Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

The Asian Soul of Transcendentalism

The treatment of Transcendentalism by twentieth-century teachers of literature and American history has followed a long tradition of focusing primarily on the European and American cultural influences on its major figures, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Bronson and Louisa May Alcott. Their work is seen as fitting into various Western currents such as German Romanticism, Unitarian theology, neo-Platonism, and American utopian thought. In this framework, the...

Book Review, Resources

The Anime Companion: What’s Japanese in Japanese Animation

The Anime Companion is an irresistible browsing book, whether you’re interested in anime or not, whether you’re interested in Japanese culture or not. A librarian at San Francisco’s Golden Gate College, Poitras has a special concern about how to reach young people intellectually. He is also a self-proclaimed otaku, or fan of Japanese animation. In the Anime Companion, Poitras combines these two enthusiasms by proposing that one can learn an awful lot about Japanese culture - high and low -...

Essay, Resources

An On-line Anthology of Japanese literature: The Japanese Text Initiative at the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center

The Japanese Text Initiative, or JTI, is an ongoing collaborative electronic text project between the libraries of the University of Virginia and the University of Pittsburgh, with participation by scholars in the U.S. and Japan. The JTI provides World Wide Web access to the masterpieces of Japanese literature in Japanese, and, where possible, in English translations. Begun in 1995, the JTI is part of the texts of the University of Virginia Library’s Electronic Text Center. The Center currentl...

Essay, Resources

Understanding Globalization Through the Thai Economic Crisis

Today high school students are truly participants in the process of globalization. Networks between my students in suburban Minneapolis and Asian societies are an unconscious part of their daily life, yet reflect important dimensions of the global economy. For example, the students who take my Asian Studies class wear designer clothes manufactured in Vietnam. Their sports shoes are assembled in Indonesian factories, and the CDs they listen to are played on a Discman designed in Japan. They log-o...

Essay, Resources

Power, Legitimacy, and the Japanese Emperor

To integrate the study of Japan into the world history curriculum, it is important to find themes of comparison. Political legitimacy provides one such theme. Even when regimes have the power to rule, they try to establish their right to govern. As the oldest reigning dynasty in the world, the Japanese monarchy has evolved over nearly two millennia to support governments in a variety of historical contexts, from primitive society to a modern nation-state. This essay will outline three types of l...

Book Review, Resources

Learning in Likely Places: Varieties of Apprenticeship in Japan

Learning in Likely Places is a collection of nineteen essays (plus an introduction and epilogue) from a 1993 invitational workshop on apprenticeship education in Japan and is part of the Cambridge University Press “Learning in Doing” series. The book explores social relations at places of work/play and their influence on learning; essays divided into four sections: traditional arts, artisan apprenticeship, work and community socialization, and appropriations of cultural practice. The essays ...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor and American Innocence: Thoughts on the Film

Hollywood has as its goal entertainment, not education. Still, we know that many Americans, both children and adults, learn their history more from Hollywood and the other media than from textbooks or from our classrooms. (Not, of course, that either our textbooks or our classrooms are less suspect than Hollywood and the media!) Over the past several years, much of the Hollywood/media focus has been World War II. Saving Private Ryan is blockbuster exhibit #1, with Tom Brokaw’s best-selling boo...

Feature Article

Borrowing Words: Using Loanwords to Teach About Japan

Loanwords—words adopted from other languages—are an important feature of the Japanese language. Indeed, Japanese probably has more loanwords than any other major language. This is not a new phenomenon. Loanwords have been an important part of the Japanese language for centuries. In ancient times, most loanwords came from China and Korea. Then, beginning in the sixteenth century, as Japan began to interact with merchants and missionaries from the West, loanwords from European languages began ...

Book Review, Resources

A Malaysian Journey

Despite its insipid and travel-guide sounding title, this autobiographically based narrative of postcolonial Malaysia is a noteworthy addition to the otherwise relatively anemic selection of what amounts to rather nondescript and unimaginative accounts of modern Malaysia one would likely encounter. Rashid’s contribution is lucid, imaginative and engaging. In his own way, Rashid shrewdly—and often bluntly—confronts some longstanding sensitive issues that academics in Malaysia have long, per...

EAA Interview

EAA Interview: Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. on Asia in the Schools

Former four-time North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt is extremely well known for his work in education reform. Not only did Governor Hunt provide leadership that resulted in dramatic improvements in North Carolina schools, but he also became a national figure in school change through serving as Founding Chair of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Founding Chair of the National Center for Public Policy and Education, and Chair of the National Commission on Teaching and Amer...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Concerns About the Environment in Asia

ASIA Title: WWf Asia-Pacific Programme URl: http://www.panda.org/asiapacific/ The WWF’s stated aim is to “help conserve the region’s biological and cultural diversity which is increasingly threatened by rapid agricultural, industrial, and urban expansion.” On its Asia-Pacific site, one can read the latest environmental news, learn about the Eco-Regions, and view numerous photos organized around a monthly or special topic.

Feature Article

What Constitutes Appropriate U.S. Policy Toward China? Two Perspectives

The direction of U.S. policy toward the People’s Republic of China is one of the most controversial issues confronting the nation. One of the biggest crises of the relatively new George W. Bush administration involved China. It is simply imperative that high school and university teachers and students in relevant courses explore various aspects of contemporary U.S.- China relations. What follows is an attempt to provide instructors and students with succinct discussions of outstanding U.S.-Chi...

Columns

Creating Courses on the Environment from Asian Perspectives: Visualizing Nature in Japan

Histories and courses (including my own) devoted to the study of literature oftentimes introduce personages, institutions, and works divorced from any sense of the spaces in which the lives and the events took place. Inviting students to combine their readings of history, religion, and literature with a phenomenological examination of features of the landscape may lead them to consider the ways in which the environment not only influences the shape of human events but becomes a source of the ima...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Three Zen Books

Zen is popping out all over. A recent search on Amazon.com turned up 1,686 book hits for “Zen,” and the local bookstore has as many books on Zen as it has on all the rest of Buddhism. Which of these books, though, can the educator use? Zen’s Chinese Heritage, The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-chi, and Zen and the Art of Anything are three that have some potential for the classroom.

Book Review, Resources

Contemporary China

Capturing the full breadth of Chinese history, geography, politics, economics, social life, and cultural life in one short volume would present a challenging task for any author. In Contemporary China, Alan Hunter and John Sexton have generally succeeded, providing a work that is accessible to junior- and senior-level high school students, undergraduates, and the general reader. Attentive to detail and journalistic in tone, the book assumes little previous knowledge of China. Where the authors m...

Facts About Asia, Resources

Asian Factoids: Fall, 2001

A special survey published in the June 2, 200l issue of The Economist assessed India’s economy ten years after it launched major economic reforms, including lowering trade barriers, devaluing the rupee, and abolishing industrial licensing, which dictated to businesses just how much of a particular product they could manufacture. The conclusion was “On most measures, the reform was a triumphant success.” Economic growth during the 1990s made India one of the world’s fastest-growing econom...

Book Review, Resources

The Four Immigrants Manga: A Japanese Experience in San Francisco, 1904–1924

Japanese immigration to the United States peaked after the turn of the century, as annexation of Hawaii brought a large Japanese community within American borders. Anti-Asian agitation in the West led to the 1907 Gentleman’s Agreement restricting Japanese immigration to family reunification, and that was cut to a few hundred people per year in 1924. Nonetheless, many Japanese immigrants endured this discrimination, and their descendants became a permanent part of the American social fabric.

Columns

Famous Koreans: Six Portraits

The purpose of the lesson is to provide an opportunity for students to learn about famous Koreans through readings and/or dramatizations. It is primarily designed to introduce students to famous people who have helped shape Korean history. In the process of studying the six portraits, students will not only learn about influential Koreans, but they will also become familiar with some of the distinctive elements of Korean culture. It is hoped that the lesson will stimulate interest, provoke quest...

Book Review, Resources

The Accidental Office Lady

Much recent scholarship about the lives of Japanese women has focused on their working conditions, with particular concern paid to their rights in the corporate world. As almost one-third of young Japanese women take clerical positions of some sort, much of this attention has concentrated upon the “Office Lady” or OL. The Accidental Office Lady provides yet another view of a working woman’s life inside the Japanese corporation, this time in the form of a first-person account written by a y...