Glencoe World Geography, 2005
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Chapter 27: The Cultural Geography of East Asia
"East Asian Customs"

Students have read about the differences, similarities, and common threads among the cultures of the countries in East Asia. In this activity they will learn about concepts that underlie these cultures and ways in which the cultures manifest themselves. They will study ancient values by which today's East Asians continue to live. They will also learn about customs that are popular in the cultures of some East Asian countries.

Lesson Description
Students will use information from the Asia Society's AskAsia Web site to explore the cultures of China, Japan, and Korea. They will answer four questions and then use what they have learned to write a letter of introduction to a Japanese exchange student.

Instructional Objectives

  1. Students will be able to discuss how traditions influence daily life in several East Asian countries.
  2. Students will be able to apply what they have learned to write a letter of introduction to a Japanese exchange student.

Applied Content Standards
Standard 10: The geographically informed person knows and understands the characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics.

Student Web Activity Answers

  1. China has simplified some of the most complex or frequently used characters by reducing their number of "strokes," or lines, in order to make them easier to learn to read and write. Some of the least frequently used characters have been merged into a single character, and an intensive campaign to promote Mandarin—the standard dialect—as the national language has been undertaken. Pinyin is a standard spelling system that uses the Roman alphabet to spell the pronunciation of Chinese characters. It has been adopted to replace a variety of older, unstandardized romanization systems.
  2. When a woman becomes of "marrying age," she and her family put together a packet that includes a photograph and describes her background, accomplishments, and interests. The family then asks around to find a "go-between" who can introduce the woman to a potential husband. Accompanied by the go-between and representatives from both families, the woman and man meet. They then decide if they want to date, with marriage as a potential outcome.
  3. Junior club members have low status and must show respect to senior club members; senior club members are held responsible for their juniors.
  4. In Korean legends, deities and animals wanted to become human and live on Earth. Koreans value longevity. A Korean proverb refers to "preferring an earthly field of dung to the wonders of the nether world."
  5. Students' letters will vary but should include information on school structure, classes, and after-school activities. Students may also point out the differences in academic expectations and dating.

Go To Student Web Activity


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