Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Cinema as a Window on Contemporary Korea

In 1992, after decades of military rule, South Korea elected its first civilian president, Kim Young-sam. Along with the many social, political, and economic changes that accompanied the nation’s shift from military to democratic rule, the Korean film industry underwent a renaissance in both popularity and artistic quality, spurred by public and corporate investment, and created by filmmakers released from decades of strict censorship that prevented them from directly addressing important issu...

Feature Article

India-Pakistan Conflict: An Overview

The sovereign states of India and Pakistan came to a loggerhead almost from the inception of their creation and independence. The traditional analysis of this veritable civil war—the inhabitants of these two neighboring states constituted a single political nation as subjects of the British Empire prior to 1947—has focused on three themes: communalism, colonialism, and nationalism.1 While all three have contributed to the conflictual relationship between the two countries, none of them, sing...

Columns, Film Review

Out of the Poison Tree

GOOD FILM WORKS DVD, 57 MINUTES, 2006 Reviewed by Nancy Janus Out of the Poison Tree, written, directed, and produced by Beth Pielert, details the return to Cambodia of three sisters in search of information on the death of their father at the hand of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979. This magnificently photographed film introduces the viewer as much to life in modern-day Cambodia as it does to the horrible history of the 1970s genocide. The film begins with the three siste...

Columns, Film Review

I for India

CELLULOID DREAMS DVD, 70 MINUTES, 2005 Reviewed by Gwen Johnson I for India documents the intimate, heartbreaking, and funny moments of an Indian family’s forty-year immigrant experience in the United Kingdom, and explores the themes of identity, loyalty, cultural discrimination, racism, separation, and belonging. These themes resonate today as much as they did in 1966 when Yash Pal Suri, the eldest son of an Indian family, arrives in the United Kingdom with his wife and daughte...

Book Review, Columns

Taiwan: Nation State or Province

BOULDER, CO: WESTVIEW PRESS, 2008 304 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0813344225, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Hans Stockton John F. Copper’s Taiwan: Nation-State or Province? remains as insightful, instructive, and relevant in its fifth edition as it was in its first printing in 1990. While the question posed in the title continues to be prone to political “spin,” Copper presents an objective narrative that paints an accurate, rich, and multi-faceted view of Taiwan’s development that has large...

Book Review, Columns

China: A History

HACKETT PUBLISHING COMPANY, 2009 610 PAGES ISBN 978-0872209152, PAPERBACK Reviewed by David Kenley Since the conclusion of the Beijing Olympics, China has been in the international spotlight, and many students across the US now seem to be clamoring for access to Chinese language and history courses. Seeking to capitalize on this excitement, Harold M. Tanner has published a new, cogently written textbook entitled quite simply, China: A History. Encompassing the full breadt...

Book Review, Columns

Daoism: An Introduction

LONDON: I.B. TAURUS AND CO., LTD. 183 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1845116392, 2009 Reviewed by Hal W. French The author succinctly defines his approach by initially stating, “Daoism is no single thing. It is the living tangled vines of teacher-practitioner lineages”(3). He traces these vines in more intricate detail than we might have expected from a book entitled An Introduction. This is a sophisticated work, and while it might challenge a beginning student of Chinese thought, it will r...

Book Review Essay, Columns

Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire

NEW YORK: PENGUIN PRESS, 2001 496 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0141001463, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Frederick R. Dickinson Debating the Bomb Clausewitz was spot on in describing war as “part of the intercourse of the human race,” but writing before the advent of the nation-state, even he could not fathom the full force of military conflict. One would expect the Pacific War to top the list of major events of the twentieth century, but would Clausewitz have anticipated that a 1999 poll of...

Book Review Essay, Columns

Viet Nam and the Cold War: A Short Bibliographical Essay

The Cold War in Asia blew the wars for post-colonial Việt Nam out of all proportion, magnified the centuries-old web of Vietnamese diaspora into a train wreck, and laid the ground for post-socialist transition to an especially lively civil society under abiding authoritarian rule. These fascinating stories are well served by world scholarship, but best told by Vietnamese witnesses, who testify through daily life experiences to the abstractions of policy and research. Duong Van Mai Elliott...

Columns

Yokohama Boomtown Curriculum (From Visualizing Cultures): Foreigners in Treaty Port Japan (1859-1872)

Reviewed by Alejandro Echevarria The creators of the Yokohama Boomtown Web site, John W. Dower and Shigeru Miyagawa, describe Visualizing Cultures as units that wed “images and scholarly commentary in innovative ways to illuminate social and cultural history.” To date, twenty units are online for students and scholars to explore topics that range from the Canton trade system to Hiroshima’“Ground Zero” and the atomic bomb. To get a grasp on the Yokohama Boomtown unit, first vi...

Columns, EAA Interview

Buchanan Prize Winners Lynn Parisi and Meredith Changeux

John Dower, Meredith Changeux, and Lynn Parisi won the 2009 Franklin Buchanan Prize for the Yokohama Boomtown curriculum. This interview features Meredith Changeux and Lynn Parisi, who are responsible for developing the curriculum lessons that are part of the unit. Lynn Parisi is the director of the University of Colorado Program for Teaching East Asia (TEA) and a national co-director of the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia (NCTA). Since 1985, Lynn has designed and coordinate...

Columns, Essay

Grave of the Fireflies and Japan’s Memories of World War II

“September 21, 1945 . . . That was the night I died,” says the spirit of Seita, a fourteenyear-old boy, at the beginning of the 1988 animated film, Grave of the Fireflies.1 The movie opens in a train station in Kobe, Japan. Orphaned and alone, he lost his family and home during the firebomb raids, and he finally succumbed to weakness and delirium caused by slow starvation. The boy dies clutching his only possession, a small candy tin that had become his four-year-old sister’s funeral urn. ...

Feature Article

Teaching North Korea with Visual and Online Resources

Imagine the shark from Jaws without its theme song. A film soundtrack can be extremely important and often influences the viewer’s perception, but this point may be overlooked when viewing documentaries. This essay reviews the most prominent and easily available visual resources on teaching North Korean history, society, and politics broadly, excluding those that deal with specific issues such as human rights and famine. North Korea: A Day in the Life (48 minutes, 2004, Facets Multi...

Feature Article

Bring Korean Films into the Classroom

"Teachers exposed to Korean history and culture often want to learn more. Most teachers are amazed that Koreans not only invented metal movable type before Gutenberg, but also the world’s first iron-clad ship, known as a “Turtle Ship.” The beauty of ancient palaces, the spirituality of Buddhist sculpture, and the technical achievements of Koryŏ celadon potters inspire educators to learn more so they will be better able to teach about Asia. They will discover that the Silk Road did not end...

Feature Article, Film Review Essay

Youthful Struggles in a Globalizing New World: Take Care of my Cat

DIRECTED BY JAE-EUN JEONG DVD, 112 MINUTES, 2001 ENGLISH SUBTITLES Reviewed by Kyong Won Yoon Recent South Korean (Korean, hereafter) films have portrayed the everyday lives of young people from diverse angles, often challenging Hollywood stereotypes that depict young people as endangered or dangerous. For the past ten years, intriguing stories of young Koreans are represented in different genres including romantic comedies,1 gangster films,2 and horror films.3 In particular,...

Feature Article, Film Review Essay

YMCA Yagudan: (YMCA Baseball Team)

DIRECTED AND WRITTEN BY KIM HYŏNSŏK DISTRIBUTED BY STARMAX/MYUNG FILM DVD, 104 MINUTES, 2003 ENGLISH SUBTITLES* Reviewed by Jina E. Kim Although much that is written about Korean popular culture has revolved around Korean television drama, pop music, and film, a less explored arena is the relationship between sports and popular culture and history and popular culture. The film YMCA Baseball Team, a historical drama, presents the arrival of baseball in Kor...

Feature Article

The Twentieth Century: Asia Returns to the Sea

WHAT IS MARITIME HISTORY? While the history of human experiences at sea has always elicited a certain amount of interest, it has grown into a discipline in its own right. The first step for newcomers is to conceive of maritime history as a distinct field of inquiry and endeavor, and to do so without oversimplifying. This is harder than it might seem. It is commonplace, even among those well versed in oceanic affairs, to reduce maritime history to a chronicle of naval derring-do, and understanda...

Feature Article

The Rise and Fall of Democratic Kampuchea

Cambodia, a small Southeast Asian country of about fifteen million people, is generally known to the outside world for its two seemingly contrasting historical episodes, namely the great civilization during the Angkorean period and the more recent bloody Khmer Rouge regime. Home to the Angkor Wat Temple, considered the largest religious edifice in the world, Cambodia was once the Khmer Empire, which dominated most of mainland Southeast Asia during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The eve...

Feature Article

From Red Guards to Thinking Individuals: China’s Youth in the Cultural Revolution

Common scenes in photographs and documentary films of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) are the human waves of male and female youths on Tiananmen Square eagerly presenting themselves as if they were graced by an audience with their idol, China’s ruler, Mao Zedong. In their military uniforms, army caps, and Red Guard armbands, they wave Mao’s “little red book,” with tears in their eyes, chanting “Long Live Chairman Mao!” These Red Guards of middle, high school, and university stu...

Editor's Message

Editor’s Message

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Our winter 2009 issue “Asia in World History: The Twentieth Century,” contains the final installment of special sections based upon the National World History Standards. Thanks to the Korea Foundation’s generous support, we also offer the first of a two-part special series on Korean popular culture entitled “Korean Film and Popular Culture.” The twentieth century special section begins with Yihong Pan’s, “From Red Guards to Thinking Individuals—China’...