Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Columns, Film Review

Hangeul: Korea’s Gift to the World

Linguistics, blended with history, culture, and a vision for the future—Korea’s King Sejong the Great, who commissioned and promulgated Hangul (Hangul is romanized here according to the McCune-Reischauer system), the Korean script, 553 years ago, undoubtedly would have been pleased with the concept. Hangeul: Korea’s Gift to the World, however, is a mix of information, imagery, and Korean nationalism—some of it truly compelling, some of it ethereally beautiful, and some of it skewed by na...

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 ...

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

Korean Civilization and East Asian Studies

One of the challenges faced by teachers of East Asian Studies is to move beyond one’s area of research expertise toward teaching that covers “the rest” of East Asia. It is often quite challenging to move toward teaching competence in premodern and modern China and Japan, but extremely difficult— without prior training—to take on the Korean peninsula. Trained as a premodern (Song-Ming) Chinese historian, I spent my first years of teaching working to create fuller offerings in modern Chi...

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