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What to Expect in the Next Issue (Spring 2023)

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Teaching Resources Essay:

Teaching Confucian Practice: Kit Kats as Confucian Rituals for Education Success

By Greg Wilkinson

“The difficulty of [school entrance] exams, along with the discipline and rigor necessary to prepare for them, has become legendary. ‘The student who sleeps three hours may pass, but the student who sleeps four will fail’ was a common refrain.”
“Buddhist and Shinto ritual activities [are] particularly significant for providing additional support for educational success and many temples and shrines will provide various rituals and associated objects specifically for taking entrance exams.”
”In Japanese, Kit Kats are often spelled and pronounced as kitto katto. However, decades back they were alternatively spelled and pronounced as kitto katsu. While kitto katto does not hold much translated meaning in Japanese, kitto katsu, on the other hand, means “guaranteed win” or “absolute victory.”

bag of kit kats
A bag of Japanese Kit Kats with encouraging messages for students taking entrance exams on each bar. Source: Entabe at

Feature Article:

The “Child Prodigy” and the “Wandering Mare”: Pairing Chōmin’s A Discourse by Three Drunkards on Government (1887) and Abramovitch’s The Mare (1873) in the World History Classroom

By David B. Gordon

“Nakae Chōmin’s A Discourse by Three Drunkards on Government (1887) from Japan and Sholem Abramovitch’s The Mare (1873) from Ukraine are two satirical novels that can engage students in high school and beyond. They highlight several major struggles—physical and moral alike—that peoples from outside the West faced in the nineteenth century. Such ethnicities as Japanese and Jews were trying to make sense of the swirl of changes—new social movements, technologies, national identities, and so on—that pressed upon them.”
A Discourse and The Mare each underscore the fact that people in the nineteenth century held widely divergent views of the challenges they faced. A Westernized Japanese intellectual, a nationalistic partisan for samurai values, and a political centrist with drinking issues did not see Japan’s future the same way. Neither did a Haskalah idealist, a cynical demon, and a long-lived, embattled mare hold the same views about where the Jewish people were headed.”

Book Review Essay:

From a symposium of reviews of Zhuqing Li’s Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden

By Margot Landman

“Many books have been written on the experience of Chinese intellectuals and pre-1949 capitalists during the Mao years, including those with relatives who had fled to Taiwan, and some have described reunification of Taiwan and mainland branches of a family after cross-Strait tensions began to ease in the 1980s. Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden is the first volume I have seen describing the parallel lives of family members separated accidentally in 1949, and reunited decades later. Part history, part biography, part memoir – the protagonists are the author’s aunts – it is a deeply moving tale.”