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The Xinjiang Conflict: Uyghur Identity, Language Policy, and Political Discourse

The Xinjiang Conflict: Uyghur Identity, Language Policy, and Political Discourse | Geography Education | Scoop.it
This study explores Chinese language policy and language use in Inner Asia, as well as the relation of language policy to the politics of Uyghur identity. Language is central to ethnic identity, and official language policies are often overlooked as critical factors in conflict over ethnic nationalism.
Seth Dixon's insight:

A while back I wrote this blogpost for the National Geographic Education Blog about the Uyghur people of Eastern Turkestan.  The cultural policies of assimilation that are working to erase Eastern Turkestan and more fully make it Xinjiang are politically powerful, but the situation is more pressing that most people today realize. This academic article, The Xinjiang Conflict: Uyghur Identity, Language Policy, and Political Discourse, is an excellent primer to the cultural and political complexities of this place with two names where East Asia and Central Asia meet. 

 

GeoEd Tags: political, conflict, governance, China, East Asia, religion, culture, Islam, landscape.

Scoop.it Tags: political, conflictgovernance, China, East Asia, religion, culture, Islam, landscape.

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China's hidden camps

China's hidden camps | Geography Education | Scoop.it
What's happened to the vanished Uighurs of Xinjiang?
Seth Dixon's insight:

A few years ago, I wrote an article for National Geographic's education blog about Eastern Turkestan, and the policies of cultural assimilation that the China is using to more fully make this place become Xinjiang.  This BBC interactive (as well as this NY Times article) is the update to understand how extensive the human rights violations are as re-education camps/detention centers have been used in the last few years to hide away political dissidents and those practicing tradition Uyghur (Uighur) customs.  This video from the Economist highlights how the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have not been able to participate in China's recent economic growth as fully because of governmental policies.  According to U.S. State Department, the number of people forced into these camps is at least 800,000, but potentially over 2 million.     

GeoEd Tags: Central Asia, culture, China, East Asia.

Scoop.it TagsCentral Asia, culture, China, East Asia.

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Inside Hong Kong’s cage homes

Hong Kong is the most expensive housing market in the world. It has been ranked as the least affordable housing market on Earth for eight years in a row, and the price per square foot seems to be only going up. The inflated prices are forcing Hongkongers to squeeze into unconventionally small spaces that can affect their quality of life.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Land scarcity is usually the main culprit behind extremely high real estate markets in the world’s most expensive housing markets.  Silicon Valley, New York City, and other urban areas that are magnets for a young, well-educated workforce have very high costs of living.  The rising property values and rents make living in a city on the rise difficult for many of the residents that aren’t a part of the economic rising tide (gentrification is just particular example).   

Hong Kong is a very peculiar example were land scarcity is only a part of the situation.  Bad land use (3.7% zoned for high density housing) policy and land management are bigger culprits.  The government essentially owns all the land in Hong Kong and leases it to developers, so developers are incentivized to drive up that rates, given that the government doesn’t want to tax the corporations for the land that they occupy.

Season 2 of Vox borders has 5 episodes about Hong Kong:

  1. How British rule shaped Hong Kong
  2. China is erasing its border with Hong Kong
  3. Feng shui shaped Hong Kong’s skyline
  4. Decline of Hong Kong’s neon glow
  5. Hong Kong’s cage homes (profiled above)

Scoop.it Tags: housingurban, spatialdensity, planning, urbanism, China.

WordPress TAGS: housing, urban, spatial, density, planning, urbanism, China.

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Matt Danielson's curator insight, December 12, 2018 3:35 PM
I thought high property values were bad in areas of California or in New York city, but Hong Kong seems far worse. The city is extremely overcrowded and people are desperate enough to work in the city for a better income, even if it means sleeping in a tiny cage apartment at night. 
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The Japanese art of (not) sleeping

The Japanese art of (not) sleeping | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The Japanese don’t sleep. This is what everyone – the Japanese above all – say. I first encountered these intriguing attitudes to sleep during my first stay in Japan in the late 1980s. Daily life was hectic; people filled their schedules with work and leisure appointments, and had hardly any time to sleep. Many voiced the complaint: 'We Japanese are crazy to work so much!' But in these complaints one detected a sense of pride at being more diligent and therefore morally superior to the rest of humanity. Yet, at the same time, I observed countless people dozing on underground trains during my daily commute. Some even slept while standing up, and no one appeared to be at all surprised by this.

The positive image of the worker bee, who cuts back on sleep at night and frowns on sleeping late in the morning, seemed to be accompanied by an extensive tolerance of so-called ‘inemuri’ – napping on public transportation and during work meetings, classes and lectures. Women, men and children apparently had little inhibition about falling asleep when and wherever they felt like doing so."

Seth Dixon's insight:

If you subscribe to Edward Hall's Cultural Iceberg model (video), we can readily see, touch, or experience many parts of a society's culture; what they wear, the ways the communicate, the food they eat, etc.  Beneath the surface, though, are the less obvious cultural traits that aren't so easily observed.  These aspects of culture, such as the beliefs, values, and thought patterns of a society, are critical to understanding differing cultural traits.

 

Questions to Ponder: In this article about sleep in Japan, what elements of external culture (above the surface) are present?  What elements of internal culture (beneath the surface) are present?  How do the cultural traits beneath the surface shape the cultural traits that are above the surface?    

Scoop.it Tags: culturecultural norms, labor, JapanEast Asia.

WordPress TAGS: cultural norms, culture, labor, Japan, East Asia.

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Five ways China's past has shaped its present

Five ways China's past has shaped its present | Geography Education | Scoop.it
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"The country is perhaps more aware of its own history than any other major society on earth. That remembering is certainly partial - events like Mao's Cultural Revolution are still very difficult to discuss within China itself. But it is striking how many echoes of the past can be found in its present."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a very interesting article...one can make too much of a country's history as a casual factors, and yet make too little of historical patterns at your own peril.  "To understand China's approach today to trade, foreign policy or censorship, consider its history."  This article considers a few of  China's current policies that may seem peculiar today but that make much more sense with a longer and deeper history.  Some of the topics considered include:

  • trade
  • trouble with neighbors
  • Information flow
  • Religious freedoms
  • Technology

 

Tags: China, East Asia, historical.

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Kami Romeike's curator insight, July 4, 2018 3:20 AM

This is a very interesting article...one can make too much of a country's history as a casual factors, and yet make too little of historical patterns at your own peril.  "To understand China's approach today to trade, foreign policy or censorship, consider its history."  This article considers a few of  China's current policies that may seem peculiar today but that make much more sense with a longer and deeper history.  Some of the topics considered include:

  • trade
  • trouble with neighbors
  • Information flow
  • Religious freedoms
  • Technology

 

Tags: China, East Asia, historical.

Olivia Campanella's curator insight, December 14, 2018 10:02 PM
In this interesting article you can learn a lot about the Chinese history. The country is more aware of its own history than any other. major society on earth. some of the ways include: 

Trade
Trouble with Neighbors
Information flow
Freedom of Religion
and Technology
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The Two Koreas

The Two Koreas | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"While the Korean War of the early 1950s never formally ended, its aftermath has created starkly divergent worlds for those living on either side of the north-south divide. What follows is a look at life in the two Koreas; how such a night-and-day difference came to be; and where the crisis could go from here. Both governments claimed to be the legitimate rulers of the peninsula. Tensions between north and south gradually mounted, until finally, in June 1950, hundreds of thousands of North Korean troops stormed across the 38th parallel. The unsuspecting South Korean defenders were outgunned and outnumbered, and beat a hasty retreat southward."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This excellent interactive was created by Esri's Story Maps team using the Story Map Cascade app--making it an great resources of the geography of the Korean Peninsula as well as a stellar example of how maps, infographics, videos, images and text can be combined using ArcGIS online.

 

Tags: mappingESRIStoryMapinfographic, visualizationNorth KoreaSouth Korea, East Asiaborders, political, geopolitics, historical.

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Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, December 9, 2018 9:10 PM
The two Koreas are polar opposites literally, North and South. The Korean war that took place some 68 years ago never formally ended because they could not come to peace agreements. So the border between North and South Korea known as the DMZ is the most heavily fortified border in the world because tensions still run high. The DMZ is the cease fire line. Both sides fear invasion, however in the current state of things it seems as if the North is more aggressive towards invasion that the South, as the South has found some secret tunnels and fear there's more by the North Koreans. Economically the North is severely behind in the world because of there dictators. While the South has become an economic Tiger thanks to the UN and USA trying to promote democracy in the area.
Matt Danielson's curator insight, December 12, 2018 3:51 PM
The two Koreas are a great example of how Capitalism, Democracy, and liberty are far better than Communism. Just the difference in light visible from satellites at night in the two countries speaks volumes. The war being technically not over and only under cease-fire always leaves that chance for the conflict to reopen. Though today they are taking major steps toward peace and making moves that have never been done before. The amount of famine and overall  sub quality of life in North Korea is mind blowing, and with much of it kept secret its hard to imagine how bad it really is.
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, December 14, 2018 3:54 PM
For the two Korean nations, there are stark contrasts in the standard of living and wealth of the people. While the Korean war began in the 1950's it never formally ended a ceasefire was called and has just not flared up in a massive battle again. The two nations are uneasy with each other having different ideas for what Korea should be, but both nations do want a joint Korea. Looking at a map of the energy consumption by the two nations there is a line between those who have it and those who do not. These two have shown solidarity as well in the Olympics joining as one nation, but tensions will continue to flare for a long time.
 
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The 10 Worst River Basins Contributing to Ocean Plastics

The 10 Worst River Basins Contributing to Ocean Plastics | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"[A new paper], published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, calculates that rivers contribute between 410,000 and 4 million tonnes a year to oceanic plastic debris, with 88 to 95% [of that total] coming from only 10. Those rivers are the Yangtze, Yellow, Hai He, Pearl, Amur and Mekong in east Asia, the Indus and Ganges Delta in south Asia, and the Niger and Nile in Africa."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Of river-based plastic pollution, these 10 rivers are responsible for 88%-95% of all the plastic gyrating in the world's oceans.  Improvement in these key places could make a world of difference in improving marine ecosystems (NOTE: the map came from this alternative article on the same subject).

 

Tags: pollution, water, environmentsustainability, consumption, fluvial.

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Matt Richardson's curator insight, January 3, 2018 1:22 PM
Baltimore harbor has an odd contraption that is scooping plastic out of Jones Falls before it reaches the outer harbor. If only this machine could operate in these 10 river systems, which are contributing waste to our embattled/trashed/overfished/warming oceans. .
Matt Manish's curator insight, April 4, 2018 12:44 PM
It struck me as odd to learn that the majority of plastic that winds up in the ocean isn't actually from ocean activities. Also, that these ten rivers contribute up to 88 to 95% of plastics in the ocean. This is a huge margin of these materials coming from these ten major river systems, most of them being in Asia. This makes me wonder why are mostly Asia's rivers carrying so much trash to ocean. It could be the major cities sitting along the banks that are dumping trash into the river and letting float down steam. Also, I wonder if there possibly isn't an efficient enough sanitation system set up in Asia which could lead to more people just throwing their trash into these rivers. To summarize, something from the data in this article tells me that their is a common denominator as to why most of the rivers that carry the largest amount of plastic materials to the ocean every year are located in Asia.
Olivia Campanella's curator insight, December 14, 2018 1:48 PM
In East Asia the Yangtze, Yellow, Hai He, Pearl Amur, Mekong. South Asia, Indus, Ganges Delta and in Africa the Niger and Nile River are responsible for dumping 4 million tonnes of plastic into the sea each year. Previous research has found 1/4 of plastic and trash comes from marine activity such as ships, fishing boats or drilling platforms. The 4/5 left comes from land totals 4.8 to 12 million tonnes. 
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Homeland of tea

Homeland of tea | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"China is the world’s biggest tea producer, selling many varieties of tea leaves such as green tea, black tea, oolong tea, white tea and yellow tea. Different regions are famous for growing different types of tea. Hangzhou is famous for producing a type of green tea called Longjing or the Dragon Well tea. Tea tastes also vary regionally. Drinkers in Beijing tend to prefer jasmine tea while in Shanghai prefer green tea. Processing raw tea leaves for consumption is a time and labor-intensive activity and still done by hand in many areas in China. The Chinese tea industry employs around 80 million people as farmers, pickers and sales people. Tea pickers tend to be seasonal workers who migrate from all parts of the country during harvest time. In 2016, China produced 2.43 million tons of tea."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Tea, the world's most popular beverage, doesn't just magically appear on kitchen tables--it's production and consumption is shaped by geographic forces, cultural preferences, and regional variations.  These 21 images show the cultural, region, and environmental, economic, and agricultural context of tea.  

 

Tagsimages, foodChina, East Asia, economic, labor, food production, agriculture.

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brielle blais's curator insight, May 2, 2018 8:45 AM
This shows the importance of a product to a countries economy, culture, and use of physical geography. China is the worlds biggest producer of tea. This stimulates the economy greatly, and gives 80 millions people jobs as farmers, pickets and in sales. Exporting the tea to other countries also helps the economy. The workers are seasonal, and travel to the tea come harvest season. This also boost the economy in the travel sector. Tea is also hugely part of the cultural geography of China as it is believed to bring wisdom and lift the spirit to a higher level. 
Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, May 2, 2018 9:49 PM
(East Asia) China, the founder of tea, is the largest producer of the most consumed drink in the world. With such an enormous country, regional differences between tea cultivation and culture naturally developed. There are approximately 80 million people involved in tea cultivation, which is non-mechanized in many parts. Linking tea with sanctity, farmers work long hours and come from across China seasonally.

A series of images follows the article. Most remarkable are the depictions of old and young Chinese farmers handpicking tea leaves, the vast plantations and agricultural architecture, and the tea tourism industry
Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, May 3, 2018 10:04 PM
This article looks into how the popular beverage, tea, is produced. China is not only the world's largest producer, but also creates many different types of tea including green, black and dragons well. The drink was discovered in 2737 by a Chinese emperor, and the industry employs approximately 80 million people and it produced 2.43 million tons in 2016
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Why China is building islands in the South China Sea

"China is building islands in the South China sea and its causing disputes among the other nations in the region; Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, and Indonesia. China claims they aren't military bases, but their actions say otherwise. The US has many allies in the region and uses its massive Navy to patrol international waters, keeping shipping lanes open for trade."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Last year this was an intriguing story but now the geopolitical drama is growing as more countries are literally building islands out of reef outcroppings to strengthen their claims to the South China Sea.  For some without geographic expertise, this might some baffling.  For those that understand Exclusive Economic Zones, maritime claims, and expanding geopolitical aspirations, this makes perfect sense. 

 

Tags: borders, political, conflict, waterChina, East Asia.

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Katie Kershaw's curator insight, April 11, 2018 1:33 PM
China is being very sneaky in their attempt to control the South China Sea and have decided they don’t want to listen to any international laws or court rulings that don’t follow what they want.  In order to strengthen their claims to the South China Sea and increase their land holdings, the Chinese have decided to literally build islands in the body of water.  These islands are then used as naval bases to help them take over other islands that are held by other countries in the South China Sea.  Their strategy for taking over these islands is called the “Cabbage strategy” where they quietly surround and blockade the islands from the countries who hold control over them in order to take them over.  As much as the other countries bordering the South China Sea do not like what China is doing, they are unable to challenge them too much because China’s navy is the most powerful in the region.  This is a situation that shouldn’t be so escalated because international maritime laws have established that countries can control the water 200 miles off their coasts, which would mean China would control part of the sea, other East Asian countries would control part of the sea, and the center of the sea would be international waters.  However, the natural resources in the sea are irresistible to China, so they have started literally building islands and taking over tiny islands that would normally have no one on them.  Other countries in the South China Sea have responded by building and settling on these ridiculously small islands as well.  China has now taken their claims a step farther and claimed airspace above the South China Sea.  The recent breakthroughs in technology have changed the way that governments can claim their borders and made geography more complicated.  The reason that China has been getting away with this is that no country except the U.S. can keep China in check.  However, it would be impossible to threaten China with the American Navy without causing a much bigger military conflict.  So for now, China quietly continues taking over the South China Sea.
Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 21, 2018 10:23 AM
The vast resources in the South China Sea and the benefits of the Exclusive Economic Zone make it clear why china wants and currently is building islands in the South China Sea. By occupying these newly created islands and claiming them for their own, they can extend their area of economic control by 200 nautical miles. For a nation that is rapidly industrializing and is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, these new areas of control are monumentally important.
Taylor Doonan's curator insight, May 3, 2018 11:49 AM
China is attempting to extend their EEZ by building islands in the South China Sea so they can claim the area 200 miles off the coasts of these man made islands. This is a problem because of the other countries that have EEZ claims in the South China Sea because if China claims more land it takes away the EEZ zones of some of these other countries. 
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China installs weapons on contested South China Sea islands

China installs weapons on contested South China Sea islands | Geography Education | Scoop.it
New satellite imagery indicates that China has installed weapon systems on all seven artificial islands it has built in the contested waters of the South China Sea, a move that's likely alarm the country's neighbors.

 

Tags: borders, political, conflict, China, remote sensing, East Asia.

Seth Dixon's insight:

UPDATE: After this news, the Pentagon says a Chinese warship has seized a US Navy underwater drone collecting unclassified data in international waters in the South China Sea.

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Colleen Blankenship's curator insight, January 4, 2017 3:41 PM
With a new president on our horizon, how will this affect our relationship with China?
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The great Korean bat flip mystery

The great Korean bat flip mystery | Geography Education | Scoop.it
MLB's code is clear: Flip your bat and you'll pay. But in South Korea, flips are an art. How does this alternate world exist? And what does it say about us? Writer Mina Kimes trekked across South Korea with illustrator Mickey Duzyj to unravel the mystery.
Seth Dixon's insight:

There are unwritten rules in Major League Baseball, or in geographic terms, there are are cultural norms that are informally enforced to maintain homogeneity and to prevent  cultural drift.  Jose Bautista's repuation as a villain has much to do with his rejection of a key MLB unwritten rule--Never 'show up' the pitcher by flipping the bat.  In South Korea, typically a country much more associated with cultural traditions of honor and respect than the United States, bat flipping is much more accepted and common (diffusion plays a role in the story--baseball came to South Korea via Japan).  This is an interesting story about South Korean baseball's cultural norms that might intrigue some sports fans. 

 

Tags: sport, popular culturediffusion, culturecultural norms, South Korea, East Asia.

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Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 29, 2018 8:39 AM
Baseball is America's pastime. It comes with a long history. If you are a baseball fan you have probably been lectured by an older family member about the history of this great game.  An there is no doubt you have heard about baseball's "unwritten" rules. One of these "rules" is to not show up the pitcher as a batter. One way in which we have seen this the past few seasons and especially a couple of years ago in the playoffs is the bat flip. The bat flip is a major no-no when it comes to baseball in America. However, in Korea it is commonplace. It is very strange to see how the Korean's play the game in such a contrast to the Americans. Korea and East Asia is usually known here in the West a quiet place that holds respect has an utter most importance. However, on the field they like to have fun. The Koreans learned the game from the Japanese when Japan's military held Korea. They learned the game and played the game with passion. The bat flip and other traditions became commonplace and have carried over just like baseball traditions here in America.  Baseball here in America has long look to regain its popularity with the youth and there seems to be  a push by younger players to bring more flare to the game. It has caused arguments among many of its older fans or players. So maybe we will see this Korean tradition used more in America soon, but for now it will remain controversial. 
Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 20, 2018 12:11 PM
The unwritten rules of baseball are not static. They change from country to country and are influenced by the values and norm of the society in which the game is played. In South Korea, bat flips are seen as a way to celebrate your success at the plate. Also, it lends a feeling of individuality that rarely presents itself in a culture that values conformity over individuality. This mentality is totally different than in America where a bat flip is seen as disrespectful and showing up the opposing pitcher. In American baseball, the team is valued more than the individual, so if you act out to celebrate individual success, then you will face consequences the next time you come to the plate.
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, December 14, 2018 4:05 PM
First off who thinks of baseball in South Korea? I am not a huge baseball fan, but I do know that if you flip the bat in the MLB next time you're up to bat the pitcher will remember and you'll have a new baseball-sized bruise. Interestingly in the individualistic U.S. it is for all intents and purposes prohibited,  while in a very collective and respectful society such as South Korea you are expected to make a spectacle out of it. Cultures do many things differently and some subvert expectations. 
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The rise of the Asian megacity (and why 'metacities' are the next big thing)

The rise of the Asian megacity (and why 'metacities' are the next big thing) | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Asia's rapid urbanisation is changing the very shape and nature of what we think of as a city.  It's not just the rapid increase in their numbers or their sheer size that makes these megacities fascinating. They look, feel and behave differently, too."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The term megacity (a city with a population greater than 10 million) has been around for a while and there wasn't much linguistic need to describe something bigger.  Today, most megacities are more like Lagos and Mumbai, places of extreme wealth asymmetries than the global cities of New York City and London.  Some are now using the term metacity to describe cities with populations of 20 million.  Asian metacities are a good place to start thinking about the largest urban regions that are increasingly dominating economic, political and cultural affairs.      

 

Tags: urbanmegacitiesEast Asia.

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Lee Hancock's curator insight, November 1, 2016 8:48 PM

Mega city to Meta city...

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Bad Earth: the human cost of pollution in China – in pictures

Bad Earth: the human cost of pollution in China – in pictures | Geography Education | Scoop.it
This series of images shows the extent of China’s pollution problems and the human toll of exponential growth on local communities in China’s vast and severely damaged northern region

 

Ghazlan Mandukai, 52, left, looks out over the vast, toxic tailings lake beyond the industrial city of Baotou, Inner Mongolia. He farmed in this area for 40 years until the influx of steel and rare earth metal factories rendered local lands infertile. Poisonous waste that results from refining rare earths is continually dumped into the Weikuang Dam, as seen here.

 

Tags: pollutionChina, East Asia, industry, sustainability, images, art, landscape.

 

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Keone Sinnott-Suardana's curator insight, June 22, 2016 10:21 PM
Nicole Canova's curator insight, May 1, 2018 10:30 PM
China has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world: but at what cost? They make themselves competitive in global markets by delivering goods and services at low prices, which they achieve through under-paying workers, not using resources to ensure workers' safety, and polluting the environment by ignoring protocols for safely disposing of waste products, which costs time and money.  The result is air that is unsafe to breathe, millions of people and animals with poisoned water supplies, and land that cannot be farmed.
Matt Danielson's curator insight, December 12, 2018 3:39 PM
CHina's pollution issues are pretty bad, possibly the worst polluter in the world. The air quality can be so terrible it reminds me of Industrial revolution London, except Chinese cities are even worse. Not just air pollution from smoke stacks but land pollution from dirty mining and water pollution in rivers from factories all play key roles in China's pollution problem. Some estimates put the number as high as a million Chinese deaths per a year attributed to pollution. This article does a good job of breaking down the pollution issue into simple terms.   
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Shopping in Pyongyang, and Other Adventures in North Korean Capitalism

Shopping in Pyongyang, and Other Adventures in North Korean Capitalism | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Far from the stereotype of total economic isolation, the black market has brought a surprising degree of modernity and consumerism — for some."

Seth Dixon's insight:

It is very difficult to get reliable data, journalism, or any other form of analysis out of North Korea.  For decades, North Korea has consistently been the country with the least freedom of the press in the world (as ranked by Reporters without Borders metrics).  In the 1990s, North Korea’s official, socialist-run economy failed to provide enough food for the population, and the informal, underground of markets (jangmadang) became increasingly prevalent.  This article is a rare glimpse into the shadow economy and the merchants that grease the economic wheels in one of the most authoritarian countries of the world.     

 

GeoEd Tags: North Korea, East Asia, economic, labor.

Scoop.it Tags: North KoreaEast Asia, economic, labor.

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The changing face of Japan: labour shortage opens doors to immigrant workers

The changing face of Japan: labour shortage opens doors to immigrant workers | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Japan – once one of the world’s most homogenous societies – is starting to unwind its traditional opposition to large-scale immigration
Seth Dixon's insight:

Japan is one of the closest examples of a nation-state.  And like Iceland, that is in part because the ocean historically has acted as a massive barrier to cultural diffusion and migration. Today though, modern transportation makes that barrier negligible.  Cultural attitudes have continued to not favor international immigration but their declining population has forced a change towards the end of 2018 (see any of theses five articles from Washington Post, Japanese Times, Nippon.com, the Guardian, and the Diplomat).

Japan has traditionally been one on the countries most opposed to allowing large number of migrants into their country.  The administration is still presenting themselves as tough on immigration; the 2018 policy change will allow semi-skilled workers to enter Japan for 5 years, but they cannot bring their family members with them, and they still must pass a Japanese-language exam.  These shifts are not an abandonment of policies that seek to preserve cultural homogeneity, but they are also an acknowledgement of the demographic realities and struggles of a declining population.     

Until 2018, Japanese policy only highly-skilled migrants were allowed in to Japan, with advantages given to those with Japanese ancestry.  However, these stringent migration policies coupled with Japan’s declining birth rates meant that Japan’s population was declining substantially enough to negatively impact their economy.  There were foreign workers filling in the gaps, but only 20% of those workers had functioning work visas under the old prohibitive system. This new policy is primarily aimed at replacing workers in sectors that are facing severe labor shortages, that are being classified as “semi-skilled workers.”  The law is trying to walk a fine line, trying to bring in more workers to Japan while simultaneously making it very difficult still trying to make it very tough for these workers to settle permanently in Japan. This will have a significant impact on Japanese society, and in the near future, it’s cultural institutions.   

 

GeoEd Tags: Japan, East Asia, declining population, migration.

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Inside North Korea's bubble in Japan

"Why North Korea has children’s schools in Japan. This isn’t a story about a physical border. North Koreans living in Japan experience a much less visible kind of border, one made of culture, tradition, history, and ideology. The result is a North Korean bubble in Japan whose members face fierce discrimination from Japanese society, leading the community to turn to Pyongyang for support. Now that community is being tested like never before. North Korea routinely threatens to destroy Japan with nuclear weapons, prompting a spike in Japanese nationalism. Japanese politicians are feeling increasing pressure to crack down on this North Korean bubble, creating a battleground in the most unlikely of places: schools."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This episode of Vox borders offers some excellent insight into a cultural enclave that feels deeply connected with a totalitarian regime.  From the outside, this raises so many questions, but understanding the cultural, historical, political, and economic context shows how this peculiar community continues.  The entire series of Vox Borders is fantastic material, dripping with geographic content.   

Tags: North KoreaJapan, East Asiaborders, political, historical.

WordPress TAGS: North Korea, Japan, East Asia, borders, political, historical.

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Albahae Geography's curator insight, September 20, 2018 9:18 AM
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K Rome's curator insight, October 6, 2018 7:36 PM

This episode of Vox borders offers some excellent insight into a cultural enclave that feels deeply connected with a totalitarian regime.  From the outside, this raises so many questions, but understanding the cultural, historical, political, and economic context shows how this peculiar community continues.  The entire series of Vox Borders is fantastic material, dripping with geographic content.   

Tags: North KoreaJapan, East Asiaborders, political, historical.

WordPress TAGS: North Korea, Japan, East Asia, borders, political, historical.

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China is trying to turn itself into a country of 19 super-regions

China is trying to turn itself into a country of 19 super-regions | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"China's urbanization is a marvel. The population of its cities has quintupled over the past 40 years, reaching 813m. By 2030 roughly one in five of the world’s city-dwellers will be Chinese. But this mushrooming is not without its flaws. Restraining pell-mell urbanization may sound like a good thing, but it worries the government’s economists, since bigger cities are associated with higher productivity and faster economic growth. Hence a new plan to remake the country’s map.

The idea is to foster the rise of mammoth urban clusters, anchored around giant hubs and containing dozens of smaller, but by no means small, nearby cities. The plan calls for 19 clusters in all, which would account for nine-tenths of economic activity (see map). China would, in effect, condense into a country of super-regions."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This type of plan would have been politically and economically unthinkable in years past, but the time-space compression (convergence) has made the distances between cities less of a barrier.  High-speed transit in the form of bullet trains link cities to other cities within the cluster more tightly together and the threshold of the functional region expands.  While some of these clusters are more aspirational, the top three (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing) are already powerful global forces. 

Scoop.it Tags: urbanregions, transportation, megacities, economic, planning, China, East Asia.

WordPress TAGS: urban, regions, transportation, megacities, economic, planning, China, East Asia.

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China will soon have air power rivaling the West’s - No longer just catch-up

China will soon have air power rivaling the West’s - No longer just catch-up | Geography Education | Scoop.it

“China’s president, Xi Jinping, wants to be able to challenge America’s military might in the western Pacific. He is making big progress. China’s once bloated armed forces are becoming leaner and a lot more capable. They are also benefiting from a defense budget that is growing at a steady 6-7% a year, in line with GDP. The IISS declares that China has become an innovator in military technology and is not merely ‘catching up’ with the West. For some of the most advanced science, Mr. Xi is tapping the private sector. The Pentagon has to woo skeptical Silicon Valley companies; firms in China do what the government tells them to do. In two years’ time, if not before, America is likely to lose its monopoly of radar-beating stealth combat aircraft with the introduction into service of China’s Chengdu J-20.”

 

Tags: political, military, China, geopolitics, East Asia.

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Matt Manish's curator insight, March 8, 2018 10:56 AM
From reading this article, it is clear for one to see that China is not just "catching up" to America with their military technology, but are becoming a true rival. The President of China is clearly putting a larger emphasis on restructuring the Chinese military. The Chinese government is also trimming the fat their military has had before in the past and creating a larger, more organized budget for their military branch. One major advantage China has over America, is that its private sector non-state tech firms have to do what their government tells them to do. Unlike the American government where they have to create deals and contracts with non-state tech firms for new military technology. This allows China to demand whatever they want from their tech firms in order to advance their military technology. Although, as long as American tech firms continue improve in their technology at an advanced rate and maintain a good relationship with the American government, the U.S. military will continue to be a strong rival in the present day arms race. It remains clear though, that America will indeed have to break a sweat in order to supersede China in regards to advancement in military technology. 
dustin colprit's curator insight, September 29, 2018 11:21 PM
While it is always possible for a country to increase it's strength. It is still a slightly unsettling reality knowing this increases their influence on the globe, while opening the possibility of future confrontation from an equal military force.
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Hong Kong's 'coffin homes' reveal a housing crisis

Hong Kong's 'coffin homes' reveal a housing crisis | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A shortage of developable land have pushed Hong Kong's housing prices skyward, leading some to live in spaces the size of closets.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Overpopulation doesn't feel like a serious issue when you live in a land characterized by wide open spaces, but in some densely settled urban centers, the issues become quite personal.  Hong Kong is currently facing a housing shortage. This article nicely explains the difficulties that living in the so-called coffin homes makes for the residents.  This photo gallery humanizes this difficult living condition.

 

Tags: housingurban, place, neighborhoodspatialdensity, planning, density, urbanism.

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Matt Manish's curator insight, February 16, 2018 8:35 PM
The photo gallery in this article helps to give an accurate depiction of the housing crisis in Hong Kong with many people living in units that are 4 by 6 feet. Many families have to live in separate units because they are so small and can't usually fit more than one person. The bright side of the housing crisis in Hong Kong is that these "coffin homes" allow people to live in the major city at a cheaper cost, although it definitely comes with a hefty price with such tiny living quarters. The future looks positive though, as Hong Kong promises to build over 400,000 new homes over the next decade. This will help improve the housing crisis and hopefully phase these "coffin homes" out of existence once and for all.
Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 29, 2018 9:31 AM
Now this is a major housing crisis. I thought apartments in NYC were small, but nothing like this. In Hong Kong they have what is called "coffin homes" they are stacked on top of each other to try to fit as many in as possible. With increasing population and just 7% of the land properly zoned for housing it caused a major crunch in the housing market. Currently prices are going for $1,350 per square foot. Obviously this is a major problem and causes living conditions to be brutal especially for the elderly or for families that have to split up due to space. So what to do to fix this problem? Well one would say just make more land available for housing, well that comes with problems as well. There probably is a reason that there is limited land for housing due to geographical issues. So yes we can build more homes, but would we run into new problems such as natural disasters that cause more debt for the people in the country. There definitely needs to be a solution for these people, but it might not be so simple. I will never go back to NYC now and say how small the apartments are, because well you could be in Hong Kong.
Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, May 2, 2018 9:17 PM
(East Asia) Unlike Singapore's regimented government housing, Hong Kong faces a severe housing crisis, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to live in tiny 4 by 6 foot homes. Hong Kong has a population of 7.3 million but only 7% of the city is cleared for housing. Therefore, landlords have to get creative. Stacking these "coffin homes" one on top of another is a great way to save space while providing the bare minimum housing. The coffin homes, little more than closets, have no windows or room to move around. Skyrocketing housing prices have caused extremely dense buildings as the elderly, disabled, young, and poor are forced to move in.
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Korean Baseball 101: Way Beyond the Bat Flips

Baseball in South Korea is more than a game. It’s akin to a religion. American missionaries first brought the sport to the peninsula in 1905, and the country absolutely loved it. Today, the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) features 10 teams and a unique sporting culture all its own. The city of Busan and its hometown Lotte Giants have a particularly passionate fan base. From the hitters’ flashy bat flips, to the team’s famous “cheermaster” and its unlikely American super fan, consider this is your crash course on the joyful madness that is Lotte Giants fandom.
Seth Dixon's insight:

If a sport (or other cultural practice) diffuses to a new place, is it going to look exactly the same as it does in the original cultural hearth? Maybe, or like baseball in South Korea, it can have a culture all its own. This is an interesting story that shows how the diffusion of cultural traits around the globe doesn't have to lead to a more bland cultural mosaic. As cultural traits are reterritorialized into new places, they add vibrancy to the cultural fabric of the institution/sub-culture that they've adopted.

 

 

Tags: sport, popular culturediffusion, culturecultural norms, South Korea, East Asia.

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Katie Kershaw's curator insight, April 12, 2018 1:28 PM
I don’t know if I subconsciously usually pick scoops that focus on negative situations, but this was one of the few scoops I can remember watching and feeling happy afterwards.  It is so cool that two countries can share a love for the same sport and watch the sport in such different ways.  The Korean fans seem to have much more enthusiasm while watching the game and the atmosphere seems really fun.  I have always enjoyed watching baseball and when I ask other people why they don’t watch, they always say they find it to be too boring.  But watching a Lotte Giants game seems to be anything but boring.  I think one of the biggest cultural differences that I saw between American baseball fans and Korean baseball fans is the ways in which they cheer.  I think that Americans use a lot more smack talk and taunting when they are at baseball games, but the Koreans seem to only be positive.  This is ironic because the Koreans are much more showy with how they cheer, but it’s not obnoxious or unsportsmanlike, it’s just peppy.  I also think it’s unique that the Lotte Giants have a cheer master, who’s job is to get the fans hyped.  American baseball doesn’t have anything close to this with the exception of mascots.  The American equivalent to the cheer master would probably be football or basketball cheerleaders, but they never get the crowd to be so in sync.  I also saw a lot of American influences still present in Korea, even though their experience is so different.  The most obvious is that the team name is in English and happens to also be an MLB team.  I also noticed that many advertisements had English and Korean on them.  It’s interesting that even though the sport is the same, the ways in which the fans celebrate are so different.
Mike curta's curator insight, April 26, 2018 8:41 AM
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Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, December 9, 2018 11:26 PM
Baseball in South Korea resembles that of baseball in America however they have there cultural differences. Baseball fans in Korean stadiums resemble that of soccer in Europe there fans are legendary. The bat flips are also much different than that in America. In South Korea they chuck the bat because that is culturally acceptable there. In America if you pimp a homerun your mostly likely going to get nailed by a 90 mph fastball during your next at bat because its seen as disrespectful.
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'This is death to the family': Japan's fertility crisis is creating economic and social woes never seen before

'This is death to the family': Japan's fertility crisis is creating economic and social woes never seen before | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Shrinking GDP and a falling population are poised to turn Japan into what economists call a "demographic time bomb," and other countries could be next.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The article headline is quite click-baity, but there is some real substance to this article.  The graphs are especially useful to teach concepts such as population momentum and the age-dependency ratio. These were the key parts of the article that caught my eye:

  • An aging population will mean higher costs for the government, a shortage of pension and social security-type funds, a shortage of people to care for the very aged, slow economic growth, and a shortage of young workers.
  • Following feminism's slow build in Japan since the 1970s, today's workers strive for equality between the sexes, something Japan's pyramid-style corporate structure just isn't built for. That's because institutional knowledge is viewed as a big deal in Japan.
  • The elderly now make up 27% of Japan's population. In the US, the rate is only 15%. Experts predict the ratio in Japan could rise to 40% by 2050. With that comes rising social-security costs, which the shrinking younger generations are expected to bear.
  • To make up for an aging population and aversion toward immigrant work, Japan's tech sector has stepped up its efforts in robotics and artificial intelligence.

Tags: culture, genderlabor, populationmigration, JapanEast Asia.

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Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, June 20, 2017 10:34 PM

Preliminary HSc - Global challenges: Population

Deanna Wiist's curator insight, September 12, 2017 9:01 PM

The article headline is quite click-baity, but there is some real substance to this article.  The graphs are especially useful to teach concepts such as population momentum and the age-dependency ratio. These were the key parts of the article that caught my eye:

  • An aging population will mean higher costs for the government, a shortage of pension and social security-type funds, a shortage of people to care for the very aged, slow economic growth, and a shortage of young workers.
  • Following feminism's slow build in Japan since the 1970s, today's workers strive for equality between the sexes, something Japan's pyramid-style corporate structure just isn't built for. That's because institutional knowledge is viewed as a big deal in Japan.
  • The elderly now make up 27% of Japan's population. In the US, the rate is only 15%. Experts predict the ratio in Japan could rise to 40% by 2050. With that comes rising social-security costs, which the shrinking younger generations are expected to bear.
  • To make up for an aging population and aversion toward immigrant work, Japan's tech sector has stepped up its efforts in robotics and artificial intelligence.

Tags: culture, genderlabor, populationmigration, JapanEast Asia.

josiewern's curator insight, December 8, 2017 4:33 AM

unit 2 article 1              2

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Japan forces a harsh choice on children of migrant families

Japan forces a harsh choice on children of migrant families | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Born in Japan, Gursewak Singh considers himself Japanese. The government doesn't. But it offers children like him a chance to stay - if their parents leave.

 

Gursewak’s parents, who are Sikhs, fled to Japan from India in the 1990s. For several years, they lived without visas under the radar of the authorities until they were put on a status known as “provisional release” in 2001. It means they can stay in Japan as long as their asylum application is under review.  While there were almost 14,000 asylum cases under review at the end of 2015, Japan accepted only 27 refugees last year. The year before that, the number was 11.

The low acceptance rate stands in stark contrast to Europe, which has seen hundreds of thousands of refugees arrive from countries such as Iraq, Syria and Eritrea. In the first half of the year, European countries ruled on 495,000 asylum applications, approving more than 293,000.

 

Tags: culture, Sikhdeclining populationpopulationmigrationrefugees, JapanEast Asia,             .

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The unbearable sadness of being Taiwan, a liberal island other democracies refuse to talk to

The unbearable sadness of being Taiwan, a liberal island other democracies refuse to talk to | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"An island, a territory, a self-governing entity, a renegade province, a breakaway part of China, the place formerly known as Formosa—call Taiwan any of those things, but never a country, a state, or a nation. The simple fact that it took a phone call between US president-elect Donald Trump and Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen to draw attention to one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies highlights the humiliating plight of Taiwan in the international arena. The irony that the US and other democratic countries cannot openly recognize Taiwan’s achievements for fear of incurring Beijing’s wrath has not been lost on many observers, who nevertheless fear that a cavalier move by Trump to upend diplomatic protocol in such a way could ultimately end badly for little Taiwan."

 

Tags: Taiwan, political, states, borders, geopoliticsEast Asia.

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Loreto Vargas's curator insight, December 12, 2016 10:01 AM
This behaviour towards Taiwan of the so-called “democratic” countries is unfair and their submission to China is unacceptable. But that’s the way things go and Chile is benefiting from this cowardice. Let’s put a stop to the made in China!
Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, May 2, 2018 10:13 PM
(East Asia) The countries of the world cannot identify Taiwan's sovereignty because of China's indignation. Although Taiwan claims to be the true China, most countries recognize the hugely powerful PRC instead. China has prevented Taiwan from entering the United Nations and has pressured countries to perceive Taiwanese citizens as Chinese. However, Taiwan has followed the UN's regulations on issues such as climate change and may soon be the first Asian area to legalize same-sex marriage. While a strong democracy, China strong-arms other nations to exclude Taiwan.
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Getting Japanese Citizenship

Getting Japanese Citizenship | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"To become a Japanese citizen, a foreigner must display 'good conduct', among other things. The rules do not specify what that means, and make no mention of living wafu (Japanese-style). But for one candidate, at least, it involved officials looking in his fridge and inspecting his children’s toys to see if he was Japanese enough (he was). Bureaucratic discretion is the main reason why it is hard to get Japanese nationality. The ministry of justice, which handles the process, says officials may visit applicants’ homes and talk to their neighbors."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Japan has a remarkably homogeneous population, in large part because they have very tight immigration laws (here is a more extended list of the requirements to obtain a Japanese citizenship).

 

Questions to Ponder: How is the notion of Japanese citizenship different from American citizenship?  As Japan's population continues to decline, how might that change Japan's migration/citizenship policies?   

 

Tags: JapanEast Asia, place, perspective, cultural norms, culture.

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Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 29, 2018 8:51 AM
Interesting to see how the Japanese handle citizenship differently than most of world and America. Japan is mostly a homogeneous culture and from seeing there citizenship laws one can tell why. A foreigner must live there for 10 years  and display "good conduct" which no one really knows what it is and also prove to be Japanese enough in culture. It will be interesting to see how this continues today in a world that keeps becoming more and more global. All over the news we see constant backlash about countries that do not want to accept more immigrants or give certain rights to citizens, however you never really hear of the Japanese. The Japanese have many cultures that they can keep alive with mostly a homogeneous population and most likely helps cause less violence and less arguments among its politics. Imagine if here in America they searched your house to see if you were American enough? I think that might be headline news by the night. 
tyrone perry's curator insight, April 24, 2018 10:35 PM
If you want to move and live in Japan and attain a citizenship be ready to give up your current citizenship and go on one heck of a rollercoaster.  Japan is one of the toughest places to get a citizenship.  For one you have to live there for at least 10 years.  Then the government can and will come to your home to inspect it from the types of pens you have there to the kid of pictures you hang on your wall.  The main thing is the Japanese government wants you to really adapt to their culture.  Very few are naturalized, out of 12446 that applied only 9400 were accepted.  But the good news is, is it is free compared to 550 in the US and 1200 in the U.k.
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From megacity to metacity

From megacity to metacity | Geography Education | Scoop.it

In 1950, there were only two megacities, London and New York, with populations of more than 10m. In 2010, Tokyo was top of the list of the world’s largest cities, New York was only just scraping into the top 10, and London had dropped off the bottom. New York will join it in megacity oblivion in less than a decade and, with the exception of Tokyo, every other megacity will be in what is referred to as the 'global south'. To earn a place in the top 10, cities will soon need to boast a population of 20m or more. This is a new breed of city – the metacity."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The term megacity (a city with a population greater than 10 million) has been around for a while and there wasn't much linguistic need to describe something bigger.  Today, most megacities are more like Lagos and Mumbai, places of extreme wealth asymmetries than the global cities of New York City and London.  Some are now using the term metacity to describe cities with populations of 20 million.  Asian metacities are a good place to start thinking about the largest urban regions that are increasingly dominating economic, political and cultural affairs.      

 

Tags: urbanmegacities, unit 7 citiesEast Asia.

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