Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Teaching Resources Essay

Population Trends and Issues: Bangladesh

In demographic studies, much discussion in academic circles centers around either the challenges faced by aging populations in places such as Japan, Germany, or Italy, or the impacts of pronatal and antinatal policies (policies meant to increase or decrease birthrate), such as China’s One-Child Policy or Australia’s Baby Bonus. With a population in excess of 165 million, Bangladesh is currently the world’s eighth-most populous nation, yet remains largely unknown and misunderstood outside o...

Feature Article

Some Demographic Trends in the World’s Most Populous Country-to-Be

Sometime around the year 2023, India will surpass China as the world’s most populous nation, with a population approaching 1.4 billion (see Figure 1).1 Such change at the top of demographic rankings is rare, and so it is likely to generate some attention, reflection, and commentary. People are likely to be curious about India’s population growth—does it show signs of slowing? In the Western imagination, India, perhaps more than any other country, has been associated with overpopulation. St...

Feature Article

Same Land, Different Life? Questioning Narratives Surrounding China’s State-Led Rural Urbanization

“Same land, different life”: Under this slogan, Huaming, a model town in the suburban Dongli District of the municipality of Tianjin, China’s fifth-largest city, was presented at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai as a successful example of China’s rural urbanization. The slogan was meant to express that the peasants who had to give up their land in the process of urbanization and relocate to Huaming were leading better lives than before. This is in line with the official portrayal of gover...

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...

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...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Asia’s Missing Millions: How Policy and Social Pressure Made Millions of Women Disappear

In 1990, Nobel Prize-winning Indian economist Amartya Sen noticed something remarkable. By his count, there were approximately 100 million “missing women” in Asia. They hadn’t been kidnapped or stolen or died as the victims of a female-specific plague or war . . . Yet a population equivalent to every single girl and woman in the United Kingdom, France, and Italy was missing. Using records collected by governments, Sen observed that relative to the number of men, there were far too few wome...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Aging Populations: A Comparison between Japan and Germany

When comparing population trends of Japan and Germany, numerous similarities stand out. Both countries have an identical total fertility rate (TFR) per woman of 1.4 with a population growth rate of -0.2 percent (Table 1). While both countries have high life expectancies, Japan’s eighty-five-year life expectancy is among the world’s longest, leading to a higher elderly dependency ratio in 2017 (Table 1). Similarities between the countries related to below-replacement-rate population growth, a...

Online Supplement

Digital Pedagogical Resources from “Japan’s Declining Population: Beyond the Textbook”

Population Data UN population division: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/ Japanese Ministry of Health: http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/ Topic Introduction Jonathan Soble, “Japan, Short on Babies, Reaches a Worrisome Milestone,” The New York Times, June 2, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/y8hny6ua Impacts Shrinking workforce: https://tinyurl.com/y8tzfu4v Potential abortion restrictions: https://tinyurl.com/yb2q88rl Budgetary impact: https://tinyurl.com/y8acdb98 ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Japan’s Declining Population: Beyond the Textbook

Geography, as a discipline, allows students to explore, analyze, and understand the places that comprise our world. Most geography curricula focus on both physical and human geography, often in the context of "issues"-based learning; this serves to demonstrate the dynamic and applicable nature of the subject to learners. Within the context of human geography, population is an area of study that enables geographers to plan the use of Earth’s resources, make sense of the underlying factors influ...

Online Supplement

Dreaming, Making, and Breaking Family and Kinship in Contemporary South Korea

While South Korea makes headlines much more frequently nowadays for its vibrant and lucrative popular culture industry, until the 2000s, South Korea was known to outsiders first and foremost as a “family-centric” society. This family-centrism has been the underlying focus of a large number of Korean anthropological studies, covering “education fever,” extended family networks, hierarchical business culture, and ancestor worship. North Korea is also noticed for its family-centrism—namel...

Feature Article

India: “The Emergency” and the Politics of Mass Sterilization

Overpopulation has been India’s major concern for almost five decades. In June 2017, the United Nations reported that India’s population will rise to 1.5 billion by 2050. In order to limit its population growth rate, India has been using sterilization as a method of population control since 1951. According to the United Nations, India alone was responsible for 37 percent of the world’s female sterilization in 2011.1 Although sterilization has produced the desired outcome—fertility rates ...

Feature Article

Indonesia Doesn’t Want to Be Number Three

When it comes to Asian populations, China and India get all the attention. According to the US Census Bureau, China’s population, the largest in the world, is about 1.38 billion people, with India close behind at 1.28 billion. Together, the two nations’ people comprise more than 35 percent of the global population. Unbeknownst to many, though, is that Indonesia, an archipelagic nation in Southeast Asia that stretches across an expanse of ocean larger than the continental United States, is th...

Feature Article

Japan’s Changing Demographics and the Impact on Its Military

[caption id="attachment_6996" align="aligncenter" width="469"] Japanese troops in South Sudan. Japanese forces left South Sudan in the spring of 2017. Source: Screen capture from the documentary Japan—60 Years of Contribution in Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Mine Action Activities by UNMAS United Nations on YouTube at https://tinyurl.com/y8lmfn9d.[/caption] Modern Japan has long been a prosperous country with a growing population, but over the past couple of decades, its economy has struggl...

Feature Article

Child Poverty in a Rich Country: Measuring and Influencing Policies in Contemporary Japan

[caption id="attachment_6986" align="aligncenter" width="595"] Source: Photo courtesy of the author.[/caption] Japan is a wealthy developed country. It has the third-largest economy in the world after the United States and China in terms of gross domestic product, it is a top-performing country among member states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in terms of the quality of its educational system, and Japanese men and women enjoy ever-longer and healthier li...

Feature Article

The Late Qing Empire in Global History

By Pamela Kyle Crossley The role of the Chinese empires in global history at the height of their economic power (roughly 1400–1800) has been well described in powerful books by Andre Gunder Frank, Kenneth Pomeranz, and Bin Wong. In that period, China’s advanced technology and commercial economy, as well as access to their markets over sea and land, created a market that drove technological development, efficiency in industrial organization, and an increasing volume of long-distance trade....

Feature Article

We Need 50,000 Babies a Year: Marriage and the Family in Singapore

By Chris Hudson For the last four decades, issues around marriage and the family in Singapore have been prominent in public discourse and have been represented by the government as features of the economic and political agenda. It seems that, of all the social institutions in Singapore society, marriage and the family are those most often cited as integral to the long-term prosperity of the city-state. The Singapore government has a reputation for authoritarian-style management and a well doc...

Feature Article

Ten Years of Extraordinary Change in Indonesia

CHANGES IN INDONESIA over the past ten years have affected the whole country to varying degrees and left almost no one untouched. Whether political, economic, social, or environmental, the changes have been rapid and unprecedented. Just ten years ago, Suharto and his military government were in power; the country had yet to experience the economic crisis of 1997–98, which brought considerable poverty and lowering of standards of living to tens of millions of people; relationships among members...

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