Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

India, Pakistan and the Kashmir Issue: 1947 and Beyond

When I teach Kashmir in classrooms and lecture halls across the country, the questions I am most often asked are: What makes Kashmir special? Does it have natural resources that India and Pakistan covet? Both these and other related questions, of course, are designed to identify the underlying causes of the conflict between India and Pakistan over this region since the birth of the two countries in 1947. The answers to these questions, however, are complicated, not least because Kashmir does not...

Columns, Film Review

The Roots of Japanese Anime Until the End of WWII

DIRECTED BY: MITSUYO SEO, KENZŌ MASAOKA, NOBURŌ ŌFUJI, YASUJI MURATA, YOSHITARO KATAOKA ZAKKA FILMS DVD, 92 MINUTES, 2008 Reviewed by Paul Dunscomb The DVD Roots of Japanese Anime brings together eight early examples of Japanese animation from the 1930s to 1942. Four of the short films, The Village Festival, Song of Spring, The Monkey Masamune, and Chameko’s Day date from 1930–31; three others, Chinkorobei and the Treasure Box, Danemon Ban—The Monster E...

Columns, Film Review


NEW YORK: THE CINEMA GUILD DVD, 52 MINUTES, 2007 ENGLISH SUBTITLES Reviewed by Robert Angel Award-winning Japanese videographer Kazuhiro Soda has given high school and university instructors a DVD-based, fifty-two minute classroom tool that we all can consider seriously. Campaign offers an entertaining and informative means of helping to explain the role of elections and political campaigning in Japan’s democratic process. Elections are one of t...

Book Review, Columns


NEW YORK: PANTHEON, 2009 641 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0375424991, HARDCOVER Reviewed by Howard Giskin Brothers is an epic saga of step-brothers, Baldi Li and Song Gang, whose lives span four decades from the Cultural Revolution to the present Socialist-Capitalist society in China. Yu Hua uses deliberately coarse language that reflects not only the dust, dirt, ugliness, greed, stupidity, but also the humor, endurance, and cleverness of a people buffeted by change. Brothers evokes the grote...

Book Review, Columns

A Buddhist in the Classroom

In the Theravada Buddhist tradition of Southeast Asia, the Buddha was not a god or a savior, but a teacher. Sid Brown, who has a background as a Buddhist nun and now teaches Asian Studies at Sewanee: The University of the South, asked herself the question, “How does Buddhism influence the way I teach in twenty-first century America?” Her thoughts on that topic became the delightful book A Buddhist in the Classroom....

Book Review, Columns

Chinese Posters: Art from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

BY LINCOLN CUSHING AND ANN TOMPKINS SAN FRANCISCO: CHRONICLE BOOKS, 2007 144 PAGES, 170 COLOR IMAGES ISBN: 978-0811859462, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Susan Glosser In Chinese Posters: Art from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Lincoln Cushing and Ann Tompkins have reproduced in full color over 150 Cultural Revolution posters from among the 500 that Tompkins donated to UC Berkeley’s East Asian Library. The book’s most attractive aspect for classroom use is the nicely reproduced image...

Book Review, Columns

Ancient Chinese Divination

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI`I PRESS, 2008 142 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0824832766, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Diana Marston-Wood This compact volume, part of the Dimensions of Asian Spirituality series, provides an excellent introduction to Chinese divination and does so without unnecessary complexity. Stephen Field points out that any study of Chinese culture should focus on divination, since it influenced the fields of “medicine, science, government, and most importantly, philosophy and religion....

Book Review, Columns

China Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation

NEW YORK: PANTHEON, 2009 448 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0375425479, HARDCOVER Reviewed by John F. Copper There is no shortage of history about China. In fact, there are more publications written about China than all other countries in the world combined prior to about a hundred and fifty years ago. However, books written about China’s past are almost exclusively about past dynasties and interpretations of them by present rulers. More recent historians, and even Western scholars, write abo...

Book Review Essay, Columns

Teaching Confucianism

OXFORD: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2008 224 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0195311600, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Thomas P. Dolan While any scholar or teacher of Chinese culture and philosophy is familiar with the classic works of literature of two millennia ago (Yijing, The Analects of Confucius, the Art of War and many others), these are often presented to students without the contexts in which they were developed. Doing so is like trying to explain Christianity to someone without reference to Juda...

Book Review Essay, Columns

China in the World: A History of China Since 1644

BOSTON: CHENG TSUI COMPANY, 2008 419 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0887276217, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Caryn White Stedman While there is a growing body of literature that places China in its global context and seeks to challenge the myth of Chinese isolation (Hansen, Cohen, WaleyCohen, etc.), few of these works provide practitioners with the kind of curricular and instructional tools necessary to challenge the standard textbook presentations of a self-isolated empire. China in the World: A Hi...

Columns, Curriculum Materials Review

Teaching Resources for Modern China

With its rapid emergence on the world scene, including China into a global studies curriculum is no longer an instructor’s choice but a necessity. Not examining our great commercial and diplomatic competitor/partner in the classroom would be irresponsible to our students. I have, therefore, sought to augment my course curriculum with Chinese case studies and comparisons in print, Internet, or audio/visual formats. Making curricular additions to my school’s global history offering is...

Columns, EAA Interview

Caste in India: An EAA Interview with KIAS Author Diane Mines

DIANE P. MINES is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. She is the author of Fierce Gods: Inequality, Ritual, and the Politics of Dignity in a South Indian Village (2005). She has co-edited two books, Everyday Life in South Asia with Sarah Lamb (2002 with a second edition due in 2010), and the forthcoming Do Villages Matter? with co-editor Nicolas Yazgi (2010). She has conducted anthropological research in India for over t...

Feature Article

The Politics of the Vietnamese Post-War Generation

“Youth is the future” is not merely an article of faith but a reality in Việt Nam. More than sixty-five percent of the country’s eighty-six million citizens are under thirty years of age. This means about fifty-six million Vietnamese—about twenty-two million under the age of fourteen and thirtyfour million from fifteen to thirty years old—came of age after the Việt Nam War in 1975. Moreover, as Việt Nam opened up to the global market beginning in the mid-1980s, it positioned this...

Feature Article

From Hello Kitty to Cod Roe Kewpie: A Postwar Cultural History of Cuteness in Japan

The cute characters and commercial goods emerging from contemporary Japanese popular culture have quickly spread around the globe, capturing the attention of teenagers and adults, most of whom were not even considered as target consumers of these products. Their popularity is much more than a passing phenomenon of fashion-conscious people looking for the latest thing. In fact, the steady development of cute culture in Japan since the 1970s signals more than even the most avid consumer of “cute...

Feature Article

Van Gogh and Japonisme: Indebtedness and Transformation

Japonisme is the admiration, adoption, and adaptation of Japanese culture that swept Europe during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was a direct result of Commodore Perry’s 1853 imperialistic demand that Japan open its doors to the “Western” world. The resulting trade introduced new products for public consumption, and in France, it led to the Japanese presence in literature, drama, music, and the visual arts.1 In my view, Japonisme in art does not merely mean the depi...

Feature Article

American Protestant Missions in Nineteenth-Century China

European Catholics mounted the first systematic effort to convert Chinese to Christianity in the late sixteenth century. Their work was part of the Catholic Counter Reformation, but by 1750, the glory days were over. Jesuits such as Matteo Ricci (1552–1610) had not only won converts, but gained the respect of influential Chinese and even some emperors in the latter part of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) and the early part of the Qing dynasty (1644–1912). Their success stemmed in part from ac...

Feature Article

Zainichi: The Korean Diaspora in Japan

The Origins of the Korean Population in Modern Japan People from the Korean peninsula had been sailing to the Japanese archipelago and shaping Japanese history since the beginning of surviving records. Yet these past influxes and influences have little direct bearing on the contemporary Korean population in Japan. Only several thousand Korean nationals were in the main Japanese islands at the time of Korean annexation in 1910. Rather, it was the labor shortage in the 1920s that led to the rapid...

EAA Interview, Feature Article

Tibetan-Chinese Relations: An EAA Interview with A. Tom Grunfeld

A. Tom Grunfeld is SUNY Distinguished Professor at Empire State College of the State University of New York. Grunfeld is widely sought as a speaker and commentator on China-Tibet issues and on US policy regarding the Tibetan independence movement. Grunfeld is the author of several books including The Making of Modern Tibet and over 150 articles and book reviews, many of which address Tibet and China related-issues. In late spring 2009, he graciously consented to the following interview with Luci...

Feature Article

Islam in China

The presence of Muslims in China challenges the conventional wisdom about both the country’s isolationism and homogeneity in traditional times. In fact, pre-modern China dealt with a great variety of foreign states, tribes, empires, and confederations, and numerous foreign religions reached and influenced the so-called Middle Kingdom. Globalization, to use modern terminology, affected China long before the twenty-first century. Other than Buddhism, Islam was China’s most important foreign re...

Feature Article

Hindu Beginnings: Assessing the Period 1000BCE to 300 CE

“Hinduism”—What’s in a Name? The first awkward issue is definition. What is Hinduism, anyway? During the past several decades, increasing numbers of scholars have occupied themselves with the “problematic” of “Hinduism”—asking not “What is it?” but rather “Is it anything at all?” We hoped that revisionist attitudes would be more helpful than they have been. More effort directed to complexities and intertwinings in India’s history than to re-writing European history...