Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Columns, Facts About Asia, Resources

Facts About Asia: South Korea and Singapore: Economic and Political Freedom

Editor’s Introduction: By the 1990s, the dynamic economic growth of four polities—Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan—earned them the nickname “Four Little Dragons.” Each of the “Little Dragons” also obtained moderate to significant levels of political freedom (Freedom House ranks South Korea and Taiwan as free and Hong Kong and Singapore as partly free). Please see our column from fall 2019 on the other two “Little Dragons”: Hong Kong and Taiwan. Economic ...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Dead Souls

Jiabiangou lies on the edge of the Gobi Desert near the city of Jiuquan, in the northwest pocket of China’s Gansu Province. Today, the region is home to China’s premier satellite launch center, but from 1957 to 1961, it was the nucleus of a labor camp complex in which more than 80 percent of the prisoners died, mostly of starvation. One of countless sites of mass death during the Mao period (1949–1976), many of which far exceed it in scale, Jiabiangou’s history might never have reached u...

EAA Interview, Feature Article

Boom Country? An Interview with Alan Rosling

Alan Rosling is an entrepreneur and strategic adviser who has had a deep engagement with India over the past thirty-five years. He is co-founder of ECube, an investment manager dedicated to raising standards of environmental social and governance compliance. He cofounded Kiran Energy after leaving the Tata Group, where he was the first non-Indian Executive Director of Tata Sons (the holding company of the Tata Group), charged with internationalization of the company. His earlier career included ...

Feature Article

The Importance of Entrepreneurship in Japan’s Late Nineteenth-Century Meiji Industrial Transformation

Japan’s rapid transformation in the late nineteenth century, from an agricultural society governed by the feudal samurai warrior class into an industrial power, is an unusual story in world history. When samurai leaders from Satsuma, Chōshū, and other domains joined forces to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate and rule in the name of Emperor Meiji in 1868, they might have been expected to establish a similar form of government that maintained the existing class structure and protected the samu...

Feature Article

The Story of Indian Business: The Great Transition into the New Millennium

Indian entrepreneurship, innovation, and business firms have gone through a plethora of changes, particularly in the last three decades. The most significant change is the result of national government policies that had the effect of moving away from postcolonial Nehruvian socialism and creating a climate for more economic freedom for entrepreneurs and private businesses. The 1990s was the watershed decade for these revolutionary changes. Indian business suddenly took off with a new outburst of ...

Feature Article

Poverty in Late Meiji Japan: It Mattered Where You Lived

We know only a few things about the coal collector who eked out an existence in Osaka’s slum neighborhoods early in the 1900s. He had a twenty-four-year-old wife, a three-year-old son, and wages of ¥12 or ¥13 a month—about half of what a railway con­ductor made, and a third as much as an ironworker. We know too that these wages barely covered food, housing, and rented bedding, leaving the family dependent for everything else on the ¥2 his wife made each month making straw sandals.1 The g...

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement

Down and Out in Late Meiji Japan

BY JAMES L. HUFFMAN HONOLULU: UNIVERSITY Of HAWAI'I PRESS, 2018 362 PAGES, ISBN 978-0824872915, HARDCOVER Reviewed by Daniel A. Métraux Author James L. Huffman begins this study of the daily lives of Japan’s massive impoverished population around the turn of the last century by recounting an epigram he found on the wall of an old slave castle in Africa that said: “until the lion has his historian the hunter will always be the hero.” Huffman’s point is that no history of Japan’...

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement

The Entrepreneur Who Built Modern Japan: Shibusawa Eiichi

Shibusawa Eiichi BY SHIMADA MASAKAZU TRANSlATED BY PAUL NARUM TOKYO: JAPAN PUBlISHING INdUSTRY FOUNDATION FOR CULTURE, 2017 196 PAGES, ISBN 978-4916055798, HARDCOVER Reviewed by John H. Sagers Shibusawa Eiichi (1840–1931) was one of Japan’s most famous and prolific entrepreneurs, who launched nearly 500 business enterprises–including the dai-Ichi Bank, Oji Paper, Sapporo Beer, and Tokyo gas. living ninety-one years during Japan’s transition from the world of the samurai under...

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

Asia’s Role in the Four Industrial Revolutions

The United States and Europe have been at the forefront of the Industrial Revolutions over the last two and a half centuries. Almost all Asian countries, except Japan, were latecomers to these revolutions. Nevertheless, many of them, including China, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia, made significant progress by the end of the Third Industrial Revolution. What follows is a brief depiction of the involvement of Japan; the “Asian Giants,” China and Indi...

Feature Article

Taiwan’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

This essay is a basic introduction to Taiwan’s vibrant small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In what follows, we define SMEs, provide an overview of their importance to Taiwan’s economy, explain SME organization and management, and share case studies of two successful SMEs. SMEs are businesses whose employees are below a certain limit. The European Union limits small enterprises to fifty people and medium-sized enterprises to 250 people. In contrast, Taiwan’s government separates SMEs in...

Curriculum Materials Review, Resources

Economic Development: The Case of South Korea

Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) 158 pages with CD, 2015 See http://tinyurl.com/jmyzs5u for more information. Reviewed by Joel R. Campbell South Korea is a country that the world should know better. It is the third-largest economy of East Asia and the thirteenth-largest in the world. It is one of the Asian “miracle” economies that rose from poverty and the ashes of war to become an example of state-led, export-oriented economic development and indust...

Feature Article

The History of Economic Development in India since Independence

The Background The task that the democratically elected leaders of newly independent India embarked on in the early 1950s was not for the faint of heart. It was to lift living standards of a people accounting for one-seventh of the world’s population who earned an average income that was one-fifteenth of the average American income of the time.1 Three-fourths of the Indian people were engaged in agriculture working with primitive tools and techniques, as either destitute landless laborers, hi...

Feature Article

Property Rights and One Indian Village: Reform, Enterprise, and Dignity

Despite impressive national progress that occurred with the 1990s sea change away from democratic socialism and toward economic liberalization, large numbers of Indians remain desperately poor and plagued by a lack of educational and economic opportunities, often corrupt and unresponsive bureaucrats, and an inability to secure basic property rights. What follows is an essay focusing upon the collaboration of a nongovernmental organization (NGO) and a rural village, whose residents were among the...

Honda Sōichirō and the Rise of Japan’s Postwar Motor Vehicle Industry

For a manufacturing company to achieve success on a global scale, it must be willing to see past its domestic rivals and set its sights on challenging the world’s leading firms. In Japan in the late 1940s, however, few company presidents could foresee a time when their products would outperform Western designs, and almost none could yet compete directly against foreign wares. Many of Japan’s industries were badly crippled by US bombing campaigns late in the Second World War (1939–1945), an...

Feature Article

Shibusawa Eiichi and the Merger of Confucianism and Capitalism in Modern Japan

Modern economic development depends greatly on a favorable institutional framework and a supportive cultural environment, both of which encourage the investment of talent and resources into commercial enterprises. In Japan’s Meiji 1868–1912 transition to a modern economy, government oligarchs and business leaders made economic growth a national priority to compete with the Western powers. Leaders built modern economic institutions like banks, insurance companies, and stock exchanges and inve...

Book Review, Columns, Resources

The Company and the Shogun: The Dutch Encounter with Tokugawa Japan

The Company and the Shogun examines the “politics of encounter” operative between the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or VOC) and the Tokugawa regime during the so-called first age of globalization corresponding here to the seventeenth century. Along the way, the book addresses general questions regarding the extent to which European power was apparent in Asia, how Europeans managed their encounters with Asian states such as the Tokugawa, and the nature of the p...

Feature Article

When the World Came to Southeast Asia: Malacca and the Global Economy

[caption id="attachment_9219" align="alignnone" width="743"] Viewed from the sea, Malacca seemed a modest affair and not what one would expect from one of the world’s richest trade emporiums. Antique engraving published by F. Valentijn, titled De Stad Malacka, Amsterdam, 1726. Source: Wikimedia Commons at http://tinyurl.com/lhgmroj.[/caption] Situated in the west coast of the Malay Peninsula on the strait that bears its name, the port of Malacca is adjacent to one of the world’s busiest s...

Feature Article

Tigers, Hard Workers, and Online Gamers: South Korea’s Political Economy Since 1980

Winter Sonata Warms up Japan In 2003, a new Korean drama debuted on Japanese television. Called Winter Sonata, it was the story of a young woman whose high school boyfriend dies, and years later, she meets another man who looks exactly like her former love. The show interwove themes of love, loss, and loyalty and quickly became Japan’s most popular foreign program—more watched than any American fare combined. The program’s male lead, Bae Yong-joon, developed a huge following among middle-...

Feature Article

The U.S.-South Korea Economic Relationship

In 1979, Deng Xiaoping rose to power in China and began the process of economic modernization that has seen China develop into the world’s second-largest economy and become one of the United States’ largest trading partners. As significant as China’s economic development has been, much of what has been achieved in China follows prior economic successes in East Asia by Japan, the Republic of Korea—more commonly known as South Korea—and the other three “Little Dragons”: Hong Kong, Si...

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