Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Kimono: The Global Adventures of a Fashion Icon

Clothing is a fun and accessible way to show students global connections. Tracing the odyssey by which a “simple” t-shirt was conceived, resourced, designed, woven, sewn, marketed and delivered reveals the far-reaching networks that keep us clothed. Fast fashion and modern technology has considerably sped up this process, but the global fashion industry is ancient. Most of humanity’s earliest overland and maritime trade routes were an attempt to get beautiful cloth and dyestuffs from one r...

Editor's Message

Editor’s Message

I hope many readers are enjoying the end of spring terms. The theme of this issue is part two of the special section “Asia in World History: Comparisons, Connections, and Conflicts” and authors of thematic articles and essays address a variety of topics that chronologically range from the beginning of the sixteenth century CE to the present. Zhuqing Li in “Sisters and Enemies: A True Story of Two Sisters” offers a compelling tale about two of the author’s aunts from an educated family ...

Book Review

China and the Founding of the United States: The Influence of Traditional Chinese Civilization

China and the Founding of the United States The Influence of Traditional Chinese Civilization By Dave Xueliang Wang Lanham, Lexington Books, 2021 365 Pages, ISBN 978: 1793644350, Hardcover Reviewed by Peter K. Frost “The mere thought of Chinese cultural influence on the founding of the United States,” Dave Wang’s states in his very first sentence in this quite extraordinary book, “is unimaginable to some.” The rest of the book is dedicated to combat what he considers “misconcep...

Japan’s Impact on World History

Many of us might find it hard to imagine Japan having a big impact on twentieth century world history. How could a nation smaller than the state of California, and dwarfed by its much larger neighbor China, possibly be a big player? Hopefully, the fact that Japan has the world’s eleventh-largest population and is now the world’s third-biggest economy may explain why Japan has had at least two different kinds of impacts on world history, each of which was a major influence in its own par...

Opposition to Chinese Exclusion (1850-1902)

In 1849, thousands of Chinese migrants arrived in California to take part in the Gold Rush. In December 1849, a huiguan, or Chinese mutual-aid society, was established in San Francisco to help the new immigrants adjust to life in America. The huiguan, which were organized and led by the local Chinese merchant community, helped recent Chinese immigrants find jobs and acquire accommodation. They also acted as post offices, enabling immigrants to send and receive letters, and they provided a place ...

Japan Meets Russia

Japanese, Ainu and Russians, 1702–1792 Most people today think of the Russo–Japanese War (1904–1905) as the first time Russians and Japanese came into conflict in Asia. Yet in fact, by 1904 they had been viewing each other as imperial rivals for over a century. Edo Period (1600–1868) Japan was keenly interested in the world beyond its borders. Indeed, despite the persistence of the sakoku (closed country) narrative in the popular imagination, Japan was anything but secluded during this ...

Variolation to Vaccine: Smallpox Inoculation Travels East to West and Back Again

The history of the inoculation process itself might help shed light on the roots of controversies we are facing today. In the spring of 1721, England struggled in the grip of a deadly smallpox epidemic. Mandated shutdowns affected businesses, schools, and social venues, health care services were overwhelmed, and the newspapers reported alarming death tolls. Doctors in London seized the opportunity to introduce the public to the concept of inoculation, which had long been practiced in Asia and th...

The “First Daughter” in Asia: Alice Roosevelt’s 1905 Trip

Adventure, romance and royalty, political intrigue. The 1905 diplomatic mission undertaken by Alice Roosevelt and others through Asia had it all, the uniquely personal combined with significant events on the world stage. Alice and her travel companions were witnesses to, and occasionally even participants in, incidents and decisions that affected the complicated diplomacy of that pivotal year. Fortunately for us today, the Smithsonian Institution has produced a website that includes two chapters...

Knocking on China’s Door: The First Protestant Mission

China’s “closed-door” policy, upended by the Opium Wars of 1839–1842 and 1856–1860, safeguarded the Middle Kingdom from unwanted advances by the West. A deep-seated suspicion of foreign infiltration—cultural, political, and economic—was augmented by the arrogance of China’s ruling class, who insisted on China’s superiority in the world arena. Western aggression of the 1800s forced China to open up trade with other nations and led to the eventual demise of the Qing dynasty. When...

How the Chinese Communist Party Manages the Bureaucracy: The Case for Rethinking the Role of Information Technology and Good Governance

In November 2021, during a routine inspection of drunk driving in Nanchang, the capital city of Jiangxi province, a woman driving a Maserati was stopped on suspicion of drunk driving. She refused to cooperate with an alcohol test and after sixty-six invalid tests she repeatedly told a traffic police officer to “ask Yu Wei to come over” and tried to make a phone call. The officer stopped her from calling and said to her: “It’s useless to call anyone. Do not call for anyone. This is being ...