Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review, Columns

Japan Since 1945 The Rise of an Economic Superpower

Explaining Japan’s stunning rise from the ashes of World War II to economic superpower status by the 1970s remains one of the more daunting challenges for the student or teacher of Asian development. Dennis Smith’s Japan Since 1945 provides a succinct summary of the economic and political activities that underlay the remarkable reconstruction and expansion of the Japanese industrial plant.

Book Review, Columns

Snake’s Pillow and Other Stories

Zhu Lin’s six finely crafted stories are set in the Jiangnan region of China, far enough from Shanghai to be rural, yet close enough to the metropolis for its peasants to know a great city. Her peasant protagonists are fortunate in the lush landscape and benign climate of their region, and the relative prosperity of the region is a magnet for the less fortunate during periods of famine, political upheaval, and calamitous weather. In this pleasant land, however, material comfort is not synonymo...

Columns, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Japanese Internment during World War II

The World Wide Web offers a large number of sites that deal exclusively with the internment of the Japanese during World War II, including several sites that present original documents and photographs of the camps. In recent years, there have been museum exhibits, litigation and the publication of personal memoirs; these, too, appear on the WWW.

Book Review

Understanding Japan: Japanese Education

According to Professor Katsuta Shuichi, the primary author of this concise but concentrated overview of Japanese education, the main objective of this work is to inform others of Japan and the Japanese education system. The authors also hope to offer some support to those countries beginning educational modernization in anticipation of economic and technical development. Although this latter goal may be somewhat ambitious for ninety-one pages, the booklet does offer an excellent survey of the hi...

Columns, Film Review

Chinese in the Frontier West: An American Story, Part II of Ancestors in Americas film series

The second installment in the Ancestors in the Americas series focuses on the Chinese in the history of the development of the American West, especially in California. Acknowledging that there is a marked lack of a Chinese presence in much of the recorded history of the region, the narrator ponders, “What is history when the recorder does not record and the camera does not see? Find our history and tell it.” Thus, Loni Ding sets out to restore Chinese to the history of the American West.

Book Review, Columns

Coolies, Sailors, and Settlers: Voyage to the New World, Part I of Ancestors in Americas film series

This first film in the Ancestors in the Americas series by Loni Ding, one the foremost filmmakers documenting the Asian American experience, sets the stage for a global understanding of the Asian diaspora. Focusing mainly on the Chinese, and to a lesser extent South Asians and Filipinos, this film documents  how the immigration of Asians to the Americas was linked to  the transnational movement of capital, goods, and people during the eighteenth and nineteenth century. The film makes it very c...

Book Review, Columns

America’s Wars in Asia: A Cultural Approach to History and Memory

America’s Wars in Asia is a complex human reflection of the American war experiences in Asia since 1941. As its subtitle proclaims, it is a collection that focuses on cultural dimensions of these wars. The editors, fully aware of the difficulty of objectively reviewing the fresh memory of the human enmity and of the need to balance an overall view of the wars, aimed to avoid arbitration and show the complexity and diversity in the memory of the wars. The introduction categorizes the seventeen ...

Columns, Film Review

Hangeul: Korea’s Gift to the World

Linguistics, blended with history, culture, and a vision for the future—Korea’s King Sejong the Great, who commissioned and promulgated Hangul (Hangul is romanized here according to the McCune-Reischauer system), the Korean script, 553 years ago, undoubtedly would have been pleased with the concept. Hangeul: Korea’s Gift to the World, however, is a mix of information, imagery, and Korean nationalism—some of it truly compelling, some of it ethereally beautiful, and some of it skewed by na...

Feature Article

Identifying Buddhist Images in Japanese Painting and Sculpture

Two of the most significant mandalas in Japanese Buddhism are the Taizokai Mandara, the “Womb-realm Mandala,” and the Kongokai Mandara, the “Diamond-realm Mandala.” Both are displayed at To-ji, a Shingon sect temple founded in 796 in Kyoto, as well as in other Shingon temples throughout Japan. The two mandalas are used in worship and in meditation practice as a means to secure enlightenment. Almost immediately, one is impressed by the sheer number of images in these two works of art. The...

Book Review, Columns, Resources

Sharing Fruit: An Anthology of Asian and Australian Writing: Review

Sharing Fruit contains thirty-six selections of poetry, short stories, and excerpts from longer works of fiction and nonfiction by twenty-three contemporary Asian and Australian authors. All but four selections were published in the 1990s. The staff of the Asia Education Foundation and the Australian education system collaborated under the editorial leadership of Erica Manh to produce the anthology.

Book Review, Columns, Resources

The Rise and Decline of the Asian Century: False Starts on the Path to the Global Millennium

This book is a comprehensive rebuttal of those who proclaim a coming “Asian Century,” in which East Asia will replace the United States as the center of the world economy. Christopher Lingle’s prescience, ironically, makes his book less valuable in the classroom than it otherwise might have been. A few years ago this book might have served as a welcome burst of contrariness against all the tomes proclaiming the East Asian economic miracle.

Book Review, Columns

Thirty Years in a Red House: A Memoir of Childhood and Youth in Communist China

China has a long history. The history of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), however, is short since the PRC has just celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. The PRC’s birth since 1949 is merely a drop of water in China’s long and turbulent river of civilization. Short as it is, the world has seen many calamities in the PRC.

EAA Interview

EAA Interview with Steve Levine: Creator of the China Box

EAA Interview with Steve Levine: Creator of the China Box Steven I. Levine is the Mansfield Professor of Asia Pacific Studies at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, University of Montana.

Book Review, Columns

Modern Indonesia: A History Since 1945

Indonesia is hardly known by most Americans, even among the most educated elite. That reality was particularly clear last year as President Suharto saw his thirty-three-year reign coming to a close under the twin burdens of economic meltdown and political challenge.

Book Review, Columns

The Upright Brush: Yan Zhenqing’s Calligraphy and Song Literati Politics

Amy McNair has written a splendid study of a major Tang dynasty (618–906) political figure, Yan Zhenqing (709–785), and the manner in which his reputation as a statesman and calligrapher grew during the subsequent Song dynasty (960–1279). McNair’s text is part biography, part historical overview, part artistic analysis—with the pieces coming together in a deeply satisfying picture of Yan Zhenqing as a Tang loyalist whose bold brushstrokes were appropriated by eleventh-century literati ...

Feature Article

Options in Teaching the Mahabharata

The Mahabharata is a Sanskrit epic based on an internecine struggle between two sets of cousins for the most powerful throne in North India in the late second millennium B.C.E. Around this core are strung other stories and bits of mythology, as well as philosophical and religious compendia. One such is the Bhagavadgita, in which Krishna, as God, addresses one of the central heroes, Arjuna, as Everyman, in regard to doing his duty without concern for the fruits of his labors—an emphasis on mean...

Book Review, Columns

Japan–The System That Soured: The Rise and Fall of Japan’s Economic Miracle

The main thesis of Japan: The System That Soured is, as the title implies, that while Japan’s economic system was instrumental in helping the country during the catch-up phase of its industrial development, “it turned into a terrible system once Japan had in fact caught up.” Richard Katz, Senior Editor at the Oriental Economist Report (a monthly English language newsletter about Japan), argues that the Japanese economic model is not a different form of capitalism but an earlier stage of it...

Book Review, Columns

Questions of Heaven: The Chinese Journeys of an American Buddhist

I have never traveled in China but have taught its ancient history for over ten years. I have also journeyed to Shikoku, Japan in order to walk the eighty-eight Buddhist temples as a pilgrim; it changed my outlook on life. Therefore, I was curious to read Questions of Heaven because I wondered if Ehrlich’s Chinese experiences would be similar to mine. They were not. For the most part,Ehrlich is disappointed and frustrated that her idealized expectations of her journey through two provinces in ...

Feature Article

Going On-line to Teach about Asia with a Focus on Japan

While we have resources comparable to other schools in our region, there is a dearth of information in our library on non-Western cultures and governments. Additionally, while most secondary schools nationwide are offering college-level Advanced Placement courses, few of the libraries are provisioned to support these courses adequately; they are, after all, high school, not university, libraries. Thus, an increasing number of us are turning to on-line sources to augment the texts and meager supp...