Chapter 11: East Asia (Fig. 11. 1) Learning Objectives



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Chapter 11:
East Asia
(Fig. 11.1)

Learning Objectives

  • 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

  • Japan is extremely wealthy, but poverty may be found in parts of the region

  • 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 (3rd 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

-Loess Plateau

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

  • South Korea has better

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/mi2

  • 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

  • South Korea densely populated; 71 million; 1,265/mi2

  • North Korea sparsely populated; 23 million; 97/mi2

  • Taiwan is most densely settled; 23 million; 1,633/mi2

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

  • Oldest cities were fortified; houses built around courtyards, narrow alleyways

  • 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

whole words or ideas, rather than a sound (phonics)

  • 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 6th Century B.C. to foster social stability

  • Obedience to authority; authority figures must act in a caring manner; education also important

  • Modern Role of Confucian Ideas

  • 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
  • Ainu in peoples in the north; otherwise a homogenous society

  • 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
Language
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 3rd Century B.C.; efforts to conquer Korea

  • The Manchu Ch’ing Dynasty

  • Manchu Dynasty in power from 1644 to well into 19th 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 7th 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”)

19th 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

  • The Division of Korea

  • 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

  • Japan has world’s 2nd largest economy

  • 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

  • From cheap consumer goods to heavy industry to high-tech

  • 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%

  • Social and Regional Differentiation

  • 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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