Category Archives: China

Han Feizi: Total Bastard

Lately, besides my usual projects (blog, plus Korean studies), I’ve been reading a famous Chinese book called the Han Feizi (Burton Watson’s excellent translation). Han Feizi (韓非子, 280–233 BC) was the foremost thinker in the Legalism school of Chinese thought … Continue reading

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The Life of a Soldier

A while back, I was reading Confucianism and Tokugawa Culture by Peter Nosco and other contributors, when it mentions this quotation from an lesser-known text from 16th century Japan (i.e. the Warring States Period), called the Asakura Sōteki (朝倉 宗滴): … Continue reading

Posted in China, Japan, Latin, Literature | Leave a comment

Okinawa: Center of Asian Trade

From time to time, I read Professor Kerr’s classic about the History of Okinawa. For such a thick book, it’s surprisingly interesting and readable. But I also have a passionate interest in island cultures too, so perhaps I am just … Continue reading

Posted in China, Japan | 2 Comments

A Long Spring Nap

A couple years ago I posted about this famous Chinese poem from the Tang Dynasty. This was composed by Mèng Hàorán, who in Japanese is known as Mōkōnen (孟浩然). It is also included in the very famous Chinese collection: the … Continue reading

Posted in China, Japan, Literature, Poetry | 4 Comments

Ven. Yin-Shun explains Buddhist meditation

One of my favorite books on Buddhism after all these years is Ven. Yin-Shun’s book on Buddhism called The Way to Buddhahood. I was thumbing through the book recently looking for something, when I stumbled upon this lengthy explanation about … Continue reading

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Solving a Chinese restaurant mystery

This is something that’s frequently piqued my interest, but I had nowhere to turn to solve this little mystery. In Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants here in the US, and certainly elsewhere, you’re likely to see an altar like this one: … Continue reading

Posted in China, Japan, Religion, Taoism, Vietnam | 8 Comments

There’s Religion and Then There’s Religion

While reading Professor Yao’s book which provides an overview of Confucianism, I was struck by one section with grappled with the question: is Confucianism a religion or a code of ethics? What struck me with this section, is how Professor … Continue reading

Posted in Buddhism, China, Confucius, Japan, Religion, Taoism | 5 Comments

Ennin Goes to China

I found this small article in the Asahi Shinbun newspaper recently, and thought it was pretty cool. This talks about a rock inscription in China’s Henan Province bearing the name of a famous Japanese Buddhist monk of the Tendai sect, … Continue reading

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Right speech, again

The notion of “right speech” is something that comes up in Buddhism a lot, but it’s a nice, practical topic to explore. Speaking from experience, I can certainly use some improvement. This latest post was inspired by my continued readings … Continue reading

Posted in China, Confucius, Japan, Literature | 6 Comments

Port Arthur open to foreigners again

While getting settled back in the US, I wanted to share this article about the fact that Port Arthur in the People’s Republic of China is open to foreigners once again. This famous port, called Lǚshùn (旅顺, 旅順) in Chinese … Continue reading

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