You are here

Movies and Books

373 posts / 0 new
Last post
Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from dockerman

As of Sunday 1/26, the Chinese government has not approved the release of "Memoirs of a Geisha." It seems Chinese officials are worried that the sight of ethnic Chinese actresses portraying Japanese geishas may spark a public backlash. "many people in mainland China are still upset over Japan's World War II-era military atrocities." Illegal copies of the movie, are of course, already available.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from kwalsh

I agree. The story left me feeling a bit unsettled inside. Too much build up with lots of holes after Sayuri came to America. I haven't seen the movie, but since movies aren't usually as good as the novels they are based upon, I'm afraid I'll be even more disappointed.
I did enjoy the language the geisha used. Their polite way of speaking was amusing.
i need to read Liza Dalby's book.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from jpratt

I'm reading "Memoirs" right now. I don't know much about the book or the author. Can anyone enlighten me about its past? Obviously the movie is in theatres now, but I refuse to see it until I have finished the book.

I guess I am asking for insight about geisha life and how they were treated by other women in Japanese society. Were the geisha respected by other women? Did these women have children while working as geishas? I have so much to learn here.

jem

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from jdelarme

I'm doing a book review project for extra credit. Its for high school students
Its at http://ecr.lausd.k12.ca.us/staff/jdelarme/Book%20Review%20Assignment.htm

As for as books about Asia, I'm including these books I've been recommend/ or I have read

Bonesetter's Daughter
Botchan
Dragon Empress
Emperor of China
Family
Hiroshima
Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood
Red Star Over China
Son of the Revolution
Soong Dynasty
Still Life With Rice
Vietcong Memoir
When Heaven and Earth Changed Places
Wild Swans

clay dube
Topic replies: 1871
Topic Posts: 604
Message from Clay Dube

Liza Dalby, the American who became a geisha as part of her doctoral dissertation fieldwork, published Geisha in 1998. It is currently on sale for $10 at the UC Press website. Check out the site for reviews.

http://www.ucpress.edu/books/sale/pages/8427.html

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from scampbell

I was just looking through Vistas magazine (Loyola Marymount Vol 9 #1--I guess I receive this magazine because I attend their wonderful Napa Wine Festival every year and saw a story that caught my eye: "Immigrant Dreams--One professor's groundbreaking research on LA's Koreatown is fueled by his personal story". Many of my students just went on a fieldtrip to Koreatown this week so I decided to read the piece. He wrote of the staggering poverty in this neighborhood (which I wasn't aware of). Evidently real wages for working families has declined by 17% in the past decade, while the cost of living has skyrocketed. The large numbers of minimum wage jobs in this area has created a significant group of residents who work full time, yet live in poverty.
Besides Dr. Park's "Koreatown on the Edge", he also published a book with his brother (an associate proffessor at UC Santa Barbara),"Probationary Americans--Contemporary Immigration Policies and the Shaping of Asian American Communities".
He's done some interesting research. The trends are not all positive. In the end he feels that education is still the solution

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from tsprague

I just finished a novel with the most interesting premise--Joanna Catherine Scott, the author, adopted three Korean orphans while living in the Phillipines in 1985. When her children reached teenagehood, they wanted to know more about their heritages; they wanted to reconnect with their Korean identities. Scott attempted to find their mother (who was still alive but had abandoned the children--it's a complicated reason that is detailed in the story) but she found little information of the children's home, family or past. So, Scott embarks on researching her children's original family/culture, and, as a result of her research, pieced together this story, this novel. She captures the Korean culture (in this case, during the 1970s-80s) as well as some other novels that I've read by Korean and Korean American authors. Her explanation for the mother's abandonment of her children, however, is told with a definite Western feminist spin. Despite this, the story is still powerful; it is a testament to a mother's love--since she can't confirm her childrens' identities through facts, she creates a story to satisfy them (using as much fact, and her oldest son's memory as sources).

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from tsprague

I've been meaning to share some Asian-themed children's books that I use as supplementary material in my high school classroom. Finally, I'm sharing a posting that can work for all grade levels.

Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog by Pamela S. Turner
In this story, set in Tokyo, a dog always follows his master to the train station in the morning, then waits for his return in the evening. One day, his owner unexpectedly dies at work, but Hachiko still waits for him; Hachiko waits, until his own death. Today, there is a statue commerating Hachiko in the train station. The story illustates the importance of loyalty to the Japanese.

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
This is a story about Japanese Americans trying to recreate normalcy in the internment camps of World War II. It is a story of hope; the idea that forming teams, playing a game, and learning to work together could alleviate some of the trauma of being interred.

The Trip Back Home by Janet S. Wong
Janet Wong is an American poet (and children's story writer, obviously) who has a Korean mother and a Chinese father. Much of her poetry works towards fusing the multiple cultures that make up her identity. This story is told by a young American girl traveling to Korea for the first time. Even though she does not speak Korean, she is still able to connect with Korean traditions and her Korean relatives.

Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say
A Japanese American grandson tells the story of his Japanese grandfather--both the grandfather's experiences in Japan and America. The story honors both cultures.

Momotaro: Peach Boy illustated by George Suyeoka
In the novel I teach, What the Scarecrow Said, a Japanese American is trying to adapt the Momotaro story, a Japanese folktale, to his American environment. So I was so pleased to find this illustrated version of the folktale. It is the story of a boy who goes off from his family to fight many battles and overcome many foes, but in the end, he returns to his family to resume his duties as a faithful son. The story is a great way to introduce Japanese values, but there's a bonus: in the back is "an introduction to things Japanese" in which there are written descriptions accompanying illustrations of items ranging from paintings to millet dumplings to armour.

Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding by Lenore Look
This story details customs associated with the Chinese wedding, told from a niece who is afraid she'll lose her uncle's attention once he is married. This author also wrote Henry's First Moon Birthday, which details Chinese birthday customs.

In The Leaves by Huy Voun Lee
Xiao Ming teaches his friends how to create Chinese characters by comparing them to the actual objects that he and his friends find on a farm. The characters for grain, fire, autumn, field and sprout are explored. What a great way to introduce students to the pictograths that make up the Chinese language!

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from clockwood

I just watched a very good movie on DVD -- The King of Masks. It is enjoyable viewing, good acting, a good story. There is nothing inappropriate for classroom viewing, but I'm not sure how it would be applicable except as a cultural view of China and an example of a well-done movie.

The story centers around an "old" man -- Wang -- who is a street performer and makes his living traveling by boat around China, probably sometime in the early 1900's. He wants a successor to pass on the secrets of his craft, so buys a young boy in the black market. Seeing "parents" selling their children because they can't afford to keep them was a sobering (but not shown as depressing) scene. The man begins to teach his new grandson tricks, but they soon run into problems.

At times you want to lecture the old man, but you see how the culture affected his judgement. It is an entirely different society from ours today. Of particular interest, and a theme in the story, is the appreciation of boys over girls. In fact, in the black market, there were mostly girls and some had been sold over and over because girls were deemed useless. There is also valid commentary on the importance of entertainers and their role in society.

Altogether it is an engrossing, uplifting movie. Netflix and Ebert both give it a 4 and I would agree with them. (1999, 1 hr. 41 min)
Courtney Lockwood, Venice High School

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from nbeck

I presently teach at the high school level. I teach World History, AP World History, and AP European History. But, before this, I taught 18 years at the middle school level or junior high level. My movie collection is considerable, having recorded and collected videos for the past 20 plus years. But my absolute favorite video on the recent history of China continues to be Theodore White's "China, a Revolution Revisited." It was made twice, first released under the title of "China, Roots of Madness’ approximately 1969 and then re-released again in 1972 on the eve of Nixon visit to China. The images are extraordinarily well selected, with images of all major events described, except for the Xi'an Incident, because as Theodore White said, you don't invite a cameraman to a kidnapping. The video begins with the Boxer Rebellion of 1899. The voice over, by and music match the narration of Joseph Campbell. Graphic images include decapitated heads. The career of the sinister Ci'xi is, of course, delineated. The rise of Sun Yat-Sen, Yuan, Mao, and the warlords are developed according to importance. The Northern Expedition to the Marco Polo Bridge incident are all included with actual photographs or videos (movies.) The civil war as well as the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and China is all given ample visual and textual development. The video even shows the events of April 12, 1927 when the nationalists attacked the Communists in Shanghai and concludes with images of the December 1927 in Canton when the Communists staged an uprising and the Nationalists suppressed it.
The video features Pearl Buck, Ernest Price (State Department officer), and Professor Early Swisher of University of Colorado. These people add to the authority and gravitas of the video.
The video shows the last ship to leave China as the Nationalist flee to Taiwan. Life in China is shown as it developed under Mao. But here, the video concentrates on China's attempts to control the minds of the people rather than on the events such as the Great Leap Forward. The Cultural Revolution is not mentioned as information on the events in China during the period from 1950 to 1976 was difficult to gather, even for the CIA.
Unfortunately, this video is no longer available for purchase. It can be found, however, in various university and public libraries.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from nbeck

Having been a teacher for the past 35 years, I have, like most teachers, purchased many books for my reference and enjoyment. The most valuable book I own and enjoy is Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culutre, edited by John S. Bowman. It was, of couse, published by Columbia University, in 2000 so it is a recent addition to my library. It divides Asian history and culture into East Asia (China and Japan) and chronicles first the political history, then it chronicles the development of the arts, culture, thought, and religion, and finally, it chronicles the develpment of science, technology, economics, and everyday life.
It follows this with a chronicle of Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau (Macao.)
In part II, it deals with South East Asia, namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka or Ceylon. India is delineated with in particular detail.
Part III deals with the present counties of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malasia, Burma (Myanmar), the Philippihnes, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Part IV details the chronological history of Mongolia, the Central Asian Republics, and Tibet.
What I find most valuable about the book is the clarity with which it is written. The most salient points are brought forth clearly and with good explanation. For anyone who teaches Asian history and needs a resourse book which can be relied upon for easy to understand concepts and historical development, this book is the excellent. I highly recommend it to those who just like to read a concise accounts of a region's political, social, scientific, economic, technological cultural development. Nicholas Beck

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from egant

Recently, I watched Lee Chang Dong's 2000 film, Peppermint Candy. Starting with a present-day introduction to a disgusting and obnoxious man and winding backwards through two decades, the film chronicles the rotting of a former soldier named Yongho in order to complicate the legacy of South Korea's 1980 Kwangju massacre.
The Kwangju Uprising of May 1980 (read more at http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2000/korea/story/kwangju/ ) was a citizen revolt of staggering proportions in response to a coup by General Chun Doo Hwan. The frustrations of Korean modernization-- the despair at another lost chance at democratization as power was seized by yet another military dictator, the anger of a region shortchanged by the country's new (and emotionally, physically, and socially taxing) prosperity, the tradition of mass student unrest, the consequences of decades of militarized mobilizations--were brought to bear in the steets of the southwestern city, resulting in a brief moment of successful self-rule soon brutally crushed and hushed by the Korean military. The revolt revealed many of the problems of modernization in South Korea and got them into the public discourse (via underground channels), stripping Chun Doo Hwan's regime of its legitimacy before it even really began and dooming it to democratization. The 1980 revolt is now memorialized as the harbinger and eternal guardian of democracy in Korea, and a Kwangju industry has sprung up to sustain this nationalist narrative.
But the Grand March of History isn't comprehensive, and Peppermint Candy reminds us of this. Yongho, a sweet and poetic young student, was serving his requisite two years in the Korean Army when his unit was dispatched to Kwangju. Drawing on a large body of contemporary studies on the psychological effects of Kwangju, the film is built around the trauma that Yongho endures as a result of his role in the brutality. As the film unfolds into the past, we are able to piece together the degeneration of the man's emotional and moral fiber: starting with Yongho's drunken reunion-crashing and suicide in the present, we meet him a few days earlier to learn that he is a failed stockbroker whose family has left him, and then earlier and earlier, each time-jump signalled by footage of a train (the one that he jumps in front of) travelling in reverse, to the early nineties, and a tale of emotional abuse, and affairs by both he and his wife. The film then takes us to the late eighties, where Yongho is a policeman torturing student activists and selling off his emotions piecemeal-- an affair here, a beating there. Later (earlier), we meet him as a young policeman just out of the military, and witness his first beatings and the beginnings of his misogyny as he repulses his first love with his boorish treatment of a waitress who is in love with him. Finally, he is a clumsy and love-lorn soldier, fresh from singing with the group he disgusts at the start of the film, and scrambling to get on the truck to Kwangju, where he'll accidentally shoot a schoolgirl on her way home.
Violence ties the parts together, with each containing a specter from the story to come; a reminder of some brutal act that made him further deplorable-- an encounter with his dead first love, the wife he abused, or with the student he tortured-- all leading back to Kwangju, and the trauma overlooked by the oversimplifying nationalism of the present, a trauma that has ruined the lives of not only students and citizens, but soldiers as well. Peppermint Candy-- named for the gift of innocence and love that Yongho saved until the fateful day in May 1980, when his captain and peers, symbolic of the military-industrial complex of Korean mdernization, crushed them beneath their boots-- revises modern Korean history by broadening our understanding of who the victims of violence were, and sends a call to contemporary society to recognize and remedy the more painful parts of Kwangju's legacy.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from jreynolds

I have also not only read this book but added it to the collection of books I lend my students to read. It was incredibly fun and interesting and the students enjoy it. It also exposes them to another culture... and history! Which is great because so many of the kids are oblivious to history in the sixth grade. The idea of the Kung Fu really draws them in. I have every intention of reading the story aloud to my homeroom next year during our reading time.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from jreynolds

I saw this movie in the theatre a few weeks ago. It was a beautiful movie with stunning visual scenes. The ending scene is particularly beautiful and I know will be what I think of anytime the movie comes up. The story is of a gorgeous little Japanese girl with blue eyes who is sold to a geisha house when she is very young. The entire story was very fairytale like - with the main character starting out as a little slave girl and ending up getting everything she set out to get. The viewer does not get the sadness that should or could be involved with loving the person you are with and not being able to be anything but their "woman of the nights" (I think that's what it was called) unless they are a reflective thinker. The story did not offer very much of the Japanese world that could be shared with our students, as beautiful as it was. It is a very small focused view of the world at the time, and glazes over the whole of WW2, going very quickly over the time and showing only the one girls' view of what happened to Japan at the time. It does show the role of women, and it implies where or how women could be powerful. But it doesn't share very much that is useful from the standards or of the culture as a whole.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from apage

I thought this movie was absolutely fascinating. I honestly never knew too much about it but feel informed after seeing it. What a different lifestyle. I didn't read the book which is probably why I liked it more than other viewers, but feel lucky to be a woman in our society. The women had little voice and were expected to become a socially accepted person only after certain training. How crazy! We take our socialization for granted and are able to venture out into the world without the stigmas and labels of the Chinese women. I would recommend this to others as a way of opening our eyes to a different world.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from aaguilar

I was at a tribute to Korean musician and artist, Nam June Paik at LACMA last week. I was blown away. Besides having an amazing immigrant story complete with a stop at a Japanese detention center Mr. Paik's art was really out of this world. One of my favorite pieces was a 1968 clip where he shows a Buddha meditating infront of a Televison. It was awsome and easy to replicate even at home. So easy that UCLA now has many Buddha's practicing infront of a a TV throughout its campus. It is so simple it is genius. Another awsome example of genial simplicity was his Zen T.V. A broken television set with a straight bar in its middle flipped on its side. Very cool. Mr. Paik envisioned television as extremely important in the 1960's and wanted to make the experience more interactive. His early TV documentaries experiment with sound, image and color to create a whole experience. Think about it. This is two decades before MTV hits it off. He also saw television as not only entertainment, as it was marketed back then. He saw televisions as information tools and envisions the internet and its communication when TV was in its infancy. Aside from all this he was also one of the first to have a live simulcast on two coasts. NY and LA musicians played for each other and were able to see each other as well as hear themselves. Again, video conferencing way ahead of its time. There were many clips and 11 artists who payed tribute to this incredible man. Anyone can definetly use his life as an example of the immigrant success story, as well as the remarkable contributions immigrants make to this country.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from jashworth

I don't know how well received the movie would be for high school students but it was an entertaining love story with alot of implicit messages about Japan during the turn of the 20th century and the relationships between men and women at the time. It gave the impression that families in rural areas during that time were so impoverished that selling their daughters to become bar maids was one of the few options in order to survive. At the same time, city life seemed to be flourishing. It's interesting to note that the Geisha's "knight in shining armor " was a man old enough to be her father, which was probably not unusual in that cultural time period. The movie also suggest that after the American occupation, the role of women changed dramatically and in some sense you come away from the movie with some nostalgia about the ..... old days. The kimono's, the hairdo's, the dances, all express some mystical beauty from the feminine side that hopefully will not be totally lost in our future world.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from kdietrick

Rent this Japanese film on DVD. It will renew your love for teaching and give you something to fantasize about.

Setting: Pre WWII Japan
Features a Japanese professor who teachers German to Japanese military boys who's longed to retire and just write. He finally retires and his students are crushed.

Yearly they reunite and decide to form a foundation to honor him based on a child's 'Marco Polo' type game.
They ask him "Mada kai?" (Are you ready, to die, yet?)". He responds "Madadayo," (not yet) and they commence to drinking and storytelling. The story gives a realistic (I think) historical perspective of the
destruction of war and the toll/struggle it takes on its survivors. Life goes on, people show respect, have & remember good times & bad times. Boys become men and pay their filial respects to teachers/elders.
As it should be. Of course his wife has to do all the work why the professor wallows in his "genius" so a cultural lesson there.

Fine for the classroom and fine for your soul. See it, show it.

3 thumbs up.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from aaguilar

THE BEGINNING OF HIP-HOP IN THE BRONX IS DOCUMENTED IN THIS BOOK BY CHANG. LOOK INTO THE LIFES OF DJ KOOK HERC, AFRIKA BAMBAATAA AND GRANDFATHER FLASH, REWIRING TURNTABLES AND RE-ENGINEERING POWDER-KEG RACIAL POLITICS OF THEIR HOME TURF. REVIEWED AS OBSESSIVELY RESEARCHED, BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN, CHANG'S BOOK IS THE FUNKY, BOOTLEG, B-SIDE REMIX OF LATE-20TH CENTURY AMERICAN HISTORY.

I WOULD THINK STUDENTS WILL BE CURIOUS AS TO THE CONTENT.
DEFINETLY CAUGHT MY EYE.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from aaguilar

WELL. I FINALLY CHECKED IT OUT AND I LOVED IT. THERE WERE A COUPLE OF SCENES AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MOVIE THAT WERE CRAPPY. ONE SCENE REMINDED ME OF AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL. TALK ABOUT PLATFORM SHOES! AS SOON AS THE CONFLICT BETWEEN "BIG SISTER" AND PROTAGONIST (SHE CHANGES HER NAME THREE TIMES) IS SET YOU CAN'T HELP TO ROOT FOR HER. SHE DOES A GOOD JOB OF CONNECTING WITH THE AUDIENCE. THE VILLAIN "BIG SIS" IS A REAL ..... GOOD ACTRESS. THE COSTUMES WERE AWSOME, THE STREETS A LITTLE TOO CLEAN TO BE REALISITIC, I THOUGHT. OVERALL, THE MOVIE IS A DEFINITE MUST SEE AND SINCE IT IS A PEOPLE STORY IT TRANSCENDS TIME AND PLACE. OH, THE WEB'S WE HUMANS CAN WEAVE. TOO BAD PEOPLE WERE DISAPPOINTED. I HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK SO I TOOK IT FOR WHAT IT WAS. A REAL NICE ROMANTIC STORY. HOLLYWOOD ENDING AND ALL.

THERE ARE SOME TEACHER FRIENDLY SCENES WHERE PLACES AND CUSTOMS ARE REFERENCED BUT MOST OF THE CONTENT IS KINDA RACEY IF YOU ASK ME. E-BAY ANYONE?

ENJOY!

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from vgairola

(Make-up evaluation)

“CHUSINGURA” – The Loyal 47 Samurais
(Produced by East West Classics, 1961)

It is a story of samurai devotion and loyalty by the vassals of a Lord Asano, who was ordered to commit hara-kiri for drawing his sword on the Master of Ceremonies in the Shogun’s palace at Edo, Japan, around 1701. It shows the intrigue and corruption in the upper echelons to get and grant favors, and how the etiquettes of court life was utilized to exact revenge and confiscate a vassal’s estate. I think the story flows smoothly and the movie has a good depiction of rituals and etiquettes of samurai life.
I have shown clips of this movie to my 7th. grade World History class while teaching feudal Japan. The scenes that I show are the steps in the ritual of hara-kiri (all steps are depicted except the thrust of the dagger and the decapitation – the scene fades away), the blooming of the cherry blossoms, the haiku poems and the sections on how the samurais use to battle – their dresses, the weapons (swords and lances, though the eight feet tall bow is not shown) and distinctive banners– and the costumes of the men and women in late feudal Japan. The section of the courier service is quite interesting as it can be compared with the pony express, though the former used men to carry the messengers through day and night and the latter was on horseback. The accompanying music by Akira Ifukube has a tinge of melancholy and sadness to it, as is the ending of the story itself but then this reflects the sentiment of ‘aware’ in Japanese literature.
The movie is a good substitute for 'The Seven Samurais' which is rather long and also "Chusingura" is in color and the photography by R Yamada is quite sharp.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from jashworth

Thanks for the tip on this movie. Is it available at blockbuster or another rental service or did you purchase it and how much? What was the reaction/interest level of the students who viewed the film and did they have to answer any response questions to the sections you presented? How much time did you spend covering Japan/China/Korea in your History course and do you have any advice you would like to share about it? Thanks

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from rboller

I recently watched the movie Hero with Jet Li and I absolutely loved it. This is a film that I intend to use in the classroom. It is rated PG13 and some of the content inappropriate for my 7th graders. I also would not have time to screen the entire film for them. However, the use of several clips would definitely support my unit on China and I know the students would find it fascinating. The subject of the film is the historical legend of China’s unification under the Qin dynasty.

The movie is beautiful, poetic and tremendously entertaining. Just the type of material that can help students to get caught up in History – the perfect antidote to boring texts and lectures.

Now, the only question is just which scenes to show them. I know I have to include the last shot, which shows the Great Wall, and also some of the incredible action sequences which show breathtaking battles and martial arts sequences.

Clearly, there is a very unrealistic element to this film, but by carefully choosing a few clips I can help interest my students in the history.

This movie was released in the US in 2004 and was directed by Zhang Yimou. I am sure many of you have seen it, as it has been quite popular. The link at IMDB is http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0299977/

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from vgairola

I am a secondary school teacher but while doing my credentials at CSU, my group did a project and I had a chance to glimpse through this book and it seems like the elementary school students really (from discussions with the other teachers in my group) like this story because they seem to understand or relate to the animals more easily. They seem to be very eager to find out what the animal sign is for the year they were born and can also relate to the incidents and experiences that the girl in the story has. I think it would be a good book for MS ESL students as mentioned by LC.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from ljacques

See-ing into the Exquisite Lives of Women in 19th Century China

Lisa See wrote the book "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan". The above link is an interview with her by APA.

Ms. See traveled to China from her home in Brentwood (yes, she is our neighbor!) to research and prepare for the novel. Her inspiration for the novel came from her discovery of nu shu. Nu shu is a secret language that women from Hunan province developed and used to communicate with each other. It is regarded as the only gender-based language in the world, and one that has been kept secret for a very long time. THe language was developed during a time when women were not considered intellectuals, and they spent most of their time isolated. Her book is based on the friendship between two women and their struggles and survival during a time when life was not easy or fair if you happened to be a women.

What makes this interview interesting is the fact that Lisa See, born in Paris and not particularly Asian looking, grew up in her grandparents' antique store in Los Angeles' Chinatown. Her first book "On Gold Mountain" describes her family history, sure to be interesteing to High School students. I have not yet read her books, but based on this article and her interview, I am headed to the library to check them out.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from vgairola

Does any WHG 7th. grade teacher have any suggestions about covering the 'Tale of Genji'? I was sort of surprised that my MS English class had not read about it even though it is supposed to be covered under Japan per State History Standards. I tried to get a concise story for my class but was unable to make much headway. I was even more surprised when I found out that the school library did not have a copy of this book. The ones in the city libraries are quite long. I ended up telling the class bits and peices about this fictional storyand its court setting and 'aware' (the feeling of sadness at the death of beauty) in Japanese literature.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from spadilla

I don't know where to get the concise version of "Tale of Genji." But if you ever find a perfect edition for the 7th grade classroom, please let me know.

By the way, does anyone know the book called “Samurai Boy?” I read it about 5 years ago. It had about 300 gages. I forgot the author or publisher. I lost the book and very sad about it. It was a wonderful story that I’d love to introduce to my reading class because I have the same students for my history class.

While I was looking for it, I found a few samurai story books written for young people (I'd say the reading level is about 5th to 7th grade). They are called “Boy and the Samurai,” “The Samurai’s Tale” and “The Revenge of the Forty-Seven Samurai” by Erik Christian Haugaard, published by Houghton Mifflin Co. They are all about 200 to 240 pages. According to Barns and Noble, the ratings of these books are quite high. They seem to be a perfect reading resource and they are all affordable ($6.95 a copy). I’ll post a review when I’m done reading.
S.P

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from vgairola

Movie: “The King of Masks”, Shaw Brothers (HK) Productions, 1996

The movie is based on the ancient performance of China about mask transformation. The performer, while on stage (street in the movie), changes his masks with such speed and alacrity that it seems almost magical. The masks itself reflects different characters and the same person enacts the role of the various characters in the performance.
As per the story, this art can only be passed on to a son and not a daughter. However, the performer does not have a heir and buys a ‘son’ in the black market but the 'son' turns out to be a girl of eight who had been sold quite a few times. The performer feels cheated and refuses to teach the girl but the she tries to help the ‘grandpa’ out by assisting him to find a boy heir. After lots of twists and turns in the story, the ‘grandpa’, who is deeply impressed by the girls devotion to him, breaks tradition and teaches the ‘daughter’.
The setting is 1930’s Shichuan and the story itself is a tale of hope and transformation in the face of poverty and loneliness. There are a lot of bazaar scenes with cobblestone streets and traditional costumes. The producers, I think, have done a great job in not being ostentatious, especially as far as the costumes are concerned and the music is in keeping with the setting and theme of the movie. The main actors of the mask performer, the young girl and the opera singer have done justice to the characters they portray though at times the girls dialogues show lot of ‘street wiseness’ about it. The Confucian philosophy of filial piety can be seen in many parts of the movie and some of the dialogues also reflect the belief. The original movie is in Mandarin with English subtitles.
Just last week I saw a cultural performance about the 'Masks' on CCTV and incidentally I happened to come across this movie in the local library over the weekend. It's about a 100 min. movie which can be shown to MS, maybe after editing a couple of short clips (the movie is not rated)
By the way, if someone is interested, "Chusingura" (The Loyal 47 Samurais) seems to be available in the city libraries, as well. I saw a copy of it in VHS at the Torrance library.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from juliedavis

I found many similarities between my students and other teachers' students while reading posts about Chinese Cinderella. I, too, have several copies of this book in my classroom library, and they are all now virtually in tatters. It's one of those rare books that students actually recommend to each other and come and ask me for. The majority of students in my class who read the book are girls--latinas, in fact. So many of them have told me that they can relate to this book. One student detailed how in her family, and often in her culture, boys are also valued more than girls. She expressed frustration in her journal about how her brother is allowed to go anywhere with anyone and stay out as late as he'd like, while she must stay home and complete traditionally female chores around the house, such as cooking dinner and cleaning her brother's room while he's out having fun. I love the idea that the previous poster expressed to use this book as a springboard for autobiography or memoir. I've used this book in literature circles, as well, and it always provokes conversation. I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions of books like this that appeal more to boys? Two that I have found that boys respond to are Donald Duk by Frank Chin and China Boy by Gus Lee. I have had some male students read Chinese Cinderella and enjoy it, but for the most part, girls are still reading it more often.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from spadilla

Regarding to my last post:

I have just finished reading Erik Haugaard's "The Boy and the Samurai." It truly is a wonderful story that tells about a orphan boy who survived through the fudal Japan. He went through many different situations and encountered many strange people including samurais.

I thought the book was quite interesting and appropriate to use for a young reader's literacy cadre or a reading discussion for any history class. Our students will discover an enchanting world of the Japanese historic context in samurai era.

I wondered how the author who was born in Denmark could have written this book with all the detailed description of the lives in fudal Japan.

The Book Info:
Erik Christian Haugaard - Houghton Mifflin Co.
Price $6.95

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from spadilla

Regarding to my last post:

In the course of looking for the book I read in the past, I came across 3 samurai tails written for the young readers. So I bought them all. I did not really recognized it, but I just found out that one of them was the one I have been looking for. It is called "The Samurai's Tale" by Erik Haugaard.

I have just started to read the book after I finished reading "The Boy and the Samurai," and remembered the story. This is the one ("The Samurai's Tale") that I would recommend to any age reader. It is so well written and easy to read that it keeps the reader's interest throughout the story. The readers would learn so much about the Japanese historic background without even thinking about it. The story definitely transcends culture while the episodes reaches the reader's curiousity. This is trully the book that everyone should enjoy.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from clockwood

I just returned from our study tour in China and Japan and, while touring, I read River Town by Peter Hessler. It was the perfect non-fiction account to read during this tour, but I also recommend it for anyone who is interested in the human side of China. Hessler was a Peace Corps volunteer serving as a college teacher in a small town in 1996-98. He wrote about his experiences and the reactions the Chinese had to him, one of the first westerners to live in the town on the banks of the Yangtze River. His memoir unfolds as did his two-year experience; chapter one describes his initial problems as a American in the community -- one who didn't speak Chinese, who was ridiculed on the street, who was goaded into participating in drinking games at parties, who was unsure how to teach English literature in a Communist country. As he becomes more adept at the language and more comfortable in the town, and as he becomes friends with people in the community, his descriptions become more rounded and complex.

Hessler incorporates historical background and statistices with the stories he relays about the people he meets. For example, he questions Chinese as to their reactions to the Three Gorges Dam, as he provides facts on the scope of the project. He gets to know a Communist Party leader in the college, and he provides background on the Party as he looks at the complex demands placed on that person.

I found this fascinating reading and it gave me a better understanding of the people and country in China. I would recommend it to teachers. It is accessible to students, but it is long (400 pages) and would require more than a passing interest in Chinese culture

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from clockwood

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, a novel by Lisa See, is currently #2 on the best selling paperback list, so it must be of interest to a wide range of people. I found it to be an engaging look into the life of Chinese women n the 1800's. While the back cover highlights the protagonist's use of nu shu, a language Chinese women created to communicate with each other, I would not say that that is the core of the novel. The novel follows two girls who meet at age six and stay friends for several decades. One sees how different two girls' experiences could be, and how situations outside their control could make a huge difference in their relationships with others. This novel repeatedly shows how little control women had over their lives. From the day she begins footbinding, a girl must do everything she can to "deserve" a good husband (arranged marriage), yet she is totally at the mercy of first her parents, then her mother-in-law, and finally her husband.

Americans may say "it takes pain to be beautiful," or "no pain, no gain," but women in China in the 19th century felt that pain is the life of a woman. Footbinding was thought to be one way to show a potential husband that you have endured great pain and are strong enough to survive a life of difficulties. Parents were intentionally cruel and/or distant to their children in order to prepare them for a life of hardships.

This novel decribed through the experiences of the two main characters the elaborate traditions and rules that Chinese created to control their society. The marriage customs were highly structured, even to the gradual release of a new bride to living with her husband's family.

This novel is very accessible to high school students, and I think they would find it an interesting story to read (particularly girls). Of particular interest is the concept that girls are worthless; they use valuable resources (food, etc.) and are raised only to benefit another family (their husband's family). Their worth is based on whether they produce male offspring; if a wife produces no male offspring, she can be given away and/or replaced by a concubine. And, once woman has a child, she may never see her birth parents again.

This novel will definitely be added to my class library, and could be a valuable outside reading book for students studying historical China.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from clockwood

Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama is about girls who worked in the silk industry in China during the early to mid-1900's. Because of the last name of the author, I assumed the story was Japanese, but Tsukiyama is a Californian -- half Chinese, half Japanese.

I enjoyed this novel. A family is unable to afford feeding three children during a drought, so they give the most precocious child -- a daughter -- to a woman who keeps a dormitory of girls who work for the silk factories. The girl's wages are sent to her parents and help pay for her room and board, so one girl's work can keep a family afloat.

Once again, this novel highlights the fact that girls are of little value, and parents pay little attention to them. Also, one sees (like Snow Flower and the Secret Fan) how diffficult it is for a couple to have a satisfactory relationship when the marriage is arranged, the man has total control, and woman can be replaced or outcast if the husband is not satisfied. The parents barely speak to each other or to the children, and the father makes all the decisions, adding to the feeling of powerlessness the wife and children fell.

The interesting idea in this novel is that, despite a very difficult working environment, the girls in the silk factory enjoy friendship, have some control in their lives, and have some income they may use for entertainment. They are not involved in subsistence farming, so they have time to educate themselves. Eventually, each girl must choose between returning to her home for an arranged marriage or committing her life to the silk trade and forgoing marriage.

This novel shows several concepts in Chinese history and culture: farming and subsistence living, limitations on females, the broadening of possibilities in a city, the working conditions in the silk factories (14-hour-days; no breaks; exhaustion, injury and death among the girls), and the impact the Japanese invasion had on the Chinese.

It is accessible to high school students, and I plan to include this in my literature circle options for my seniors studying modern literature. You could also use the chapter on the silk factory conditions in a comparison of Chinese and European/American manufacturing. The industrial revolution in the late 1800's and early 1900's created hardships for the working people, no matter what language you spoke.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from rboller

Hey, thanks so much for this entry. I had not seen the interview, and I am totally fascinated by nu shu - this gender specific language.

I looked at the interview briefly, and then I was hunting for some more info on the language itself. Apparently there was a documentary made by Yang Yueqing titled "Nu shu: A Hidden Language of Women in China " that sounds quite good.

Other information that intrigued me was from Wikipedia and described how the women authors who wrote in this language had any of their major works burned at their funeral, which is part of the reason it took so long to come to light.

I definitely want to read this novel and see the documentary. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from clockwood

In the author's afterward to Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See explained that her initial interest was in the nu shu language, which was denied by the police during the Cultural Revolution. She traveled to China to research the language first hand, and referred to the Yang Yueqing book. She also listed several people who have researched the language.

In the novel, the written materials were burned when a person died, in order for that person to have something to comfort them in the afterworld.

While the language was nearly wiped out in the 1900's, it is now being taught in China.

I hope you enjoy the novel and your research into this subject.
Courtney Lockwood
Venice High School

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from juliedavis

River of Stars: Selected Poems of Yosano Akiko
Translated by Sue Hamill and Keiko Matsui Gibson

What an amazingly beautiful book for anyone who loves poetry--especially beautiful love poetry. In searching the internet for Asian poetry, I came across a site of translations by Kenneth Rexroth. He translated some of the most famous female poets from the Heian era, but he also translated Yosano Akiko (1878-1942). After reading a few of his translations, I wanted to read more, and I ordered this book online.

First of all, the poetry in this book is wonderful to read purely for pleasure. But, if one wanted to use it in the classroom, there are several ways in which to do so. First of all, the story of Akiko's personal life is fascinating in itself and it gives a good glimpse into Japanese culture of her time. She was raised by an aunt for the first three years of her life because her father wanted a son. Eventually she was allowed to come home, and her father educated her because she was bright and curious. He observed strict traditions with her, however. For example, he wouldn't let her leave the house without a servant to chaperone. She began writing poetry in high school, when she first published tanka. She fell in love with Yosano Hiroshi (pen name "Tekekan"), and their tumultuous love affair supposedly spawned thirteen children! She was the first poet in Japanese history to publicly criticize the emperor, her poems were considered by many to be too personal and private to be published, but she wrote 75 books, including 17,000 tanka and 500 poems in free verse. Wow! The time of her poetry is often called "The Age of Akiko."

Second, another thing that makes Akiko so amazing is that her writing style was revolutionary. She was writing in the "modern" style Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot and William Carlos Williams several years before they were. She believed in writing "raw" poetry--poetry that is full of emotion. Like Williams, she favored verse without figurative language of similes and metaphors. She kept the language simple, yet personal. She felt that this made the poem as close to the experience as possible, thereby making it more authentic. It would be fun to have students compare her poetry to those of our American modernists and see what she was doing well before her American counterparts.

I highly recommend checking out Akiko's work. She has some of the simplest, yet most beautiful poems I have ever read.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from vgairola

A good novel for MS students is the one written by the Danish writer Erik Haugaard. 'The Samurai's Tale' is about a young teenage boy who was a samurai's son but after the defeat of his tribe he is forced to become a servant and describes the various incidents that he has deal with. The story has a happy ending. It is easy reading and the MS students can easily relate to the young samurai.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from vgairola

I finally got around to viewing this movie and, personally, I liked it. It is too long to be shown in class and some scenes might have to be edited for class. Since the story is set in pre and post WWII era, I think it would be better suited to be shown to HS - WHG class than to MS class. Though, some short clips could be shown to MS grades for costume and music.
As an example of Japanese culture, it is best suited for mature audience.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from juliedavis

A great book that I recently ordered is The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi, Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan. $14.00, Vintage Classics. Translated by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani.

As I stated in an earlier post, Sam Yamashita's lecture made me want to seek out more Japanese love poetry. This is the book to own if you enjoy love poems from the Heian era. There is a wonderful introduction about Heian verse and the purpose it served in courtship. This intro also details the lives of both women and explains that they were wonderful poets not just because they mastered the tanka, but also because they wrote such simple yet beautiful poems of reflection and introspection. To me, it is fascinating that these women could take something that was part of their everyday lives and ritual (writing courtship poems) but elevate it to an artform. The ritual of these courtships is so intriguing, and one gets a feeling of eavesdropping on these liasons from reading the poems. Another thing that is probably more interesting to me as one who studies and loves to write poetry than it would be to any of my students is the lengthy appendix (p. 161-208) titled "On Japanese Poetry and the Process of Translation." This appendix points out that even subtle differences in translations can change the mood of a poem drastically. Pillow words (similar to epithets) are examined in depth as well. An example of differences in translations is made with one of Komachi's poems. It talks about her missing a lover and wanting to see him in her dreams. She turns her bed clothes inside out, as this is supposed to help one see his or her beloved in dreams.

Version in this book:

When my desire
grows too fierce
I wear by bed clothes
inside out,
dark as the night's rough husk.

An alternate version is:

Longing,
fiercely longing--
To dream of him
I turn my bed clothes inside out
this dark-husked night.


I think it would be an interesting exercise to have students examine differences in translations and compare what is lost and gained in each.

Here's a couple of beautiful poems by Shikibu (who also wrote The Tale of the Genji) that I wanted to share:

Why haven't I
thought of it before?
This body,
remembering yours,
is the keepsake you left.


and


In this world
love has no color--
yet how deeply
my body
is stained by yours.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from juliedavis

One more book about Japanese love poems--wow, am I addicted!

Ariake: Poems of Love and Longing by the Women Courtiers of Ancient Japan
$14.95, Chronicle Books.

This book is not as inclusive as The Ink Dark Moon, which I discussed in a previous post. If I were to buy only one, I'd by The Ink Dark Moon, but since I really like these poems, I bought them both. This is a hardcover book, and it does have some beautiful illustrations. Because of the beauty of the cover and artwork, this book would make a wonderful gift for a loved one.

The women poets included in this book are: Princess Shokushi, Lady Kasa, Lady Otomo of Sakanoue, Shunzei's Daughter, Lady Tse, Otogami, Ono no Komachi, The Elder Maiden of the Otomo of Sakanoue, Izumi Shikibu, Shrine Prietess of Tse, The Maiden Oyake, The Maiden Ato no Tobira, and several anonymous poems.

As with The Ink Dark Moon, there is a good introduction that explains the background of poetry of the Heian era and courtly love affairs. It explains that "ariake," the title of the book, means "the waning moon at dawn," which was an image associated with love in the ancient courts of Japan, because it was at dawn that the lovers had to part.

One anonymous poem that I like echoes Komachi's desire to see her lover in dreams. In this poem, the poet wonders how her pillow was arranged the last time she dreamt of her lover, and she attempts to rearrange it the same was so as to dream of him again:

As night succeeds night,
I seek in vain to decide
Where my pillow should go.
How did I sleep on the night
When you appeared in my dream?

And, there is yet another translation of the Komachi poem referred to above and in a previous post:

When longing for you
Torments me beyond my strength,
I reverse my robe,
Raiment of seed-black night,
And put it on inside out.

This book is a good overall introduction to the poetry of this era, but as stated before, I prefer the more in-depth study of the masters--Komachi and Shikibu--offered in The Ink Dark Moon.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from richardrodriguez

I think there is one important book to read whenever studying Asia--and that is Edward Said’s Orientalism.

We never really talked about issues of colonialism and imperialism, appropriation and assimilation in our class per se. Or the misrepresentation of the "orient" as mystic, exotic and other. We didn't confront and/or address these issues as they pertain to our students. Of course we talked politics. China, Korea, and why everyone hates Japan like they hate America. But I think demystifying established and new myths is important.

Too many of my non Asian students, many students of color, currently believe that all Asians are good at math, science, love school, etc. They don't realize that Asians too are other and considered students of color. White students maybe are a little more aware of the false nature of these myths being in direct contact/competition with Asian students in honors and AP classes. And yet teachers still believe the myths themselves.

Asian students struggle to dispel these myths trying not to give up too much of their heritage to conform to a wasp ideal that will leave them loved by teachers all around. This is a big issue in the Latin community as well. It means something when you can pass because you are light enough and well behaved. We never really talked about this. My two Korean friends, both girls and both beautiful, fought over who was prettier. Not like cat fight fights, rather slightly drunk and behind the back—"oh she is classic white skinned Korean and thinks she’s better than me"—fights. An "I am dark and get no respect" type fight. This is a phenomenon that happens in all cultures, which I find amazing. And I wish there was more of this involved in our discussions but our scope was simply too large.

I work at Venice High School and many of our teachers and admin. lump white and Asians together and Latin and blacks together when it comes to numbers, and many still believe the myths. One teacher yelled out in a meeting, well the Asian kids are more motivated and better equipped to succeed. I find this model minority role ludicrous seeing that Asians at the turn of the century were treated worse than Latinos, blacks and Native Americans. The “If you raise our scores you’re in” mentality is unfair to non Asians and Asians alike.

Read Edward Said and read Ronald Takaki. Let’s help our students succeed rather than stereotyping them into success. I think we had a good start. I feel Clay does an excellent job of treating Asia like Asia and not the “Orient.”

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from richardrodriguez

The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter

While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
I played about the front gate, pulling flowers.
You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,
You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums.
And we went on living in the village of Chokan:
Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.

At fourteen I married My Lord you.
I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.

At fifteen I stopped scowling,
I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
Forever and forever and forever.
Why should I climb the lookout?

At sixteen you departed,
You went into far Ku-to-en, by the river of swirling eddies,
And you have been gone five months.
The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.

You dragged your feet when you went out.
By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,
Too deep to clear them away!
The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.
The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
Over the grass in the West garden;
They hurt me. I grow older.
If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,
Please let me know beforehand,
And I will come out to meet you
As far as Cho-fo-Sa.

Ezra Pound



This is one of my favorite poems. The language and the imagery are beautiful. I don’t teach this historically. I give very few explanations regarding geography, history, politics, feminism, patriarchy, philosophy even author and translation info. I want the students to enjoy the beauty and the sadness of the story. I want them to see beautiful pictures in their heads. It’s up to you how you want to teach it, but I do recommend you teach it.


Try pairing this with any Kurosawa film, Twilight Samurai, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon….
[Edit by="richardrodriguez on Aug 1, 12:17:04 AM"][/Edit]

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from mwilson

Although I do not recommend it for students to read, I personally loved reading the book "Shogun" by James Clavell. I think it is an entertaining read for teachers who want to learn about Japanese culture in a less "academic" book.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from rparker

For a great and novel perspective on the Korean War take a look at Ha Jin’s new book War Trash. A Pulitzer Prize Finalist and a Faulkner Award Winner this book examines the life of a Chinese Peoples Liberation ‘Volunteer’’s experience in Korea and his subsequent stay in an American POW compound.
A real good read!

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from rparker

Ha Jin’s War Trash is a very interesting book about Chinese Communist incarceration during the Korean War. Leadership in the camps was not assigned to the officers of the People’s Liberation Army, but reformed former Nationalists. The reformed former Nationalist leaders were re-educated by Mao’s victorious army in 1949 and forced into the PLA. When captured, either accidentally or willingly during the Korean War, these NCOs were sent allegedly to Guam where they were re-educated by the Chinese Nationalist/US Forces and returned to the POW camps in Korea.. In the camps, these twice reformed Chinese soldiers were assigned as the leaders of the incarcerated PLA.

Anyone know more about this?

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from rparker

A State of Mind, the BBC film on the Mass Games gives an extraordinary depiction of North Korea.

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from hlee

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is a story about two young Chinese youths' experience in a re-education camp during China's cultural revolution. It is the author Dai SiJie's biographical account, written first in French, later translated into English. This is a cute love story which gives you insight into the cultural revolution. For book review, go to:


http://www.readinggroupguides.com/guides3/balzac_and_the_seamstress1.asp

There's also a movie by the same title directet by the author himself. In my opinion, the movie is even more beautifully done than the book. If you read the book first and watch the movie, you will see some elements that were added onto the movie. This is a beautiful movie. For film review, chek out :

http://www.heroic-cinema.com/films/balzac.htm[Edit by="hlee on Aug 8, 3:21:21 PM"][/Edit]

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from rparker

Although I really enjoyed the film The Last Samurai, a much better film to show your students is the Seven Samurais. This 1954 classic by Akira Kurosawa is readily available to purchase on line, or catch it on PBS at night. A really good and very accurate historical film.[Edit by="rparker on Aug 8, 3:25:02 PM"][/Edit]

Anonymous (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Message from rparker

I found Ch’unhyang, a Korean folk tale which resembles Romeo and Juliet, to be a very entertaining and educational film. It is available thru Amazon.com.

Pages