context to learn more about a complex, evolving, and, most of all, fascinating topic, especially for lovers of baseball on both sides of the Pacific. Baseball, although seriously challenged by the popularity of other sports, has traditionally been considered America’s pastime and was for...

Online Supplement

Lesson Plan: “On Leaving Asia” Primary Source Document

Editor’s Note: The following primary source accompanies “Lesson Plan: On Leaving Asia” by Aaron Pickering from the spring 2016 issue (vol. 21, no. 1, p. 66-67). Datsu-A Ron “On Leaving Asia”—from the Jiji shinpō newspaper, March 16, 1885 (Published anonymously but generally attributed to Fukuzawa Yukichi) International communication has become so convenient these days that once the wind of Western civilization blows to the East, every blade of grass and every tree in the East ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

School Textbooks and East Asia’s “History Wars”: A Comparative Approach to Teaching About Perspective, Bias, and Historical Memory

As EAA readers are well-aware, the question of historical memory is considerably salient in the context of East Asia. History—especially twentieth-century history—remains a recurring source of debate and contention in the region. At times, such disagreements have escalated into rancorous national and international disputes, even sparking violence and disrupting normal international relations, economic activity, and individuals’ daily lives. Many of these disputes have typically focused ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Lesson Plan: “On Leaving Asia”

Editor’s Note: This lesson plan was developed in a National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) professional development program funded by the Freeman Foundation and the Japan Center for Global Partnerships. The complete primary source for the lesson is available in the online supplements for this issue.   Lesson Title: “On Leaving Asia (Datsu-A-Ron)”: Meiji Reforms and the De-Asianization of Japan Name: Aaron Pickering, Oak Ridge, TN High School STANDARDS Advanced Pla...

Book Review, Resources

Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back

Reviewed by Daniel A. Métraux Deep in the western suburbs of Tokyo in the city of Kodaira lies Tsuda College, a private school of about 2,500 students where, since its founding in 1900, female students have received a broad education in the liberal arts and languages. It is a beautiful, leafy campus with an abundance of impressive trees and flowers. It is a rare treat to visit in late March or early April, when the cherry trees are in full bloom. My own school, Mary Baldwin University, has a l...

Feature Article

The Philippines: An Overview of the Colonial Era

In the Beginning Although the details vary in the retelling, one Philippine creation myth focuses on this core element: a piece of bamboo, emerging from the primordial earth, split apart by the beak of a powerful bird. From the bamboo a woman and man come forth, the progenitors of the Filipino people. The genesis of the Philippine nation, however, is a more complicated historical narrative. During their sixteenth-century expansion into the East, Ferdinand Magellan and other explorers bearing th...

Feature Article

American Visitors to Meiji Japan

  When Japan began its modernization process during the Meiji period (1868–1912), it turned to the West for advice and assistance. British, French, German, and other European influence on Japan’s modernization process was immense, but Japan’s ties with the United States were perhaps even deeper and more complex.1 During the nineteenth century, the United States and Japan developed a more personal relationship, which, though tragically broken after Pearl Harbor, found renewal in the...

Feature Article

The Saga of Manjirō

Editor’s Note: Readers who enjoy this article will be interested in Junya Nagakuni and Junji Kitadai’s Drifiting Toward the Southeast (Spinner Publications, 2003). The same waves wash the moles of the new-built Californian towns, but yesterday planted by  the recentest race of men, and lave the faded but still gorgeous skirts of Asiatic lands, older  than Abraham; while all between float milky-ways of coral isles, and low-flying, endless,  unknown archipelagoes, and impenetrable Japa...

Feature Article

Passing the Baton: World War II’s Asian Theater and the Coming of Age of the Aircraft Carrier

  Nowadays, when aircraft carriers rush to potential conflict arenas, we rarely question the supreme importance of this type of warship to major naval powers. Likewise, few would dispute the place of the present-day carrier as one of the ultimate symbols of naval dominance and national power—American power in particular. This type of warship is such a vital element in postwar American naval hegemony in Asia. Moreover, the carrier fleet maintained by the United States Navy (USN) is not ...

Online Supplement, Resources

Key Issues in Asian Studies: Japan Since 1945

No American high school or young college student can recall when Japan appeared to be on the brink of displacing the United States as the leader of global capitalism. Yet, this challenge from Japan in the late 1980s prompted a real sense of crisis and loss of self-confidence among many in the US. Some Americans were bitter that a nation we had supposedly put back on the path to democracy and had militarily protected for several decades was now outcompeting us in important industries such as auto...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Honor and Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story

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 the intimate tone of a friend telling old family stories. The narrative begins with Roy’s father, Wakaji M...

Feature Article

An Unpromising Recovery: South Korea’s Post-Korean War Economic Development: 1953-1961

Introduction: South Korea Lags Behind the North In 1953, both North and South Korea were shattered by the destructive three-year Korean War that left upward of two million dead and cities and towns in ruin. Already poor prior to the war, neither country had very promising prospects for the future. However, in the first eight years after the conflict, North Korea carried out an impressive recovery under a highly organized, purposeful government that appeared to be laying the foundations for a m...

Feature Article

Park Chung-Hee: An EAA Interview with Carter J. Eckert

Carter J. Eckert (PhD, Korean and Japanese History, University of Washington) is the Yoon Se Young Professor of Korean History at Harvard University, a position he has held since 2004. Professor Eckert has served as the Director of the Korea Institute at Harvard from 1993 to 2004. He has been teaching modern Korean history at Harvard since 1985. Eckert’s book Offspring of Empire: The Colonial Origins of Korean Capitalism received both the John K. Fairbank Prize in East Asian History from the A...

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