I hope readers are having the best fall possible given continuing unusual times. “Engaging Asia: Film, Documentaries, and Television” at times seemed like we were interacting with a “cast of thousands” but developing the special section has been deeply gratifying; especially because of the creativity of all of you who contributed in so many ways to this special section. An experiment that involved the theft of a Turner Classic Movies moniker with experienced EAA contributors invited to select their own “Essential” and provide a pedagogical essays, resulted in the publication of Yasuko Sato’s new look at Kurosawa Akira’s masterpiece Seven Samurai; Carol Stepanchuk’s essay on Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land, a film treatment of a celebrated playwright’s multilayered stage play melding a medieval comedy and a contemporary love story; and Daniel Metraux’s new look at Tora! Tora! Tora!, arguably the most authentic movie treatment of the bombing of Pearl Harbor ever produced. Like virtually every film resource in this issue, the “Essentials” are available for no, or little cost. Filmmaker Regge Life is no stranger to many EAA readers since several of his Japan-related documentaries and one movie have been previously reviewed in EAA but “Revisiting Live your Dream and Cocktail Party: An Interview with Regge Life,” should hopefully introduce his work to many new fans.
Other articles and essays in the Features section highlight a variety of topics. Christopher Rea in “New Online Teaching Resources for Early Chinese Cinema” gifts film buffs with perhaps the best organized and accessible directory with subtitles for the general public created to date regarding this topic. Ronald Green and Susan Bergeron in “Teaching Cultural, Historical, and Religious Landscapes with the Anime Demon Slayer” enable fans of the blockbuster anime understand its multiple uses as an instructional tool. Award winning high school teacher Benjamin Harris in “Teaching Cambodian Genocide through Film,” uses the film First They Killed My Father, complemented by other resources, in the development of an excellent essay/teaching guide. Michael Seth in “One Day in the Life of a North Korean Textile Worker,” makes a convincing case that the documentary approved by the DPRK, North Korea: A Day in the Life, has the unintended consequence of most genuinely depicting the spirit-crushing nature of the regime. AP High School History and Tennessee NCTA Faculty Fellow Aaron Pickering’s Essay “Using Victory in the Pacific in High School and College History Survey Courses,” introduces readers to a perhaps-forgotten series that includes American, Japanese, and Filipinos who lived through the Pacific War telling their sometimes-conflicting stories about events and exceptionally riveting documentary footage.
In our feature section we also include a special feature “Sri Lanka in the Classroom” that helps introduce this often-ignored country to our readers by highlighting the work of film producer Udan Fernando who has produced a short but, I think profound documentary, A Virgin Vote, that not only helps viewers better understand Sri Lanka, but raises important civic education questions regarding patriotism and nationalism that deserve thoughtful discussion on a more general level.
The Resources section includes Abir Bazaz’s “Teaching Kashmir through Documentary Films” and supplementary material that help teachers and students better understand a South Asian on-going problem that has existed for over seventy years as a potential global flash point. Other film-related resources include Remy Hellstern and Jakub Mscichowski’s “Xinjiang Documentation Project,” that with video and other resources especially crafted for teachers and students, depicts the PRC’s internment of over one million Muslims, and an interview with Alisa Freedman, author of the AAS Asia Shorts volume Japan on American TV. So much film deserved attention that in lieu of our Facts About Asia column, readers will find “Films About Asia: Brief Essays and Teaching Applications” that includes three more short reviews and commentaries (and a sidebar) on film and possible classroom use.
All three EAA Online Supplements are film-related. East Asia historian and documentary filmmaker Jeffrey Dym’s online feature article “Make Your Documentary! A Call to Action,” could very well inspire many of you to produce your own documentaries. Duane Johansen writes about another “Essential,” the Japanese anime war drama Barefoot Gen, and readers can find an excerpt from Alisa Freedman’s Asia Shorts volume Japan on American TV.
The winter 2021 and spring 2022 special sections are a two part series: “Asia in World History: Comparisons, Connections, and Conflicts.” The deadline for winter 2021 (Part 1) has passed, but we are still accepting manuscripts for spring 2022 (Part 2) and the deadline is January 14, 2022. The fall 2022 special section is “Teaching Asia in Middle Schools” and the deadline for receipt of manuscripts is May 6, 2022. For information on two additional planned EAA issues, as well as author guidelines, please visit the EAA website: https://www.asianstudies.org/publications/eaa/. Nonthematic manuscripts are also considered for each issue.
Please encourage friends and colleagues who prefer EAA print copies to subscribe, or to purchase multiple discounted copies of back issues at our low rates by visiting the EAA website. If you have not already done so, visit the EAA website for access to over 1,600 archived articles and more extensive features that highlight both EAA news and other Asia-related opportunities, resources, and programs. Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter, the EAA Digest, for regular updates on EAA and exclusive content on using EAA articles and additional recommended Asia-related resources at https://tinyurl.com/y38pxf3z. Please also like us on Facebook and encourage your colleagues to do the same!
Lucien Ellington, Editor: Education About Asia
Send formal EAA submissions to:
Jeffrey Melnik, Managing Editor, Education About Asia
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(Please copy Lucien Ellington at Lucien-Ellington@utc.edu)
Errata: Spring 2021: “Asia’s Environments: National, Regional, and Global Perspectives.” In the exemplary review by Christy Davis of Diane Wolff’s Batu, Khan of the Golden Horde: The Mongol Khans Conquer Russia, a web link where full color maps and illustrations that accompany the book was not mentioned or provided. Readers interested in the book may view these full color maps and illustrations online at https://tinyurl.com/ykuh8e8.
The editors apologize for not including the link in the published review.