Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review Essay, Resources

The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime

By Toshio Ban and Tezuka Productions Translated by Frederik L. Schodt Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press, 2016 928 pages, ISBN: 978-1611720259, paperback Reviewed by William Tsutsui Tezuka Osamu is hardly a household name in the United States, even in the fan communities that so eagerly consume the products of the Japanese pop culture industry that Tezuka was instrumental in building after World War II. In Japan, however, Tezuka is revered as a “god of manga,” a pi...

Feature Article

Oh Brave New World That Has Such Lessons In It: Using the Series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex as a Critical Text

The 2002 and 2004 anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex portrays a world where the vast majority of human beings have been transformed into things more like machines.1 Yet perhaps the most remarkable thing about this brave new world is how much it seems like our own. Although their bodies are enhanced and their brains networked, they still engage in human activities. They still read newspapers, books, and magazines, even though the written word has largely been replaced by digital...

Feature Article

Sports and Indian Culture in Popular Film

[caption id="attachment_8694" align="alignleft" width="142"] P. T. Usha. Source: Alchetron website at http://tinyurl.com/guu8qv6.[/caption] (Editor's note; due to the sheer profusion of images in this article, the images are not aligned exactly with the films discussed in the text.) India is more likely to be associated with Bollywood film culture than sports. So what does the largest film industry in the world, in terms of output, tell us about sports? And what is the place of sports in t...

Crafting Stars: South Korean E-sports and the Emergence of a Digital Gaming Culture

For nearly two decades now, South Korea has been at the forefront of a global sports culture that is rapidly growing in popularity. But unlike other sports, athletes don’t physically overpower or outlast one another. Rather, they engage their opponents through strategic thinking and the expert manipulation of a mouse and keyboard in contests mediated by digital game environments. Known as “e-sports”—an abbreviation of “electronic sports”—these competitions attract crowds of enthusi...

Film Review Essay, Resources

The Films of Hayao Miyazaki: Shinto, Nature, and the Environment

The films of Hayao Miyazaki are some of the most popular in Japan and the rest of the world. Perhaps his most famous work, Spirited Away, is the highest-grossing domestic film in Japanese history. 1 It also won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2003. Over the past two decades, the Walt Disney Company has reissued English-language versions of Miyazaki’s films with the voice talents of such famous actors as Patrick Stewart, Claire Danes, and Billy Bob Thornton. Often, these films ca...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

My Favorite Asia-Related Digital Media: Korean and Japanese Films

“I believe . . . When you are not with me there are no stars in the sky. I believe . . . The way back to you will feel a little far. . . . I’ll be waiting. I do it for you.” These words, translated from the theme song “I Believe” from the Korean film My Sassy Girl, echo the sentiments of the film. I have enjoyed this lovely song many times since I took an East Asian studies course from Indiana University. I often use the Korean video My Sassy Girl and the Japanese video Ping Pong in my...

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 ...

Columns, Film Review

The Roots of Japanese Anime Until the End of WWII

The DVD Roots of Japanese Anime brings together eight early examples of Japanese animation from the 1930s to 1942. Four of the short films, The Village Festival, Song of Spring, The Monkey Masamune, and Chameko’s Day date from 1930–31; three others, Chinkorobei and the Treasure Box, Danemon Ban—The Monster Exterminator, and Benkei and Ushiwaka are from the mid to late thirties. The set concludes with the 1942 Navy Ministry-sponsored Momotarō’s Sea Eagle....

Film Review Essay, Resources

On Another Playground: Japanese Popular Culture in America

WRITTEN BY CHRISTINE YANO, KEIKO IKE, AND WILLIAM KELLY PRODUCED BY KEIKO IKEDA ASSOCIATE PRODUCER, DAVID PLATH PRODUCTION OF THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF AMERICAN STUDIES AND CENTER FOR AMERICAN STUDIES, DOSHISHA UNIVERSITY DISTRIBUTED BY MEDIA PRODUCTION GROUP DVD, 152 MINUTES., COLOR, 2008 Reviewed by Carl Rachelson However we cast it, there has been an Eastern awakening among Westerners in recent years. Whether manga, Ichiro, or an inhalation of spider rolls has prompted this stirring, it i...

Feature Article

Nerd Nation Otaku and Youth Subcultures in Contemporary Japan

By William M. Tsutsui A wide variety of youth subcultures have appeared in Japan since World War II, many of them shocking polite sensibilities and subverting mainstream society with behaviors considered hedonistic, self-centered, and deviant. Among the subcultures that attract the most attention, both among the public and in academic circles, is the otaku, the notoriously obsessive fans of manga, anime, video games, and other forms of Japanese popular culture. Generally styled as “nerds”...

Essay, Resources

Analyzing the Appeal of Manga: Teaching Information Literacy Skills through Japanese Popular Culture

By Maureen Donovan Manga’s rapid rise in popularity around the world in the twenty-first century is an example of the diffusion of information and culture across borders in today’s “global information society.” Manga (Japanese comics) are appealing and accessible to high school and college students who sometimes pursue an avid interest and go on to become independent learners in the world of Japanese popular culture. With thousands of manga volumes published in English translation ove...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Teaching about Asia through Youth Culture

JAPAN Anime The Ghibli Studio and Hayo Miyazaki rank foremost in Japanese anime. The following sites contain interviews, movie clips, and discussions about Ghibli and Miyazaki: Title: Ghibli—The Miyazaki Temple URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoXRf0h-3Lo A review in six parts, most of them around eight to nine minutes long. This link is to the first section with links to the others on the sidebar. Title: The Birth of Studio Ghibli URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ds3adcHVxnQ ...

Feature Article

Catfish, Super Frog, and the End of the World: Earthquakes (and Natural Disasters) in the Japanese Cultural Imagination

One of the earliest written records of Japan, the Nihon shoki or Chronicles of Japan, includes a poem about an earthquake written during the reign of Emperor Buretsu (about 500 CE).1 The poem is not particularly memorable, but this early reference to earthquakes through a creative medium is the beginning of a long history of disasters represented within the cultural imagination. To take a more recent example, the eighties era sci-fi anime series Bubblegum Crisis is set in a post-apocalyptic land...

Columns, Resources

Paranoia Agent: The Anime Series by Satoshi Kon

JAPAN’S LOST DECADE, ABOUT 1992 TO 2003, encompassed the systemic economic, political, and social crisis left by the collapse of the bubble economy. During that time Japan seemed to lose direction, and the Japanese, afflicted by youth violence, alienation, and the aftereffects of a spending spree that brought ruinous debt and spiritual emptiness, were left to wonder what their hard work since the end of World War Two had accomplished. Anyone who wants to understand the existential angst that g...

Columns, Resources

Teaching Modern Japanese History with Animation: Satoshi Kon’s Millenium Actress

I n this essay, I will give suggesions on how anime can be used profitably in the classroom, with specific reference to Satoshi Kon’s Millennium Actress (Sennen joy†, 2001).1 This animated feature, which distinguished itself by sharing the Grand Prize at the 5th Japan Media Arts Festival held by Japan’s Agency of Cultural Affairs, is so replete with cultural and historical references that it lends itself well to any discussion of modern Japanese culture and history.2...

Feature Article

Bringing Japanese Pop Culture Travelers into Your Classroom: Perils, Pitfalls, and Payoffs

No discussion of Japanese travelers is complete without mentioning the most widely traveled and influential figures to have ever left the country. They’ve been everywhere, representing their nation and their culture, and wherever they’ve gone they have left an indelible impression. They are the icons of Japanese popular culture—everything from Hello Kitty to Pokemon. But perhaps the most widely traveled figures in Japanese popular culture have come from the movies. Among the most familiar ...

Feature Article

Genji to Godzilla: Using Art and Film to Teach Japan

Articles in past issues of EAA have suggested effective strategies for using Japanese film in the classroom to introduce Japanese culture.1 These include the works of internationally recognized masters of the format, as well as popular anime, Japanese animation, which has only recently attracted similar scholarly attention. In this essay, I propose that expanding the scope of the visual culture we discuss, and applying art historical pedagogy, can further students’ understanding of Japan, past...

Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Asian Popular Culture

ASIA Title: Asia Food URL: http://www.asiafood.org/features.cfm The Asia Society has provided the features of this site replete with information on the foods, the recipes, and the eating habits and customs of many Asian nations. In addition to separate pages for each Asian country and a search engine for recipes by keyword, region, or type of dish, there are articles about Asian food and some video clips. Title: Puppetry in Asia: A select bibliography URL: http://www.nla.gov.au/as...

Book Review, Columns

Japan Pop! Inside the World of Japanese Popular Culture

Teachers often discover that their students are attuned to the latest trends in popular culture more than to their academic studies. By examining Japan’s popular culture, they can capitalize on this student interest, help their students to reflect on cultural concerns, and teach about contemporary Japan. Students will see that Japan has more than ninja, geisha, and samurai. There are also pop star idols, jazz musicians, and salariman. Although sumo, the tea ceremony, and cherry blossom viewing...

Feature Article

Girl (and Boy) Troubles in Animeland: Exploring Representations of Gender in Japanese Animation Films

The interest in things Japanese among the American public reached an all-time peak in the late 1990s. One form of Japanese popular culture that has penetrated American consciousness, especially among the younger population, is Japanese animation, or anime. Fan groups, Web sites, and college clubs devoted to anime appreciation are found in almost every major American city. Japanese animation is increasingly one of the most frequently rented genres in video stores. In recent years, several monogr...

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