Jessamyn R. Abel
First offered as an ExEAS course at Columbia University in Fall 2004

The 2002 World Cup soccer tournament, co-hosted by Korea and Japan, inspired a media frenzy of excitement about opportunities to improve bilateral relations. But was this soccer diplomacy really a new category of diplomatic relations between peoples and nations? This course will examine the place of culture in the history of international relations through a comparative look at the role of cultural circulation and exchange in relations among China, Korea, and Japan (and between East Asia and the West) from the propagation of Buddhism in the first century A.D. to present-day circulation of popular music, movies, and comics. We will explore the international politics of culture and the politics of international culture, considering questions of what constitutes culture, whether it is ever entirely separate from politics, and how that separation has evolved over time. These larger themes of the course will be tackled by following the historical movement of concrete objects and people throughout the region. This is a course in international history; historical events, problems, and issues will be at the center of our weekly discussions. But it is also a course in the theory of international relations; it poses a challenge to realpolitik views of international relations, which tend to ignore the significant effects of culture on all aspects of multilateral interaction.

Class format and requirements:

Participation: This course will be run in part as a seminar. Students are required to complete all of the assigned readings, think carefully about them, and share their ideas in class.

Presentations: Students are required to make one in-class presentation, about ten minutes long. Presenters should react to the main issues and arguments presented in the readings and finish with three or four questions to help start the discussion.

Midterm essays: Questions based on the course materials and class discussion will be distributed on October 18. Essays (4-5 pages) are due on October 27.

Final research paper: Research papers should further develop one of the themes or sub-themes of the course using both assigned readings and additional materials. Students must meet with the instructor to discuss their topics by November 15. Papers are due on the last day of class, December 13.

Grades will be determined as follows. Percentages are approximate:

  • Attendance and participation: 25% of grade
  • One in-class presentation: 15%
  • Mid-term essays: 25%
  • Final research paper (8 pages): 35%

Course Reader: The readings for the class are contained in the course reader which is available for purchase at Broadway Copy Center, 3062 Broadway at 121st Street. The course reader will be placed on reserve in Starr East Asian Library.

The Course:

WEEK ONE: Introductions

September 8: Introducing the course and each other.

WEEK TWO: Culture and Internationalism

September 13 : Culture in International Relations


Akira Iriye, Cultural Internationalism and World Order (Johns Hopkins UP, 1997) ["Introduction" 1-12]

Volker Depkat, "Cultural Approaches to International Relations," in Gienow-Hecht and Schumacher, eds. Culture and International History [175-197]

September 15 : International Culture


Charles Holcombe, Genesis of East Asia [1-7, 30-77] (e-book on CLIO)

WEEK THREE: Buddha Back and Forth

September 20: Buddhism Comes to China


Wm. Theodore de Bary, et al., eds. Sources of Chinese Tradition (Columbia UP, 1999) ["The Coming of Buddhism to China" and "Buddhism's Assimilation to Tang Political Culture" 420-432, 476-480]

Charles Holcombe, Genesis of East Asia [from Ch. 4 "Buddhist Internationalization" 94-108] (e-book on CLIO)

September 22: From China to Korea to Japan


Peter H. Lee and Wm. Theodore de Bary, eds. Sources of Korean Tradition (Columbia UP, 1997) [34-56]

"The Founding of the Monastery Gangōji and a List of Its Treasures," trans. Miwa Stevenson, in George J. Tanabe, Jr. ed., Religions of Japan in Practice ( Princeton UP), 299-315.

Ryusaku Tsunoda, Wm Theodore de Bary, and Donald Keene, eds. Sources of Japanese Tradition (Columbia 2000) [104-108]

"A Memorial Presenting a List of Newly Imported Sutras and Other Items," in Kūkai: Major Works, trans. Yoshito S. Hakeda, (New York: Columbia UP, 1972) [140-150]

WEEK FOUR: The Creation of a Confucian Regional Culture

September 27 : Zhu Xi / Chu Hsi


Sources of Chinese Tradition [697-714]

Sources of Korean Tradition [342-345, 349-375]

September 29 : Neo-Confucianism in Japanese Society


Sources of Chinese Tradition [811-814, 819-824, 841-847]

Sources of Japanese Tradition [34 6 -352, 367-375, 389-393]

WEEK FIVE: Circulations of Language and Literature

October 4 : Language and Writing


Sources of Korean Tradition [294-296]

Kojiki, Donald L. Philippi, ed. (Princeton UP, 1969) [37-44]

Nishi Amane, "Writing Japanese with the Western Alphabet"; Nishimura Shigeki, "Why the Reform of Writing Should Depend on the Level of Enlightenment"; and Shimizu Usaburō, "Hiragana," from Meiroku Zasshi: Journal of the Japanese Enlightenment William R. Braisted, trans. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1976) [3-19, 96-99]

Sources of Chinese Tradition Vol. 2 "Advocates of Script Reform" [302-308]

Art work of Xu Bing, especially "The Living Word," "One-person Exhibition at Eslite Gallery," "Reading Landscape," "Landscript," "Shen Wai Shen," "Book from the Sky," and "A.B.C…," [images online at]

October 6 : Literary Imports


Jonathan E. Zwicker, "Tears of Blood: Melodrama, the Novel, and the Social Imaginary in Nineteenth-Century Japan" Dissertation, Columbia University [Ch. 3 "The Archaeology of Misplaced Ideas" 156-210] Download at:

WEEK SIX: The West in the East

October 11 : Missionaries in China


China in the 16th Century: The Journals of Matthew Ricci, 1583-1610 [77-92]

Sources of Chinese Tradition (Vol. 2) [144-154]

Chang T'ing-yü [Zhang Tingyu] et al, "The Jesuits," "The Rites Controversy," Clement XI, "The Papal Bull of 1715," from Dun J. Li, China in Transition, 1517-1911 (New York: Van Nostrand, 1969) [1-7, 14-24]

October 13 : Western Objects / The West as Object in Japan


Matthew C. Perry, The Japan Expedition, 1852-1854: The Personal Journal of Commodore Matthew C. Perry (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1968) [187-198]

Timon Screech, The Lens Within the Heart: The Western Scientific Gaze and Popular Imagery in Later Edo Japan (University of Hawaii Press 2002) [Ch. 6 "The Eye and the Lens" 166-211]

WEEK SEVEN : Culture and Colonization

October 18 : Japanizing the Periphery


Howell, David L. “Ainu Ethnicity and the Boundaries of the Early Modern Japanese State.” Past and Present 142 (1994): 69-93. [Available on JSTOR]

Ikemiyagi Sekihō "Officer Ukuma" (1922) from Southern Exposure: Modern Japanese Literature from Okinawa (Hawaii UP, 2000) [59-72]

Mid-term essay questions will be distributed in class.

October 20 : Educating Imperial subjects


"Choosing an Education" and "Becoming Japanese" from Under the Black Umbrella: Voices from Colonial Korea, 1910-1945 Hildi Kang (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2001) [37-48, 111-122]

E. Patricia Tsurumi, "Colonial Education in Korea and Taiwan," in Ramon Myers and Mark Peattie, eds. The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895-1945 (Princeton UP, 1984) [275-311]

WEEK EIGHT: Cultural Diplomacy

October 25 : Cultural Cooperation and Cultural Imperialism


See Hung Teow, "The Origins of Japanese Cultural Diplomacy: A Study of Japan's Cultural Policy Toward China, 1918-1923" Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan 4th series, 9 (1994) 113-137.

Publications of the Kokusai Bunka Shinkōkai (Society for International Cultural Relations)

Brian Victoria, Zen at War (New York: Weatherhill, 1997) [Part II "Japanese Militarism and Buddhism" 63-65]

October 27 : Cultural Exchange


Priscilla C. Yu, "Taiwan's International Exchange Program: A Study in Cultural Diplomacy," Asian Affairs: An American Review 12:2 (Summer 1985) 23-46.

Herbert Passin, China's Cultural Diplomacy (New York: Praeger, 1962) [Part 1.2 "Patterns of Exchange" and Part 2.1.B "Japan" 14-21, 41-53]

Midterm essays will be due in class.

WEEK NINE: Culture at War

November 1 : University Holiday -- NO CLASS

November 3 : War and Film


Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore F. Cook, Japan at War: An Oral History (New York: New Press, 1992) ["I loved American movies" 240-248]

John W. Dower, Japan in War and Peace (New York: New Press, 1993) [Ch. 2 "Japanese Cinema Goes to War" 33-54]

WEEK TEN: People in Motion I (Students and Teachers)

November 8 : Chinese Students, Japanese Teachers


Douglas R. Reynolds, China, 1898-1912: The Xinzheng Revolution and Japan (Harvard UP, 1993) [Part 2 "The Xinzheng Intellectual Revolution: New Carriers, New Concepts" 39-73]

Lu Xun, "Preface to 'Call to Arms' [1922]" from Lu Xun: Selected Works Trans. Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1980). Available at:

November 10 : Japanese Students, Foreign Teachers


David McConnell, Importing Diversity: Inside Japan's Jet Program ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000) [1-46] (e-book on CLIO)

WEEK ELEVEN: People in Motion II (Tourists and Workers)

November 15 : People Working


Rey Ventura, Underground in Japan (Jonathan Cape, 1992) [25-32, 55-126, 168-173]

Wong Heung Wah, Japanese Bosses, Chinese Workers: Power and Control in a Hong Kong Megastore (University of Hawaii Press, 1999) [ Ch. 8 "The Institutional Culture II: The Relationships Between Japanese and Local Staff, and Among Local Staff" 159-193]

November 17 : The Japanese Tourist Abroad


Okpyo Moon, "Tourism and Cultural Development: Japanese and Korean Contexts," in Shinji Yamashita et al. Tourism and Cultural Development in Asia and Oceania (1997) [178-193]

Fumiteru Nitta, "Shopping for Souvenirs in Hawai'i," in Joseph Tobin, ed. Re-Made in Japan: Everyday Life and Consumer Taste in a Changing Society (Yale UP, 1992) [204-215]


November 22 : Olympics: Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing


Noriko Aso, "Sumptuous Re-past: The 1964 Tokyo Olympics Arts Festival," Positions 10:1 (Spring 2002) 7-38. [electronic]

Cameron G. Hurst III, "The 1988 Seoul Olympics: Politics, Nationalism and Sport" In Hurst, Korea 1988: A Nation at the Crossroads (Lawrence: Center for East Asian Studies, University of Kansas, 1988) Conference and colloquium series, no. 3, 45-61.

November 24 : Soccer World Cup 2002


Joong-ang Ilbo, "A Steppingstone to 21st Century" [editorial on Korean-Japanese relations and the 2002 World Cup] Korea Focus 4:3 (May-June 1996) 108-110.

Chung Mong-Joon, "Soccer Politics" Harvard Asia Pacific Review 1:2 (Summer 1997), 73-74.

Joong-ang Ilbo, "Beyond the World Cup" Korea Focus 10:4 (July-August 2002) 45-46.

Lee Dai-soon, "World Cup 2002: A New Ear in Korea-Japan Ties," Japan Echo 29:5 (October 2002) 53-56.

Kang Sung, "Asian Archrivals Roots for Each Other," Japan Echo 29:5 (October 2002) 57-60.

Yone Sugita, "Historical lessons from Asian Cup," Japan Today:

Shiri (film)

WEEK THIRTEEN: Popular Culture

November 29 : Japanese Culture in Asia


Koichi Iwabuchi, Recentering Globalization: Popular Culture and Japanese Transnationalism ["Becoming Culturally Proximate, Japanese TV Dramas in Taiwan" 121-157]

Leo Ching, "Imaginings in the empires of the sun: Japanese mass culture in Asia," Boundary 2, 21:1 (Spr 1994) 198-219. [on JSTOR]

December 1 : Asian Popular Culture


Iwabuchi, Recentering Globalization ["Popular Asianism in Japan: Nostalgia for (different) Asian modernity" 158-198]

Keith Howard, "Exploding Ballads: The Transformation of Korean Pop Music" in Craig and King, eds. Global Goes Local: Popular Culture in Asia (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2002) [80-95]

WEEK FOURTEEN: Local Goes Global

December 6 : Asian Popular Culture in the World


Richard King and Timothy J. Craig, "Asia and Global Popular Culture: The View from He Yong's Garbage Dump" in Global Goes Local [3-11]

Iwabuchi, Recentering Globalization ["Taking 'Japanization' Seriously: Cultural Globalization Reconsidered" 23-50]

Ghost in the Shell (animé) , The Matrix (film), and The Animatrix (animé) [clips]

December 8 : Culinary Globalization


James L. Watson, Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia (Stanford UP, 1997) ["Introduction: Transnationalism, Localization, and Fast Foods in East Asia" 1-38]

WEEK FIFTEEN: Summing up

December 13 : Discussion of final papers, lessons learned.

Final papers due.