Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Colors of Japan: Literature Comes to the Table

[caption id="attachment_8131" align="alignright" width="132"] Figure 1. Source: Photo courtesy of the author.[/caption] Figure 1 shows one of the most delicious treats you can imagine, a Japanese sweet to accompany a bowl of whipped green tea. It imitates the shape of a camella blossom and (not shown here due to the black and white print of the journal) is rendered in delicate colors. Would it surprise you to learn that the ultimate inspiration for this morsel was literature written largely b...

Feature Article

The Past, Present, and Future of the Swastika in Japan

Imagine your surprise as a recent arrival to Tokyo, among the world’s most futuristic and globalized cities. Safely ensconced in the Starbucks at Shibuya crossing, you open Apple Maps to plot a day of sightseeing in nearby Kamakura, a locale famed for its rich history and deep connection to Buddhism. Zooming in on the map (Figure 1), the first images to greet your eyes are . . . swastikas? Scattered all over the screen? Does the city hide a secret past related to the National Socialist German ...

Feature Article

Enlivened Learning: How to Play the Karma-based Moksha Game in the College Classroom

Editor’s Note: Please see the EAA online supplements for this issue including video screencasts, a course syllabus, and an example scoring sheet that will help demonstrate the Moksha game and various procedures described in this article. If you have any questions or comments about these materials, or about the Moksha game itself, you may contact the author at m.dennis@tcu.edu. This article describes Moksha (Sanskrit for “liberation” and “freedom”), a karma-based classroom game that ...

Film Review Essay, Resources

My Life in China

Directed by Kenneth Eng Produced by Ehren Parks, Melanie Blair, Meng Xie, Takayo Nagasawa DVD, 81 minutes, color, 2014 Language: Toishanese (A Chinese dialect) with English subtitles Reviewed by Carol Stepanchuk Not all of us have directly faced the challenges of immigration, but in many classrooms, there will be one or more students who have firsthand experience. Their stories and the growing body of published first-person accounts can open an immediate window for students into the ongoing...

Asia: Experiential Learning, Resources

Thailand: Experiential Learning In and Outside the Classroom

How can students make meaning out of their experiences abroad? How can they connect their learning inside and outside the classroom? These are difficult questions for faculty teaching in a study abroad context where students learn not only from their professors. They have the opportunity to learn from religious leaders, museums, and temples, as well as to think about issues and current debates in societies other than their own as they exist in reality, not just in textbooks. As much as excursion...

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Qing Dynasty and Traditional Chinese Culture

By Richard J. Smith New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015 560 pages, ISBN: 978-1442221932, Paperback Reviewed by Robert A. Kapp Early in his monumental portrait of Qing Dynasty China, Richard J. Smith writes about the Kangxi Emperor’s (r. 1661–1722) commission of a massive encyclopedia of Chine se culture: [The Emperor’s] most ambitious effort to celebrate traditional Chinese Culture. . . [was] the Gujin Tushu Jicheng (Complete collection of writings and illustration...

Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Traditional and Contemporary Asia: Numbers, Symbols, and Colors

ASIA Meaning of the Flags of Asia URL: http://tinyurl.com/gvao83v From the Nomad Revelations blog, graphics for the flags of all Asian countries are presented in alphabetical order. The graphics are accompanied by descriptions and the symbolic meaning of the flags. Symbols in Asian Art URL: http://tinyurl.com/zmu9oyj This is a collection of blog posts from the Daruma Museum. These posts focus on symbols in Asian art. There are reviews of books about symbols, as well as articles, incl...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Recreating a Nationalist Movement Through Symbols

Mahatma Gandhi and Mao Zedong, arguably the two most influential Asian nationalist leaders of the twentieth century, used political symbols to refashion nationalist movements begun by Western-influenced elites. Imbued with the stated ideals of British democracy, English-speaking Indians established the Indian National Congress in 1885 with the objective of gaining more participation in government, rather than overthrowing the Raj. In the early twentieth century, Sun Yat-sen’s Nationalist Pa...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Asian Art

Asian Art By Dorinda Neave, Lara C. W. Blanchard, and Marika Sardar Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2014 432 pages, ISBN: 978-0205837632, Paperback Reviewed by Kachina Martin A Book from the Sky by Xu Bing is the opening image from chapter 10, “The Push for Modernization: 1912 to the Present” in the textbook Asian Art by Dorinda Neave, Lara Blanchard, and  Marika  Sardar  (Pearson, 2014), winner of the 2016 Franklin R. Buchanan Prize. Xu’s statement opens the text of the c...

Online Supplement

Supplemental Materials for “Enlivened Learning: How to Play the Karma-based Moksha Game in the College Classroom”

Preview (supplementary material available as a PDF, attached) How to play Moksha 1. How to play Moksha: Managing Daily Points https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ar0E4EbW64&list=PLlDOLiSs74Vx21142BDiK25W nBzWOx3Qy&index=1 2. How to play Moksha: Creating Moksha Database https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi7_BLPoNjE&list=PLlDOLiSs74Vx21142BDiK25Wn BzWOx3Qy&index=2 3. How to play Moksha: Adding Individual and Team Points https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zyBjAwshC8&in...

Online Supplement

Chinese Literature: An Introduction

Chinese literature is a pleasure to teach and to read; it holds an importance and relevance both in historical terms and in understanding the world today. Yet, its history, language and culture are quite rich, and different from much of the Western tradition that the study of Chinese literature can prove challenging. When Lucien Ellington first discussed with me the idea of writing a short introduction to Chinese literature, I was immensely intrigued about how to meet this challenge and give bot...

Online Supplement

The Mongol Empire in World History

Although students have heard of Genghis Khan and his empire, most have only a vague knowledge about it and its founder. In order to introduce students to the Mongol Empire’s impact on World History, this volume seeks not only to present a basic outline of the expansive empire and its divisions, but also to expose students to the complex impacts of this historically pivotal empire. Genghis Khan’s empire deeply influenced the history of the Eurasian continent, including China, Iran, the Middle...

Film Review Essay, Online Supplement, Resources

Film Review: Cocktail Party

Cocktail Party Directed and Produced by Regge Life 108 minutes, Color Lifecycle Productions, 2016 Based on the Akutagawa Prizewinning Novel by Tatsuhiro Oshiro Reviewed by David Huebner As a frequent film critic for Education About Asia, I have viewed and critiqued several documentaries. Cocktail Party, however, is the first full-length movie I’ve reviewed. It features superb acting, an intriguing plot, and an informative portrayal of the social conditions on Okinawa that have complicate...

Online Supplement

The Great Courses “Understanding Japan: A Cultural History”

Reviewed by Eric G. Dinmore While serving as President of the American Historical Association, William Cronon of the University of Wisconsin Madison delivered one of the most inspiring addresses in years at that organization’s 2013 annual meeting in New Orleans. Rather than promote an emerging subfield or present from his impressive original research, Professor Cronon used his time to focus on deep concerns he held about the diminished profile of professional historians in public life and the...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Chinese Calligraphy, a Dance on Paper: The Art of Professor Yang Xin

Produced by Raymond Olson DVD, 46 Minutes, Color Sacred Mountain Productions, 2015 Reviewed by Jared Hall Calligraphy is among the most recognizable markers of Chinese culture. Even Americans who have never stepped foot in a Chinatown have likely encountered Chinese characters gracing a takeout restaurant sign or peeking out from a neck tattoo. Partly for this reason, Chinese characters provide an accessible entry point to learning about China and East Asia. It is a process that can begin...

Feature Article

Debating the Allied Occupation of Japan (Part Two)

In the fall 2016 issue of Education About Asia, I outlined three policy decisions, which I consider a fascinating way to discuss the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–1952). The three—the decision to keep the Shōwa Emperor (Hirohito) on the throne, punish selected individuals for war crimes, and create a new constitution that (in Article 9) seemed to outlaw war as an instrument of national policy—were all urged upon the Japanese by SCAP, a term for both the Supreme Commander of the Allied ...

Feature Article

Oh Brave New World That Has Such Lessons In It: Using the Series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex as a Critical Text

The 2002 and 2004 anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex portrays a world where the vast majority of human beings have been transformed into things more like machines.1 Yet perhaps the most remarkable thing about this brave new world is how much it seems like our own. Although their bodies are enhanced and their brains networked, they still engage in human activities. They still read newspapers, books, and magazines, even though the written word has largely been replaced by digital...

Feature Article

Sacred Mountains of Japan, with a Particular Look at the Shikoku Pilgrimage

Japan is an island country, blessed with many peaks rising up to the clouds. It should come as no surprise that many of the mountains of Japan are treated as sacred spaces, and that visiting those heights may be an act of worship in and of itself. Of course, though we can think of all mountains as sacred, it is important to note that some are particularly venerated as holy peaks, or reizan. Mt. Fuji, probably the best-known of Japanese mountains, is the home of a Shintō goddess, the center o...

Feature Article

Cultivating Enlightenment: The Manifold Meaning of Japanese Zen Gardens

While Zen gardens have been a fixture of Japanese aesthetics since the Muromachi Period (1336–1573), the purposes and meanings of these austere landscapes have been far less fixed, and indeed have changed somewhat since their first appearance as places for meditation in the Zen temples of medieval Japan. For those of us who have been fortunate enough to visit such magnificent sites as Ryōanji or Tenryūji, the primary function of Zen gardens today seems to be to remind the busloads of tour...

Feature Article

Calligraphy in East Asia: Art, Communication, and Symbology

East Asian brush calligraphy closely integrates aspects of art, communication, and symbology, thus offering educators a particularly rich set of resources from which to draw upon. In this article, we start with an overview of brush calligraphy, including its relationship with art, communication, and symbology. We follow with a brief discussion of the historical and contemporary place of brush calligraphy in East Asian education and society; finally, we explore some pragmatic aspects of creating ...

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