Education About Asia: Online Archives

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EAA Digest Exclusive

Teaching Asia through Literature: China, Japan, Korea

Teaching Asia through Literature: China, Japan, Korea [caption id="attachment_18783" align="alignleft" width="200"] Book cover for My Borther's Keeper by Julie Lee[/caption] Contemporary education at almost every level, through its seeming obsession with "Objectives," "Learning Outcomes," and intensely political ideologies, seems to be minimizing the pleasure, varying emotions, and truth that literature conveys about the human condition. EAA readers and subscribers familiar with Asia wil...

EAA Digest Exclusive

Teaching Asian Geographies: Overcoming Pedagogical Barriers

Understanding geography, especially physical geography, is not easy for me. A deceased relative once described this ineptness as “not having even a bump of locality.” This handicap notwithstanding, my advocacy for geographic literacy in general, and geographic understanding of Asia in particular, as essential foundations of liberal and international education becomes stronger each year. Despite enormous digital advances in pedagogy, the apparent persistence of widespread geographic illitera...

EAA Digest Exclusive

Teaching Japanese Culture: Timeless Influences

At the most fundamental level, no humans have created cultures that are completely unique in human history. That said, indigenous practices, interactions with other cultures, and subsequent creative cultural adaptations help to richly enhance any culture. Each one of the following archived EAA articles, intended for teachers and students, are illustrative of cultural practices and influences that remain “timeless” in influencing many Japanese.

EAA Digest Exclusive

Armed Conflict in Asia

Learning about the profound multiple causes and effects of armed conflicts on past, present, and possible future generations is a critical component of a liberal education and an imperative part of reflective democratic citizenship, including, and especially, electing executive and legislative leaders.

EAA Digest Exclusive, Resources

Asia and the World: “Travelers’ Tales”

International travel is still a dicey prospect for most of us because of the pandemic, but almost all Digest readers probably love travel at some level. The following entries could be vicarious travel for imaginative readers, but each recommended EAA article or essay, in my opinion, helps students and instructors better understand the often profound effects of literal and figurative travelers and ideas impacting different parts of Asia and the world in a variety of ways.

EAA Digest Exclusive

Teaching Resources: Integrating Visual Arts: Humanities and Social Sciences Classrooms

Just as they enrich our lives, the visual arts have wonderful potential to stimulate students’ imaginations, intercultural understanding, and knowledge of other academic subjects.  The following selections from the EAA archives should prove helpful for teachers and students from a wide range of academic disciplines including anthropology, history, communications, religion, philosophy, and art history courses. Each teaching resource essay has rich visuals, most include teaching questions an...

Kimono: The Global Adventures of a Fashion Icon

Clothing is a fun and accessible way to show students global connections. Tracing the odyssey by which a “simple” t-shirt was conceived, resourced, designed, woven, sewn, marketed and delivered reveals the far-reaching networks that keep us clothed. Fast fashion and modern technology has considerably sped up this process, but the global fashion industry is ancient. Most of humanity’s earliest overland and maritime trade routes were an attempt to get beautiful cloth and dyestuffs from one r...

Essay

Japan’s Impact on World History

Many of us might find it hard to imagine Japan having a big impact on twentieth century world history. How could a nation smaller than the state of California, and dwarfed by its much larger neighbor China, possibly be a big player? Hopefully, the fact that Japan has the world’s eleventh-largest population and is now the world’s third-biggest economy may explain why Japan has had at least two different kinds of impacts on world history, each of which was a major influence in its own par...

Japan Meets Russia

Japanese, Ainu and Russians, 1702–1792 Most people today think of the Russo–Japanese War (1904–1905) as the first time Russians and Japanese came into conflict in Asia. Yet in fact, by 1904 they had been viewing each other as imperial rivals for over a century. Edo Period (1600–1868) Japan was keenly interested in the world beyond its borders. Indeed, despite the persistence of the sakoku (closed country) narrative in the popular imagination, Japan was anything but secluded during this ...

Teaching Resources Essay

Reacting to the Past: Teaching Asian and World History through Role-Playing Games

Teaching world history as a survey course is difficult for both faculty and students: the course requires a temporal and geographical scope that is often beyond individual faculty’s expertise, and for a variety of reasons, most American students, unless they have a love of world history or possibly intend to major in history, have either low level of knowledge in history or, are historically illiterate.1 Although most states require high school students to take some form of world or American h...

Feature Article

Kūkai in China, What He Studied and Brought Back to Japan

The Japanese Buddhist priest Kūkai (774–835 CE) continues to be one of the most popular historical figures to persist in imagination and images around Japan. For introducing Shingon esoteric Buddhism into his country in the early Heian period (794–1184), the emperor awarded him the posthumous title Kōbō Daishi, literally “Great Master Who Propagated the Dharma.” Yet far from this being the extent of his accomplishments, Kūkai also exerted major influences on the development of Japane...

Feature Article

Beyond the Sinosphere in Early Japan: Nara and the Silk Roads

A startling archeological discovery in 2009, near the ruins of the Heijō Palace in Nara: nineteen dark green shards, later determined to be ceramics produced during the Abbasid Caliphate in present-day Iraq. The shards were originally from a jar, perhaps used to carry spices or dates; a wooden tablet found nearby records the date as 768 CE. How might such an object have found its way to the Japanese archipelago, some 5,000 miles away, over 1,000 years ago? Anyone traveling with ceramics, even f...

Feature Article

Objects of Fascination: Encountering Six Dynasties China through Material Culture

Material culture—images, built spaces, and objects—can open extraordinary windows into the past. This is especially true when exploring China’s Six Dynasties period (220–589 CE). The Six Dynasties was a time of fragmentation. In the south, there was a rapid succession of dynasties while, in the north, invading nomads competed with Chinese in establishing kingdoms and dynasties. Though often remembered as a time of warfare and disruption, material culture shows that it was also a time of ...

Feature Article

China Versus the Barbarians: The First Century of Han-Xiongnu Relations

The Han–Xiongnu relationship is especially important in world history because it is the first time a major steppe power and a major agriculturalist civilization had extensive contact and conflict with each other. Before the Huns, before the Mongols, there were the Xiongnu.

Feature Article

The Essentials: Seven Samurai

Kurosawa Akira’s Seven Samurai is a timeless masterpiece that has been widely recognized as the greatest foreign-language film ever made. The plot concerns a humble village hiring a band of samurai and protecting itself from pillage in war-ravaged sixteenth-century Japan. Since the wretchedness inflicted on the peasantry is evocative of all forms of human suffering, the honorable service conducted by the seven samurai takes on universal significance.

Feature Article

The Essentials: Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land

Stan Lai (Lai Shengchuan) is one of the most celebrated playwrights working in the Chinese-speaking world. His work over three decades has charted the course of modern Chinese-language theatre in Taiwan, China, and other Chinese-speaking regions.

Feature Article

Revisiting Live Your Dream and Cocktail Party

Regge Life is the founder of Global Film Network Inc. Early in his career, Life worked as an American Film Institute intern on John Landis’s Trading Places. He went on to direct episodes of Sesame Street, The Cosby Show, A Different World, and Sister, Sister. He is Executive Producer/Director for documentaries such as Doubles, After America . . . After Japan, Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story, and Cocktail Party. He produced his first work in Japan, Struggle and Success: The...

Feature Article

Teaching Cultural, Historical, and Religious Landscapes with the Anime Demon Slayer

  In 2020, the animated movie Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train (Japanese: Gekijō-ban “Kimetsu no Yaiba” Mugen Ressha-hen) was No. 1 in the world for box office revenue.1 In the same year, it became the highest-grossing movie in Japanese history, surpassing Spirited Away, which had reigned No. 1 since 2001. Just as Miyazaki Hideo’s animated classic Spirited Away has been a staple for teaching about Japanese folklore and culture in classrooms around the wor...

Feature Article

One Day in the Life of a North Korean Textile Worker

There are many films on North Korea; some are quite good. But Pieter Fleury’s North Korea: A Day in the Life is in a category by itself. In 2004, the Dutch independent filmmaker was granted rare permission to film everyday life in the closed, secretive country. No foreigners are allowed to wander at will in North Korea; all are carefully shepherded and watched, allowed to visit and film only what their hosts decide. These tend to be the same places: a visit to a model kindergarten, to the grea...