Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Reading Beyond the Curriculum Fostering Communities of L2 Chinese and Japanese Learners

Reading need not be a solitary or passive activity, and indeed we have found that active, communal reading can be both productive and pleasurable for students. In this article, we discuss how our respective reading groups serve as low-pressure environments for students to approach challenging texts in Chinese and Japanese. As visits to on-campus counseling services continue to set records at universities nationwide, we have established spheres apart from the university curriculum and its pressur...

Essay, Resources

Teaching Katakana to Social Studies Students

As a first grader, I pretended to write cursive. My friends and I felt very grown up, connecting our printed letters into a flowing stream of imaginary words. In second grade, I went one step further and began writing imaginary words in “Japanese.” Later, I became fascinated with “real” Japanese that I found in a book in my parents’ library. I painstakingly copied the Kanji, having no idea what the words were. In my rural Midwest community, there were no Japanese people, no Japanese la...

Essay, Resources

It’s Not Hard … Anyone Can Learn Japanese

By Ann McCarthy Co-Recipient of the 2004 United Stated-Japan Foundation Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award Language Category My Japanese 4-5 class. which is combined into one class, was getting ready to leave for a day-trip, to a local Japanese garden and restaurant. A student rushed in just as the final bell was ringing, greeting everyone with. "Ohayo gozaimasu (good morning). Hello family." With that greeting he conveyed what happens in the class. We're a family, we're together, you...

Book Review, Resources

Making Sense of Japanese Grammar: A Clear Guide Through Common Problems

HONOLULU: UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII PRESS, 2002 199 PAGES. HARDCOVER, ISBN: 0-8248-2497-0 PAPERBACK, ISBN: 0-8248-2583-7 When using Japanese, do you hesitate to use the same verb over and over? Does the apparent complexity of lengthy, Falkneresque sentences in Japanese stymie you? Do you still struggle to differentiate between the usage of particles –wa and –ga, or more egregiously, find it a challenge to clearly explain their usage to your Japanese language students? How about the locational ...

Essay, Resources

Gleanings from the Distant Past: Ideas that Work for Me

Japanese-language teacher, Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto, CA Recipient of the 2002 United States-Japan Foundation Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award— Language Category. In this collection of ideas formulated since I first began teaching many years ago, I have attempted to share important things for a successful teaching career in world languages. My experiences in second-language acquisition as a teacher have been restricted to the “Less Commonly Taught” Japanese and Mandarin Chi...

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 ...

Feature Article

Borrowing Words: Using Loanwords to Teach About Japan

By Linda Menton Loanwords—words adopted from other languages—are an important feature of the Japanese language. Indeed, Japanese probably has more loanwords than any other major language. This is not a new phenomenon. Loanwords have been an important part of the Japanese language for centuries. In ancient times, most loanwords came from China and Korea. Then, beginning in the sixteenth century, as Japan began to interact with merchants and missionaries from the West, loanwords from Europe...

Essay, Resources

An On-line Anthology of Japanese literature: The Japanese Text Initiative at the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center

By Kendon Stubbs The Japanese Text Initiative, or JTI, is an ongoing collaborative electronic text project between the libraries of the University of Virginia and the University of Pittsburgh, with participation by scholars in the U.S. and Japan. The JTI provides World Wide Web access to the masterpieces of Japanese literature in Japanese, and, where possible, in English translations. Begun in 1995, the JTI is part of the texts of the University of Virginia Library’s Electronic Text Center....

Essay, Resources

Education in Asian Languages: Start at the Very Beginning

The good news is that the year 2000 finds a growing number of elementary schools in the United States launching foreign language programs, including Asian languages. The hard news is that there are not enough trained teachers or curricular materials. (There is no bad news as long as we continue to address the problem.)  Even in the case of Japanese, which has relatively well developed resources, training needs exceed supply, as you can read in the report, “Japanese Teaching Credential Program...

Feature Article

Teaching Chinese, Japanese, and Korean: Partnerships Between State and Local School Districts and Community Language Schools

Optimally, providing K-12 education about Asia should go hand in hand with classes in Asian languages and cultures. The following article is a description of how a partnership between Washington state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), local school districts and community-based language schools launched a highly popular summer language camp program which featured Chinese, Japanese, and Korean as three of the five less commonly taught languages offered during the proje...

EAA Interview

History as Literature, Literature as History: An Interview with Lost Names Author, Richard E. Kim

By Richard E. Kim (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1998). 196 pages Lost Names is a useful, rare, and wonderful book for several reasons. The book’s title reflects the Japanese Pacific War policy of forcing Koreans to replace their own names with Japanese ones. Lost Names is the story, as recounted by a young boy, of one Korean family’s experience during the war years. Although Lost Names is technically a novel, according to author Richard Kim, “ . . . all the charac...

Essay, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Lost Names in an American High School

In a currently popular world literature text of 1,442 pages, there are a total of four pages on Korean literature. An entire country’s literary heritage is condensed into two poems. Until I read Lost Names by Richard Kim, my only contact with Korea had been to watch my mother cry as my older brother set off for the Korean War. Then later I encountered some opinions and allusions to the country through study of Japanese language and culture. None of these led me any closer to what might be the ...

Essay, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Utilizing Richard Kim’s Lost Names in the Junior High Classroom

I first was introduced to the novel Lost Names during a recent postgraduate fellowship I participated in entitled Imperial Japan— Expansion and War, 1892 to 1945. Sponsored by the Five College Center for East Asian Studies, the seminar was conducted at Mount Holyoke College. Our preconference assignment included reading this novel, and we actually had the opportunity to meet its author, Richard E. Kim, during the conference. He helped us analyze our feelings and reactions to his powerful story...

Essay, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Lost Names, Master Narratives, and Messy History

“Problematize the master narrative!” These were the words some years ago at an NEH summer institute for teachers. The speaker’s language wasn’t mine then (it is now), but I realized that that’s what I’d been doing in my teaching for years: making an issue of the dominant interpretation (usually that of a textbook). It is what more of us need to focus on, at all levels and in all subjects. Textbooks are always wrong. History is never simple. As a professor of Japanese history at a ...

Columns, Essay

Introducing Computer Technologies to Asian Languages Programs

Computer technology has become integral to all aspects of college life today, offering an important tool for coordinating, publicizing, and teaching in every kind of campus program. Far from being an exception to this rule, foreign language programs are often in the forefront of employing innovative methods to integrate computer technologies into the classroom. While Asian language instructors, too, are developing effective means for using computer technologies, our efforts are often hampered by...

Essay, Resources

Education in Asian Languages

Scratch any Asian Studies specialist from whatever discipline, and you may find a person whose most revealing insights came through an encounter with language. No amount of lecturing on Asian specificities and differences can equal the impact of learning negation, the colors, orthography, or politeness strategies in another language. All across the curriculum in the English-speaking world, more awareness of Asia and more facility with foreign language are being called for as we face the twenty-f...

Curriculum Materials Review, Resources

Muller CJK-English Dictionary

PUBLISHED BY EAST CO. LTD. 2-22-8 YOYOGI, SHIBUYA-KU TOKYO 151-0053 JAPAN PHONE: 03 3374-0544 FAX: 03 3374-2998 HTTP://WWW.EST.CO.JP RUNS UNDER THE U.S. VERSION OF WINDOWS 95 A s a teacher of Chinese, there is a lot to like and a lot to hope for in the Muller CJK-English Dictionary. As Professor Muller states in his introduction, the dictionary was originally intended for use in translating ancient Buddhist texts. The author’s primary field is Japanese philosophy, and people in hi...

Essay, Resources

Tora-san, A Japanese Hero

Otoko wa Tsurai yo (It’s Hard Being a Man) has the distinction of being the longest running film series in the history of international film. It is a series that became possible only through the meeting of two men: Yamada Yoji, the noted director, and Atsumi Kiyoshi, the actor. This essay is dedicated to Atsumi Kiyoshi, an exceptionally talented performer with unparalleled integrity, who passed away on August 4, 1996.1 In what follows, I explore the keys to the popularity of the Tora-san films...

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