Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Columns, EAA Interview

Robert Angel of Japan Considered

Japan Considered, created by University of South Carolina political scientist Robert Angel in 2004, is an online “one stop educational shopping site” for busy teachers, professors, students, and anyone who wants access to a concise, yet solid, variety of English language resources on Japanese domestic politics and the nation’s international relations. In addition to excellent links and interviews, Japan Considered also features Angel’s regular podcasts on significant events in Japanese p...

Book Review, Columns

Universal Religion in World History

EAA readers are surely aware that most major world religions originated in Asia. Universal Religions in World History, a concise text by Donald and Jean Elliot Johnson, therefore, is worth a review in this journal. In just over 200 pages, the authors have managed to include a remarkable array of information. The basic premise is that three religions, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, stand out as universalizing religions, having spread throughout the world. Although these three are prominently ...

Book Review, Columns

Helen Foster Snow: An American Woman in Revolutionary China

For those who entered the Asian Studies field in the 1970s, the names Edgar Snow and Helen Snow (Helen wrote under the pseudonym Nym Wales) “loomed large.” These two individuals, along with Agnes Smedley, Israel Epstein, and Rewi Alley, wrote extensively about the Chinese Communist Party and became advocates for understanding and supporting its policies during the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s. The Snows both visited (on separate occasions) the Communist Yan’an base during the years ...

Book Review, Columns

Introducing Key Issues in Asian Studies

Published by the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), Key Issues in Asian Studies is a new series of booklets designed for use in undergraduate humanities and social science courses, as well as by advanced high school students and their teachers. Key Issues booklets are designed to complement Education About Asia, and serve as vital educational materials that are both accessible and affordable for classroom use. Booklets will sell for around $10. AAS plans to publish two or three booklets per ye...

Book Review, Columns

Political Rights in Post-Mao China Key Issues in Asian Studies, No. 2

Merle Goldman has produced a gem of a booklet on political rights in China. Lucid and accessible, it is vivid with human detail and historically rich. The booklet traces the heroic struggles of numerous Chinese over a long time, so that it is clear how much and how many Chinese wish to not to have to continue to endure the indignities of life under a cruel and arbitrary regime.

Book Review, Columns

Traditional Japanese Arts and Culture: An Illustrated Sourcebook

For those interested in primary documents pertaining to Japanese culture, history, and philosophy, the Tsunoda Ryusaku, William Theodore de Bary, and Donald Keene Sources of Japanese Tradition (1958) has been the standard sourcebook for nearly fifty years. Though it touches upon some aspects of Japanese aesthetics, space was limited. In Traditional Japanese Arts and Culture, Stephen Addiss, Gerald Groemer, and J. Thomas Rimer have created a complimentary collection of primary documents “about ...

Curriculum Materials Review

China and the West: A Fresh Strategy against Provincialism

A teacher’s work against provincialism never ends, but sometimes a new idea offers fresh hope. The strategy introduced here was developed in China for students with good English and an interest in understanding the Western world. For them to understand such a distant world, they must be able to relate what they learn to what they already know—they must be able to compare it to China. This means learning to look at the Chinese way of life as if from the outside, both comparatively and histori...

Columns, Curriculum Materials Review

China’s Cultural Revolution

When the time came in the school year to teach about China and China’s Cultural Revolution, I would sigh. Not because I didn’t find China fascinating (I do) or think it was important (it’s incredibly important), but because I didn’t like my unit. Reading, lecture, questions, timeline, test, big yawn. The students got the material, but not the feel for the period or a real understanding for how it evolved. The questions—how and why did so many people let it happen?—were not answered f...

Columns, EAA Interview

The 2007 Franklin R. Buchanan Prize Winners Greg Francis and Stefanie Lamb

This is our eleventh interview with Franklin R. Buchanan Prize winners. The Association for Asian Studies awards the prize annually for the development of outstanding curriculum materials on Asia. The 2007 prize was awarded for the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) curriculum unit China’s Cultural Revolution co-written by SPICE curriculum specialists Greg Francis and Stefanie Lamb.

Feature Article

India’s Democracy: Illusion or Reality?

For the last sixty years, since it gained independence in 1947, India has claimed the position of the world’s largest democracy. For almost as long, skeptics have seen India’s democracy as an Indian rope trick,1 an illusion in which the superstructure of democratic government—a parliament and prime minister, periodic elections, constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms—hides the reality of on-the-ground authoritarian rule by local landlords, bureaucracy, and party bosses, buttressed by a cult...

Columns, Teaching Resources Essay

The Place of the Ghosts: Democracy in the Philippines–Dead Season: A Story of Murder and Revenge

If I had to assign one book to teach students about politics in the developing world, that would be Alan Berlow’s Dead Season. I use Berlow’s book every year in my Asian Politics course at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Bright high school students could enjoy it as well. Dead Season unmasks politics in a country that is formally democratic, and it conveys to readers in an unforgettable way what politics feels like for many in the developing world. The author, Alan Berlow, is...

Columns, Teaching Resources Essay

Sources for Teaching about Chinese Law and Politics

Bureaucracy is arguably the most significant Chinese contribution to world history. Chinese rulers interested in maintaining their authority learned early on the value of closely monitoring a cadre of trained civil servants whose job it was to monitor closely the movements and activities of a vast population. The record-keeping impulse of the Chinese bureaucrat has supplied us with extremely rich sources for understanding the theory and practice of Chinese law and politics. Here, I introduce ...

Feature Article

Can the LDP Survive Globalization?

Japanese political development since 1945 is best understood in three historical periods: the period of military occupation (1945–1952), the period of high economic growth (1952–1985), and the period of accelerating globalization (1986–2006) (Table 1). Each period is characterized by key players and a receptive political institution. To consider the current period of accelerating globalization in context, it is necessary to summarize the periods succinctly as they relate to the growth and ...

Feature Article

The Domestic and International Politics of Constitutional Change in Japan

Japan’s constitution celebrated its sixtieth birthday on May 3, 2007, the national holiday known as “constitution day” (kempō no hi). There was much to celebrate. This document is known worldwide for the far-ranging political rights it guarantees 128 million Japanese who enjoy a level of political and economic freedom that is the envy of many in the world. In particular, the Japanese constitution is famous for “Article Nine,” which proscribes Japan from maintaining any “war potentia...

Feature Article

The Japanese Government and the Economy: Twenty-First Century Challenges

Japan continues to provide a fascinating case study for economists and political scientists who study the way market economies function. From the 1950s through the 1980s, that fascination had been fueled by high rates of economic growth, generated by an economy that operated under very different rules than those generally taught in American economics courses. In the 1990s, Japan presented an equally fascinating set of problems—slow growth, deflation (for the first time in an advanced economy s...

Feature Article

The US-Japan Alliance: A Brief Strategic History

When Emperor Hirohito announced the surrender of Japan to the United Nations on August 15, 1945, he exhorted his people to “endure the unendurable.” The war with America had been the most violent in either nation’s history. Racial hatred had motivated both peoples. Japanese schoolchildren were taught that Americans were devils and that they were spiritually weak and lazy. Americans lionized Admiral Bill Halsey, who famously ordered his sailors and marines in the Pacific to “kill more Jap...

Feature Article

China’s Law and Government in the Mao Years (1949-1976)

On June 30, 1949, with victory over the Nationalist government assured, Chairman Mao Zedong observed that the Chinese Communist Party now faced a new challenge: ruling all of China. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) would learn from the Soviet Union, which had already “built a great and splendid socialist state.”1 China, too, would establish a government and legal system designed to serve the Communist Party’s political purposes. By the late 1950s, Mao had rejected the Soviet model. I...

Feature Article

Did the Middle Kingdom Have a Middle Period?: The Problem of “Medieval” in China’s History

Due largely to the contributions of postmodernism, scholars have become increasingly distrustful of the terms they use to describe historical phenomena. This has led them to avoid using general categories or labels. Yet, for instructors attempting to make the diverse panorama of world history intelligible, these are exactly the rough tools needed to demonstrate that different societies have resolved similar problems with similar methods and institutions. One such term is “medieval,” which li...

The AAS Secretariat is closed on Monday, May 29 in observance of the Memorial Day holiday