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Asian History

The History of the Islamic Belief and Its People Then and Now

When it comes to the Islamic belief, there is more to religion than just the belief of a God or his teachings, it is more of a culture, a life and a source of being. There are currently 1.6 billion individuals around the globe who are defined by the Islamic belief. This means that they roughly cover at least 23.4% of the overall population of the world. It could be noted that through the years, the increase of the population of the believers of the said faith could be noted to have taken toll on particular implications on how the different aspects of the belief itself changed through time. In the course of looking through the pages of history, there could be are at least sic primary periods in the process by which the Islamic belief evolved according to the changes in the society as well. In the discussion that follows, these six periods shall be used as foundation in seeing how much Islamic belief has taken considerable change through the years and how the people in the world responded to such changes up to these contemporary ages.

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Asian History

Asian American Studies: Final Journal

The Asian American studies class this semester has been both an intellectual and an emotional journey for me, and sometimes rather a sad or disturbing one.  It has also really changed the way I view American history and the complex and shifting issues involving racial relations, perception, and identity.

Categories
Asian History

The Rise of Shojo Culture

The importance of Shojo culture, and its impact on the Japanese lifestyle, especially in regards to women in Japan, is quite notable in relation to the concept of the ‘fighting girl’. The word ‘Shojo’ literally means ‘little girl’, and relates to the way of life of younger girls in Japan.

 

Shojo culture has started to become a trend amongst younger women, in relation to the breaking out of the traditional stereotypes and challenging the general vocation of women. As a modern form of culture, it has begun to spread, as women yearn to be socially accepted and more productive as an instrumental part of the Japanese culture. As focused on a ‘pre-teen, teenage’ age group, it has shaped the identify of girls this age across the country, in both art, cinema and role model form.

 

In addition, women who embrace the Shojo culture have become more career-minded, drifting away from the rather ‘typical’ stay-at-home mother. Some of the background elements that have influenced this form of culture have been both the war and politics. Both before and after the war, women were drawn into trades and business, to support their families and provide a form of income while their husbands or siblings were fighting in battle. After the war, politicians also began encouraging women to continue in their business or career pursuits, as more and more women were taking up positions in politics and other positions.

 

An impactful portraying of the impact of Shojo culture on various art and cinematic forms is shown in Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind1. It follows the story of a brave princess who lives in a far-away Earth planet, which seems to be dying. The ideology that a woman would have such importance on a world-scale was quite important to women who embraced the Shojo culture. To be recognized and valued is central to this culture, and it aims to move away from criticizing women to seeing their significance.

 

Unlike the saying in traditional Japanese culture which emphasizes the “good wife, good mother”, socialism and the liberation of women have moved to encompass Shojo culture2. The concept of the “fight to survive” is very crucial to Shojo culture, and has assisted in increasing its popularity. In such a populated country, the importance of women for decades has been suppressed, but thanks to the Shojo culture, is slowly beginning to come to the surface.

 

This contemporary move has sparked both criticism and acceptance. Although some men still resent the fact that women are on the rise, much of higher society has come to accept women’s importance as a fact to be considered. The refusal to be put down has also encouraged women to become more autonomous, and also a sign of authority to be recognized. Due to gender subversion, the Shojo culture still has a way to go, but is still an important factor becoming critical in changing the status of women across the country.

The feminine nature and its relation to civilization’s rapid change is also a central part of the transforming face of the Japanese culture. It has offered a choice to all Japanese women: to remain in servitude, or become self-sufficient. Many women have obviously chosen the latter, and it seems to be paying dividends, at least in relation to the improvement in lifestyle.

 

Economically, women have begun to take up many jobs that were traditionally reserved for men only. A better understanding of the way the world works, thanks once again to the Shojo culture, have seen improvements for women across the spectrum. Intellectual and social pursuits have become more appealing, and women are able to advance in these pursuits quite rapidly, to both the amazement and surprise of men and women themselves.

 

As mentioned earlier, there have been many events in recent history that has allowed Shojo culture to prosper, including the war and other factors buried deep in Japanese history3. The way that this culture works has been to avoid prejudice towards women for the pursuit of a better life, one in which they have rejected the concept of a man’s world, and turned it into the perspective of a woman’s world, one in which it is possible to accomplish anything.

 

This wave of culture has had impacts on people all over Japan, not just women who fit into the Shojo motif, but women in general. Both older and younger women have come to realize the positive effects that this culture is having in both the hearts and minds of Japanese young women. It is no longer a theory that will one day be realized, but an actual move of cultural impact that is occurring at this point in time. Although debated and sometimes ridiculed, it cannot be ignored. Shojo culture is taking over modern-day Japan, and what people choose to accept is being challenged in a whole new way. Younger girls who follow Shojo culture are being recognized as heroines of the women’s cause. Whether this trend will continue or fade out is one to be seen, but history in time will tell.

 

As this popular culture gains momentum, there are a few questions that need to be posed. Firstly, what will happen to the traditional culture that for so long has been inherent in the Japanese culture; has it disappeared or beginning to disappear? Secondly, what impact has Shojo culture had, and can it be measured in terms of country or even international forces? Lastly, what will Shojo culture become, if it is such a force? This paper has answered some of these questions, but it is up to the people of Japan to fill in the gaps; especially the women who call themselves ‘the fighting girl’.

 

In conclusion, it can be seen that this culture is prevalent amongst women who are in their adolescence, especially as the tradition tends to be expected in post-war times. This type of thinking was common amongst women of the time, and still seems to appeal to those who follow in their footsteps. The social overtones of such a culture are still evident, and it reveals a picture of what life is like in reality for the women of Japanese society. In particular, it is important to see that they have chosen to live this way, and have not been forced. This is the way that culture imitates life, and vice versa; to a point where it becomes a tradition handed down from generation to generation. Many prominent figures in Japanese history have also followed in the example portrayed in this article, and it has had ripple effects throughout the country.

 

 

Reference List

 

Raiteri, Steve. Art of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: Watercolor Impressions. Library Journal. 133.1. (2008): 73-73. Print.

 

Kenko, Kawasaki. “Osaki Midori and the Role of the Girl in Showa Modernism”. Asian Study Review. 32.3. (2008): 293-306. Print.

 

Bae, Catherine Yoonah. “Girls Meets Boy Meets Girl: Heterosocial Relation, Wholesome Youth, and Democracy in Postwar Japan”. Asian Studies Review. 32.3. (2008): 341-360. Print.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Asian History

Understanding the Different Phases of the East Asian History

Introduction

            Majority of the East Asian region is fully dominated by the Chinese race. Relatively this is the reason why majority of the written history on the region pertains to ancient Chinese living systems. Through the years, it could be noted that the process by which China the East Asian region developed could be noted to have been affected by the different aspects making up the society and the different eras of international history that made such adjustments possible. In the discussion that follows, a distinction on these particular elements shall be given attention to. In the hope of assessing the different phases of East Asian History and how each served as the step towards becoming a modern society, several written works shall be considered as reference on the majority of the information to be presented herein.

The Beginning of a Race

            Being a vast region, East Asia holds under its umbrella a huge number of groups of people who are governed by different laws and are notably handled by different personalities. Although this is considered as a hindrance for unity back then, it is interesting enough to note that the common ground that makes these specific divisions unite is the fact that they are all believing in the need to be specifically lead by practically intellectual individuals who can handle the responsibility of directing people into victory. The realization of such matter however could only be realized in the future years. At the time being, the existence of strong leaders established in guiding the different ethnic groups present in the region has caused relative chaotic situations among neighboring groups themselves. They began to fight for territory as well as the resources that were present within the said areas.

Many among these groups fought for recognition and the possibility of gaining over the supposed ‘properties’ of the others. As leaders and their troupes roam around nearby areas around their territories, It could be analyzed that they found some common grounds with which the several groups were notably able to consider specific agreement upon. One of which is the fact that they are relatively connected by trade and the desire to do business under the balance of ‘fare share’. Merchants from different groups with east Asia were noted for their craftsmanship and their capacity to create extraordinary functional decorative art. This is the reason why the real value of the country’s historical data could be accounted through looking at the porcelain products produced during specific eras in the said history of the country.

Another aspect of common ground among these ethnic groups is that of the fact that they do believe in several gods. Unlike the Christian belief introduced by the western region in to the world, East Asian history imposes that ancient descendants living in the area specifically believe in the existence of several gods dedicated to attend on several aspects of life especially mandating the course by which they perform religious rituals. Believing in magic and mysteries, most Chinese groups have their own elders who handle and perform religious rituals they do believe bring in good luck in the community especially in the manner by which their needs are sustained and their safety is assured (Reid, 35). Considering this matter, it could be understood that the East Asian community is most likely defined by their religious believes which actually affects their overall culture and perception over matters that relate to their safety, their families and their life’s welfare.

The Foundation of a Culture

            Religion is a huge part of the East Asian culture. This is the reason why the principles of Confucianism in China as the basic source of religious belief in the country is recognized widely to affect the being of each individual thus making a great impact on how they handle the different tasks they have to complete each day (Reid, 47). Most often than not, every aspect of their living including business and other affairs considering the way they establish relationships with others are likely governed by the way they recognize their religion and the way they understand and follow the principles of Confucianism.

Other forms of beliefs have been established through the amalgamation of the different cultures established as the foundation of each ethnic group in the far reaching regions. The most prominent dynasties that shared their own options of believing in a supreme being are the Xia, Shang and the Zhou dynasties. Stretching from the 2100 BC to 1800 BC, the Xia dynasty was able to establish the first pattern of government that was recognized in the country. Following this dynasty is the Shang governance, which is recognized by historians as the true dynasty. This dynasty was able to establish the first culture of writing in China (Fukuzawa, 56). Most likely though such original form of writing was further developed later on. Another legacy that the said dynasty has left in the country is that of the creation of medicines which China has relatively been known for through the years. Most likely, such process of gaining medicine from plants and herbs has been developed by this dynasty to respond the health needs of the people they governed. The emergence of the Zhou dynasty on the other end placed a cessation on several points of development that Shang dynasty has introduced.

However, at the point of cessation, the dynasty was judged by the people as weak. As a result of such criticism, the said dynasty decided to adapt the lifestyle introduced by the Shang dynasty and finally created a development that would further improve the original manuscripts of Chinese writing as well as that of the presentation of artistic creations that the Shang dynasty has introduced further. The corruption in the industry however managed to break the overall foundation of the Zhou dynasty therefore putting an end to its power. Even though there were instances when the Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties were ended accordingly, their legacies to the Chinese living system continue to live on. Nevertheless, the entrant of other races from different regions of the world at the point of the development of the culture of international trade has created a larger source of cultural adjustment that the people of East Asia recognizes now to be the basis of their modern lifestyle.

Industrialization and Modernization of East Asia

            At the verge of the introduction of the international trade, the East Asian region started to exchange products with western countries. IN the process of establishing trade relations with other countries, it was not only the products that were duly exchanged between countries, but also that of the culture that each race carries in its back; not to mention the fact that the products themselves carry a sense of culture adjustment. As a result to this particular situation, the new age members of the East Asian communities are more prone to becoming involved in the appreciation of modern western culture as it does fit their generation’s taste. What is remarkable in this region though is that it is able to protect the origin and the value of its traditional cultures that at least 60% of its ancient cultures and traditions are still alive and recognized at present not only by those living in the region but even on other parts of the world as well (Schoppa, 91).

It could also be noted that it has been written through history that a large part of the territories of East Asia has been dedicated to farming and other agricultural industries. However, at the verge of the entrance of the era of globalization, such matters changed rapidly. Instead of being purely agricultural, the region now boasts several cities that are complete with high-end technology and holds as the venue for highly industrialized businesses. The same is true between nations stretching from China towards the outskirts of Korea (Kim, 88). It could be noted that not only did the western culture influence their way of living, it also created a differential condition by which the people in the region begin to perceive the principles of capitalism and how it began to change their attitude towards money, culture, tradition and the other aspects of living that are affected by the said elements (Pruitt, 56). The necessity of seeing through these elements provide a clear picture on how the East Asian region began to take a different face as it handles the challenges of a new age that is more dependent on capitalism than on the traditional ways of living of the ancient generations of human individuals residing in particular areas of the globe.

Conclusion

            The East Asian history may have started like other countries from other regions of the world. Shaped and honed by the different eras of invasion and influences from other countries, the nation now stands as a modern society that is ready to accept whatever the modern world has to offer. Nevertheless, what separates it in unique way apart from the other countries is the fact that it remains strongly grounded on its original culture and traditions, something that no invasion nor specific approach of cultural harnessing from other countries could alter. Now, people coming from the East Asian regions are scattered around the globe especially in highly urbanized countries. Relatively, as they transfer to these locations, they bring with them their culture which does not only preserve it alive, but also spreads it to be recognized by others as well.

 

References:

Reid, T.R. (2000). Confucius Lives Next Door. Vintage Publishing.

Fukuzawa. (2000). Autobiogrpahy of Yukichi Fukuzawa. Columbia University Press.

Pruitt. (2011). A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman. Martino Fine Books.

Kim, R.E. (2011).. Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood. University of California Press.

Schoppa, K. (2007). East Asia: Identities and Change in the Modern World (1700 to Present). Pearson Publishing.

Categories
Asian History

Ida Pruitt, Daughter of Han

Understanding life in another culture and another time is not an easy task. The autobiography Ida Pruitt, Daughter of Han sheds an excessive amount of light on the poverty stricken society of China. This book is filled with morbidity and the darkness that transpires in a lawless society. The place and time was prior to Japan attaching China so pre World War II.  Pruitt’s book is a secondary historical source because it is written from a secondary perspective as dictated by the main character Ning.  There is a significant amount of historical relevance to the Chinese culture presented as well.  The Daughter of Han is a great book that allows others to see what it would be like to live in China during this time period.

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Asian History

Oda Nobunaga – Three representations

Introduction

Oda Nobunaga was a legendary samurai warrior in the history of Japan. He lived during late 16th century and is considered as the initiator of Japan’s unification process. Shogunate ruled Japan until it was restored by Meiji in 1868 and it was during the period of Shogunate that Oda Nobunaga lived. He was born to Oda Nobuhide who was a deputy military governor (Shugo) and Tsuchinds Gozen on June 23rd of 1534 and died on June 21st 1582. During his life of 48 years Oda Nobugana fought several battles and played a crucial role in unification of Japan. Oda Nobunaga is considered as a major daimyo during Sengoku period in the history of Japan. Though Oda Nobunaga is recognized as the initiator of Japanese unification, he is also considered as a man of brutality. This is because of his life as a conqueror, who was able to conquer one third of Japan. His life was of continuous military conquest and it was his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi who unified all Japan, though after Oda Nobunaga’s death. Toyotomi Hideyoshi is a loyal supporter of Oda Nobunaga and became the first ruler of united Japan after Ōnin War. Due to a life of continuous warfare Oda Nobunaga is represented mostly as a cruel person in writings and other media. This paper tries to analyze the thesis that “Oda Nobunga was a charismatic and benevolent leader who is largely misinterpreted as cruel and merciless”.

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Asian History

Japanese Literature of the 19th and 20th Century: Historical Accounts and Personal Insights

The history of many parts of East Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries was marked by wars and invasions, both between various East Asian nations and from outside Western nations. It is impossible to examine this history without making an effort to understand the role that cultural and social traditions played in the way that the conquerors and the conquered shaped the course of development tin East Asia. The Japanese invade and occupied China twice, and also invaded and occupied parts of Korea, as did the Americans and the Soviets at different times. Through various works of literature written by East Asian writers who lived through the history of their nations it is possible to gain some insight into how the cultures and traditions of nations such as Japan, Korea, and China influenced the manner in which they struggled through the challenges of war and occupation, and eventually began to enter the modern industrial age that was reshaping not just the Western world, but countries across the globe.

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Asian History

Gohatto (Taboo) (2000)

Tensions between Samurai and other power holders in Japan, warriors’ views, Sex, love and gender were major contentious issues of the 19th century that riddled the Samurai people of Japan. Samurai presented themselves as brave warriors who fought battle with their neighbors for land. It is important to note that they defended their community against attacks. They prepared young men as warrior training them in military camps. The feudal clan of upheld its cultures, rituals, and privileges to the later as each man prided himself for undergoing initiation to adulthood. According to (Katsu 140), the Samurai people depict themselves as celebrated warriors who underwent their coming of age ceremony with lots of honor.

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Asian History

Environmental Issues in China Midterm Exam

  • List and describe five of the most environmental challenges facing China?

The five most environmental challenges facing china are: climate changes, energy, waste, water, and food. Recent climate changes in China have put the country’s grain and rice crops at risk. They have suffered from extreme drought to extreme draught.  Grain crops need water, but not too much. Rice crops need extended amounts of water. Controversy of the Three Gorges Dam has many debating on whether it was the best idea. Some say it is a disaster waiting to happen. Yet, others are happy by its positive economic and environmental advantages. The dam has stopped the annual flooding of some of China’s rural areas and is producing a vast amount of electricity. Most importantly, it is bringing much needed jobs to the area. China has been struggling with waste and raw sewage for some time. China does not have a universal water treatment system; as a result, raw sewage from homes, factory run-off, and chemical contaminants are being dumped directly into China’s rivers and lakes. Because of this, very few people have clean drinking water. Also, the prevalence of cancer has risen in some areas close to these dump sites. The increase demand for livestock products has China concerned about food supplies. China does not produce enough rice and grain to feed its nation, and with the increased demand of livestock product they will deplete their surplus quickly.

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Asian History

The Place in History for “A Daughter of Han”

In the book A Daughter of Han, the author Ida Pruitt tells the life story of a woman she calls Lao T’ai t’ai, (also known as Lao Ning) which means “The Old Mistress.” Lao was an old woman when she met the author, and she spent a great amount of time telling Pruitt stories about her life growing up in China, getting married, and raising children. During her lifetime, Lao saw the Japanese come to China and occupy the country. This was a difficult period both for Lao and for the people of China, as the Japanese Made virtual slaves out of many of them. This was not the only challenge Lao faced, however. Throughout her life she had to overcome nay challenges, including a marriage to a husband who did not treat her or her children well. Despite these challenges, Lao managed to raise her children successfully and seemed to be fairly content with her life by the time she was an old woman. Because she lived through these experiences, and told them directly to Pruitt, the stories told in A Daughter of Han serve as a primary source of information about life in China from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s.

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Asian History

The West vs. China in Fukuzawa Yukichi’s Thought

Fukuzawa Yukichi’s importance for the Meiji Restoration cannot be measured accurately. His writings and his political discourse influenced both those who lived in his time and the generations that came after.  Yukichi’s ideology was shaped throughout his school years and his vision of a modern Japan matured during his trips to America and Europe. His collection of works is meant both to inform and to persuade his countrymen to move from his half-civilized state towards progress. He conceived China and everything Chinese as archaic and barbarous, whereas West and everything it brought was for him equivalent to civilization and the future. This rejection of the Chinese culture, and embrace of the Western ideas, was to a great extent, the result of his studies at the Dutch School.

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Asian History

Emotional Sensitivity in Ming and Qing Society

Introduction

Ming vernacular stories represent the social life of China during Qing and Ming dynasty. These stories revolve around emotions of various forms and consider emotions as the basis of life on earth. Qing/emotions are considered as the reason behind virtue and fascination. Still there exists a tension between emotions and virtue. Thus vernacular stories portray qing/emotions as the only true factor based on which relations and life is built. This paper tries to explore the role of emotions in social life of China during Ming and Qing dynasty as expressed in vernacular stories.

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Asian History

About Ming Dynasty Vernacular Fiction and the Cult of Qing

Ching has used emotions in his book to teach people about relationships. Qing has been used in the plot to find a connection between affinity, passion, and infatuation. Qing has played a major role in the vernacular stories especially in portraying the theme of Yuan and clandestine affairs. People believe that destiny is determined in heaven but Qing is the main catalyst that establishes affinity between man and woman. The story reunion of husbands and wives has demonstrated the role of qing in this reunion. Qing is demonstrated as the husband is weeping in a dish that is similar to his lost wife. Weeping in the dish that is similar to his lost wife symbolizes reunion of the husband with his wife.

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Asian History

Labor as a Commodity and How it Transformed Japan

Historically Japan has had a very closed-door economic policy, with a trend of radically changing at will, at large cultural shock to its people. In the middle of the 19th century, however, this policy was changed into a full-blown attempt to adapt to advancing Western technologies. The Japanese are socially and culturally very traditional, a trait that was, and is frequently at odds with Western ideas and traditions. Japan’s trouble assimilating into a fully capitalist society is a direct result of the radical and profitable Meji policies employed in the mid to late 1800’s, an inconsistency in both economic and foreign policy resulting in economic growth, resulting in a profitable but volatile market that crashed as a direct result of the government’s inability to properly regulate, but was still able to sustain its economy adequately due to its previous investment in employees, dating back years.