Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review, Columns

Illustrated Atlas of the Himalaya

The Illustrated Atlas of the Himalaya brings an instant sense of connectedness to the remote land and peoples of the Himalaya. The photographs imply the rich cultural diversity of the population, as well as the geographic complexity of the land. The readers’ eyes follow a myriad of maps, charts, and calculated data dispersed throughout the book while gaining a deeper sense of appreciation for the way of life of the inhabitants living within the highest altitudes of the world....

Feature Article

History and Memory: The Role of War Memorials in China and Japan

The study of public memory has become increasingly popular in the past several years. Nowhere has public memory had more influence on popular culture, international affairs, and economic development than in East Asia. In particular, “memories” of World War II have cast a long shadow on twentieth (and twenty-first-century) Asia. By analyzing the role of World War II memorials, teachers and students are able to gain a better understanding of the impact of public memory on contemporary East Asi...

Feature Article

“The Fairest of Them All”: Finding One’s Self through Advertising

Visual culture is increasingly important in post-Mao China. Over the past two decades, higher education in America and China has seen an upsurge of interest in the study of visual culture, such as the studies of film, television, mass media, and advertising. Advertising as a college degree program did not exist in China before 1982. Since Xiamen University started the first undergraduate degree in advertising, this discipline has grown rapidly. At present, almost all the four-year universities i...

Feature Article

Pre-Modern Chinese Women in Historical Fiction: The Novels of Lisa See

Classroom teachers who take up the topic of women and gender in pre-modern China face a familiar set of problems. Although many excellent English language studies of women in Ming-Qing China have been published in the last two decades, most sources available to their feminist authors were the work of Chinese men.1 Whether it is family memorabilia, informal essays and fiction, or didactic texts emphasizing moral virtues and exemplary conduct, the record is dominated by the voices of literati male...

Feature Article

A Child for All Ages: The Orphan of Zhao

A good literary work with specific cultural elements can easily touch the hearts of its culture’s native sons and daughters; a work with universal appeal will swiftly attract natives and non-natives. But local color alone can become tedious and provincial, and universal appeal by itself may make the work too general to capture the essence and spirit of a specific time, place, and event. Only when a work has both cultural specifics and a universal dimension can it be called great literature and...

Feature Article

Jack London and the Yellow Peril

The term “The Yellow Peril” has long since passed out of fashion, but it was a widely used expression in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The nightmare of wild oriental hordes swarming from the East and engulfing the “civilized” societies of the West was a popular theme in literature and journalism of the time. Yellow Peril supposedly derives from a remark made by German Kaiser Wilhelm II following Japan’s defeat of China in 1895 in the first Sino-Japanese War. The ex...

Feature Article

Tang Dynasty Revolution and Poetry: Bai Juyi’s “Construction” of Yang Guifei

There are pivotal moments in world history when violence results in sweeping political and cultural change. For the West, two such moments are the fall of the Bastille and the fall of Troy. For East Asia, the destruction of the Chinese capital city, Chang’an, in 755 during the Tang Dynasty (618–907 CE), marked the end of a golden age. The causes of the French Revolution or the attack on Troy or this Chinese catastrophe are complex, and it may be human nature to understand the causes by creat...

Feature Article

Remembering Restoration Heroes in Modern Japan

Just as the American Civil War lives on in historical fiction, television series, and movies, so too does the Meiji Restoration of 1868 continue to evoke memories of heroism, pride, and tragedy. In the centuries preceding the Restoration, Japan had been split into domains ruled by military lords (daimyō), with the head of the Tokugawa family as the country’s nominally leading warrior (shogun). During this time, the emperor and court nobles lived in Kyoto, but they possessed little political p...

Columns, EAA Interview

Understanding East Asia’s Economic “Miracles”: A Brief Interview with KIAS Author Zhiqun Zhu

Key Issues in Asian Studies (KIAS) booklets complement Education About Asia and are practical teaching resources for college, university, and senior high school teachers and students. Zhiqun Zhu is John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Chair in East Asian Politics and an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. His recent publications include US-China Relations in the 21st Century: Power Transition and Peace (London and New York: ...

Columns, Curriculum Materials Review

The Role of Education in US-South Korean Relations: A Modified Excerpt from the Curriculum Unit US-South Korean Relations

This lesson examines the important role that education plays in the cultural and social relationship between the United States and South Korea. Students will also learn about education in Korea and complete independent projects on various education-related topics. Ultimately, students will consider how this aspect of the US–South Korean relationship has influenced the individual lives of Koreans and Americans. (Note: The full lesson introduces the important roles of sports, media, and the arts...

Columns, Essay

International Teaching Jobs: Focus upon Asia

Without a doubt, teaching in American and international schools overseas for seven years provided the most rewarding personal and professional experiences of my life. I answered a newspaper ad and obtained my first position, but now, international teacher and administrator recruitment is more sophisticated and competitive. In the essay that follows, a number of job-hunting tips and helpful resources are provided for those who seek international elementary and secondary positions. Although a subs...

Book Review Essay, Columns

Sources of East Asian Tradition:, Volume 1: Premodern Asia; Sources of East Asian Tradition, Volume 2: The Modern Period

Professors, high school teachers, and students who study East Asian history, philosophy, politics, education, and religion will welcome this new two volume collection representing one more stage in Ted de Bary’s project, begun in 1958, to make primary materials on East Asia available in English. In Sources of East Asian Tradition, de Bary offers two volumes of primary material representing selections of readings culled from earlier published volumes, Sources of Chinese Tradition, Sources of Ko...

Book Review, Columns

Bipolar Orders: The Two Koreas Since 1989

Too often we fail to question conventional perspectives on the Koreas. In Bipolar Orders: The Two Koreas since 1989, Hyung Gu Lynn challenges us to examine whether reunification of North and South Korea is necessary or inevitable. The author explores how North and South Korea have developed diametrically opposed values and self-perceptions despite their common heritage and racial identities, a condition he diagnoses as “bipolar orders.” His objective is to inform the reader of the existing ...

Book Review, Columns

The Vietnam War: A Concise International History

Winston Churchill once told an audience that he intended to give a long speech because he did not have time to prepare a short one. It takes skill to condense a massive subject into a concise, entertaining, and accessible book. But this is what Mark Atwood Lawrence accomplishes in his 224 page book The Vietnam War: A Concise International History. Comprised of eight brief chapters, Lawrence takes the reader through a fast-paced, well-organized overview of the Việt Nam War....

Book Review, Columns

The Last Empress: A Novel

Novelist Anchee Min, who was born in Shanghai in 1957, wrote an earlier novel, Orchid. This book is a continuation of the story of the rise to fame and power of Orchid, who was the Noble Consort to the Xianfeng Emperor (d. 1861) and mother of the Tongzhi Emperor (1856–1875). When her son ascended the throne, she was given the title of the Empress dowager Cixi, that is, mother of the reigning emperor. She never had the title “empress,” which belonged to Xianfeng’s primary wife, who became...

Book Review, Columns

In Search of Gandhi

Statues of M. K. (Mahatma) Gandhi stand at major crossroads and other locations in almost every city and town in India. Gandhi’s face appears on the Indian currency. The inspirational leader of India’s independence movement from Great Britain is invoked at numerous opportunities by politicians, business people, social activists, and others, not only in India, but around the world. As many of his current admirers, and most likely he himself would say if he could, what he would have liked to ...

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