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HIST242: Modern Northeast Asia

Unit 14: Regional Problems and Prospects for the 21st Century   In the preceding units, we have learned a great deal about the resurgence of the Northeast Asian region after the humiliation and debacle at the hands of Western barbarians in the mid-nineteenth century. Today, the states of the region are once again dominant economic powers. In this final unit, we look at some of the consequences and corollaries of the region’s late twentieth century dynamism and assess some of the problems that have arisen along the way so as better to evaluate the prospects for the region going forward.

Unit 14 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 8.75 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 14.1: 45 minutes

☐    Subunit 14.2:

☐    Subunit 14.3: 45 minutes

☐    Subunit 14.4:

☐    Subunit 14.5: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 14.6: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 14.7: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 14.8: 45 minutes

☐    Subunit 14.9: 2 hours

Unit14 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
- Identify the central problems facing different countries in Northeast Asia in the 21st century. - Describe and compare the measures currently being taken to address these problems in different countries. - Assess the extent to which international cooperation is a necessary condition for addressing many of these problems. - Evaluate the steps already taken to increase regional integration and the prospects for continued integration in the near future.

14.1 Aging Populations   - Reading: Japan Focus: Timothy Lim’s “Who is Korean? Migration, Immigration and the Challenge of Multiculturalism in Homogeneous Societies” Link: Japan Focus: Timothy Lim’s “Who is Korean? Migration, Immigration and the Challenge of Multiculturalism in Homogeneous Societies” (HTML)
 
Instructions: What point is Lim making about demographic and cultural change in South Korea? To what extent does his argument also apply to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan?
 
This reading should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.
 
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14.2 Resource Scarcity and Competition   14.3 Environmental Degradation   - Reading: Asia-Pacific Journal: Matthew Penney’s “Japan’s Green Energy Push” Link: Asia-Pacific Journal: Matthew Penney’s “Japan’s Green Energy Push” (HTML)
 
Instructions: How has the recent Fukushima disaster shaped energy policy in Japan? Is this a new direction for Japan?
 
 This reading should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
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  • Web Media: PBS documentary’s “China: From Red to Green?” Link: PBS documentary’s “China: From Red to Green?” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Note the viewpoint of narration. What perspective on Chinese approaches to sustainability is being conveyed here? How might China’s rapid economic growth affect the environment? What are the risks of following a ‘Western’ model of industrialization (note: compare with efforts to modernize at the end of the 19th century).
     
    Watching this video and note-taking will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
     
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14.4 Bureaucratic Corruption   14.5 Rising Socio-economic Inequalities   - Reading: Japan Focus: Gavan McCormack’s “Small Islands – Big Problem: Senkaku/Diaoyu and the Weight of History and Geography in China-Japan Relations” Link: Japan Focus: Gavan McCormack’s “Small Islands – Big Problem: Senkaku/Diaoyu and the Weight of History and Geography in China-Japan Relations” (HTML)
 
Instructions: One ongoing source of tension in Northeast Asia centers on territorial claims. While the conflicts may ostensibly be over uninhabitable tiny islands and rocky atolls, bear in mind that ownership of land  - even a tiny rock - comes with exclusive economic rights over territorial waters, and that issues of gas and oil reserves are often at stake.
 
Note any similarities and differences between different countries approaches to territorial disputes.
 
This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
 
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  • Reading: Japan Focus: Michael Weinstein’s “South Korea-Japan Dokdo/Takeshima Dispute: Toward Confrontation” Link: Japan Focus: Michael Weinstein’s “South Korea-Japan Dokdo/Takeshima Dispute: Toward Confrontation” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: This reading should take approximately 20 minutes to complete.
     
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14.6 Territorial Disputes   - Web Media: YouTube: Peter Tetteroo and Raymond Feddema’s “Welcome to North Korea” Link: YouTube: Peter Tetteroo and Raymond Feddema’s “Welcome to North Korea” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Watch the documentary for a (limited) look inside North Korea today.
There is no need to take notes, but pay attention to the cult of leadership on display. Does anything surprise you about what you see in the film?
 
Watching the film will take approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
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  • Reading: Japan Focus: Gavan McCormack’s “Sunshine, Containment, War: Korean Options” Link: Japan Focus: Gavan McCormack’s “Sunshine, Containment, War: Korean Options” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this analysis of South Korea’s policy options in dealing with the North. How do you think recent events, such as the sinking of the South Korean ship, the Cheonan, and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, might shape South Korean policy toward its neighbor going forward?
     
    This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
     
    OPTIONAL: Search for news articles or footage related to the recent Cheonan and Yeonpyeong incidents. Try to find different perspectives on the incidents (for example, compare articles in the Chinese or North Korean press with those from South Korea, the US or Europe).
     
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14.7 Cross-Straits Relations   - Lecture: Harvard Extension School’s “The Origins of the Taiwan Question” Link: Harvard Extension School’s “The Origins of the Taiwan Question” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions:  Scroll down and select your preferred format (video or audio, accompanied by PowerPoint slides) and connection type.
 
Watching/listening and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour.
 
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  • Reading: ROC Government Information Office’s “Cross-Straits Relations” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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14.8 The Past in the Present: History Problems in Regional Relations   14.8.1 Japan-US   - Reading: Japan Focus: Funabashi Yoichi’s “Emerging from the Shadow of the Black Ships” Link: Japan Focus: Funabashi Yoichi’s “Emerging from the Shadow of the Black Ships” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Pay attention to the parallels Funabashi is drawing between Japan-USA relations in the nineteenth century and today. What is he advocating?
 
This reading should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
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14.8.2 China-Korea   - Reading: Japan Focus: Yonson Ahn’s “The Contested Heritage of Koguryo/Gaogouli and China-Korea Conflict” Link: Japan Focus: Yonson Ahn’s “The Contested Heritage of Koguryo/Gaogouli and China-Korea Conflict” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Why do Koreans object to China claiming that Koguryo was a “Chinese” kingdom? What does Ahn suggest China’s motives might be?
 
This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
 
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14.9 The History Problem in Regional Relations   - Reading: Japan Focus: Mel Gurtov’s “Averting War in Northeast Asia: A Proposal” Link: Japan Focus: Mel Gurtov’s “Averting War in Northeast Asia: A Proposal” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: What is the structure and approach to regional relations that Gurtov is proposing? What are the obstacles that might be faced in attempting to create such a framework?
 
This reading and questions will take approximately 20 minutes to complete.
 
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  • Reading: Japan Focus: Wada Haruki’s “Maritime Asia and the Future of a Northeast Asia Community” Link: Japan Focus: Wada Haruki’s “Maritime Asia and the Future of a Northeast Asia Community” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: How does Wada view the prospects for regional integration? What kind of community does Wada propose? Do you think this view differs from Gurtov’s?
     
    This reading should take approximately 20 minutes to complete.
     
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  • Reading: Japan Focus: Mark Selden’s “Nation, Region and the Global in East Asia: Conflict and Cooperation” Link: Japan Focus: Mark Selden’s “Nation, Region and the Global in East Asia: Conflict and Cooperation” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: This article provides an overview of intra-regional relations and “regionalism” from the seventeenth century to the present. Read it bearing in mind what you have already studied about this period during this course. Do you agree with Selden’s analysis?
     
    This reading should take approximately 1.25 hours to complete.
     
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