Education About Asia: Online Archives

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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 Essay, Resources

A Brief History of Korea: Isolation, War, Despotism, and Revival: The Fascinating Story of a Resilient but Divided People

Michael Seth of James Madison University has a great deal of experience writing textbooks. His A Concise History of Korea: From the Neolithic to the Nineteenth Century was first published in 2006. It was revised and broken into two volumes: A Concise History of Modern Korea: From the Late Nineteenth Century to the Present (2009) and A History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present (2010). Those volumes, published by Rowman & Littlefield, are still in print. In addition, Seth recently published ...

Book Review Essay, Resources

A Christian in the Land of the Gods: Journey of Faith In Japan

Joanna Reed Shelton’s recent book, A Christian in the Land of the Gods, is a beautifully written biography of her great-grandfather, the Reverend Thomas Theron Alexander (1850–1902), and her great-grandmother, Emma Edwina Alexander (1855–1937), who served as Presbyterian missionaries and teachers in Japan from 1877 to 1902. The value of this work is enhanced by the author’s in-depth analysis of the great difficulties foreign missionaries and teachers had in introducing Christianity into ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching about the Colonial India State and Society with Six Acres and a Third

Six Acres and a Third is an English translation of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s 1902 Odia novel Chha Mana Atha Guntha, a humorous satire set in early nineteenth-century British India. It tells the story of an exploitative moneylender called Ramachandra Mangaraj, who uses the colonial legal system to usurp the properties of people in his rural community, before being ruined by it himself.

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

The Busy Teacher’s Handbook to Teaching the Zhuangzi

The Zhuangzi ranks amongst the greatest Chinese literary masterpieces. Written in China’s Warring States period (475–221 BCE), its vivid allegories have profoundly influenced the most preeminent of Chinese thinkers for over two millennia. In this essay, I present a sample of the Zhuangzi’s key ideas on life and death, language and knowledge, and time and the universe that will interest the twenty-first century student. I will also provide the classical allegories behind these learning poin...

Asia: Experiential Learning, Columns, Resources

Asia: Experiential Learning — Guest Editor, Tommy Lamont: Encompass Southeast Asia: A Unique Experiential Learning Opportunity through the University of Richmond

The Office of International Education (OIE) at the University of Richmond (UR) developed Encompass Southeast Asia (Encompass SEA) as part of a pilot program to engage students who have not historically participated in study abroad opportunities at UR and its partner institutions. Participants included students from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds, nontraditional students, students of color, athletes, males, and students with limited travel experience. Historically, such cohorts have not pa...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Contextualizing Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko

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, Pachinko is set in a particularly rich era of modern East Asian history, encompassing colonial Korea, World War II...

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 ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

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

“Comfort women” refers to the system of sexual slavery created and controlled by the Imperial Japanese government between 1932 and 1945. It is the largest case of government-sponsored human trafficking and sexual slavery in modern history. Many scholars have argued that the term comfort women, a euphemism coined by the Japanese military, obscures the gravity of the crime. While the authors agree that “military sexual slaves” is a much more accurate and appropriate phrase, we use the term...

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Weight of Our Sky

The Weight of Our Sky By Hanna Alkaf New York: Simon & Schuster, 2019 288 pages, ISBN 978-1534426085, Hardcover Reviewed by Zoë McLaughlin The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf centers on Melati, a Malaysian schoolgirl who is a fan of the Beatles and loves going to the cinema with her best friend. But one thing sets Melati apart: she believes she has a djinn inside of her, a creature out of Islamic mythology who regularly shows her scenes of death and pain, compelling her to count and t...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Dead Souls

Jiabiangou lies on the edge of the Gobi Desert near the city of Jiuquan, in the northwest pocket of China’s Gansu Province. Today, the region is home to China’s premier satellite launch center, but from 1957 to 1961, it was the nucleus of a labor camp complex in which more than 80 percent of the prisoners died, mostly of starvation. One of countless sites of mass death during the Mao period (1949–1976), many of which far exceed it in scale, Jiabiangou’s history might never have reached u...

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 China Through the Lens of Girls’ and Women’s Lives

Illiterate paternal grandparents raised Jin Shan, a teenage girl living in rural China. Her parents, unable to afford milk for their child, had no choice but to become migrant workers when Shan was seven months old. Shan remained behind with her grandparents, who farmed in the town of Xixiashu in Jiangsu Province, and did not live with her parents again until the age of ten. Shan’s experience was not unusual. In fact, it was anything but rare. Her story places her among millions of “left-beh...

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...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Key Issues in Asian Studies: “Indonesia: History, Heritage, Culture”

With her contribution to the Key Issues in Asian Studies series—INDONESIA: History, Heritage, Culture— Kathleen M. Adams has maintained and even enhanced its well-established reputation for quality. Writing a brief yet comprehensive book is challenging because specialists must restrain themselves from delving too far into their area of expertise. Instead of presenting an in-depth look at the specific, they must focus on engaging intelligent but uninformed readers so they can grasp the basics...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Peeling The Onion Stories: “China in Family Photographs: A People’s History of Revolution and Everyday Life”

Asked to write a review of China in Family Photographs, I quickly got caught up in the task. Using stories from a series begun in 1996, Ed Krebs and Professor Hanchao Lu translate the tales based on the pictures that accompany the text. They also wrote an introduction to each piece, setting it in context. My reaction was positive, even enthusiastic. I’d call the approach of our two authors ”onion stories.” They are layered. One way is to take the subject of the story and peel back that per...

Columns, Resources

Facts About Asia: Taiwan and Hong Kong: Economic and Political Freedom

Despite their modest sizes, Taiwan and Hong Kong both possess very strong economies, ranking 20th  and 30th in GDP (the market value of all goods and services) in a ranking of the top fifty world leaders. Taiwan has massive information and communication technology industries, as well as acting as a major international supplier of goods, while Hong Kong’s four key industries are in financial services, tourism, trading and logistics, and professional and producer services. Since 1996, the Frase...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

The Nomads of the Steppe: Resources for Teachers

The nomadic pastoralists of the inner Asian steppe had an impact on history out of all proportion to their small population. The cultures and politics of societies across Asia experienced profound change at their hands. China presents a good example of this phenomenon. The nomads on the steppe posed a perennial challenge to the Chinese political structure, making management of the nomads always one of the chief concerns of every Chinese dynasty. The Great Wall of China is the most famous demo...

Resources, 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...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Around India with a Movie Camera: Film Review Essay by Coonoor Kripalani

Directed by Sandhya Suri Produced by Nicola Gallani 72 minutes, Color and Black & White Icarus Films, 2018 Reviewed by Coonoor Kripalani [caption id="attachment_7870" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Two smiling boys. Source: Icarus Films website at http://icarusfilms.com/if-ar. ©Icarus Films.[/caption] This seventy-two-minute silent documentary film, spliced together and edited by director Sandhya Suri from archival British Film Institute (BFI) clips, cleverly juxtaposes scenes of ...

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