井底之蛙

2/19/2010

Tonghak and Taiping

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 11:45 pm

I was struck, preparing for class yesterday, that the Tonghak and Taiping faiths were surprisingly similar and arose nearly simultaneously: Syncretic monotheistic faiths drawing on Confucian, Christian and indigenous magical traditions, with anti-foreign reformist programs and a counter-cultural ethos of equality.1 There are obvious differences, too, in teachings and in the leadership, but the structural similarities raise some interesting possibilities for research and teaching.

I’m not the first person to have this insight apparently, though it doesn’t look (from what little I can tell from these links) like there’s any hint of direct connection between them. I’m a little surprised, frankly, that World History textbooks (which love those kinds of parallel moments) haven’t picked up on it. Of course, Korea’s place in World History textbooks overall is pretty pitiful at the moment and the Taiping movement rarely gets more than passing mention in an already busy and traumatic Chinese 19th century. With the rise of religious history, it seems likely that these issues might come closer to the forefront, though, and I’d be curious to know if anyone else out there does something with this confluence.

  1. The Japanese “New Religions” of the 19th century are very heavily Shinto-influenced, with some Buddhism and almost no Christianity, nor did any of them become political movements. It’s not the same. []

4/4/2009

April Fool’s Day, Self Puffery and Töfood

Filed under: — C. W. Hayford @ 12:00 am

Hooray for me!

China Beat, my second favorite China blog, has started a series of quizzes — why didn’t we think of that? The most recent asked readers to name the “‘Prettiest’ (photo of China), ‘The Wittiest’  (title of a China-related piece of writing), and ‘The Grittiest’ (best muckraking journalist to work the China beat).”

And I won, beating out…. well, they didn’t say exactly how many entries, but it must have been several.

To see my prize winning answers, please go to New Quiz Winner (China Beat 4/01/2009).

And, oh — I am sure that the fact that it was published on April Fool’s day is a sheer coincidence. I think.

Go Tofood!

But the award for Best China April Fool’s Announcement has to go to Karen Christensen at Berkshire Publishing News. Karen announced an “innovative Chinese company has made plans for the global launch of a vegetarian product popular throughout China after learning about the wildly successful introduction of SPAM® during the Great Depression.” The Chinese canned meat substitute, made of soyabeans, has been given a new brand name, she continued: Töfood.  The product will be packaged, like SPAM®, in a distinctively shaped container – in this case, one that looks like a traditional Chinese pagoda.

Congratulations to Karen and her graphics designer, Anna Myers.

12/6/2007

Asian History Carnival Coming Soon

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 6:25 pm

We will soon be hosting an Asian History Carnival at the Frog in a Well: China weblog on December 12th. Read more about the Asian History Carnival and how you can nominate posts for inclusion here. The carnival will include excellent weblog postings on Asian History written since October 10th, along with some related online resources. You can also easily recommend nominations by tagging them on del.icio.us with the tag “ahcarnival” (http://del.icio.us/tag/ahcarnival/).

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