Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Everyday Dramas: Television Soap Operas in Thailand

On the evening of January 29, 2003 an angry mob stormed the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, setting the building on fire and sending the Thai ambassador and embassy employees running for their lives. By morning, the building was severely damaged and more than twenty Thai businesses throughout the city had been looted or burned. Authorities still don’t know who was behind the attacks, but it was a Thai television soap opera star who ignited the incident by allegedly claiming that Angkor...

Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Asian Popular Culture

ASIA Title: Asia Food URL: The Asia Society has provided the features of this site replete with information on the foods, the recipes, and the eating habits and customs of many Asian nations. In addition to separate pages for each Asian country and a search engine for recipes by keyword, region, or type of dish, there are articles about Asian food and some video clips. Title: Puppetry in Asia: A select bibliography URL:

Essay, Resources

Clearinghouse Invites Educators to Explore Resources for Teaching about Japan

The National Clearinghouse for U.S.-Japan Studies specializes in providing educational information about Japan to K–12 students, teachers, specialists, and curriculum developers. Indeed, service, coupled with a sincere dedication to helping individuals find reliable information about Japan, underlies all Clearinghouse activities. Its publications are complimentary and its Web site provides access to the U.S.-Japan Database of educational materials and the Lesson Plan Database. Established in 1...

Essay, Resources

The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia

Teachers of world history, geography, and culture have a remarkable opportunity to participate in seminars and study tours with the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA).  In addition to learning a great deal and becoming better equipped to teach about Asia with confidence and enthusiasm, those who complete these seminars earn points toward professional development, and receive both in-service credits and a stipend when they have completed the seminar. In some cases, teachers can e...

Essay, Resources

Bringing the Himalayas into Your Classroom: On-Line Resources and Materials for Teaching about the Abode of Snow

For most American teachers, getting to know the Himalayas necessitates a trip halfway around the globe. But in the summer of 2002, the Himalayas came to Massachusetts in the form of the NEH Institute’s Cultures and Religions of the Himalayan Region. Led by prominent scholars Todd Lewis and Leonard van der Kuijp, this month-long program brought leading researchers from around the world to Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts. While the reading list was mountainous and the lectures int...

EAA Interview, Feature Article

EAA Interview with James Shaheen, Editor of Tricycle Magazine

Although American interest in Buddhism goes back to the New England Transcendentalists, it is probably accurate to assume that at no time in U.S. history have so many Americans claimed to be attracted to the religion. Tricycle Magazine undoubtedly has played a role in this trend. This aesthetically well-done and often lively Buddhist quarterly began in 1991 and has attracted a wide variety of readers. Each issue contains material by practitioners, celebrities, scholars, and leading Buddhist theo...

Feature Article

Edifying Tones: Using Music to Teach Asian History and Culture

For millions of people around the world, regardless of cultural background, social status, profession, gender, or national affiliation, music occupies a special place in life. “Of the many domains of culture, music would perhaps seem to be one of the least necessary,” the eminent ethnomusicologist Bruno Nettl asserts, “yet we know of no culture that does not have it.” (note 1) Music influences the ways we entertain ourselves, worship, dress, even the ways we perceive the world around us....

Feature Article

Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia: Food and Culture in the Classroom

Not all scholarly resources, no matter how compellingly argued or well researched, work in the classroom. Finding good resources for undergraduates is difficult enough, but finding good resources for teachers in professional development programs is even more of a challenge. Works that have the proper credentials plus the appropriate appeal are not always easy to come by. Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia is a resource that fills these needs: it works with teachers and with students...

Feature Article

EAA Interview with James L. Watson on Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia

Editor’s Introduction McDonald’s Restaurants, most certainly major symbols of American popular culture, are now a feature of the geographic and culinary landscape in 118 countries. In Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia, (Stanford University Press, 1997) Editor James L. Watson and his colleagues produced an anthropological study of McDonald’s that has proven highly accessible to a wide variety of audiences. The book is now used in secondary schools and universities in a number ...

Feature Article

Studying Japan with Hollywood Films: Showing Mr. Baseball in Class

DIRECTED BY FRED SCHEPISI, UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS, INC., COLOR. 108 MINUTES. VHS/DVD. 1992 Where do most of our students get their information about Japan? While I have no empirical data to address such a question, we can speculate on several sources. From actually traveling to Japan? From parents and friends who have been there? From classroom instruction including, perhaps, documentary films? From Japanese restaurants? Or from forms of popular culture including such sources as National Geogr...

Feature Article

Transplanting the Haiku

Although the haiku first flowered in Japan and retains its distinctively Japanese character, it has proved so adaptable that it flourishes in many parts of the world. With only three lines of straightforward words, it is accessible to all kinds of people, yet its depth of meaning satisfies the most sophisticated. I have taught the haiku to college students in classes ranging from developmental English to world literature, as well as to middle school students in a summer enrichment program. With ...

Book Review, Resources

The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker

BY ERIC LIU NEW YORK:VINTAGE BOOKS, 1999 224 PAGES. PAPERBACK: ISBN 0-375-70486-8 Thought-provoking, nuanced, and easy to read, the book’s central point is that we should begin “to conceive of assimilation as more than a series of losses—and to recognize that what is lost is not necessarily sacred." As the title hints, this book is about Asian-Americans and the issue of assimilation. More broadly, it is about the nature and role of race and ethnic identity in American society. A sl...

Feature Article

South Korean Action Films as Indicators of Fear of and Hope for Reunification

Film criticism techniques such as “social representation” and the similar technique of “social film history” help people understand how social issues are portrayed in one of the most persuasive forms of popular culture, film. These analysis techniques are applicable to many films, but they can be particularly useful when looking at films that reflect social issues, whether past or present. These techniques are used in this study of two films that deal with the conflict between the Koreas...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Four Personal Perspectives on the Film Documentary, Japanese Devils

Confessions of Imperial Army Soldiers From Japan’s War Against China DIRECTED BY MATSUI MINORU PRODUCED BY MATSUI MINORU AND OGURI KEN’ICHI VHS. 160 MINUTES (LONG VERSION) AND 58 MINUTES (SHORT VERSION) JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES Japanese Devils is an extraordinarily shocking and courageous film. It is difficult to imagine a more intimate, powerful, and persuasive indictment of Japanese atrocities in the long-ago war against China—or a more remarkable expression of public confe...

Book Review Essay, Resources

American Fuji: A Novel

BY SARA BACKERHARD COVER: G.P. PUTNAM’S SONS, MARCH 2001 373 PAGES. ISBN 0-399-14691-1 PAPERBACK: BERKELEY PUBLISHING GROUP, MARCH 2002 416 PAGES. ISBN 0-425-18336-X Sara Backer’s first book, American Fuji, can be read on three overlapping levels. First, it is an enjoyable, often humorous mystery novel tinged with romantic tension. Second, it is a witty, even erudite social commentary on Japanese society, expatriate life, and intercultural relations. Third, American Fuji is conceptually...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Global Goes Local: Popular Culture in Asia

EDITED BY TIMOTHY CRAIG AND RICHARD KING HONOLULU: UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII PRESS, 2002 320 PAGES. PAPERBACK: ISBN 0-8248-2611-6 Reviewed by W. Lawrence Neuman Teaching Western undergraduates or other students who have very little background on Asia can be a daunting task. First, one must combat simplified stereotypes and myths to convey the great diversity/complexity of Asia. More significantly, teachers often find it difficult to discuss one specific issue detached from an entire interwoven we...

Curriculum Materials Review, Resources

Spotlight on Inner Asia: The Bizarre Bazaar

Teacher & Student Resource Guide HAZEL SARA GREENBERG, PROJECT DIRECTOR NADYA TKACHENKO, PROJECT COORDINATOR NEW YORK: THE AMERICAN FORUM FOR GLOBAL EDUCATION, 2001 FUNDED BY THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, TITLE VI GRANT 283 PAGES LOOSE-LEAF BINDER. ISBN: 0-944675-68-9 This valuable new resource covers the geography, history, and cultures of Western China, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Central Asia, Northern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, a bit of the Caucasus, and the Caspian Ba...

Book Review, Resources

6 Vietnamese Poets

EDITED BY NGYUEN BA CHUNG AND KEVIN BOWEN WILLIMANTIC CONNECTICUT: CURBSTONE PRESS, 2002 254 PAGES PAPERBACK: ISBN 1-880684-76-4 For many Americans, the photograph of naked, screaming Kim Phuc fleeing a napalm attack defined the war in Vietnam. There is no such defining image for the people of Vietnam. What image would suffice for a nation ravaged by the harsh brutality of war for much of this century? From the depths of the inexpressible this poetry emerges, from the silence of pain and h...

Book Review, Resources

Hiroshima: A Novella

BY LAURENCE YEP NEW YORK: SCHOLASTIC PRESS, 1995 64 PAGES. PAPERBACK: ISBN 0-590-20833-0 Reviewed by Ann Tomlins Most children in middle school expect one day to follow another in a steady advance of sameness. They make the transition from youth to adulthood in a relatively seamless transition. Carpools, homework, trips to the mall are the expected and predictable routine that fashion their lifestyle. This was not so for the children of Hiroshima. On August 6, 1945, their youthful expecta...

Book Review, Resources

Polite Lies: On Being a Woman Caught Between Cultures

BY KYOKO MORI NEW YORK: FAWCETT BOOKS, 1999 258 PAGES. PAPERBACK: ISBN 0-449-00428-7 Reviewed by Howard Giskin Kyoko Mori grew up in Japan, moved to the United States to finish college, earned a graduate degree, and has taught creative writing at a number of universities. She is the author of several novels focusing on the experiences of young Japanese women including Shizuko’s Daughter, One Bird, The Dream of Water: A Memoir, as well as the recent Stone Field, True Arrow: A Novel, about a...