Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review

Tsunami Girl

Tsunami Girl By Julian Sedgwick, Illustrations by Chie Kutsuwada Didcot, England: Guppy Books, 2021 100 pages, ISBN: 978-1913101466, Paperback Winner 2021 Freeman Book Awards Young Adult/High School Literature Reviewed by Rebecca Byrd   [caption id="attachment_19271" align="alignleft" width="197"] Manga artist, Chie Kutsuwada.Source: Winsor Newton webpage athttps://tinyurl.com/2p8h46t8.[/caption] The remarkable novel Tsunami Girl is the story of fifteen-year-old Yuki, wh...

Book Review

While I Was Away

While I Was Away By Waka T. Brown New York, Quill Tree Books, 2021 336 pages, ISBN: 978-0063017122, Paperback 2021 Freeman Book Award Honorable Mention for Young Adult/Middle School Literature Reviewed by Molly DeDona     [caption id="attachment_19250" align="alignright" width="201"] Waka T. Brown. Photo by Miles W. Brown.[/caption] While I Was Away’s prose is almost identical to a young adult novel, but is instead a memoir based on the author’s own life ex...

Book Review

Chinese Literature: An Introduction

Ihor Pidhainy’s Chinese Literature: An Introduction, a slim volume of 110 pages, offers a clear and concise overview of Chinese literature from 1250 BCE to the end of the twentieth century. It is an ideal source for anyone who hopes to explore the literary traditions of China.

Book Review

Finding Junie Kim

Finding Junie Kim By Ellen Oh New York: Harper Collins, 2021 384 pages, ISBN: 978-0062987990, Paperback Winner 2021 Freeman Book Award for Young Adult/Middle School Literature Reviewed by Charles Newell       [caption id="attachment_19078" align="alignright" width="163"] Ellen Oh.[/caption] How do you engage middle-grade students on issues of racism, political division, and immigration while also discussing the oft-overlooked Korean War and the importance o...

Book Review

Dragonfly Dreams

Dragonfly Dreams chronicles the life of the Liu family in Tianjin, China, in the early 1940s, a time and place in history often overlooked by Americans. Appropriate for middle school grades and above, the captivating story is a vehicle for learning about China, and it can also be used to teach about the challenges and joys experienced by young people during times of conflict.

Book Review

Crossing the Farak River

Since the 2016–17 “clearance operations” that pushed the plight of the Rohingya into the international spotlight, ethnic violence in Myanmar has evolved into new phases and expanded into new dimensions. For social studies and history teachers of higher grades, these most recent phases and new dimensions are an opportunity for cultivating greater awareness of an urgent global issue and what moral responsibility falls to the rest of us to pay attention and possibly take action.

Book Review

China and the Founding of the United States: The Influence of Traditional Chinese Civilization

China and the Founding of the United States The Influence of Traditional Chinese Civilization By Dave Xueliang Wang Lanham, Lexington Books, 2021 365 Pages, ISBN 978: 1793644350, Hardcover Reviewed by Peter K. Frost “The mere thought of Chinese cultural influence on the founding of the United States,” Dave Wang’s states in his very first sentence in this quite extraordinary book, “is unimaginable to some.” The rest of the book is dedicated to combat what he considers “misconcep...

Book Review, Resources

The History of Art in Japan

Nobuo Tsuji’s History of Art in Japan was originally published by the University of Tokyo Press in 2005 and is now available in English translation. The book covers Japan’s art history from the ancient Jōmon Era all the way to the rise of manga and anime in the twentieth century. Included is a list of the main historical eras in both Romanization and Japanese; a map of archaeological sites; a timeline for Japan, Korea, and China; long lists of scholarly English-languages sources on Japanese...

Book Review, Online Supplement

South Asia in World History (New Oxford World History): Reviewed by Rachel Ball-Phillips

Writing world history is a daunting task. World historians continue to struggle with how to write effective survey world history texts for use in the classroom. The New Oxford World History series is an ambitious project that emphasizes “connectedness and interactions of all kinds—cultural, economic, political, religious, and social—involving peoples, places and processes” (viii). By situating South Asia within a broader global context from the Indus Valley Civilization to present, Marc ...

Book Review, Book Review Essay, Resources

Japanese Girl at the Siege of Changchun: How I Survived China’s Wartime Atrocity

By Homare Endo Albany, CA: Stone Bridge Press, 2016 (reprint) 304 pages, ISBN: 9781611720389, Paperback Reviewed by Anne Prescott Manchuria, Changchun, Yangji, Tianjin. Most people will recognize that these are places in China; many could place them in or near the northeast of the country. Beyond that? The Japanese took over Manchuria and created a puppet state they named Manchukuo, some bad things happened at Changchun, Yangji is close to the Korean peninsula, and Tianjin was a treaty port....

Book Review, Resources

China’s Twentieth Century: Revolution, Retreat, and the Road to Equality

What positive lessons can China take from its tumultuous twentieth century? Given the tragedies of the Mao era and the relentless pace of ongoing economic and social change in China, it may be tempting to simply ignore China’s revolutionary period, as the 2008 Olympic opening ceremonies did in its retelling of Chinese history for a global audience. Yet in his new book, China’s Twentieth Century, leading literary critic and intellectual historian Wang Hui argues that the twentieth century is ...

Book Review, Resources

Foundations of Chinese Civilization The Yellow Emperor to the Han Dynasty (2697 BCE–220 CE) Understanding China through Comics, Volume 1

Understanding China through Comics, Volume 1 By Jing Liu Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press 168 Pages, ISBN: 978-1611720273, Paperback Reviewed by Ward Fleissner Here’s the opening line: “After 17,434 disasters, 3,791 wars, 663 emperors, and ninety-five dynasties, the 5,000-year-old Chinese civilization marches on.” What an entrance onto the world history stage! This nonfiction “graphic novel,” an informational comic book of 168 pages, combines breezy style with historical...

Book Review, Resources

Common Core: Korea Lessons and Resources for K–12 Classrooms

Reviewed by Charles Newell Do not let the words “Common Core” in the title of this curriculum guide cause you to dismiss it too quickly. It has certainly become an educational fad to use the phrase “Common Core” on about every classroom resource. Ironically, it has also become clear that not all states will adopt the Common Core standards, and thus far, some (and perhaps eventually many) states are changing the way they are implementing Common Core standards with their own set of state ...

Book Review, Resources

North Korea Confidential: Private Markets, Fashion Trends, Prison Camps, Dissenters, and Defectors

by Daniel Tudor and James Pearson North Clarendon, VT: Tuttle Publishing, 2015 224 pages, ISBN: 978-0804844581, Hardcover Reviewed by Peter K. Frost As its title suggests, North Korea Confidential is written by two highly knowledgeable British journalists whose main aim is to counter the usual view that all North Koreans are either “brainwashed worshipers” of North Korea’s founding father, Kim Ilsung, or “helpless victims” of his grandson, Kim Jong-un, the third leader of t...

Book Review, Resources

Chinese Religious Art

By Patricia Eichenbaum Karetzky Lanham: Lexington Books (Rowman & Littlefield), 2013 394 Pages, ISBN: 978-0739180594, Paperback Reviewed by Benita Stambler It seems hard to believe that there has not been a volume prior to this one devoted to Chinese religious art, but this work by Patricia Eichenbaum Karetzky is the first comprehensive volume on the subject. It thus fills an important gap in literature on Asian art by providing a less- familiar lens for examining dynastic art. In this b...

Book Review, Resources

Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography, Volume 4

Reviewed by David L. Kenley With the publication of volume 4, Berkshire is nearing completion of the Dictionary of Chinese Biography.  While the editors and writers will continue to add to and amend the online supplement, this is the final volume of the dictionary’s printed version. Volume 4 includes figures who have influenced Chinese history since 1979. As with the previous three volumes, this one exemplifies high standards of research, writing, and editing. It is a welcome addition to an...

Book Review, Resources

A History of the World in Sixteen Shipwrecks

By Stewart Gordon Lebanon, NH: ForeEdge (University Press of New England), 2015 290 pages, ISBN: 978-1611685404, Hardcover  Reviewed by James R. Holmes Learning about history isn’t always fun. But it should be. And it can be. Think about Wayne Curtis’s And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails (Broadway Books, 2007), which tells the history of the New World amusingly and fascinatingly. Paul Revere paused for a snootful in Medford, Massachusetts, where I attended...

Book Review, Resources

Pot Shards: Fragments of a Life Lived in CIA, the White House, and the Two Koreas

Donald Gregg had a remarkably long career spanning almost six decades, most of it connected with Asia. He served as a CIA officer in Japan, Việt Nam, and Burma, and was the CIA station chief in Seoul from 1973 to 1975. From 1989 to 1993, he was the US ambassador to South Korea. After retiring from government service, he headed the Korea Society in New York and made six trips to North Korea to promote better relations with that country. In between, he served on the National Security Council. Du...

Book Review, Resources

Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back

Deep in the western suburbs of Tokyo in the city of Kodaira lies Tsuda College, a private school of about 2,500 students where, since its founding in 1900, female students have received a broad education in the liberal arts and languages. It is a beautiful, leafy campus with an abundance of impressive trees and flowers. It is a rare treat to visit in late March or early April, when the cherry trees are in full bloom. My own school, Mary Baldwin University, has a long tradition of receiving excha...

Book Review, Resources

Confucianism as a World Religion: Contested Histories and Contemporary Realities

Is Confucianism a religion? In one way or another, this question has been asked for as long as Westerners have tried to make sense of China—from the earliest translations done by the Jesuits half a millennium ago right up until the present. It can even be argued quite persuasively that thinkers from China and its East Asian neighbors have asked a similar kind of question almost since Confucius’s Analects began to be distributed in the centuries after the sage’s death. The broader matter th...