Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Columns, Facts About Asia, Resources

Facts About Asia: South Korea and Singapore: Economic and Political Freedom

Editor’s Introduction: By the 1990s, the dynamic economic growth of four polities—Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan—earned them the nickname “Four Little Dragons.” Each of the “Little Dragons” also obtained moderate to significant levels of political freedom (Freedom House ranks South Korea and Taiwan as free and Hong Kong and Singapore as partly free). Please see our column from fall 2019 on the other two “Little Dragons”: Hong Kong and Taiwan. Economic ...

Feature Article

Reading after the Disaster: Japan’s Reaction to the 3/11 Events through Literature

[caption id="attachment_7078" align="alignnone" width="1118"] Total destruction in the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Source: © Shutterstock.[/caption] It was a little after two o’clock in the afternoon on March 11, 2011, when a 9.1-magnitude earthquake shook the northeastern coast of Japan, the biggest earthquake ever recorded with modern techniques in the country. Within an hour, a tsunami reaching as high as forty meters in some areas hit the regions of Miyako, Iw...

Feature Article

An EAA Interview with the 2019 Franklin R. Buchanan Prizewinner Michael A. Fuller for An Introduction to Chinese Poetry: From the Canon of Poetry to the Lyrics of the Song Dynasty

This is our twenty-third consecutive interview with the recipient of the AAS Franklin R. Buchanan Prize. This year’s winner is Michael A. Fuller, who is the author of An Introduction to Chinese Poetry: From the Canon of Poetry to the Lyrics of the Song Dynasty. The textbook for learning classical Chinese poetry moves beyond the traditional anthology of poems translated into English and instead brings readers―including those with no knowledge of Chinese―as close as possible to the texture o...

Online Supplement

Resources and Chapter Guide for “Contextualizing Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko”

Editor’s Note: Please see Todd Munson’s teaching resources essay “Contextualizing Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko” from the winter 2019 issue of Education About Asia beginning on p. 54. Names and locations in the chapter outline use the Revised Romanization of Korean. Suggested Resources and Chapter Guide for “Contextualizing Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko” Abroad in Japan. “Japan’s Biggest Gaming Obsession Explained | Pachinko.” YouTube Video, 11:06. July 20, 2018. https://youtu.be/-tBy2...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Contextualizing Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko

Pachinko By Min Jin Lee New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2017 496 pages, ISBN: 978-1455563937, Hardcover Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko, nominee for the 2017 National Book Award for fiction, is a sweeping historical saga of one family’s experience living as “forever foreigners” in twentieth-century Japan. Despite its heft (496 pages in the hardcover edition), the novel is written in an accessible and engaging style appropriate for both undergraduates and high school students. Moreover, Pa...

Feature Article

The Tale of the Heike and Japan’s Cultural Pivot to the Art of War

There are two main reasons to teach The Tale of the Heike, one literary and the other historical. Its subject matter, the Genpei War (1180–1185 CE), marked a pivot in social, cultural, and political life in Japan. This civil war ended four centuries of the Heian period (794–1185), characterized by the cultivated life described so beautifully in Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji (c. 1000 CE). In Murasaki’s time, an aristocracy dominated society, linked by family ties with the emperor...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Using the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index to Teach Social Science: A Plan for a Facilitated Discussion

The Lowy Institute, one of Australia’s most well-regarded think tanks, released its second annual Asia Power Index in May 2019 (available at https://power.lowyinstitute.org). High school and college educators can use this resource to get students doing hands-on explorations of Asian political, military, economic, and diplomatic power using data. Students can learn about Asia while enhancing their data literacy and critical-thinking skills. This essay provides a plan for an interactive discussi...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching about the Comfort Women during World War II and the Use of Personal Stories of the Victims

[caption id="attachment_7067" align="alignnone" width="1113"] Four Korean comfort women after they were liberated by US-China Allied Forces outside Songshan, Yunnan Province, China on September 7, 1944. Source: The Hankyoreh website at https://tinyurl.com/y4dddxjn. Photo by Charles H. Hatfield, US 164th Signal Photo Company. Note: The original photo is available in the National Archives Catalog at https://tinyurl.com/yyumu88z.[/caption] “Comfort women” refers to the system of sexual slave...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

EngageAsia: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Creating Transnational Communities

EngageAsia (www.engageasia.org), a New York-based 501(c)(3) non- profit with the mission of building community in the Asia–Pacific through education, was born out of a need for a new organization with Asia-focused teacher professional development at its core, through intensive discussions between its cofounders and inaugural board, and on culling best practices from years of working with US–Japan teacher professional development programs. Most importantly, the creation of this new organizati...

Feature Article

The Importance of Entrepreneurship in Japan’s Late Nineteenth-Century Meiji Industrail Transformation

Japan’s rapid transformation in the late nineteenth century, from an agricultural society governed by the feudal samurai warrior class into an industrial power, is an unusual story in world history. When samurai leaders from Satsuma, Chōshū, and other domains joined forces to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate and rule in the name of Emperor Meiji in 1868, they might have been expected to establish a similar form of government that maintained the existing class structure and protected the samu...

Columns, Editor's Message, Resources

Editor’s Message

I hope EAA readers are having a pleasant fall. This issue’s special section is “Entrepreneurship in Asia.” Merriam-Webster’s definition of entrepreneur—”a person who organizes and operates a business, or businesses taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so”—is technically correct in my opinion, but reveals nothing about the hard work, creativity, and incredible perseverance of successful entrepreneurs. Innovative entrepreneurs have always existed in Asia, bu...

Feature Article

Borrowing from the Buddha: Buddhist Temples as Financial Centers in Premodern East Asia

We would not be surprised to hear the Buddha tell us how to meditate or how to be compassionate. We might be surprised to hear him offer financial advice. Yet in several cases, he does exactly this. In one early example, the Buddha advises a young layman to divide his wealth into four parts: “One part should be enjoyed, two parts invested in [your] business, and the fourth set aside against future misfortunes.” (note 1) This demonstrates that rather than entirely renouncing money, Buddhism d...

Feature Article

Reading Beyond the Curriculum Fostering Communities of L2 Chinese and Japanese Learners

Editor’s Note: L1 refers to a first, or native language. L2 refers to a person’s second language that is not the native language (first language or L1) of the speaker, but is learned later either as a foreign language or another language used in the speaker’s home country. Reading need not be a solitary or passive activity, and indeed we have found that active, communal reading can be both productive and pleasurable for students. In this article, we discuss how our respective reading gr...

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...

Teaching Resources Essay

Graduate School Confidential: Misguided First Impressions of Japanese Preschools

I started graduate school in 1980 after living in Japan for four years. In my second semester, a nearby college held a colloquium for business and community leaders in Detroit, Michigan, on “What We Can Learn From Japan.” They asked me to talk about Japanese education, specifically high achievement test scores. There wasn’t much scholarship available on Japanese education then, but after an extensive card catalog search at the University of Michigan library, I discovered some Japanese g...

Feature Article

Children’s Rights in Japan’s Schools

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a human rights treaty that sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health, and cultural rights of children. It was adopted without dissent by the UN General Assembly on November 20th, 1989, and was swiftly ratified by almost all member states. Japan ratified it in 1994. The convention is based upon the so-called “three p’s”: children’s needs for a balance of “provision,” “protection,” and “participatio...

Teaching Resources Essay

Leading a Short-Term Study Trip for Students in Japan

The best way for students to study the history, culture, and livelihoods of another country is through an organized in-country experience. There are various benefits that can accrue through such an endeavor. One can learn about a part of the world away from home while at the same time gaining a deeper appreciation of one’s own culture by looking at it from the outside. Ideally, a student will spend a full semester or year studying abroad, but that is a luxury that many cannot afford in terms o...

EAA Interview

EAA Interview with Graeme Freeman: Interviewed by Lynn Parisi

[caption id="attachment_7028" align="alignleft" width="286"] Graeme Freeman. Source: Photo courtesy of the Freeman Foundation.[/caption] In 1978, Mansfield Freeman, an American who spent much of his life in China and who helped found the company that later became American International Group, Inc. (AIG), established a trust whose primary mission would be to create a foundation that would facilitate the development of mutual understanding among Americans and East Asians. Since then, the Freema...

NCTA Teaching Resources Essay

Finding Quiet within the Noise: How Japanese Traditions Can Help Today’s Students

Mindfulness has become trendy around the world in recent years— but in Japan, it’s been ingrained into the culture for centuries. —BBC Travel Contemporary society is beset with physical and digital noise. News media supply a never-ending stream of sensational stories. Cellphones, computers, and video games distract teen and adults constantly, and almost unlimited access to one another through social media sites only increases tensions between and among individuals. It is almost impossi...

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