Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Curriculum Materials Review, Resources

US-Japan Relations: The View from Both Sides of the Pacific, Part II, The Media in US-Japan Relations: A Look at Stereotypes

The cultural dimension of U.S.-Japan relations has been the sub­ject of fruitful academic studies by Akira Iriye, John Dower, and others. Unfortunately, until recently it has been difficult to find good materials on cultural relations appropriate for use in precolle­giate classrooms. To address this need, Gary Mukai and his team at SPICE have produced The Media in U.S.-Japan Relations: A Look at Stereotypes, the second of three innovative sets of curriculum materials in their series, U.S.-Japa...

Essay, Resources

Putting “the Tigers” in their classroom Context

. . . although evaluation of creativity and approach are matters of opinion, all of the lessons should be credited for their ground breaking attempt to link Japan-related content to the social studies standards of the National Council for the Social Studies.

Book Review, Resources

History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth

The Boxer Uprising is one of the few events of modern Chinese history to have become an enduring part of popular mythology, in the West as well as in China. Some of us are old enough to remember David Niven and Charlton Heston defending Western civilization from Boxer hordes in 55 Days in Peking, a 1963 film reflecting the demonization of what we then called Red China. Recently, at the urging of one of my students, I read Neal Stephenson’s 1995 science fiction novel The Diamond Age, in which t...

Film Review, Resources

Confucianism: The Wisdom of Faith Series

Huston Smith has said, “Trying to understand the human story without religion would be like trying to explain smoke without fire.” Smith is interviewed in the film, Confucianism, by Bill Moyers for the series, The Wisdom of Faith which was first shown on public television in 1996. Smith’s look at the Chinese view of the universe is not only concerned with Confucianism but also Taoism and Buddhism. Since philosophical discussions can be at times amorphous, the film also touches on Smith’s...

Essay, Resources

Putting “the Tigers” in their classroom Context

First I would like to thank my colleagues for their thoughtful perspectives on Tora no Maki: Lessons for Teaching about Contemporary Japan, vol. I and II, and express my appreciation for the invitation to respond. Space considerations require that I comment only on a few key issues and leave many unaddressed. Professor Rice states that a review of other supplementary materials confirms that Tora no Maki I and II does not “set new standards in content or creativity.” Having extensively us...

EAA Interview, Resources

Japan in the Elementary School Classroom: An EAA Interview with Jill Fortney

Jill Fortney is an outstanding elementary schoolteacher. Her work has been recognized by the Five College Center for East Asian Studies at Smith College. In the following interview, Jill offers practical suggestions for fellow teachers.

Book Review, Resources

An Empire of Schools: Japan’s Universities and the Molding of a National Power Elite

BY ROBERT CUTTS NEW YORK: M. E. SHARPE, 1997 XV + 268 PAGES. Reviewed by Barbara Mori Education is the highest priority in all societies. It may be necessary to maintain a cutting edge in technology or to acquire the skills necessary to move out of the “third world.” Students, educators, and parents are all concerned about the quality of the education provided and the opportunities that access to education brings. The American school system is regularly studied and numerous authors debat...

Book Review, Resources

Regent Redux: A Life of the Statesman-Scholar Ichijo Kaneyoshi

In Regent Redux, Steven D. Carter takes us inside the life of a fifteenth-century aristocratic figure who was widely celebrated in both literary and political circles. Carter’s life of Ichijo Kaneyoshi opens a fascinating window for exploring a feudal society at a time of great stress.

Book Review, Resources

The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan

As the subtitle proclaims, The Broken Bridge is a collection of writing by resident foreigners in Japan. The thirty-six stories in this lively and eclectic collection, which range from several-page vignettes to stories of some twenty pages, span the first fifty years of the postwar period— 1945 to 1995—although the great majority are of recent vintage. In his excellent introduction, Donald Richie, who surely deserves the title of uncrowned monarch of Japan’s expat community, notes that the...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Japan—Economics, Trade, Resources

ECONOMICS TITLE: KEIDANREN URL: HTTP://WWW.KEIDANREN.OR.JP/ Monthly policy statements, publications on the future of Japan, and recommendations for “good” corporate behavior with respect to the environment are just a few of the topics on this page. The highlight, perhaps, is the availability on this site of the well-known booklet published each year by the Keizai Koho Center, “Japan 1998—An International Comparison.” This booklet is an invaluable source of data on Japan. TITLE: N...

Curriculum Materials Review, Resources

Muller CJK-English Dictionary

As a teacher of Chinese, there is a lot to like and a lot to hope for in the Muller CJK-English Dictionary. As Professor Muller states in his introduction, the dictionary was originally intended for use in translating ancient Buddhist texts. The author’s primary field is Japanese philosophy, and people in his field will find this dictionary particularly useful.

Book Review, Resources

Japan: The Childless Society

Japan in the 1990s has a very low birth rate, Japanese women seem to be postponing marriage until later and later ages, publications aimed at young mothers present an ideal of mothering that is difficult to attain in practice, and some mothers of young children and infants seem overwhelmed by the burdens and requirements of mothering. Jolivet’s argument in this book is that the low birth rate is explained by other phenomena.

Book Review, Resources

Stalking the Elephant Kings: In Search of Laos

Once drawn into the vortex of the Cold War and a key Southeast Asian “domino,” contested violently and vigorously by the U.S. and USSR superpowers, Laos later slipped into relative oblivion and became what journalist Stan Sesser describes as the “forgotten land.” The Australian Christopher Kremmer’s intriguing new volume draws attention to a “landscape as dramatic and beautiful as any, and people of great civility, charm, and generosity. . . ” (p. 213). Kremmer’s “search for La...

Film Review, Resources

South Korea: Inside the Miracle

The only good thing about this video is its title, South Korea: Inside the Miracle. Most often courses on contemporary South Korea profit from setting up just such a dichotomy. This video, however, will not be much help in unraveling the complex contradictions of Korean political and economic development in the postwar era. The video is poorly produced; its imagery, sound and graphics are quite primitive. It has virtually no distinguishable narrative line, and the narrative as it exists is given...

Feature Article

No News is Bad News: Using the Media in Teaching about Japan

How do people in one country learn about another land? Travel helps, but it provides limited exposure to the real life of a nation. Living in a particular foreign country is a possibility, but few of us have that opportunity. We learn a little about the rest of the world through education, although not much in the typical American secondary school; outward looking teachers like those who are reading this journal may be the exception rather than the rule. Only those who focus on a particular regi...

Book Review, Resources

Understanding Japanese Society

BY JOY HENDRY SECOND EDITION, NEW YORK: ROUTLEDGE, 1995 Reviewed by ROBIN LEBLANC   “Scintillating” is not a word one would use to describe Joy Hendry’s Understanding Japanese Society. Nonetheless, this attempt at a general overview of Japanese culture can be a serviceable supplementary text in courses on postwar Japanese culture or a useful reference for non specialists who would like to include Japan-related material in more general classes. Hendry claims that her book is desi...

Feature Article

Top Ten Things to Know about Japan in the Late 1990s

NUMBER 10 JAPAN IS NOT A SMALL COUNTRY Although Japan is sometimes compared in size to a state such as California, it is probably better to think of it in national terms. In that case, Japan is two-thirds the size of France, one-quarter bigger than Italy or Great Britain, and threequarters larger than the Korean peninsula. Geographically, the United States, Russia, and China are very big countries, while Japan is something more like “normal size.”1

Essay, Resources

Not Just Handshakes and Hugs: Lessons on Japan

“Not only did I learn about the growth process of the tuna, but I also learned a little bit about Japanese customs and how business is done. I now realize that when dealing with other countries in the business world, it is most important to first learn of their business customs.”

EAA Interview, Resources

Interview with Lynn Parisi

Lynn Parisi, winner of the 1998 Association for Asian Studies Franklin Buchanan Prize for the Development of Curricular Materials, is an Associate Director of the Boulder, Colorado-based Social Science Education Consortium and Director of its Rocky Mountain Japan Project. Lynn, a national leader in Asian studies outreach for K-12 teachers, is also an innovative and incredibly productive educator. In the following interview with Lucien Ellington, Parisi addresses a wide range of issues that relat...

Book Review, Resources

Asia in Western and World History: A Guide for Teaching

Henry D. Smith II on the “Five Myths about Early Modern Japan” is one students will read and find enlightening. Students will be receptive to the process of exposing stereotypes of Asian societies as being dictatorial, feudal, and isolated. Tokugawa Japan was more peaceful that it has been made out to be; Qing China, faced with manifold pressures in the nineteenth century, had an integrated social system, and Korea was not isolated, weak, and stagnant. If one is still concerned about wha...