Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Prospects for Korean Unification

At one minute past midnight on October 3, 1990, Ger­many was officially reunified, ending forty-five years of national division. On that night I was standing in the middle of seventy thousand spectators at Deutches Eck (the “corner of Germany”) in the city of Koblenz, at the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine rivers. This historic location, a symbol of German nationalism since the thirteenth century, was to be one of the principal sites for the national unification celebration. Yet I could n...

Feature Article

Another Look at the Occupation of Japan: Through the Minefields of Japanese History

Observing the difficulties encountered in the American occupation of Iraq in the summer of 2003, we are reminded of just how hard it is to impose democratic rule by military force on a nation unaccustomed to democracy. And, with the perspective of more than a half a century, we can marvel at the success of the American occupation of Japan.

Feature Article

The Japanese Family Faces Twenty-first Century Challenges

Family-related issues are at the forefront of social challenges facing Japan as it enters the twenty-first century: women are postponing marriage, the birth rate is falling, the divorce rate rising, teenage girls are dating middle-aged men to earn money to buy luxury goods, young men are find­ing it difficult to attract wives, and the percentage of the elderly is growing rapidly and their care is a major social problem. Japanese leaders are lamenting the breakdown of the Japanese family system ...

Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Japanese Language

BASIC GRAMMAR Title: MIT Japanese Language Program URL: Although there are some broken links and restricted entry to cer­tain pages, the first and second year online materials for this lan­guage program may be useful to beginners. The “Quiz Review Materials” cover many grammatical points and include exercises relevant to these points.

Book Review Essay, Resources

National Standards and School Reform in Japan and the United States

Since A Nation at Risk was published in 1983, Japan has become a standard from which to compare education in the U.S. and Japan. Aspects of Japan’s educational system have been brandished as solutions for perceived educational problems in the U.S. Looking at Japan, some have suggested that we increase the number of hours in school or the length of the school day. Others have argued for school uni­forms. Yet others promote more standardized testing. When these decisions were made, the context ...

Film Review

Women in Japan: Memories of the Past, Dreams of the Future

The stereotype of the Asian woman as subservient, selfless, and obedient to her husband has dominated Western think­ing for over 150 years. The video, Women in Japan: Memories of the Past, Dreams of the Future, presents quite a different version of the modern woman in Japan. Award-winning filmmak­er Joanne Hershfield, Professor of Film and Video Production, and Jan Bardsley, Associate Professor of Japanese Language and Literature Curriculum in Asian Studies, both from the University of North C...

Feature Article

Talkin’ ‘Bout My Parents’ Generation: Translating Confucian Ethics and Family Values

In a fine recent EAA feature article, David Jones addresses the challenge of making Chi­nese philosophy and religion relevant to the Western imagination by charting a structured course through the Confucian Analects.1 Jones’s strategy, a fairly typical one among scholars of Chinese thought, is to focus on a handful of loaded terms from the Confucian lexicon—li (ritual propriety), ren (human-heartedness), junzi (exemplary person), and yi (rightness)—explicating them within their semantic c...

Film Review

Kutiyattam: Sanskrit Theater of India (A CD-ROM)

This multimedia, interactive CD-ROM is a visually rich and appealing survey of the ancient South Indian theater of kutiyattam, associated with temples and religious ritual since the tenth century CE Special temple servant castes produce the dance-story performances that are considered to be visual sac­rifices to the temple deity.

Essay, Resources

Gleanings from the Distant Past: Ideas that Work for Me

In this collection of ideas formulated since I first began teach­ing many years ago, I have attempted to share important things for a successful teaching career in world languages. My experiences in second-language acquisition as a teacher have been restricted to the “Less Commonly Taught” Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, but the suggestions should be equally applica­ble to all languages. I have also taught English as a Second Lan­guage (ESL).

Film Review

The Sound of the Violin at My Lai

The Sound of the Violin at My Lai, winner of “Best Short” at the 1999 Asian Pacific Film Festival in Bangkok, opens with the story of former U.S. marine Mike Boehm, who plays his violin at the site of the massacre as an offering to the sprits of the dead, then stays to work for reconstruction and for the creation of a Vietnamese-American Peace Park. But Vietnamese filmmaker Tran Van Thuy’s documentary is not limited by nationality, nor by the past, though it is shaped by both. It is a stor...

Book Review, Resources

China: Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future

In the Preface, China: Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future is described as the newest textbook on Modern China. To many readers, it may look more like a modified reader. There are six thematic sections, each introduced by a dis­tinguished scholar. It is these long introductions that support the claim to be a text.

Film Review

Sadhus: India’s Holy Men

How would your students respond to dramatic images of a man who, after standing in place for seven years, rolls his body 2,500 miles through busy streets, over rough roads, and up mountains to mani­fest religious devotion? Or of a living man revered as a god by several hundred million people? Or of another man who lives and meditates in Hindu cremation grounds and eats human flesh when the urge overtakes him, disre­garding all social and religious rules regarding purity? These are the absorbin...

Film Review

A Voice from Heaven: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

A voice from Heaven is a music documentary that provides a glimpse into the life of famed qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan along with information about the music of qawwali and the Sufi mystic tradition. Qawwali is a devotional music performed by Muslims primarily in South Asia. A signifi­cant expression of Sufism, it is believed to be a path for union with the divine. Qawwali’s poetry is derived from mystic Sufi poets such as Jalaluddin Rumi (1207–1273), and the qawwal (singer of qawwa...

Essay, Resources

Iowa Meets Miyazaki: Bringing Coursework to Life Through a Cross-Cultural Electronic Exchange

The Internet increases the ease of international communica­tion and creates exciting new opportunities for American students to learn about Asia. In this article we will discuss our experiences using the Internet to engage college students in Japan and the United States in a cross-cultural discussion of con­temporary Japanese society. This electronic exchange allowed us to accomplish specific learning objectives for each class while giving our students a unique personal connection with the cul...

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Man Who Divided India: An Insight into Jinnah’s Leadership and Its Aftermath

This book is written for popular audiences in India, the West, and in the United States. It became a bestseller in India probably because of its secular overtones and nationalist bias. This critical biogra­phy analyzes the condition of Mus­lims in Pakistan after Jinnah’s death (1948), while giving a historical background to the formation of the state. According to Zakaria, Jinnah began his political career as a messenger of Hindu-Muslim unity, but ended as ‘communal­ist’ whose ultimate ...

Film Review

Blending with Nature: Classical Chinese Gardens in the Suzhou Style

Students usually react skeptically—or with puzzlement—when I point out that traditional Chinese scholars sought to be Con­fucian in the daytime and Daoist in the evening. The idea strikes them as contradictory. After seeing Blending with Nature, I expect they will understand more easily what I am saying.

Feature Article

The Yijing (Classic of Changes) in Global Perspective: Some Pedagogical Reflections

What is our objective when we teach about Asian history and culture in our classrooms? One goal is to help stu­dents understand other cultures, to appreciate other ways of worldmaking.1 There is an obvious payoff to this, quite apart from the joy of peddling our own academic wares. As Clif­ford Geertz points out, the greater the reach of our minds—that is, the broader the “range of signs we can manage somehow to inter­pret” in our effort to understand the cultural ways of “other” pe...

Feature Article

The Need to Reposition the Teaching of Contemporary Korean Literature

On the first day of class, I gaze out onto a sea of eager young faces. I can already sense the students will be highly engaged, yet I secretly hope for more than sheer enthusiasm. In my ideal Korean literature class, students take the course because of an interest in literature and not necessarily to explore their Korean identity. I certainly do not object to teaching students who want to know more about Korea, but it is difficult to teach literature to those who have little training or interest...

EAA Interview, Resources

EAA Interview with Margot Landman

Margot Landman is director of the U.S.-China Teachers Exchange Program, estab­lished in 1995 with a generous grant from the Freeman Foundation. The one-year exchange brings Chinese teachers to school districts in the United States, and sends American teachers to schools in China. The Chinese counterpart in this thriving exchange is the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE). In summer 2002 the pro­gram moved from the American Council of Learned Societies to the National...