Education About Asia: Online Archives

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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 culture...

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. Title: A Logical Japanese Grammar URL: While these pages are...

Film Review Essay

A Voice from Heaven: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Directed by Guiseppe Asaro Produced by Guiseppe Asaro, Alessandro Storza, Shafiq Saddiqui, and Vikas Bhushan, MD 2001. DVD. Color. 75 minutes. Distributed by Winstar Home Entertainment Web site: Crossmedia Communications 419 Park Avenue South New York, NY 10016 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 traditio...

Film Review

From the Far East to the Old West: Chinese & Japanese Settlers in Montana

Directed by Kathy Witkowsky Produced by Pat Murdo 1999. 28 Minutes. Commissioned and Distributed by The Mansfield Center for Pacific Affairs (MCPA) 1401 New York Avenue NW, Suite 740 Washington, DC 20005-2102 Phone: 202-347–1994, Fax: 202-347-3941 Web site: The Chinese and Japanese immigrants who settled in Montana were pioneers in every sense of the word, according to the documentary From the Far East to the Old West. The film provides an of...

Film Review

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

English version—Joanne Hershfield/Jan Bardsley 2001. 52:25 Minutes. VHS/DVD. Color. Web site: Inquiries: 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 V...


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

By Farley Richmond Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002. Web site: Phone: 800-621-2736 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. The main musical instruments are a special kind...

Film Review Essay

Sadhus: India’s Holy Men

(3 films) The Rolling Saint (52 min.) The Living God (52 min.) Living with the Dead (52 min.) 1995. VHS. Color. A Bedi Films/Denis Whyte Films Production for BBC TV Produced by Denis Whyte Canal Plus, Premiere; Multicultural Programmes Department, BBC 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 ...

Film Review Essay

Hidden India: The Kerala Spicelands

Direction, editing, and music by Jan Thompson Written and hosted by Bruce Kraig Produced by Food for Thought Productions 2002. 60 Minutes. VHS. Color. Distributed by PBS Home Video 1320 Braddock Place Alexandria, VA 22314 Phone: 800-752-9727 Web site: Hidden India: The Kerala Spicelands is a colorful, vibrant presentation of many aspects of culture in Kerala, a state located on India’s southwest coast. Described by its producers as an introduction to the “culi...

Film Review Essay

Blending with Nature: Classical Chinese Gardens in the Suzhou Style

Written, directed, produced by Raymond W. Olson 2003. 53 Minutes. VHS. Color. Distributed by Sacred Mountain Productions 17404 SE 17th Way, Vancouver, WA 98683 Phone: 866-597-6800 E-mail: Web site: 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, ...

Essay, 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 Com...

Essay, Resources

Gleanings from the Distant Past: Ideas that Work for Me

Japanese-language teacher, Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto, CA Recipient of the 2002 United States-Japan Foundation Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award— Language Category. 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 Chi...

Book Review, Resources

China: Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future

ANN ARBOR:CENTER FOR CHINESE STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, 2002. 644 PAGES. PAPERBACK. ISBN: 0-892-64156-8 Reviewed by Arthur Barbeau 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. Thomas Buoye provides an introducti...

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...

Feature Article

Prospects for Korean Unification

I seemed to be the only Korean in a sea of Germans, and the occurrence made me excited and sad. I thought of the millions of dispersed family members in Korea, including my own. 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 rive...

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. History beguiles us with its apparent inevitability. We tend to forget alternative courses that could have been taken. In the case of the occupation of Jap...

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 or...

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. (note 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 sema...

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” people...

Book Review Essay, Resources

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

By Rafig Zakaria Mumbai, Popular Prakashan, 2001. 276 pages. Hardback. ISBN: 81-7154-892-x 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 ...

Book Review Essay, Resources

National Standards and School Reform in Japan and the United States

Edited by Gary DeCoker New York, Teachers College Press, 2002 218 Pages. Paperback. ISBN: 0-8077-4200-7 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 fo...