Education About Asia: Online Archives

Browse and download over 1,500 articles – feature articles, lesson plans, interviews, classroom resources, and book and film reviews — from twenty-four years of Education About Asia (EAA).

Help us do more

by supporting EAA through print subscriptions and donations.

How to use the EAA Online Search Engine

PLEASE NOTE: All article and essay illustrations, including many images and graphics necessary for understanding the content, may be viewed in the PDF.

  1. 1

    Enter keywords

    in search bar below

  2. 2

    Filter your search

    by selecting your search criteria in the dropdown boxes. Search filters range from geographic location to article topic

  3. 3

    View an article

    by clicking on its title. To view the entire article, select “PDF”

Search for Articles

(culture, history, art, marriage, etc...)

NOTE: Archive articles may be downloaded and reproduced for personal or classroom use only.

Online Supplement

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

In this bestselling novel, four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family fight to control their destiny in 20th-century Japan, exiled from a home they never knew. Profoundly moving and gracefully told, Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them. Betrayed by her wealthy lover, Sunja finds unexpected salvation when a young tubercular min...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Contextualizing Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko

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, Pachinko is set in a particularly rich era of modern East Asian history, encompassing colonial Korea, World War II...

Feature Article

Chinese Schools and Students—1985–2015: My Reflections

On my first visit to a Chinese high school in March 1985, I received a tour starting in the courtyard, where a PE class was in session. The students at the front of the rows were doing their jumping jacks with full energy. The students at the back were barely going through the motions. “This is totally familiar,” I said to myself.

Feature Article

Encounters Between Chinese and Jewish Civilizations

Comparison of Chinese and Jewish civilizations does not seem an obvious choice. At first glance, the differences between Chinese and Jewish history, numbers, language, religion, and more are enormous. Yet since 1605, when Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci in Beijing encountered for the first time a Chinese Jew, meetings between Chinese and Jews, as well as thoughts about their similarities, have fascinated the Western mind.1 Belgian– Australian sinologist Pierre Ryckmans called China “the oldes...

Feature Article

Nation, Immigration, and the Future of Japanese Society

Today’s classroom maps, globes, and atlases show the boundaries of all sovereign states across the world. These boundaries establish the territories of states and define the homelands of nations. However, combining the political institution of the state with the cultural attributes of a nation is a nineteenth-century European political invention that came to dominate world politics in the twentieth century.1 British historian Eric Hobsbawm pointed to the fact that “history” has always been...

Feature Article

Labor Migration in Central Asia: Will Kazakhstan Be the Anchor for Stability

Labor Migration in Post-Soviet Central Asia The five former Soviet states of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajik­istan, and Turkmenistan may collectively be referred to as Central Asia. In the quarter-century since these countries gained independence, their geo­political importance has become obvious. Not only does this region serve as a classic buffer zone between Russia and the turmoil in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but they also hold large reserves of hydrocarbon and hydroelec­tric ...

Feature Article

The People Who Left the People’s Republic: A History of the North Korean Diaspora

Our primary questions are: Who are the people leaving the People’s Republic? When did they leave? Why did they leave? How many are there? The word “diaspora” is derived from the Greek word diaspeirein (to disperse) and relates to “the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland.”1 What makes the application of this term special is that it is very emotional, as people indirectly associate it with the plight of Jewish or African sl...

Feature Article

Leaving North Korea: My Story

Editor’s note: What follows is a lightly edited version of a North Korean defector’s true story, which was originally a presentation at the AAS Committee on Teaching about Asia workshop for educators at George Washington University in March 2018. The author requested that her name not be published. I am a North Korean defector currently working as a research intern at the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, located in Washington, DC. Before I begin talking about my personal sto...

Book Review Essay

Pachinko

By Min Jin Lee New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2017 512 pages, ISBN: 978-1455563920, Paperback Reviewed by Charles Newell Pachinko, a game of chance not skill, is a rather curious Japanese amusement. It can best be described as a combination of pinball and a slot machine. Players purchase small silver balls that they drop or launch into the vertical pachinko machine. The balls bounce off pins and bumpers, and players hope the balls land in cups or slots that will win them prizes or m...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching with China’s Great Migration: How the Poor Built a Prosperous Nation

Syrian refugees on rafts in the Mediterranean Sea, Rohingya fleeing ethnic cleansing in Burma, Somalians and Sudanese fleeing military conflict and famine on the rim of Ethiopia—migration is perpetual headline news. In the US, the story is of stemming the tide of migrants from Mexico and the Caribbean. In all cases, migration is viewed as a problem to be controlled or stopped.

Feature Article

Singapore Immigration and Changing Public Policies

The demographic composition of the contemporary population of Singapore reflects a complex and vibrant history of a melting pot nation that has grown out of successive waves of immigration stretching back nearly 200 years. As an immigrant society, Singapore is a product of the forces of globalization that have been a constitutive feature of the historical development of many nations. When Britain’s Sir Stamford Raffles signed a treaty in 1819 with local rulers, a swampy little island was trans...

Feature Article

Postcolonial Religious Conflict in Southeast Asia

“All religions teach people to be good people,” or so the Thai saying goes. This fits in with the general belief throughout Southeast Asia that religion is a good thing—though of course each person believes his/her religion to be the highest good. It is not surprising, then, that religious belief and practice remain key elements in Southeast Asian private and public life, with secularism little more than a theory. Religion continues to define the majority of people’s sense of self in Sou...

Feature Article

Wa Minority Youth and Mobile Phones in Urban China

This is a tale of labor migration and the social networking experiences of China’s Wa ethnic minority group. The PRC government classifies the Wa people as one of fifty-five ethnic minorities in the country. Facing poverty and dismal economic opportunities in their rural homelands, the Wa—along with innumerable minority youths in their teens and twenties, such as the Miao and Tibetans—have migrated to China’s coastal manufacturing centers in search of menial factory work. These “floati...

Online Supplement

Japanese Exclusion and the American Labor Movement: 1900 to 1924

While Chinese exclusion remained an important political issue in the late nineteenth century, efforts to exclude Japanese immigrants gained momentum in the early twentieth century and culminated in the Japanese Exclusion provision of the 1924 Immigration Act. Anti-Japanese agitation, sometimes rising to the level of hysteria, occurred despite the fact that there was no great influx of immigrants from Japan. According to the annual report of the commissioner general of immigration, the continenta...

Feature Article

Who’s Afraid of Chop Suey?

The career of chop suey turns out to be a Cinderella story in reverse: chop suey is the ugly sister whose foot will not fit into the glass slipper. Chop suey rose from obscurity in the late nineteenth century to become one of America’s national dishes and one of the main ingredients in the spread of Chinese restaurants in North America during the years when Chinese families and entrepreneurs spread Chinese cookery outside China by adapting to new conditions and inventing new forms. By the end ...

Feature Article

Zainichi: The Korean Diaspora in Japan

People from the Korean peninsula had been sailing to the Japanese archipelago and shaping Japanese history since the beginning of surviving records. Yet these past influxes and influences have little direct bearing on the contemporary Korean population in Japan. Only several thousand Korean nationals were in the main Japanese islands at the time of Korean annexation in 1910. Rather, it was the labor shortage in the 1920s that led to the rapid expansion of the ethnic Korean population in the main...

Book Review, Resources

The Four Immigrants Manga: A Japanese Experience in San Francisco, 1904–1924

By Henry (Yoshitaka) Kiyama Translated, with introduction and notes, by Frederik L. Schodt BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA: STONE BRIDGE PRESS, 1999 152 PAGES, NOTES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY Japanese immigration to the United States peaked after the turn of the century, as annexation of Hawaii brought a large Japanese community within American borders. Anti-Asian agitation in the West led to the 1907 Gentleman’s Agreement restricting Japanese immigration to family reunification, and that was cut to a few ...

Book Review, Resources

Japan’s Minorities: The Illusion of Homogeneity

Michael Weiner, editor NEW YORK: ROUTLEDGE, 1997 272 PAGES This is an important collection of essays that examines, as the subtitle promises, Japan’s illusion of homogeneity. It does so by balanced and thorough examinations of Japan’s minorities, as promised in the title. It appears at a time when minority issues in Japan have (finally) gained increased coverage: in the Korean experience in wartime, highlighted in the fifty-year celebrations and the public statements of former comfort wome...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Round Eyes in the Middle Kingdom

Ronald Levaco, a member of the Department of Cinema at San Francisco State University, spent over six years producing his autobiographical video, Round Eyes in the Middle Kingdom. He has assimilated his father Ben’s extraordinary black-and-white movies and still shots of pre-Revolutionary China with historical footage and with interviews Ronald conducted in the 1990s with Israel Epstein. “Eppy,” Ben’s boyhood friend in Tianjin, became a revolutionary and remained in China in 1949 when th...

Book Review, Columns

Charlie Chan Is Dead An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction

Jessica Hagedorn, Editor NEW YORK: PENGUIN BOOKS, 1993 XXX + 569 PAGES This jumbo anthology does not limit its purview to short stories, for it includes excerpts from such well-known Asian-American novels as Maxine Hong Kingston’s Tripmaster Monkey and Joy Kogawa’s Itsuka. On the other hand, quite a few of the selections come from the pen of relative newcomers to fiction writing, such as graduate students. Familiar North American backdrops and colloquialisms are sprinkled throughout the ap...

AAS Secretariat staff are working remotely due to CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19. Please contact staff by email rather than phone. Staff directory