16 Asian Studies


For language learning content see the Languages chapter – there are sections on Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi and Urdu, and Sanskrit.

Culture & Society

Ghost and the Japanese: Cultural Experience in Japanese Death Legends

Though not a textbook, this scholarly but accessible work shows how everyday beliefs and customs–particularly death traditions–offer special insight into the living culture of Japan.

Korean Through Folktales (PDF)

Through the selected folktales and various activities offered in the book, students can gain cultural knowledge and insights into traditional and cultural values. They will also receive linguistic lessons to reinforce their acquired skills and to apply the learned materials in an integrated approach. This book is designed to accompany first-, second-, and third-year Korean courses. Reviews are available through the Open Textbook Library.

Includes: Exercises, videos

Tajik Persian: Readings in History, Culture and Society

This book seeks to help students develop reading proficiency in Tajik at advanced level through authentic texts written for native speakers and provides them glimpses into the history, culture and society of Tajikistan without losing its focus on cultural aspects of the country.

IncludesExercises and answers, glossary

Interpreting Love Narratives in East Asian Literature and Film

This book explores the role of traditional East Asian worldviews, ethical values, and common practices in the shaping of East Asian narratives in literature and film.

Includes: Glossary, phrases, abbreviations, main ideas

SUMI-E: An Introduction to Ink Painting

Sumi-e, or ink and brush painting, is discussed in terms of the religion and philosophy it expresses.

A Short History of Religious and Philosophic Thought in India

Though not a textbook, this book offers an accessible introduction to the topic. Please note that while free to read, this content is not licensed for reuse.

Introduction to South and East Asian Philosopher Reader

This open textbook was developed for use in a lower-level Philosophy course.


An Outline History of East Asia to 1200, 2nd Ed.

This is the second edition of the open access textbook that arose out of a course at the University of California, San Diego, called HILD 10: East Asia: The Great Tradition.  The course covers what have become two Chinas, Japan, and two Koreas from roughly 1200 BC to about AD 1200.  The book does not stand alone: the teacher should assign primary and secondary sources, study questions, dates to be memorized, etc.  The maps mostly use the same template to enable students to compare them one to the next. Reviews are available through the Open Textbook Library.

Global History and New Polycentric Approaches

This edited volume considers how global issues are connected with our local and national communities.

Digital Meijis Revisualizing Modern Japanese History at 150

This book was produced through the Meiji at 150 project, which convened over 60 scholars of Japanese studies from around North America, Japan, and Europe to situate Japan in global history and to interrogate the place of the Meiji Restoration in Japanese history, historical pedagogy, and cultural studies.

Asian Century… on a Knife-edge

While not a textbook, this book delves into the widely held belief that the 21st century will be the “Asian Century” by examining the Asia’s rapid economic development in the post-war era and the challenges it faces in forging ahead of world leaders in the West. The impact of the current turbulent global political climate on Asia is critically analyzed, employing a holistic and multidisciplinary approach, combining economic, social, political and geopolitical perspectives. Written in an accessible style, the book offers students, business, government, and civil society players powerful insights on Asia.

A History of China

This book, available through Project Gutenberg, covers prehistory, from antiquity, to the middle ages, to modern times.

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