Introduction to East Asia
Midterm Exam

 
Part I: Quiz-Style Questions
30x1=30 points

A combination of multiple-choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, and other quiz-style questions based on material that is on the course web pages and was discussed in class.
Part II: Identify & State the Significance
4x10=40 points

Identify and state the significance of 4 out of 6 items, all of which are prominently featured on the web and were discussed in detail during class.

Part III: Essay Questions
1x30=30 points

Answer 1 of the following 2 essay questions:

A. The 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. (Records of the Grand Historian, 81)

Present a brief outline of the events that led to the unification of China in 221 B.C.E. as well as a summary of the First Emperor’s major accomplishments. Based on the above passage, how would you describe the Grand Historian’s perspective on the unification of China? What lesson did he hope to illustrate through his reflection on the Qin unification? Do you agree with his assessment? Why or why not?

 
B. The Creation of an East Asian Community

The early histories of both Korea and Japan would be incomprehensible except as parts of a larger East Asian community. During the centuries of division in China following the collapse of the Han Dynasty, and continuing on through the reunified Sui and Tang dynasties, a degree of shared international aristocratic culture had developed throughout East Asia. This was a time when elites in China, Korea, and Japan … in some ways had more in common with each other than they did with their own peasants living in nearby villages. (A History of East Asia, 114)

Identify at least two elements of this “shared international aristocratic culture” and explain how they helped to create an East Asian community. Your response should include at least one example from each of the three countries in question (i.e. China, Korea, and Japan).