Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review Essay

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan is marketed as a political biography, but it is much more. It is indeed a revealing account of the life and importance of Emperor Hirohito, who reigned in Japan from 1926–89. But the story of Hirohito’s life is truly an account of Japan in the twentieth century.

EAA Interview, Resources

An Interview with Buchanan Prize Winner Yong Jin Choi

This is our fifth consecutive interview with a winner of the Franklin R. Buchanan Prize. The Association for Asian Studies awards the prize annually for the development of outstanding curriculum materials on Asia. The 2001 winner was Yong Jin Choi, Director of Korean Studies for the Korea Society. She won the award for developing the 1–12 Curriculum Package that aids teachers in teaching about Korea. Lucien: Congratulations on winning the Buchanan Prize. Please inform our readers about your...

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family

BY DUONG VAN MAI ELLIOTT OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1999 544 PAGES, ISBN 0-1951-3787-6, PAPERBACK EDITION, 2001 Courses on the Vietnam War and Vietnam remain popular across American campuses, but there has been a dearth of literary materials from a Vietnamese point of view, originally written in English, which can be used for such courses. As the poet William Ehrhart once observed, the Vietnam War has generated the most prolific U.S. veterans’ literature in American history, so this side of...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Understanding Contemporary China

Understanding Contemporary China is an anthology of essays on contemporary China, edited by Robert E. Gamer. Consisting of 14 chapters, authored by various experts in different fields, it presents a varied and well-rounded introduction to modern China. Beginning with the geographic and historical basics (“Geographic Preface” by Stanley W. Toops and “The Historical Context” by Rhoads Murphey), it includes essays on Chinese pol­itics, international relations, and “China Beyond the Heart...

Teaching Resources Essay

Ten Misconceptions About India and Indic Traditions

By Arvind Sharma Different disciplines or fields of study outgrow their earlier conclusions or assumptions as new evidence accumulates, or at least they should. But any academic field of study also tends to exhibit a certain measure of inertia in abandoning earlier formulations which have been rendered questionable or obsolete with the accumulation of new data, and the application of new methods to the available data in the field. Abandoning or modifying old positions for new entails discomfo...

Book Review, Resources

Access Asia: 3 Volumes

Impressions (lower secondary) 49 PAGES, ISBN 1-86366-415-7 Reflections (middle secondary) 66 PAGES, ISBN 1-86366-416-5 Dimensions (upper secondary) 81 PAGES, ISBN 1-86366-417-3 By Anthony Bott, Lee Grafton, Carolyn Millard and Doug Trevaskis MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: CURRICULUM CORPORATION, 1998 The Access Asia project has produced a new trilogy for lower (Impressions), middle (Reflections) and upper (Dimensions) secondary school students. These volumes, dealing with Asian themes, repres...

Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching About India at the Secondary School Level

I have been teaching a course on Asian Studies at Evanston Township High School for the past four years. As an educator I feel fortunate to have traveled to India twice, once in 1996 as a National Education Security fellow, and again in 2001 as a Fulbright-Hays scholar. Both experiences have provided me with a foundation to begin to understand the complexity of Indian culture. In my role as an educator, I have been able to transfer my travel experience into a practical teaching curriculum to be ...

Feature Article, Teaching Resources Essay

Reading Across the Curriculum: Using the Fiction of the Indian Subcontinent in Social Science Classes

There is a publishing boom in fiction by authors from the Indian subcontinent. Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi authors are being discovered almost daily. The literature from India is several thousand years old. However, following the notoriety of Salman Rushdie, the meteoric success of Arundhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Things, and the Oscar-winning screen adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, it is almost impossible to open the New York Times Book Review w...


Asian Factoids: Winter 2001

India: Population Statistics Population: 1,029,991,145 (July 2001 est.) Age Structure: 0–14 years: 33.12% (male 175,630,537; female 165,540,672) 15–64 years: 62.2% (male 331,790,850; female 308,902,864) 65 years and over: 4.68% (male 24,439,022; female 23,687,200) (2001 est.) Population Growth Rate: 1.55% (2001 est.) Infant Mortality Rate: 63.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.) Life Expectancy at Birth: total population: 62.86 years male: 62.22 years female: 63.53 years Ethnic...

Book Review, Resources

Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony

“We are witnessing the meeting of East and West. Through positive, non-biased Eastern and Western cultural exchange, a new, more balanced, more enlightened global culture may result” (preface). So begins Brush Meditation by H. E. Davey, who according to the author biography is the first non-Japanese ever to receive the highest rank from a worldwide Japanese calligraphy association and who has received numerous awards for his calligraphy.

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Democracy of the Dead: Dewey, Confucius, and the Hope for Democracy in China

BY DAVID L. HALL AND ROGER T. AMES CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, LASALLE OPEN COURT, 1999 267 PAGES ISBN 0-8126-9394-9 HARDBACK David Hall and Roger Ames rely upon a very useful and adaptable source in John Dewey in making their case for the possibility of democracy in China. From their point of view, any chance of a democratic China depends upon China’s reaffirmation of Confucian philosophy, especially as outlined by Confucius himself in the Analects, and the engagement with Western social thinkin...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Afghanistan, the Taliban and Related Sites

With the events of September 11, 2001 and the ensuing military actions, it was felt that the most appropriate focus for this issue’s “Web Gleanings” would be sites about Afghanistan, the Taliban and related subjects. Many official Taliban sites have been removed from the WWW but there are still articles and books predating September 11, 2001 that remain on the Web. Due to the large number of sites offered in this issue’s column, the notations will be more brief than usual. GATEWAYS/LI...

EAA Interview

Robert Thurman: An EAA Interview

Editor’s Introduction Robert A. F. Thurman has become one of America’s leading voices for the teachings of Buddhism, making these teachings more meaningful to Americans in a manner unequaled by any other Westerner. Time magazine chose him as one of its 25 most influential Americans in 1997, and described him as a “larger than life scholar-activist destined to convey the dharma, the precious teaching of Siddartha, from Asia to America.” The New York Times recently said Thurman “is con...

Feature Article

Options for Teaching Gandhi and King

Asia/History 470—Gandhi, India and the United States— is a transformation of a 300-level course called Twentieth-Century India. Each course sustained its existence by meeting general requirements for students at Washington State University who were not majoring in history. In the earlier course students showed little interest in India since independence, especially in the politics. This was due in part to the drama of the independence movement, and with events thereafter seeming prosaic to s...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Comparing History: Beasley Versus Schirokauer

Teachers offering basic courses on Japan will welcome the recent publication of William G. Beasley’s general text. Elegantly written by one of the outstanding patriarchs (b.1919) of Japanese studies, Beasley’s text has the usual index, maps, bibliography, and short glossary found in works of this kind, and almost the same amount of text as Conrad Schirokauer’s heavily used but somewhat more expensive work. While James McClain’s magnificent new Japan: A Modern History (New York, W. W. Nor...

Feature Article

Traditional Female Moral Exemplars in India

While I was growing up I was oblivious of and somewhat indifferent to religious matters. During my childhood, secular figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru (India’s first Prime Minister) were more important as symbols of inspiration than our vast array of devis and devatas (goddesses and gods). However, our deities do not presume to punish us, or even get angry with us, if we choose to ignore them. One can be an atheist while being an integral part of the Hindu community.

Book Review Essay, Resources

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

As a senior high school student, I enrolled in a social studies elective on World War II. As one of only two girls in a class of twenty, I submitted to the group consensus in identifying the most significant figures in the war. Amidst the predictable favorites of high school boys—the military strategists— we also studied the three “bad guys”: Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo. In the histories we read, Hitler and Mussolini were given some breadth and depth, but Tojo was depicted as a one-dimen...

Essay, Resources

Map of the Populations of Japan and the United States and Commentary

When Japan is compared to the United States in maps and graphs of this sort, the differences are both profound and surprising. On the profound side, Japan, with a population approaching half that of the U.S., has a total land area about the size of California. Note further that roughly 80 percent of these small islands are too mountainous to be inhabitable. Also, periodic earthquakes, typhoons, and heavy snows (in the so-called “snow country” of northwest Honshu) batter the country. Geogr...

Teaching Resources Essay

The Clandestine Curriculum: Temple of Doom in the Classroom

Social studies classrooms often have a back door through which a clandestine curriculum enters with images from popular myths, media, and movies. The scholarly discourse and the learning experience intertwine with this backdoor curriculum of folklore, stereotypes, and sensational misinformation. Often the fusion between Hollywood and the syllabus is so complete that fact and fiction become confused, and ultimately, like Shakespeare or the Bible, we are unsure of the source of our knowledge.

Book Review Essay, Resources

Martial Musings: A Portrayal of Martial Arts in the 20th Century

A well-written memoir is a surefire way to make Asian history and culture come alive for students who approach the subject with little or no knowledge. If the memoir can teach and contextualize as well as inspire curiosity about Asia, all the better. In Martial Musings: A Portrayal of Martial Arts in the 20th Century, Robert W. Smith not only offers us the story of one man’s joyous, passionate, and often genuinely daring romp through the modern martial arts, he does so by interweaving his subj...