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1951 Asia Rising

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1951 Asia Rising

“1951 Asia Rising” was broadcast in the 1990’s as part of the PBS documentary series People’s Century. The documentary chronicles the rise of Japan and South Korea as economic powers following devastation by war: Japan from World War II and South Korea from the Korean War. The video can be used in US and World History classes. With US History, the video ties in America’s involvement in Japan right from the start as it portrays the American military’s last days of occupying Japan after World War II. It then depicts America’s role in building Japan’s economy, and Japan’s adaptation of American culture/way of life(rock music, household luxuries, etc.) The documentary transitions to South Korea’s rise from the ashes of the Korean War. Like many historical accounts of the war, the video places heavy emphasis on America’s role in defending South Korea, while also mentioning the UN’s role in that conflict. Interestingly, “1951 Asia Rising” portrays Japan and South Korea as having reached its economic zenith when the countries hosted the Olympiad: Tokyo in 1964 and Seoul in 1988. Students can tie-in recent Olympics with those in 1964 Tokyo and 1988 Seoul, either as a Warm-up or as a reflection. Class discussion would follow the videos, which takes up two days.