Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review Essay

The Fourth String: A Memoir of Sensei and Me

A young native English speaker goes to Japan to earn money to pay her debts. This is not an unusual beginning for the “foreigner discovers Japan” memoir. But shortly after Janet Pocorobba settles into her new life, it takes a surprising turn when a friend points out an ad in an English-language publication: “Free lesson in shamisen and singing! Take something home with you from your stay in Japan!” (60). In September 1996, Pocorobba responds to that ad and meets Sensei, as she calls the...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

My Favorite Asia-Related Digital Media: Japanese and Korean Pop Music

While watching Japanese anime and playing video games, I fell in love with Asian media, especially its music. Genres like Japanese Rock (JRock), Visual Kei, Korean Pop (KPop), and Korean Hip-hop (KHip-hop) became the major focus of my personal playlist. After discovering these styles of music, I became fond of two particular companies: Pony Canyon Studios in Japan and YG Entertainment in South Korea. These two important Asian media companies have been dishing out quality entertainment and music ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

My Favorite Asia-Related Digital Media: Japanese Anime and Korean Music

There are many aspects of Asian-related media that I have grown to love, but my top two favorites are Japanese anime and the South Korean record label SM Entertainment Company (SMENT). For the majority of my childhood, I knew nothing about Asian countries or their unique digital media. During my first year of high school, I learned more about these countries and began to explore their different cultures. My world geography teacher helped create my interest in East Asia. He required our class to ...

Feature Article

The Qin: China’s Most Revered Musical Instrument

China is home to numerous distinctively Chinese musical instruments, but none is more revered than the qin (pronounced something like the English word “chin” and sometimes written “ch’in”). The instrument’s name is often translated as “Chinese lute” or “ancient lute” (guqin). The qin is associated with the elite class of scholar-officials of imperial China, and it boasts a history of thousands of years. Men of rank and privilege learned to play the qin primarily as a means of...

Feature Article

A Tour of Music Cultures in South Asia: Classical and Devotional Music

An audience of about 3,000 descends on the open-air Nazrul Manch Theater in South Kolkata (Calcutta) every winter at the Dover Lane Music Festival to hear the senior legends and the emerging stars of North Indian classical (or Hindustani) music. The crowd, made up of the urbane intellectuals of Kolkata and a good number of foreigners, is lively. Audience members move in and out of the hall for tea and snacks between performances, but every seat is filled for the senior artists who perform betwee...

Online Supplement

Links to Internet Materials to accompany the feature article “The Qin: China’s Most Revered Musical Instrument”

INTRODUCTION TO THE QIN. UNESCO‘s intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity site includes a short description of the Qin, photographs, and a brief video (just over four minutes) narrated in English. the music includes singing with the qin, and some strains of yang Guan san Die are heard in the background. Playing techniques and some of the symbolism involved in the Qin’s construction are also discussed. url:

Online Supplement

Audio and Performance Samples to accompany the feature article “A Tour of Music Cultures in South Asia: Classical and Devotional Music”

Listed below are the audio and performance examples of the music discussed in “A Tour of Music Cultures in South Asia” from the Spring 2013 (vol. 18, no. 1) issue of Education About Asia.

Columns, Resources

The Overture (Home Rong)

The Overture is an exquisite if semi-fictionalized felling of the life of Sorn Silpabanleeng, later known as the highly regarded master performer, composer, and teacher Luang Pradithpairau. The epicenter of this film is the sound and circumstances of Thai classical music from the late nineteenth century through the date of the master’s death in 1954. Through the unfolding of his life events, the status of Thai music, its sponsorship by the court at Bangkok, its regulation by the government dur...

Feature Article

How to Watch a Hindi Film: The Example of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

India is the most prolific film-producing country in the world. Of all its film production centers, Mumbai produces more films that are seen nationwide in India. The Mumbai film industry, also known as Bollywood, produces films in the Hindi language. This essay is intended to serve as an aid to teachers who wish to add Hindi cinema to their curriculum. It assumes readers have no prior knowledge of Hindi cinema, and aims to ease their first encounter with a Bollywood product. As a case study, thi...


Kutiyattam: Sanskrit Theater of India (A CD-ROM)

By Farley Richmond Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002. Web site: Phone: 800-621-2736 This multimedia, interactive CD-ROM is a visually rich and appealing survey of the ancient South Indian theater of kutiyattam, associated with temples and religious ritual since the tenth century CE Special temple servant castes produce the dance-story performances that are considered to be visual sacrifices to the temple deity. The main musical instruments are a special kind...

Film Review Essay

The Sound of the Violin at My Lai

Directed by Tran Van Thuy Produced by the Central Documentary and Scientific Film Studio, Hanoi ”Best Short,“ 1999 Asian Pacific Film Festival, Bangkok 1998. 32 Minutes. VHS. Color. Distributed by The Video Project P.O. Box 411376, San Francisco, CA 94141-1376 Phone: 415-241-2514 or 800-4-PLANET FAX: 415-241-2511 E-mail: Web site: The Sound of the Violin at My Lai, winner of “Best Short” at the 1999 Asian Pacific Film Festival in Bangko...

Film Review Essay

A Voice from Heaven: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Directed by Guiseppe Asaro Produced by Guiseppe Asaro, Alessandro Storza, Shafiq Saddiqui, and Vikas Bhushan, MD 2001. DVD. Color. 75 minutes. Distributed by Winstar Home Entertainment Web site: Crossmedia Communications 419 Park Avenue South New York, NY 10016 A Voice from Heaven is a music documentary that provides a glimpse into the life of famed qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan along with information about the music of qawwali and the Sufi mystic traditio...

Feature Article

Edifying Tones: Using Music to Teach Asian History and Culture

For millions of people around the world, regardless of cultural background, social status, profession, gender, or national affiliation, music occupies a special place in life. “Of the many domains of culture, music would perhaps seem to be one of the least necessary,” the eminent ethnomusicologist Bruno Nettl asserts, “yet we know of no culture that does not have it.” (note 1) Music influences the ways we entertain ourselves, worship, dress, even the ways we perceive the world around us....

Book Review, Resources

Dance of Life: Popular Music and Politics in Southeast Asia

By Craig A. Lockard HONOLULU: UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII PRESS, 1998 390 PAGES As the title implies, Craig A. Lockard has written a book that is far more than a traditional ethno-musicology. Originating in the author’s own 1960s American experience that combined political awareness and action with contemporary popular music, this text seeks to interpret modern political trends and developments in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, and Singapore through an examination of contempora...

Columns, Curriculum Materials Review

Korea Folk Art Festival: A CD-ROM

The Korea Folk Art Festival is held annually in the Republic of Korea so that the folk arts might not be lost to posterity. Handing down these lively arts, imbued with the wisdom and spirit of ancestors, is essential to preserving the long history of the Korean people. The folk arts are the very distillation of the people’s ethos and culture....

Columns, Film Review

Tales of Pabuji: A Rajasthani Tradition

Those searching for cultural connections  through art and literature, especially teachers of world studies and Asian studies classes, will welcome this short but rich exploration of the Rajasthan oral epic of Pabuji. The tales, not widely known beyond rural Rajasthan, are based on an actual medieval Rajput prince, a younger son of a younger son in what was to become the ruling line of Jodhpur. Throughout Rajasthan he is seen as a Robin Hood-type hero born in the remote desert village of Kohu. A...

Feature Article

Telling the Story with Music: The Internationale AT TIANANMEN SQUARE

This season (spring 1999) marks the ten-year anniversary of the student protests-turned-massacre in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. While many print and multimedia materials have been produced to help educators teach about the various aspects of this event, few explore its musical dimensions. Indeed, the true power of music during the demonstrations can only be relayed by one of its participants....

Feature Article

Asia and the Voluntary World History Standards: A Teacher’s Perspective

During the famous turning point scene in Shakespeare’s King Lear, the King cries out, “I am a man more sinned against than sinning.” Almost two years after Lynne Cheney’s op-ed criticisms in The Wall Street Journal (note 1) and Rush Limbaugh’s call “to flush the history standards down the toilet,” it is painfully clear to the more than six thousand teachers, historians and parents who worked on developing and reviewing the national history standards that their work was unfairly car...

Columns, Resources

Media Materials for Education About Japan and Asia

For more than 25 years. Earlham has maintained a major lending library of media materials on Japan. Some of the films have Jaanese language soundtracks. Others with an English track provide a visual record of Japan's postwar development. Many introduce various facets of Jupanese history and culture....