Education About Asia: Online Archives

Browse and download over 1,500 articles — feature articles, lesson plans, interviews, classroom resources, and book and film reviews — from Education About Asia (EAA)!

Help us do more

by supporting EAA through print subscriptions and donations.

How to use the EAA Online Search Engine

PLEASE NOTE: All article and essay illustrations, including many images and graphics necessary for understanding the content, may be viewed in the PDF.

  1. 1

    Enter keywords

    in search bar below

  2. 2

    Filter your search

    by selecting your search criteria in the dropdown boxes. Search filters range from geographic location to article topic

  3. 3

    View an article

    by clicking on its title. To view the entire article, select “PDF”

Search for Articles

(culture, history, art, marriage, etc...)

NOTE: Archive articles may be downloaded and reproduced for personal or classroom use only.

Feature Article

Calligraphy in East Asia: Art, Communication, and Symbology

East Asian brush calligraphy closely integrates aspects of art, communication, and symbology, thus offering educators a particularly rich set of resources from which to draw upon. In this article, we start with an overview of brush calligraphy, including its relationship with art, communication, and symbology. We follow with a brief discussion of the historical and contemporary place of brush calligraphy in East Asian education and society; finally, we explore some pragmatic aspects of creating ...

Feature Article

Symbolism in the Forbidden City: The Magnificent Design, Distinct Colors, and Lucky Numbers of China’s Imperial Palace

The Forbidden City, the sprawling and imposing seat of Chinese Imperial power for almost 500 years, stands out in stark contrast against the ultramodern heart of contemporary Beijing. This United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)-designated World Heritage site is the largest intact wooden palace structure found anywhere on earth and has served as an open museum of China’s history for almost a century. Along with the Great Wall, it is undeniably one of China’...

Online Supplement

Digital Archives: Teaching Indian Colonial History Through Photographs

Spanning the globe from the Americas to South Asia, this interdisciplinary course will examine the peripheries of empires. Rather than looking at the history of empires from the view of European powers (England and Spain), this course takes us to the places that were conquered in order to gain a broader understanding of how empire and colonialism worked, or failed to work, and ultimately what led these “edges of empires” to decolonize and gain independence (India and Mexico) – and, in the ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Digital Archives: Teaching Indian Colonial History Through Photographs

We often use photographs in a history classroom to illustrate a point rather than as a foundation for our courses. I coteach an interdisciplinary course that integrates visual culture and history into an undergraduate class titled On the Edges of Empire: India and Mexico/American Southwest at Southern Methodist University. I was surprised to stumble upon a unique digital collection at the SMU DeGolyer Special Collections Library, which is known for its archives related to the US west, borderland...

Feature Article

Back in Time: Pictures Worth More than 1,000 Words

These photographs of Northeast Asia from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries give people today a window on the economic, environmental, and geopolitical context of the time. This essay introduces some of the early photographs from Japan, Korea, and adjacent lands—scenes that families in the US viewed with the aid of the right-eye, left-eye lenses of the viewstand, or stereograph, so they could enjoy a vivid 3-D experience—to learn about lands that were then unknown to them. ...

Feature Article

Dean Worcester’s Photographs and American Perceptions of the Philippines

When the US acquired its overseas colonies in the aftermath of the Spanish American War, photography quickly established itself as part of the colonial project. Photographs in magazines and newspapers brought the war home to American readers. Postcards and stereographs were popular consumer objects. Illustrated travel books, detailing the landscapes and peoples of the new colonies, were bestsellers. Photographs could provide visual evidence of the supposedly backward state of the colonies, which...

Feature Article

Taijiquan: Teaching Daoism through Experiential Arts Learning

In Jet Li’s classic, pre-Hollywood film Taiji Zhang Sanfeng (1993, aka The Tai Chi Master and Twin Warriors), the young monk Junbao (portrayed by Jet Li) and his trouble-making best friend, Tianbao (Chin Siu Ho), are expelled from the Buddhist Shaolin monastery, the famous and infamous cradle of China’s most popular martial arts. Unfamiliar with the ways of the world, the two soon find themselves assisting a band of anti-government rebels. Tianbao becomes disillusioned and decides to join th...

Feature Article

Water, Wood, and Women: The Persistence of Ancient Traditions in Modern India

In the state of Bengal, in northeastern India, the annual September-October harvest and fertility festival called Durga Pūjā (“offering to Durga”) generates a massive half-year effort of preparation for its nine nights (Navaratri) of celebrations.1 Durga is a three-eyed, ten-armed, buffalo-demon destroying Hindu warrior goddess. Durga is constructed in wildly varied forms from wooden armatures wrapped in straw and covered with unfired clay dug from the bed of the sacred Hoohley River (a ...

Columns, EAA Interview

Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization: A Brief Interview with William M. Tsutsui

William M. Tsutsui is Professor of History and Dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Previously he taught for seventeen years at the University of Kansas. He is the author or editor of six books, including Manufacturing Ideology: Scientific Management in Twentieth-Century Japan (Princeton University Press, 1998) and Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). Professor Tsutsui’s most recent ...

Feature Article

Korea: Traditional and Modern Culture in Pictures

In South Korea, traditional and modern culture appears in unexpected and beautiful juxtapositions. A short walk in Seoul treats you to traditional Korean music, beautiful temples and palaces, and a cutting-edge display of B-Boy dancing. Museums hold exhibitions of Western art that would be the envy of any Western city, and Korean cities teem with small and large Korean art galleries of all kinds. In Asia, Hallyu (Korean Wave) has already pushed Korean culture into China, Taiwan, Japan...

Columns, EAA Interview

Buchanan Prize Winners Lynn Parisi and Meredith Changeux

John Dower, Meredith Changeux, and Lynn Parisi won the 2009 Franklin Buchanan Prize for the Yokohama Boomtown curriculum. This interview features Meredith Changeux and Lynn Parisi, who are responsible for developing the curriculum lessons that are part of the unit. Lynn Parisi is the director of the University of Colorado Program for Teaching East Asia (TEA) and a national co-director of the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia (NCTA). Since 1985, Lynn has designed and coordinate...

Columns

Yokohama Boomtown Curriculum (From Visualizing Cultures): Foreigners in Treaty Port Japan (1859-1872)

Reviewed by Alejandro Echevarria The creators of the Yokohama Boomtown Web site, John W. Dower and Shigeru Miyagawa, describe Visualizing Cultures as units that wed “images and scholarly commentary in innovative ways to illuminate social and cultural history.” To date, twenty units are online for students and scholars to explore topics that range from the Canton trade system to Hiroshima’“Ground Zero” and the atomic bomb. To get a grasp on the Yokohama Boomtown unit, first vi...

Feature Article

Van Gogh and Japonisme: Indebtedness and Transformation

Japonisme is the admiration, adoption, and adaptation of Japanese culture that swept Europe during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was a direct result of Commodore Perry’s 1853 imperialistic demand that Japan open its doors to the “Western” world. The resulting trade introduced new products for public consumption, and in France, it led to the Japanese presence in literature, drama, music, and the visual arts.1 In my view, Japonisme in art does not merely mean the depi...

Book Review, Columns

Chinese Posters: Art from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

BY LINCOLN CUSHING AND ANN TOMPKINS SAN FRANCISCO: CHRONICLE BOOKS, 2007 144 PAGES, 170 COLOR IMAGES ISBN: 978-0811859462, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Susan Glosser In Chinese Posters: Art from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Lincoln Cushing and Ann Tompkins have reproduced in full color over 150 Cultural Revolution posters from among the 500 that Tompkins donated to UC Berkeley’s East Asian Library. The book’s most attractive aspect for classroom use is the nicely reproduced image...

Columns, Film Review

The Roots of Japanese Anime Until the End of WWII

DIRECTED BY: MITSUYO SEO, KENZŌ MASAOKA, NOBURŌ ŌFUJI, YASUJI MURATA, YOSHITARO KATAOKA ZAKKA FILMS DVD, 92 MINUTES, 2008 Reviewed by Paul Dunscomb 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 E...

Film Review Essay

Magnificent Obsession: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buildings and Legacy in Japan

DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY KAREN SEVERNS AND KOICHI MORI DISTRIBUTED BY NEW YORKER FILMS DVD, 126 MINUTES, COLOR, 2005 Reviewed by Elizabeth M. Owen The celebrated modern American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) is less well known as an enthusiastic collector, exhibitor, and dealer of Asian art, Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints in particular. The recently-released documentary, Magnificent Obsession: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buildings and Legacy in Japan, contributes to the growi...

Feature Article

Hope for Renewal: Photographs from Indonesia after the Tsunami

We extend our gratitude and thanks both to the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawai`i, and to Marco Garcia, the Hawai`i photographer who traveled to Aceh Province in northwestern Sumatra, Indonesia, in the days and months following the December 26, 2004, tsunami. Marco’s photographs capture not only the disaster, recovery, and relief efforts, but also the resilience and positive spirit of the survivors and those who came to their aid. EAA is also grateful to Betty Buck, formerly with the East-W...

Book Review, Columns

The Japanese Garden: Gateway to the Human Spirit

The majority of books on the subject of Japanese gardens are coffee-table-size instruction manuals. These provide some cursory historical background, but mostly they elucidate fundamental principles of design in combination with copious and beautiful color photographs of famous ancient and modern examples by which to inspire the courageous gardener. To the untutored, Japanese gardens might seem, based on these sources, to be all of a kind, piecing together requisite features of water holes, ston...

Feature Article

China 1905–1908: Harrison Sacket Elliott’s Letters and Photographs

Harrison Sacket Elliott While a student at Ohio Wesleyan, Harrison Elliott served as secretary to President J. W. Bashford. When Bashford became the Bishop in charge of the Methodist Church’s work in China, he asked twenty-two-year-old Elliott to accompany him on his inspection tours of China and serve as his stenographer. Between 1905 and 1908, Elliott helped organize the Bishop’s trips, took charge of all his correspondence, and detailed their experiences in several hundred photographs ta...

Curriculum Materials Review

Learning from Asian Art: Korea

Learning from Asian Art: Korea is an exceptional teaching resource. Educators who know little about Korea can be confident in adopting the lessons with minimal preparation time. This resource is one of three complete lesson books on Asian Art developed by the Division of Education at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Teachers of all levels will be able to adapt these materials for their specific needs. Beautiful photographs and slides inspire assignments and research in art, history, and language ...