Saturday, July 08, 2006

Asian History Carnival #5

Welcome to the Asian History Carnival #5. In this, I am highlighting notable recent posts from the history blogosphere. My thanks to the many who have offered advice or submitted posts including Jonathan Dresner, Jennie Weber, Otto Pohl, Jon Swift, Joe Bartlett, Dan Harris, and an anonymous submitter who sent me several good recommendations.

Korea on my Mind

The recent North Korean missile tests have been commented on all over the blogosphere. As such, it is not surprising that two history blogs covered it as well. Andrew Meyer's discussion of the Korean Missile Crisis has some good historical background and clearly relies on historical trends. MajorDad1984 in Sorry, Kim. This One Just Doesn't Have the Distance.... compares North Korea’s obsession with missile testing to the Soviet Union which spent itself into oblivion spending too much money on weapons and predicts a similar result.

Konrad Lawson visited a historical recreation village in Korea and included some pictures with his observations.

Owen Miller noted an ongoing dispute about the return of Korean documents taken by the French in 1866.

Want to smoke a joint in South Korea? Don’t! Owen Miller also looked at the history of Marijuana prohibition in Korea.

Hanikyoreh has photographs of life going on during the Korean War. (I will have to trust the submitter on this one as I can not read Korean.)

Thinking about China as Well

Andrew Meyer remembered the 17th Anniversary of Tiananmen incident. This brought back memories to me as well. I remember taking some newly arrived Chinese students to the library at my American campus the next summer and showing them the newsmagazine photos of the massacre when they asked me about rumors that something had happened.

Alan Baumler looked at the celebration (or lack thereof) of Father's Day in China.

Jennie Weber wrote about an American presidential visit which may have been the week that changed the world. Who would have guessed that the Nixon trip to China would have been so significant?

I noted a letter of advice to Queen Victoria written by Lin Zexu. 19th century China was fighting drug abuse long before the western world was.

Dan Harris asked Why China Stagnated? and used economic history to try and answer.

Japan too…

Mutantfrog cites two articles on a whale-lunch experiment. While not history related, I will include this submission anyway as I find the idea of eating whale meat shocking. Is there not a world wide ban on whaling right now? Or is the tradition of eating whale meat anyway based on tradition what makes this post of note to history bloggers?

Mutantfrog also discusses race and racism in Tezuka comics and browses the National Diet Library. This library is similar to the Library of Congress but not nearly as old.

Should Japanese students be taught to love their country? That sounds rather obvious to me but it is controversial as some believe it could lead to militarism. Nick Kapur looks at the Japanese Diet which has been debating several competing bills to revise the Fundamental Education Law of 1947 which addresses this.

Jonathan Dresner discussed some amateur hypotheses on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

And More

There was some excitement over Sino-Japanese War Art at MIT. While Alan Baumler (1, 2) and Jonathan Dresner tended to side strongly with Dower/Miyagawa, Winnie Wong made a case that ­ from her perspective as an art historian ­that the exhibit was indeed flawed.

Alan Baumler has a great discussion of a new tri-national textbook on East Asia.He also discusses the role of memorization in Asian (and Western) history and writing before the advent of Google.

Ahistoricality believes that a blogger is misusing Gandhi historically.

Abdusalaam Al-Hindi reports on a 1930 conversation between Tagore and Einstein. Or was this a joke? Brian Ulrich looks at the life of the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik.

Shash o Panj finds the stinky other around the Round Table in the form of Sir Palomides, the Saracen knight of King Arthur's world.Cutting the Chai has nine installments of vintage Indian ads which are fun, often colorful, and probably will bring back memories for those who saw them when they were first published.

Jon Swift writes Let's Not Nuke Iran-Yet. However, if the times comes, the war planners would do well to learn from the Vietnam War and do it right this time.

J. Otto Pohl asks What Happened to the Ethnic Chinese in the Soviet Far East?


Thank you for stopping by! When I find out who is hosting the next Asian History Carnival, I will note it here.


Jonathan Dresner said...

Excellent work, Miland: thanks for hosting!

I have to confess: I'm the person who submitted the whale-meat articles. I actually find the history of whale-meat very ironic, since it became a widespread food in Japan only in the wake of WWII, at the insistence of the US Occupation. It was traditionally eaten only in the far north and south before that. As other sources of protein became available, whale meat dropped off of the culinary radar of most Japanese, but there are villages in Japan that still depend on whale harvesting for their economic livelihood, and the electoral strength of rural communities remains extremely high....

Roy Berman said...

Seconded- very nice collection of articles, which I'll read through properly tomorrow, as well as post a link over here on my own blog (as I'm off to bed in a few)

And Jonathan, I'm glad you thought to submit the whale meat articles. I have some earlier posts (linked to from that post I believe) that discuss a bit more of the background.

What I find particularly interesting about the whale meat issue, as I think you can see from the choice of those two articles, is the way whale eating is presented in Japan. They wrap it up in this discource of being "nostalgic," as if these kids are somehow going to become more patriotic by eating the crappy food of their parents (grandparents?) generation! I asked some of my coworkers about whale, and they had all tasted it-but no one liked it. They are all in their 20s and 30s and had tried it mainly in elementary school, like these kids. I also heard similar reactions. "Well, the meat was pretty tough." "It was deep fried so it really just tasted like... like fried stuff. That's probably good though, I don't think it would have been very nice if you could really taste it." I remain HIGHLY skeptical that if the market were properly opened there would be near enough commercial demand for whale meat to justify commercial whaling at all, must less this silly diplomacy surrounding it.

Jennie W said...

On whale hunting - it is still legal in Alaska for Eskimos to hunt for subsistence purposes. It is considered part of their cultural (as well as the fact that is a major part of their diet) heritage. People up there would probably tell you it tastes good. I personally have never tried, nor do I want to.

For more information:
Alaska Eskimo Whaling:

US Request to change IWC law:

Alaskan Whaling the IWC:

Jennie W said...

To add to your whale recipes:

Whale Steak with Green Peas:

Roy Berman said...

What is currently banned is commercial whaling, using industrial methods. A number of communities around the world are allowed under the terms of the treaty to engage in whaling for their own using, using more traditional methods. What Japan does is kill a decent number of whales for commercial purposes while claiming that they are being caught for research (that was mentioned as the source of the meat in one of the articles I translated.) They are currently working diplomatic channels to get the whaling rules revised to re-enable legal commercial whaling, but the current ban seems to be no deterrant to their current whaling industry.

Muninn said...

Great job, thanks Miland!