Introduction to East Asia
This course is a broad survey of East Asian civilization that highlights important cultural developments during representative eras of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean history. These snapshots will provide a basic foundation for understanding contemporary East Asia and serve as an ideal gateway to the East Asian Studies majors and minors.
 
Grades
10% Class Participation
60% Essays (3x20%: 5 pages/1250-word minimum)
20% Reacting to the Past
10% Reflection on Contemporary East Asia (3-pages/750-word minimum

You final grade will ultimately depend on my assessment of your performance in each of the above areas, though the following descriptions should provide you with a rough idea of the defining characteristics of students within particular grade ranges:

APossesses a deep understanding of the major concepts and themes of the course. The “A” student is able to consistently identify and explain key ideas in the readings, develop genuine insights into the broader significance of these concepts, and demonstrate a high level of intellectual engagement in class discussions.
BDemonstrates a serious commitment to the course and a strong grasp of the major concepts and themes but with less depth and/or consistency than the “A” student.
CDemonstrates a reasonable effort to attend class and participate in discussions as well as a basic grasp of the course material.
DDemonstrates a minimal commitment to the course and a weak grasp of basic concepts and themes.
FFails to demonstrate an acceptable degree of effort in the course through low attendance, inability to discuss basic concepts and themes, missed assignments and/or plagiarized work.
 
Class/BodhiBlog Participation
The Class Participation mark will be based on your ability to demonstrate that you have made a sincere attempt to read and understand the assigned material Although the quality of your comments will obviously be taken into consideration, all attempts to seriously engage the readings — from sharing your perspective on the material to simply asking a relevant question — will enhance your grade.
 
Essays
Over the course of the term, you will be writing three 5-page (1250-word minimum) papers, each worth 20% for a total of 60% of your final grade. Please note that all sources should be “peer-reviewed” (i.e. academic books and journal articles, rather than non-academic websites) and that you must provide appropriate citations (Chicago Style footnotes or MLA “bracket” citations) for both direct and indirect quotations. If you have any questions regarding what does or does not constitute plagiarism, please refer to the college’s plagiarism policy. Essays that contain significant instances of plagiarism will receive a 0 and be reported to the Office of Academic Affairs in accordance with college policy. All papers should be submitted electronically at Blackboard/Assignments; due dates are listed on the syllabus, after which your grade will go down one degree (e.g. from B+ to B) for each day that the essay is late. The essay topics are as follows:
 
 
Essay 1: The First Emperor of China
The Grand Historian, Sima Qian, offers the following reflection on the First Emperor’s unification of China:
 
Then Qin faced south to call itself ruler of the empire, which meant that the world now had a Son of Heaven to head it. The masses hoped that they would be granted the peace and security to live out their lives, and there was not one of them who did not set aside selfish thoughts and look up to the sovereign in reverence. ... But the First Emperor was greedy and short-sighted, confident in his own wisdom, never trusting his meritorious officials, never getting to know his people. He cast aside the kingly Way and relied on private procedures, outlawing books and writings, making the laws and penalties much harsher, putting deceit and force foremost and humanity and righteousness last, leading the whole world in violence and cruelty. In annexing the lands of others, one may place priority on deceit and force, but insuring peace and stability in the lands one has annexed calls for a respect for authority. Hence I say that seizing, and guarding what you have seized, do not depend upon the same techniques.1
 
Explain why you either agree or disagree with Sima Qian’s assessment of the First Emperor. Your position should be supported by examples of the First Emperor’s conduct drawn from Jonathan Clements’ The First Emperor of China, with at least three focusing on the period prior to the unification and three on the subsequent period when he reigned as the Son of Heaven. Note: since Clements’ book does not have an index, you should take notes on relevant passages as you read through the text. For more details on the essay requirements see the Essay 1 Rubric below.
 
Essay 2: The Literature of Reclusion
Chomei and Kenko both lived during the Kamakura period (1185-1333) — a time when the sophisticated culture of the Heian court was displaced by the turmoil and violence of the shogunate (military government). Although both responded to the passing of Japan’s golden age by pursuing the life of a “recluse monk” (tonseisha), each developed a unique perspective on the relationship between Buddhist asceticism and the aesthetic values of the Heian aristocracy. As Meredith McKinney writes in the Introduction to her translation of Essays in Idleness and Hojoki:
 
It is a shock to move from Chomei’s tranquil seclusion in his little hut to the vigorous and shifting realm of Kenko’s engagement with the complexities of worldly life and how best to live it. More than a century separates the two works, a turbulent period in which much changed. Yet fundamental things unite them. Both these men, in their lives and in their writing, combined in an uneasy and fruitful union the two key elements of the literature of reclusion — religion (Buddhism) and the literary arts.2
 
How do these two texts exemplify Chomei and Kenkos distinct approaches to the tonseisha ideal and the literature of reclusion with which it is associated. Your response should include at least three examples from each text and conclude with a reflection on how this comparison helped you develop a deeper understanding of the development of Japanese civilization. Note: since McKinney’s translation does not have an index, you should take notes on relevant passages as you read through the text. For more details on the essay requirements see the Essay 2 Rubric below.

 
 Essay 3: Lost Names
According to Richard E. Kim,
 
One of the most important elements in Korean literature of the past and even the present — from the point of view of understanding Korean literature psychologically and philosophically — is the concept of Han [/].3
 
Yet he goes on to say that “what I have been trying to find in and through my writing is nothing less than the ways and means — psychological and philosophical — to destroy the Korean version of Han.”4 Present at least three examples of how Kim “liberate[s] himself and his characters from the iron grip, from the centuries-old clutch of Han.”5 How do these examples, together with the author’s discussion of han in the “Preface to the Fortieth Anniversary Edition” (especially pages xiii-xxiii), the Authors Note on pages 197-8, and Kathy Masalkis interview with Richard E. Kim, demonstrate the historical value of Lost Names — despite the fact that the main character is actually fictional. Note: since Kims novel does not have an index, you should take notes on relevant passages as you read through the text. For more details on the essay requirements see the Essay 3 Rubric below.
 

1 Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian, Third Edition, trans. Burton Watson (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 81.
2 Kenko and Chomei, Essays in Idleness and Hojoki, trans. Meredith McKinney (London: Penguin Books, 2013), ix.
3 Richard E. Kim, Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998), xiii.
4 Kim, Lost Names, xiv.
5 Kim, Lost Names, xiv.
 
Reacting to the Past: Japan, Pan-Asianism, and the West, 1940-1941
Toward the end of the semester we will do a role-playijng game that focuses on the period from July 1940 to November 1941, when Japan was embroiled in a three-year war with China and quickly running out of the natural resources it needed to continue its conquest of China and maintain its industrial economy back home. Taking on the roles of leading figures in Tokyo (army and navy officers, bureaucrats, and members of the Imperial Court), you will read important works from Japan’s past and advise the emperor on how to proceed. Will you strike south” to seize the natural resources of Southeast Asia — at the risk of war with Britain and America? Or will you secure the resources you need from England and America — even if it means abandoning Japan’s ultimate goal of leading a Pan-Asian coalition that would eliminate Western imperialism from the region? Please note that this “game” demands a high degree of student preparation: you will need to read various primary and secondary source materials in order to prepare petitions for consideration by the cabinet, make speeches that support or oppose such petitions, and more generally work toward achieving your personal goals as well as those of any political faction with which you may be aligned. In short, students who become fully immersed in the game by reading the materials carefully (and repeatedly) will likely to significantly better than those who rely on general impressions and uncertain recollections. To get started, download the RTTP Gamebook on Blackboard by clicking the RTTP tab on the left side of the course’s Blackboard page.
 
Reflection on Contemporary East Asia
East Asia may not be as cohesive and distinctive a region as it once was, and perhaps there is no longer any definable “East Asian civilization.” Modernization and Westernization shredded many East Asian traditions beginning as early as the late nineteenth century, and the mid-twentieth Cold War divided East Asia between competing outside ideologies and power blocs, whose legacies linger still. Recent East Asian economic takeoff, meanwhile, might be interpreted merely as an extension of a universally successful modern model. ... Yet, over the whole of East Asia, the ghost, not so much of Confucius as of the entire East Asian past, still hovers, often invisibly but nonetheless powerfully, especially in the form of the extensively shared vocabulary among the East Asian languages. China (including Greater China), Japan, [and] Korea ... are all very different places, but they also literally share many of the same words and ideas. And, if there is any one thing that does seem fairly certain at the start of the twenty-first century, it is that East Asia is once again, as it had been for much of human history prior to the nineteenth century, a major world center. (HEA, 400)
According to oxforddictionaries.com, the term civilization can be defined as “The society, culture, and way of life of a particular area.” Halcombe sketches out arguments both for and against the proposition that it is still meaningful to speak of “East Asian civilization.” Which argument do you find more convincing? Using specific examples from the course, explain why contemporary East Asia does or does not continue to share a sense of society, culture, and/or way of life that is sufficient to warrant the label “civilization.” Your paper should be at least 750 words and include at least three aspects of civilization that China, Japan, and Korea do or do not share. For more details on the paper requirements, see the Reflection on Contemporary East Asia Rubric below.
 
Required Texts
  • Holcombe, Charles. A History of East Asia: From the Origins of Civilzation to the Twenty-First Century. Second Edition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 
  • Clements, Jonathan. The First Emperor of China. Albert Bridge Books, 2015. 
  • Kenko and Chomei. Essays in Idleness and Hojoki. Translated by Meredith McKinney. London: Penguin Classics, 2013.
  • Kim, Richard E. Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood. Second Edition. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2011.
  • Moser, John E. Japan, Pan-Asianism, and the West, 1940-41: Game Book. Unpublished Manuscript, Version 3.3, August 2019. (Download @ Blackboard/HIST165/RTTP)
 
Office Hours, Etc.
225 North Loomis Road, Room 23
Tuesday 3-5  ~  Wednesday 4-5  ~  Thursdays 3-5  ~  Tea/Talk on Fridays from 4-5
Phone: 630-637-5619
E-mail: bhoffert@noctrl.edu
Home Page: http://bhoffert.faculty.noctrl.edu


Essay 1 Rubric: The First Emperor of China
 

 

Unsatisfactory
0 - .65

Satisfactory
.75

Good
.85

Excellent
.95

MARK

LENGTH

<1000 words

1000-1250 words

1250-1500 words

>1500 words

2%

STYLE

Excessive stylistic errors (spelling, grammar, etc.).

Ideas are adequately expressed but there are many stylistic errors.

Ideas are clearly expressed with some stylistic errors.

Ideas are eloquently  expressed with very few stylistic errors.

3%

EVIDENCE/

REFERENCES

There are problems with the references (too few, formating, no page numbers, etc.)

There are 3-4 examples of the FE’s accomplishments and/or failures

There are 5 good examples of the FE’s accomplishments and/or failures

The paper’s thesis is strongly supported by at least 5 examples of accomplishments and failures

10%

THESIS

The paper does not develop a clear thesis

The paper presents a thesis but does not support it with a convincing argument

The paper presents a reasonable thesis that is supported by a convincing argument

The paper presents an insightful thesis that is supported by a strong argument

5%

TOTAL

 

 

 

 

20%


Essay 2 Rubric: The Literature of Reclusion
 

 

Unsatisfactory
0 - .65

Satisfactory
.75

Good
.85

Excellent
.95

MARK

LENGTH

<1000 words

1000-1250 words

1250-1500 words

>1500 words

2%

STYLE

Excessive stylistic errors (spelling, grammar, etc.).

Ideas are adequately expressed but there are many stylistic errors.

Ideas are clearly expressed with some stylistic errors.

Ideas are eloquently  expressed with very few stylistic errors.

3%

EVIDENCE/

REFERENCES

There are problems with the references (too few, formating, no page numbers, etc.)

There are less than 3 references to and/or HojokiTsurezuregusa

There are 3 references to each of the two texts that support the paper’s thesis

The paper’s thesis is strongly supported by at least 3 references to each text

10%

THESIS

The paper does not develop a clear thesis

The paper presents a thesis but does not support it with a convincing argument

The paper presents a reasonable thesis that is supported by a convincing argument

The paper presents an insightful thesis that is supported by a strong argument

5%

TOTAL

 

 

 

 

20%


Essay 3 Rubric: Lost Names
 

 

Unsatisfactory
0 - .65

Satisfactory
.75

Good
.85

Excellent
.95

MARK

LENGTH

<1000 words

1000-1250 words

1250-1500 words

>1500 words

2%

STYLE

Excessive stylistic errors (spelling, grammar, etc.).

Ideas are adequately expressed but there are many stylistic errors.

Ideas are clearly expressed with some stylistic errors.

Ideas are eloquently  expressed with very few stylistic errors.

3%

DISCUSSION
OF HAN

The concept of han is not discussed

The concept of han is briefly discussed but without reference to the Preface, Author’s Note, or interview

The concept of han is adequately discussed with reference to the Preface, Author’s Note, and/or interview

There is a clear and insightful discussion of han based on the Preface, Author’s Note, and/or interview

2%
TEXTUAL
EVIDENCE
There are substantial deficiencies in the textual evidence that is presented in support of the thesis
Some textual evidence is provided but it does not adequately support the thesis
There are appropriate discussions of 3 examples that illustrate a liberation from han
The paper’s thesis is strongly supported by at least 3 examples that illustrate a liberation from han
8%

THESIS

The paper does not develop a clear thesis with regard to the novel’s valueas a historical source

The paper presents a  “historical value” thesis but does not support it with a convincing argument

The paper presents a reasonable “historical value” thesis that is supported by a convincing argument

The paper presents an insightful “historical value” thesis that is supported by a strong argument

5%

TOTAL

 

 

 

 

20%


Reflection on East Asian Civilization Rubric
 

 

Unsatisfactory
0 - .65

Satisfactory
.75

Good
.85

Excellent
.95

MARK

LENGTH

<600 words

600-750 words

750-900 words

>900 words

1%

STYLE

Excessive stylistic errors (spelling, grammar, etc.).

Ideas are adequately expressed but there are many stylistic errors.

Ideas are clearly expressed with some stylistic errors.

Ideas are eloquently  expressed with very few stylistic errors.

1%
ASPECTS OF
EAST ASIAN
CIVILIZATION

The paper does not adequately discuss the society, culture, and/or way of life” of China, Japan & Korea

The paper identifies less than 3 aspects of society, culture, or way of life that C, J & K do or do not share

The paper identifies 3 aspects of society, culture, or way of life that C, J & K do or do not share

The are at least 3 strong examples of civilizatoin aspects that C, J & K do or do not share

4%
TEXTUAL
EVIDENCE
Theabove aspects are inadequately supported by evidence from the readings
The above aspects are minimally supported by evidence from the readings
The above aspects are supported by appropriate evidence from the readings
The above aspects are strongly supported by evidence from the readings
4%

TOTAL

 

 

 

 

10%