Tag Archives: asian-pacific history

Ito Jinsai

“Ito Jinsai: (1627-1705) Japanese Confucian scholar. The son of a lumberman, he devoted himself to scholarship. He opposed the authoritarian Neo-Confucianism of the Tokugawa shogunate and advocated a return to the authentic teachings of Confucius and Mencius. He helped establish the Kogaku school of Neo-Confucianism, and with his son founded the Kogi-do academy in Kyoto, which was run by his descendants until 1904. His writings include Gomojigi (1683), a commentary on Confucianism that tried to develop a rational basis for morality and the pursuit of happiness.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Confucianism

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Confucianism. This is a half-page document with a two-sentence reading that yields three comprehension questions. A good general introduction, therefore, to a relatively complicated subject.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Ryunosuke Akutagawa

“Ryunosuke Akutagawa: (1892-1927) Japanese short-story writer. Akutagawa’s skill in the short story led to the 1935 special prize in his name for aspiring writers. Known for taking forgotten tales from medieval collections and imbuing them with a modern psychology, Akutagawa’s stories are often eerie and bizarre yet frighteningly realistic. His best-known stories, ‘Yabu no naka’ (1922; tr ‘In a Grove,’ 1952) and ‘Rashomon‘ (1915; tr 1952), inspired Kurosawa’s 1950 film Rashomon. Akutagawa excelled at exploring the dark and twisted channels of the human spirit, but his later autobiographical works reveal the darkening despair such exploration invited. Akutagawa committed suicide in 1927. Among his autobiographical works are ‘Aru aho no issho’ (1927; tr ‘A Fool’s Life,’ 1970) and his posthumous ‘Haguruma’ (1927; tr ‘Cogwheels,’ 1982).”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Cultural Literacy: Buddhism

This full-page Cultural Literacy worksheet on Buddhism might serve as a full-period classwork enterprise, or as independent practice. The reading is only three sentences, but two of them are compounds. Five comprehension questions follow the reading. In my experience, which means interest but not involvement in Buddhism since I was a high school student myself, this is a solid general introduction to the precepts of the religion. The worksheet does not, however, deal in depth with the history of the religion–no mention, for example, of Siddhartha Gautama, only “the Buddha.” I know they are synonymous, but if you are teaching the standard global studies (as this material is designated here in New York State) curriculum, this document might not be what you need.

But you may alter it to your needs: like almost everything else here, this is a Microsoft Word document wide open to your editing and general manipulation.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Matsuo Basho IV

“The summer grasses:

Of mighty warlords’ visions

All that they have left.”

Matsuo Basho, Poem (translation by Bernard Lionel Einbond)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

The Weekly Text, 27 May 2022, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Week IV: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Lao Tzu

For the final Friday of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2022 is this reading on Lao Tzu along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

I don’t know about you, but I still reel (in the intransitive sense of “to waver or fall back as from a blow” and “to walk or move unsteadily”) today from the events earlier this week in Uvalde, Texas–not to mention the racist attack in Buffalo, New York. Our union has asked us to wear all black to work today in mourning for the victims. I plan to do so, but I can’t help think that this gesture–sincere though it may be–is a first cousin to the “thoughts and prayers” platitudes federal legislators intone after a mass shooting in this country. Of course many of the officials who mouth this hypocritical crap also accept campaign contributions, then work on behalf of, the National Rifle Association (NRA), the lobbying organization that stands as the chief obstacle to sensible gun reform in the United States.

So I ask you Senators Romney, Burr, Blunt, Tillis, et al, when will you put aside your useless thoughts and prayers and actually do something to prevent military-grade weapons from falling into the hands of angry teenagers? When will you renounce the NRA and repudiate its campaign contributions? How about an unequivocal statement about racist killers and the right-wing media stars who egg them on?

How many more dead children, murdered by gunfire, gentlemen, before you act? How many more dead churchgoers before you turn away the gun industry’s campaign contributions? How long, if nothing else, until you get the hell out of the way so someone else can put an end to this insanity?

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Bhartrihari

“Bhartrihari: (7th century AD) Hindu poet. Bartrihari is considered by many to be the greatest writer of Sanskrit lyric poetry. Some of his verses have been widely translated, under the titles Good Conduct, Passion of Love, Renunciation. It is disputed whether or not he is the grammarian of the same name and author of Vakyapadiya (Treatise on Words and Sentences), who probably lived in the 6th century AD.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Cultural Literacy: Hinduism

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Hinduism. This is a full-page document; the reading is four sentences long from which five comprehension questions follow. Hinduism–particularly its lineage leading to Buddhism–is a complex subjects to which. I’ll hazard a guess, entire academic careers are dedicated. Accordingly, there is a compound sentence in the middle of this reading on Hinduism and the caste system that may cause a bump in the road for emergent readers and new users of the English language.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Ahmadabad

“Ahmadabad: City (population 2020: 8,253,000) Gujarat state west central India. It is located on the Sabarmati River 260 miles (467 kilometers) north of Bombay, Founded in 1411 by Sultan Ahmad Shah, Ahmadabad reached its height later that century but subsequently declined. It was revived under Mughal emperors in the 17th century and came under British rule in 1818. With the opening of cotton mills in 1859, it became India’s largest inland industrial center. The city is associated with Hindu nationalism; Mahatma Gandhi’s political agitation began there in 1930.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Himalayas

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Himalayas. This document is a half-page in length (so there are two on every page) with a two-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. Basically, an introduction to the significant and dramatic geographic features of this mountain range in Asia.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.