Chapter 11: East Asia (Fig. 11. 1) Learning Objectives
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(Fig. 11.1) Learn about the world’s most heavily populated region Understand the sources of cultural cohesiveness in E. Asia Become familiar with the physical, demographic, cultural, political and economic aspects of East Asia Understand the following concepts and models: Introduction Setting the boundaries Japan, North and South Korea, and Taiwan share cultural similarities with the eastern part of China. The western part of China, however, does not fit this region as well. East Asia is world’s most populous region; while China is the most populous country (1.3 billion), with oldest continuous national culture China and Japan have been rivals from time to time over the centuries East Asia has experienced colonization, and has seen both internal and international conflict East Asia is a core area of the world economy and an emerging center of political power Environmental Geography: Resource Pressures in a Crowded Land Flooding, Dam-Building, and Related Issues in China China’s Yangtze River is an important resource (3 rd largest by volume) The Three Gorges Controversy Environmental Geography: Resource Pressures in a
Crowded Land, cont. Flooding, Dam-Building, and Related Issues in China Flooding in Northern China Northern China Plain has long been plagued with floods and droughts along Huang He (Yellow River) Huge sediment load; the world’s muddiest river Many dikes, but it’s still “the river of China’s sorrow” Erosion on the Loess Plateau Huang He’s sediment burden from the Loess Plateau Loess – a fine, wind-blown glacially deposited material; loess is fertile, but vulnerable to erosion when plowed Loess Plateau is one of the poorest parts of China Environmental Geography: Resource Pressures in a Crowded Land (cont.) Other East Asian Environmental Problems Forests and Deforestation Little conservation of forests in China; much more in Japan Reforestation programs not very successful China may need to import wood products for development Mounting Pollution China’s development causing water pollution, toxic waste dumping, and air pollution from the burning of high sulfur coal Japan, Taiwan, South Korea have implemented stringent pollution controls and established pollution-generating industries outside of their countries to reduce pollution Environmental Geography: Resource Pressures in a Crowded Land (cont.) Environmental Geography: Resource Pressures in a Crowded Land (cont.) East Asia’s Physical Geography Large area of region gives it large regional climatic variability; similar latitude extent to U.S. Japan’s Physical Environment Subtropical to subarctic- Climate variations in the east and west 85% of Japan is mountainous Seismically active History of forest conservation Limited alluvial plains used for intensive agriculture Environmental Geography: Resource Pressures in a Crowded Land (cont.) East Asia’s Physical Geography (cont.) Chinese Environments Southern China: rugged mountains and hills interspersed with lowland basins Northern China: -Gobi Desert -North China Plain Environmental Geography: Resource Pressures in a Crowded Land (cont.) East Asia’s Physical Geography (cont.) Taiwan’s Environment Central and eastern regions are rugged and mountainous; west is dominated by an alluvial plain; mild winter climate; still has extensive forests Korean Landscapes Mountainous country with scattered alluvial basins farmlands than North Korea Climate
(Fig. 11.7) Population and Settlement: A Realm of Crowded Lowland Basins Japanese Settlement and Agricultural Patterns Japan’s Agriculture Lands Located mostly in coastal plains and interior basins Settlement Patterns Largest metro areas: Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya; this megalopolis holds 65% of Japan’s people Population density: 876/mi 2 128 million people Most crowded in mainland industrial belt Population and Settlement: A Realm of Crowded Lowland Basins (cont.) Settlement and Agricultural Patterns in China, Taiwan, Korea China is only 37% urban; Japan, Taiwan, Korea urban China’s Agricultural Regions Rice dominant in the south; wheat, millet, sorghum in the north North China Plain is one of the most thoroughly anthropogenic landscapes in the world (anthropogenic landscape – one that has been heavily transformed by human activities) Manchuria thoroughly settled; Loess Plateau thinly settled Population and Settlement: A Realm of Crowded Lowland Basins (cont.) Settlement and Agricultural Patterns in China, Taiwan, Korea Settlement and Agricultural Patterns in Korea and Taiwan North Korea sparsely populated; 23 million; 97/mi 2 Taiwan is most densely settled; 23 million; 1,633/mi 2 Population and Settlement: A Realm of Crowded Lowland Basins (cont.) East Asian Agriculture & Resources in Global Context Global Dimensions of Japanese Agriculture and Forestry Japan is one of the world’s largest food importers; but is self-sufficient in rice Imports wood products, oil, coal, and minerals The Global Dimensions of Chinese Resource Demand China has imported food since the 1990s China’s demand for resources is re-ordering global trade patterns Population and Settlement: A Realm of Crowded Lowland Basins (cont.) Urbanization in East Asia Early urbanization, but the region was overwhelmingly rural until end of World War II Chinese Cities Colonial period changed urban form, emphasized coastal cities Beijing (13 million) – capital during the Manchu period (1644–1912) City Systems of Japan, and South Korea South Korea noted for urban primacy Urban primacy – the concentration of urban population in a single city Japan displays a pattern of superconurbation Superconurbation: like Megalopolis; a huge zone of coalesced metropolitan areas Cultural Coherence and Diversity: A Confucian Realm? Unifying Cultural Characteristics The Chinese Writing System Ideographic writing: form of writing using symbols (ideograph or character) to represent Disadvantage: large number of characters to learn Advantage: speakers of different languages use same writing system Korea: In 1400s, Koreans implemented their own alphabet Japan: more complex writing system Kanji: characters borrowed from Chinese writing system Hiragana: Japanese system in which symbol represents a syllable (combination vowel and consonant sound, like RA, or MI, or KO) Katakana: for spelling words of foreign origin Cultural Coherence and Diversity: A Confucian Realm? (cont.) Unifying Cultural Characteristics (cont.) The Confucian Legacy Confucianism: the philosophy developed by Confucius has a strong influence on the region Greater influence in China and Korea than in Japan Dates from 6 th Century B.C. to foster social stability Obedience to authority; authority figures must act in a caring manner; education also important In early 1900s, lagging development in East Asia raised questions about value of Confucian ideas Today, economic growth suggest that Confucian support for education and social stability are an advantage Variable development in the region points to middle ground Cultural Coherence and Diversity: A Confucian Realm? (cont.) Religious Unity and Diversity in East Asia Mahayana Buddhism Diffused to China from India by the second century A.D. W idespread throughout the region Nonexclusive: Buddhists may professing faith in other religions Shinto Closely bound to Japanese nationality Based on harmony of nature and its connection to humans Taoism and Other Chinese Belief Systems Rooted in nature worship Related to Geomancy: feng shui; Chinese and Korean practice of designing buildings in accordance with spiritual powers that supposedly flow through the local topography Cultural Coherence and Diversity: A Confucian Realm? (cont.) Religious Unity and Diversity in East Asia (cont.) Minority Religions Christianity: Less than 1% in China and Japan, but this equals millions; about 6 million in Korea, mostly Protestants Islam: Several tens of millions of Muslims in China Secularism in East Asia Confucianism (a philosophy) and Marxism support secularism East Asia is one of the most secular regions in the world Cultural Coherence and Diversity: A Confucian Realm? (cont.) Linguistic and Ethnic Diversity in East Asia Language and National Identity in Japan Japanese is not related to any other language Possible connections to Korean, or the Altaic languages Minority Groups in Japan Several Japanese dialects (most distinct on Ryukyu Islands) Koreans, Chinese, and South Asians in Japan; face discrimination Other immigrants came to Japan beginning in 1980s Chinese, southern Asians in construction Philippines immigrants in entertainment, prostitution 200,000 Brazilians of Japanese ancestry in Japan Fig. 11.23
Geography Cultural Coherence and Diversity: A Confucian Realm? (cont.) Linguistic and Ethnic Diversity in East Asia (cont.) Language and Identity in Korea Koreans relatively homogenous; vast majority speak Korean Korean diaspora: a scattering of a particular group of people over a vast geographical area: China Kazakhstan U.S. Canada Australia, New Zealand Cultural Coherence and Diversity: A Confucian Realm? (cont.) Linguistic and Ethnic Diversity in East Asia (cont.) Language and Ethnicity Among the Han Chinese Complex, heterogeneous, even in China proper (eastern half) Han majority Han languages (Sinitic): Mandarin, Cantonese (Yue), Fujianese, Shanghaiese (Wu) Tonal (changed tone changes meaning) and monosyllabic (one syllable) languages Cultural Coherence and Diversity: A Confucian Realm? (cont.) Linguistic and Ethnic Diversity in East Asia (cont.) The Non-Han Peoples Many remote upland districts are inhabited by non-Han people Tribal: people who have a traditional social order based on autonomous village communities Manchus in remote portions of Manchuria; other non-Hans in the far south autonomous regions (designed to allow non-Han peoples to experience “socialist modernization” at a different pace from the rest of China) Language and Ethnicity in Taiwan Tribal peoples who speak languages related to Indonesian Taiwanese and Mandarin speakers; Taiwanese discouraged Cultural Coherence and Diversity: A Confucian Realm? (cont.) East Asian Cultures in Global Context Tension between isolation and international involvement The Globalized Fringe Capitalist countries of the region are characterized by vibrant cosmopolitan internationalism English a common language; many study in the U.S., England Cultural flows increasingly two-way Japanese products worldwide (electronics, cars, anime) The Chinese Heartland History of internal orientation, except on southern coast China began to liberalize, open its doors in the 1970s and ’80s Urban popular culture beginning to emerge The Geopolitical Framework and Its Evolution: The Imperial Legacies of China and Japan Cold War rivalries split East Asia The Evolution of China Original core was the North China Plain and Loess Plateau China unified in 3 rd Century B.C.; efforts to conquer Korea The Manchu Ch’ing Dynasty Manchu Dynasty in power from 1644 to well into 19 th century The Modern Era In 1800s, China failed to keep pace with technological progress, and the empire declined British used opium in lieu of silver to buy Chinese goods, setting off the Opium Wars, resulting in colonization China divided into colonial “Spheres of Influence” The Geopolitical Framework and Its Evolution: The Imperial Legacies of China and Japan (cont.) The Rise of Japan Japan emerged as a unified state in 7 th century A.D. Was divided several times between 1000 and 1580 A.D. The Closing and Opening of Japan Tokugawa Shogunate reunited Japan in 1600s, established an isolationist policy Shogun: a military leader who theoretically remains under the emperor but who actually holds power Meiji Restoration (1868): strengthened government and economy The Japanese Empire Period of modernization and military building War with China, Russia; annexation of Korea War with the U.S. occurred after Japanese efforts to unite East and Southeast Asia (“Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”) 19 th Century European Colonialism (Fig. 11.30) The Geopolitical Framework and Its Evolution: The Imperial Legacies of China and Japan (cont.) Postwar Geopolitics Japan’s Revival Territory reduced to four main islands and Ryukyu Archipelago Divided by the U.S. and the Soviet Union after Korean War The Division of China Mao Zedong and the communists vs. the nationalists Communists victorious in 1949, Nationalists fled to Taiwan The Chinese Territorial Domain Occupation of Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia Paracel and Spratly islands China reclaimed Hong Kong in 1997 Fig. 11.28
Geopolitical Issues Economic and Social Development: An Emerging Core of the Global Economy Japan’s Economy and Society Japan’s Boom and Bust Japan set pace for world economy, 1960s-1980s 1990s: economic slump Living Standards and Social Conditions in Japan High standard of living, though a little lower than U.S. Low unemployment; health care provided; low crime rates Literacy high; infant mortality low; life-spans long Women in Japanese Society Limited opportunities for career advancement Drop in marriage rate may be a response Low fertility rates (1.2 avg.) Economic & Social Development: Emerging Core of Global Economy, cont. The Newly Industrialized Countries The Rise of South Korea 1960s program of export-led economic growth in South Korea South Korean companies increasingly became multinational Contemporary South Korea Anti-government student-led protests repressed in 1960s and ’70s Middle class successfully pushed for democratization in late 1980s Taiwan and Hong Kong Higher per capita GDP than South Korea Government-guided economic development in Taiwan Hong Kong has system of laissez-faire: market freedom Economies linked internationally Global Ties (Fig. 11.34) Economic & Social Development: Emerging Core of Global Economy, cont Chinese Development China Under Communism “Great Leap Forward” resulted in the death of 20 million Cultural Revolution (1960s) –many sent to “re-education” camps Toward a Postcommunist Economy China seeking closer connections with world economy, experimenting with capitalism Industrial Reform Special Economic Zones (SEZs) welcome foreign investment Economic growth is around 10% Economic reforms resulted in social and regional differentiation Social Conditions in China Large investments in medical care and education, with regional contrasts in social development, well-being Economic & Social Development: Emerging Core of Global Economy, cont Chinese Development (cont.) The Booming Coastal Region Most economic benefits are in the coastal region and Beijing Interior and Northern China Little economic expansion; Manchuria is a “rust belt” Economic & Social Development: Emerging Core of Global Economy, cont Chinese Development (cont.) China’s Population Quandary 1.3 billion people in China; “one child” policy favors males, led to gender imbalance, other unintended consequences The Position of Women Historically low position in Chinese society, high workforce participation, limited power Conclusions East Asia united by culture and history Internal ethnic tensions growing in China Korea must manage the transition from low-wage exporter to high-wage technological powerhouse Japan coping with its economic challenges
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