Welcome to the World Wide Web Home page of Road to East Asia
Faculty of Arts, York University
Vol.3, no. 2, 1999-2000
This issue reviews meritorious web sites and the latest print publications about the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean diasporas at the turn of the new millennium. Readers are invited to assist in the compilation of a Who's Who of notable (ethnic) East Asians in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Australia. Please send us your nomination and the biographical data of the person involved.
Have these exiles contributed significantly to the literary scenes of their host countries, and to what extent have they been influenced by their Western peers? Do the Western audience/authors welcome these "transplanted" writers as "exotic elements" or as members of the Republic of Letters, which is not demarcated by any borders? Pulitzer prizewinner Gary Snyder, for one, argues that "we are all dancing in and out of each other's dark and light."
While many CBCs do not speak their native dialect, many do. I am proud of the fact that I speak Cantonese fluently. I also listen to Chinese music, watch Chinese movies and had taken a Chinese history course.
Contemporary Canadian society and government have apparently out-grown the naÔve cultural and race-centered biases of their forefathers towards immigrants. However, Chinese immigration may be an anomalous case. Issues continue to flare that indicate conspicuous differences between Canadian perceptions of the Chinese and other ethnic immigrants. Historical perceptions of culture and economics were at the root of these opinions, as they were over 100 years earlier. The fact is that cross-cultural disparities still exist in Canada, despite such "modern" notions as "multiculturalism" and "racial equality."
Kevin Perkins has recently earned his masterís degree in East Asian History from York University.
This conference, held in Havana in December, 1999, was jointly sponsored by Universidad de la Habana, University of California, Berkeley, Grupo Promotor del Barrio Chino, and Casino Chung Wah, Havana.
After Spain had emancipated the slaves from Africa in the 19th century, some 200,000 Chinese laborers were imported to work in the Cuban plantations. "The Chinese Cuban community remains visible, although most Chinese Cubans are now blended into the Cuban population through intermarriages," according to the sponsors of the Havana conference.
Among the participants were Ted Goossen (York University) and Frank F. Scherer (York University). Apart from papers on overseas Chinese in the Caribbean and Latin American countries, the conference included reports on other topics pertaining to the Chinese diaspora worldwide, for example, "A Comparative Study on Chinese Settlement Patterns between the U.S. and Australia"(Wei Li and Paul Fernald, University of Connecticut) and "A Comparison between Overseas Chinese and Overseas Koreans in America on Attitudes toward Homeland Reunification" (George Totten, University of Southern California).
The author traces the causes of Japan's dwindling private investments in Peru and other Latin American countries. This is a useful study of Japan's economic activities in the region since 1945.
Peru is a special case, according to the author: "Its relation with Japan is intertwined with the history of the Japanese immigration, thereby creating strong emotional ties between the two nations," Kamiya writes. "With almost 120,000 Nikkei, Peru's population of Japanese descendants living abroad is second only to Brazil, which has almost a million." He also notes that since the 1980s, "many Peruvians started to emigrate to Japan pursuing the Japanese dream. This development could well have contributed to the victory of Alberto Fujimori in 1990, a victory achieved along with great expectations of massive investments from Japanese firms in Peru."
Set in contemporary China, Ha Jinís award-winning novel, Waiting, depicts the struggles of a doctor against the burden of tradition. Having fallen in love with a modern, educated woman, the physician tries to divorce his wife, who was chosen for him in his home village. Ha Jin teaches English at Emory University in Atlanta.
This essay, transmitted by BBC, February 19, 1998, censures the ridiculous misrepresentations of the Chinese people by the British. Among the silly puns cited by Lee are "the overweight Mrs. Wong, the woman with more chins than the Peking phone book," and the crash of the Hong Kong stock exchange, which was a "disease," just as the chicken flu was. Lee ends his essay with a touching poem about Hong Kong by one of his students, whose memories and sentiments are "quite similar" to those of the British who "should know the reality well," for they "were here for long enough." Now a professor at the Universite Jean Moulin Lyon III in France, Lee wrote this essay while he was teaching at the University of Hong Kong. (Witty and worthwhile)
The film, which won the Audience Award for Best Dramatic Film at the Sundance Film Festival, depicts the arranged marriages of Asian women to Japanese plantation laborers in Hawaii between 1908 and 1924. During this period more than 20,000 picture brides crossed the Pacific Ocean to join their husbands, who made their selections based on the women's photographs. (Worthwhile)
NAATA is supported by world-famous actors and directors, including Joan Chen, David Henry Hwang, Ang Lee, and Tamlyn Tomita. "NAATA strives to bring quality Asian American programming to public television," says Donald Young, NAATA's director of broadcast programming. I Am Viet Hung and Picture Bride are two of the productions in which the association has been involved. (Interesting and very informative)
The books listed on this site offer promising approaches to education, health, women, and other issues that pertain to Korean, Japanese, and Chinese Americans. (Useful)
The author calms fears that overseas Chinese entrepreneurs may pose a challenge to Western investors, for stringent regulations in the West have frustrated reliance on guanxi (personal connections). (Interesting)
Four professors delivered talks on March 23, 1999, at the Australian National University on the "business networks" that the Chinese immigrants have established in Australia.
KASTN, a weekly newsletter, analyses materials that are of interest to the Korean-American professional community. (Useful)
Scholars from different universities presented their papers at seminars sponsored by this center at the Australian National University. (Very informative)
This site gives a brief history of the Chinese American experience and features some visually interesting graphics.
Lynn Pan, author of Songs of the Yellow Emperor and other noteworthy books, talks about the connotations of the word "Chinese." (Interesting)
Visitors: since Jan. 24, 1996