Education About Asia: Online Archives

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EAA Digest Exclusive

Sports, Asia, and the World

Students practice martial arts for the first time during morning exercises at Jiujiang Primary School in east China’s Jiangxi Province on May 3rd, 2013. The school has choreographed a special set of morning exercises combining traditional martial arts and poetry recitation since the beginning of the spring 2016 semester. Source: Xinhua, courtesy of Imgur at http://imgur.com/L5rGsoB. As an eighth-grade junior high graduation present, my parents offered me two options; both Boy Scout-Related...

Kimono: The Global Adventures of a Fashion Icon

Clothing is a fun and accessible way to show students global connections. Tracing the odyssey by which a “simple” t-shirt was conceived, resourced, designed, woven, sewn, marketed and delivered reveals the far-reaching networks that keep us clothed. Fast fashion and modern technology has considerably sped up this process, but the global fashion industry is ancient. Most of humanity’s earliest overland and maritime trade routes were an attempt to get beautiful cloth and dyestuffs from one r...

Book Review

China and the Founding of the United States: The Influence of Traditional Chinese Civilization

China and the Founding of the United States The Influence of Traditional Chinese Civilization By Dave Xueliang Wang Lanham, Lexington Books, 2021 365 Pages, ISBN 978: 1793644350, Hardcover Reviewed by Peter K. Frost “The mere thought of Chinese cultural influence on the founding of the United States,” Dave Wang’s states in his very first sentence in this quite extraordinary book, “is unimaginable to some.” The rest of the book is dedicated to combat what he considers “misconcep...

Opposition to Chinese Exclusion (1850-1902)

In 1849, thousands of Chinese migrants arrived in California to take part in the Gold Rush. In December 1849, a huiguan, or Chinese mutual-aid society, was established in San Francisco to help the new immigrants adjust to life in America. The huiguan, which were organized and led by the local Chinese merchant community, helped recent Chinese immigrants find jobs and acquire accommodation. They also acted as post offices, enabling immigrants to send and receive letters, and they provided a place ...

The “First Daughter” in Asia: Alice Roosevelt’s 1905 Trip

Adventure, romance and royalty, political intrigue. The 1905 diplomatic mission undertaken by Alice Roosevelt and others through Asia had it all, the uniquely personal combined with significant events on the world stage. Alice and her travel companions were witnesses to, and occasionally even participants in, incidents and decisions that affected the complicated diplomacy of that pivotal year. Fortunately for us today, the Smithsonian Institution has produced a website that includes two chapters...

Curriculum Materials Review

Reflection on the What Does It Mean to Be an American? Curriculum Reviewed by Whit W. Grace

In this review, I focus on how the What Does It Mean to Be an American? (www.whatdoesitmeantobeanamerican.com) curriculum relates to the study of Asia in high schools and colleges. The review focuses on the curriculum’s methodology, the Mineta Legacy Project (Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education [SPICE] curriculum developers were invited to create a companion curriculum to complement the documentary Norman Mineta and His Legacy: An American Story) and the goals and co...

Curriculum Materials Review

What Does It Mean to Be an American? Reviewed by Bruce Stubblefield

The Mineta Legacy Project and Stanford’s SPICE curriculum collaboration, What Does It Mean to Be an American? is an ambitious and sleek set of lessons designed to educate high school and collegiate users on its namesake. The curriculum is the offspring of The Mineta Legacy Project, which was created to honor the work of Norman Mineta (Democrat), who broke barrier after barrier for Asian-Americans by becoming the first Asian-American to serve as a mayor of a major US city, the first Asian-Ameri...

EAA Interview

An EAA Interview with the 2021 Franklin R. Buchanan Prizewinner Rylan Sekiguchi for What Does It Mean to Be an American?

This is our twenty-fifth consecutive interview with winners of the Franklin R. Buchanan Prize, awarded annually to recognize an outstanding pedagogical, instructional, or curriculum publication on Asia designed for K–12 and college undergraduate instructors and students. This year’s winner, for the third time in the award’s history, is Rylan Sekiguchi of the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) for the online curriculum package What Does It Mean to Be an A...

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

The story of the internment of Japanese-Americans on mainland USA during World War II is well-known. Lesser-known is the story of 150,000 Japanese-Americans living in Hawai`i, fewer than 2,000 were interned. Why the difference? Perhaps because in Hawai`i: Japanese-Americans had long been accepted as loyal Americans.

Film Review Essay, Online Supplement, Resources

Film Review: Cocktail Party

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 complicated US and Japanese relations for decades. A documentary of the Okinawa problem may not have the personal and emotional impact this film has on the viewer.

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 ...

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...

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 Placemen...

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.

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 ...

Book Review, Resources

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

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 long tradition of receiving excha...