"Over the past few decades, 160 million women have vanished from East and South Asia
— or, to be more accurate, they were never born at all. Throughout the region, the practice of sex selection — prenatal sex screening followed by selective termination of pregnancies — has yielded a generation packed with boys. From a normal level of 105 boys to 100 girls, the ratio has shifted to 120, 150, and, in some cases, nearly 200 boys born for every 100 girls. In some countries, like South Korea, ratios spiked and are now returning to normal. But sex selection is on the rise in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East." American journalist Mara Hvistendahl's new book: "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men
," examines and tries to predict the actual and potential effects of unequal sex ratios on men, women and the social economies of the affected regions, including the recent spike in sex trafficking and bride-buying across Asia. More
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jun 10, 2011 -
Women Explorers and Travellers of Asia and the Middle East - In an age where women struggled for basic human rights, these individuals were literal trailblazers. Leaving their homelands for varying motivations (but often due to dissatisfaction with their social lot in life), they devoted their lives to "explore these antique lands
before they are irretrievably caught up in the cacaphonic whirl of the modern world." [more inside]
posted by ikahime
on Aug 1, 2008 -
Wal-Mart fails in South Korea.
As a student of business and a resident of Asia, I am fascinated by the examples of "foreign" businesses who either succeed or fail in Asian markets. Recently, Vodafone failed in Japan
but in a strange twist has signed a J-V with Softbank
to keep their presence in Japan. eBay failed in Japan
as did Memoirs of a Geisha
. I'd love to have a discussion on the successes AND failures of non-Asian businesses in Asian markets and what, if any, lessons can be taken away for those of us who are in Asian markets or wish to enter Asian markets. (Yes, I realize that "Asia" is too broad of a region but I don't want to limit the discussion to just one nation.)
posted by gen
on May 24, 2006 -
And suddenly, in my memory, everything turns real: the summer breeze of Izu, the lazy sun of an early afternoon, the stale smell of water standing in the rice fields. For a moment it is that day in 1956, 37 years ago, and I am standing there, 33 years old myself. See—just to the left of the camera, just out of range. Here comes Mifune running, and there stands my younger ghost, right of that pillar, just off screen... And the summer sun beats down and the fresh breeze of Izu bathes my face, and then the story continues and the film ends and the lights go up and the students open their notebooks and I stand up and began talking about the influence of the Noh.
Donald Richie (previous post)
, the worldwide authority on Japanese film, shares his movie memories
posted by matteo
on Feb 1, 2006 -
Atoning for World War II, 60 years later (and Japan should continue to do so)
It's no news regarding Japan's role during WWII. However, unlike Germany, Japan has yet to fully apologize and repair strained relations in Asia.
However, it is complete crap that U.S. Ambassador Thomas Schieffer thinks that people should glaze over the atrocities in light of Japan's monetary donation. Let's not forget that the US benefitted from the medical experiments that were conducted by the Japanese and that in the fight against communism was willing to quickly establish an outpost and let bygones be bygones.
posted by dkhong
on Jul 30, 2005 -
A Tale of Two Chinas,
by photographer James Whitlow Delano
Whole swaths of cities have vanished
, to be transformed with developments that have quickly made them look more like Houston, Qatar, or Singapore than the ancient China
of our mind's eye. The old hutong, or alleyways, of Beijing that once formed a mosaic of passageways and the siheyuan, or walled courtyard houses, have been largely razed
. The old brick rowhouses of Shanghai, are now being leveled and replaced by modern high-rises. Traditional marketplaces, residential neighborhoods
, streets where medicine shops or bookstores bunched together, are now either gone or have been rouged up as tourist destinations
, part of a new synthetic, virtual version of China's incredible past.
The energy fueling this transformation bespeaks a powerful but often blind, unquestioning faith
in an inchoate idea of progress that takes one's breath away
, often literally. (Unrestrained growth has left China with the dubious honor of having 9 of the 10 most polluted cities in the world). Delano
's new book is
"Empire: Impressions from China
". More inside.
posted by matteo
on Feb 17, 2005 -
Japan's Global Claim to Asia and the World of Islam: Transnational Nationalism and World Power, 1900-1945 During the years 1900-1945, the question that motivated Muslims and some Japanese was whether Japan could be the "Savior of Islam" against Western imperialism and colonialism if this meant collaboration with Japanese imperialism. Even during the 1930s, when there was little hope left for prospects of democracy and liberalism in Japan (for that matter in Europe as well), the vision of a "Muslim Japan" was so compelling to many Muslims in Asia and beyond, even among black Muslims of Harlem, as a means for emancipation from Western hegemony/colonial reality that it justified cooperation with Japanese intelligence overseas. Okawa Shumei, the major intellectual figure of Pan-Asianism, the "mastermind of Japanese fascism" in the Tokyo trials, who justified Japan's mission to liberate Asia from Western colonialism by war if necessary, saw Islam as the means. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the relationship transformed into a major Japanese military strategy as the Japanese government began to implement its Islamic policy by mobilizing Muslim forces against the United Kingdom, Holland, China and Russia in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.
Alternately, The Fukuwaza Doctrine
posted by y2karl
on Nov 12, 2004 -
As a perennial outsider
at loose in Japan, writer Donald Richie
captures the joyous freedom
of being foreign. The foreign observer is likely to be happy only if he sees his foreignness as an adventure, and recognizes that he has given up a sense of belonging for a sense of freedom
, traded the luxury of being understood for that of being permanently interested.
Richie, the philosopher-king of expats in Asia for the past half-century, arrived in Tokyo in 1947 as a typist with the U.S. government and never really left, writing dozens of books
, on Japanese movies
, history and fashion
, while enjoying himself as an actor, musician, filmmaker and painter. The Japan Journals: 1947-2004
is a monument to the pleasures of displacement
. Richie watchers can observe, more intimately than ever, a man who is generally happiest observing. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Nov 9, 2004 -
Memories of a Dog
. Moriyama Daido
in the streets
of Japan's major cities
. Made with a small, hand-held camera, they reveal the speed with which they were snapped
. Often the frame is tilted vertiginously, the grain pronounced
, and the contrast emphasized
. Among his city images are those shot in underlit bars, strip clubs, on the streets or in alleyways
, with the movement of the subject creating a blurred suggestion of a form (warning: NSFW images if you scroll down the page)
rather than a distinct figure.
best known picture, Stray Dog
, (1971) is taken on the run, in the midst of bustling street activity.
It is an essential reflection of Moriyama's presence
as an alert outsider in his own culture.
Moriyama is also a toy-camera
enthusiast (his favorite
is the Polga
. He has worked in the US, too
: "N.Y. 71
". (more inside)
posted by matteo
on Sep 27, 2004 -
Blood doesn't politely trickle in Takashi Miike
: it gushes out
in (warning: NSFW, graphic) improbable fountains
, painting walls
and filling up small cars. His
trademark point-of-view shots are taken from places other directors
wouldn't dream of: the bottom of a dirty toilet bowl (as a man falls into it after being killed); within the ear canal (as it is pierced by a metal spike); even from inside a character's vagina. He has depicted
incest, drug abuse
, teenage prostitution, violence against women
and children and small dogs
, and necrophilia -- and that was just in one film, Visitor Q
, his take on Pasolini
Miike has just introduced his latest movie, Izo
, at the Venice Film Festival (.pdf file)
Miike is less sure about why Americans are now embracing Japanese horror films. His country's horror genre is influenced by "kwaidan
," traditional Japanese ghost stories
that feature revenge and malice: "The stories always have the 'hatedness.' You always bring the feelings of hate [that] you don't see in American cinema". What freaks him out the most, however, is the everyday automobile accident
. "Even in a film, I can't bear to watch it -- it's so much (about) how people are weak, to be just crushed with a car. It makes me feel really depressed".
posted by matteo
on Sep 22, 2004 -
Home is where the heart is.
Karl Taro Greenfeld, journalist and author of Speed Tribes
, among others, has a nostalgic piece in Time Asia (Aug. '03) recounting his heady youth in Tokyo alongside his thoughts on his ailing Japanese grandmother.
posted by gen
on Jul 9, 2004 -
"A generation of Japanese youngsters has dropped out of society entirely, unable to cope, it seems, with the rapid syncopation of life in Asia's most developed nation. The phenomenon has been dubbed hikikomori, or social withdrawal, by psychiatrist Tamaki Saito, who estimates that one in every 40 Japanese households has such a loner. That's an astounding 1 million social dropouts".
Great article on Asia and how its countries deal/don't deal with mental illness.
posted by SpaceCadet
on Nov 24, 2003 -