Asian History Carnival #17

Welcome to the seventeenth Asian History Carnival. The next carnival will be held December 12th. If you are interested in hosting the next carnival, please send me an email: kmlawson at

Thanks to everyone who submitted nominations, the diversity and quality of postings in this carnival depends on them!

While we don’t do so shabby here at Frog in a Well – China, 花崗齋之愚公 of the Granite Studio continues to be a great place to go for interesting postings related to Chinese history. We should all congratulate him for getting married last month but he was soon back at the keyboard to celebrate the anniversary of the arrest of the Gang of Four and ask us to give Hua Guofeng a little more credit as a leader. At the Granite Studio we also learn a bit about the Politics of Guidebooks on China and the history of Tiananmen Square.

We should also wish the venerable sage Confucius a Happy 2558th, which the Useless Tree does in typically humorous fashion. In a more serious posting, he suggests that the situational ethics of Confucians is not necessarily anti-democratic.

While we are celebrating anniversaries, visit All Things Pakistan for a posting dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Rooh Afza drink which is “a blend of pure crystalline sugar, distilled extracts of citrus flowers, aquas of fruits, vegetables and cooling herbal ingredients processed to impart the stimulating taste and unparallel quality…” I’m a simple guy, you had me at crystalline sugar.

Roy Berman at Mutant Frog Travelogue has an interesting discussion on Taiwanese place names with an unusually strong colonial connection. Is 高雄 Kaohsiung or Takao? Is the town of 森阪 Shenban or Morisaka (摩里沙卡)? Staying in Taiwan, Michael Turton tells us about a well-preserved Shinto shrine in Taichung.

The Dazhai Spirit gets religion: Joel Martinsen writes about the history of Dazhai, the Dazhai spirit, and its interaction with religion. A translation of the article “Dazhai Builds a Temple” by Li Xiangping is also presented.

Also on Danwei, Peter Micic writes about musicologist Xiao Mei’s fieldwork in China and some of the history of music scholars in China in Soundscapes of Memory: Ethnomusicology in China.

A hat tip to 花崗齋之愚公 for pointing to a great discussion by Li Datong on the Shanghai history textbook which has made the news in the article Shanghai: new history, old politics. The article includes an interesting discussion of the aftermath of the international media attention given to the text.

Chapati Mystery reports on and joins in on a scathing review of a collection of primary documents on the Indian uprising of 1857 in Documents of 1857 but finds, and reproduces for us, a useful list of archives where primary sources can be found.

At Siddhartha Shome’s weblog, there is a truly wonderful posting on the history and diversity of New Social Movements in India, their ideological origins, and connections to the thought of Gandhi and Babasaheb Ambedkar. The posting comes complete with recommended links and further reading.

At Varnam, a posting on the Historical Rama laments the lack of money for research into the subject of the legendary Indian figure. Meanwhile, a religio-political and environmental battle rages over whether or not an underwater formation, allegedly a bridge constructed at the request of the prince Rama for him and his army of monkeys, is to be destroyed for the Sethusamudram canal project. Read more about this battle in the article by Romila Thapar here, and in the online posting by B.R.P. Bhaskar: Rama’s Bridge and the political Rama.

Rohit Chopra writes a posting on The Politics of Ungeneralizability in writings on colonialism, raising a number of important issues related to the critique of empire, whether or not the fundamental violence of the imperial project can be compared to things such as slavery and Fascism, and suggestions that post-colonial scholars have allowed their anticolonial perspective to ignore the violence of the regimes that follow liberation. The posting almost begs for debate, but there have been no comments posted yet.

Is a new region, and the history of that region coming into being? At Cliopatria Rachel Leow talks about the birth of the idea of Southeast Asia, and its rise as a subject of study.

Sayaka Chatani shares some notes on the issue of Korean War Criminals over at Prison Notebooks and discusses certain features that the research in Korea and Japan on the subject have in common. See Part I and Part II.

Our own Frog in a Well contributor Morgan Pitelka writes On Japanophilia: Collecting, Authenticity, and Making Identity at Professor Pitelka explored the history of the phenomenon in a seminar he offered in 2007 and shares some of the issues raised and Orientalism found in some concrete examples.

At Displaying Japan, Armanda Dingledy-Rodie’s posting Beyond the Exhibit: Japanese Ceramics in a Wider Cultural Context is inspired by a visit to an exhibit in the British Museum and raises questions about the relationship between the art, their functional value, and the context of their kilns and workshops.

Tim, a fellow Viking in Japan on JET, writes about Fiber and Food Nationalism in Japan.1

Frog in a Well

There have been some interesting postings here at home of late. Here at Frog in a Well China, Alexander Akin dropped in to give us a wonderful post on Manchukuo stamps, Alan has continued to offer excellent contributions, including a discussion on Buddhism in wartime, the current National Studies fever in China, the influence of Maoism in The Girl From the Coast, the connections between attempts to control the trade in Salt and Opium, wartime cartoons, and on preservation in public history.

Nick tells of a battle being waged in Japan over the origins of the famous sailor-style school uniforms. Owen gives us a 30-second tour of Seoul’s historical Pukchon district. Jonathan writes about some interesting tales regarding the Japanese diaspora, on Hawaiian Kanji characters (see also this posting at Far Outliers), and explores the mysteries of categories at the American Historical Association in a posting on Asia as a Marginal Category.


Check out some of the projects in progress at e-Asia’s digital library at the University of Oregon. Some of the resources and pages on the site are still under construction. They have also put together downloads of various digital books related to Japan, China, South and North Korea, and Taiwan in various formats including Google book downloads and direct scans.

花崗齋之愚公 points us to an online collection of photographs from Turkestan divided into a number of sections by topic.

The wonderful Columbia University project Expanding East Asian Studies is a great resource, mentioned in various postings here at Frog in a Well which, among other things, has syllabi, course plans, and other resources for teaching courses on East Asia. See one wonderful example of a teaching unit hosted here: The Trial of Wang Shiwei 1942.

Read about Frank Dikötter’s project on the history of photography in China and view a wonderful slideshow available to complement it. Dikötter is a well-known history of modern China and in addition to his numerous books and articles which have sometimes been discussed here at Frog in a Well, his website is well worth the visit.

That is all for now. Join us again December 12th for the next carnival, host to be announced. For more great history postings, see the most recent History Carnival #57 hosted at the Osprey Publishing blog.

  1. While the Japanese complain about the startling effects of a “westernization” of their diet, ironically I was reminded of how Norwegians complain of a “westernization” of their own diet. The category of “Western” food is not only used in Japanese propaganda. I also came across it in an interesting article I downloaded some time ago by some researchers at the University of Tromsø which discusses dietary changes in Norway and uses the “Western” category for all the nasty stuff: Dietary patterns and lifestyle factors in the Norwegian EPIC cohort: The Norwegian Women and Cancer (email me if you want a copy of the PDF)  


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