Japanese American Art

JAPANESE AMERICAN ART

8

Part 1

Adescription of myself

I am aChinese female.

Part 2My Identity in a larger Historical andSociological Context Historically, China and many ofthe Chinese people were an isolated civilization. Most of the Chinesepeople lived in remote regions in the east and southern parts of thePacific Ocean. However, the Chinese people were not completely cutoff from the rest of the world, people did travel to the region viasea and the famous Silk Road. Before the year 2900 BC, China haddiverse cultures due to the existence of many ethnic groups. However,with time a number of Neolithic cultures interacted and came up withset of similar cultural attributes (Wright, 2011). I come from the Han ethnic groupwhich is the largest tribal group in China, and perhaps in the restof the World. The Han people occupied the Central and the Northernregions of China. The heritage of the community was contributed bythe Han Dynasty. Itis believed that membersof my community are descendants of both the Huangdi and Xia. The twocommunities adopted an agrarian way of life during early times. Myancestors also used bronze in the modelling of utensils and weapons(Mullaney, et al. 2012). The identity of the Han people isderived from a number of distinct attributes.The first aspect isthat of language which emanates from a family language known as theSino- Tibetan language. The family language consists of sevendialects which include: Xiang Dialect, Gan Dialect, Cantonese, MinDialect, Hakka, Wu Dialect and Mandarin. Another distinct aspect thatforms part of our identity is our religion.Historically mycommunity believed in many myths. We had oral traditions whichdescribed the nature of our gods. In addition, we has several godssuch as the god Pangu,who we believe is the creator of the universe. We also believed inthe goddess Nüwa, who created man. Other gods include Shennongwho is the herbs god andthe crops were headed by a god known asji. The Han people were also veryartistic and they loved performance arts. The people developednumerous music instruments that were used to perform in orchestrasattended by the upper class. Some of the most popular instrumentsinclude the lute (zheng)the pipaand the Violin alsoknown as erhu. The Han people also produced exclusive artistic works through writingand poetry. The most prevalent folk arts ofthe Han people were the traditional Chinese painting and Calligraphywhich involved fancy lettering (Figure 1.0 Show the Calligraphy ofthe Han Dynasty). Artists were also involved in creating popular claysculptures, colored glaze, embroidery and brocade. The Han people arealso credited for the invention of the compass, paper, gunpowder andceramics. Figure 1.0 Han Dynasty Calligraphy b. How Race Shapes my Everyday Experience Althoughracial discrimination is not always practiced by all people, what isapparent is that my race has affected the manner in which peopleperceived me. For instance when walking on the streets, in an areawhere few people from my race exist, children have frequently steeredat me which makes me feel different. I think that they take note ofthe fact that I am actually dissimilar. As a Chinesefemale in a foreign country, opportunities tend to be skewed andrange from rare to far. This is majorly because the most dominantraces are given more opportunities as opposed to foreigners formother races. However, I must confess that there are people whoacknowledge the fact that Chinese people are knowledgeable and havegreat technological skills, as a result, my race has also providedopportunities for me in terms of getting work experience. In terms ofhow people understand my identity, racial tags have played asignificant role in influencing different attitudes toward me. Alarge part of the population is faintly aware of my culture leadingto ignorance and misunderstanding about my background and what peoplefrom my culture believe. How Class shapes my Everyday experience My identityin terms of class has influenced my everyday experience in a varietyof ways. Foremost, based on the fact that I am in the middle class,it is sometimes difficult to interact with people from the top classof society. I sometimes feel out of place, however it’s an aspectthat does not affect me much. Also, theissues of class also hinders my ability to have certain assets orproperty. For instance, at the moment I cannot afford to drive oneof the most expensive Ferrari due to my financial state. Also thereare certain holiday destinations that I would want to visit, howeverdue to my middle class status it is difficult. I have alsoexperienced scenarios where when looking for a job, I can only findjobs that are not very well paying. I believe that if I was from theupper class, I would have the exposure and networks that would linkme to high paying jobs. How Gender Shapes my Everyday Experience Incontemporary society, the issue of gender is not an enormoushindrance as it was in the previous years. Today women haveopportunities to take up the highest ranking jobs and the most payingjobs. My experience as a female Chinese is that as a woman, I thinkthe opportunities accorded to me are similar to those of my malecounterparts. However, I have experienced incidences where maleprejudice exists. The idea that a woman is reserved for certain rolesis still rampant. In most cases, my male relatives expect me to dohousehold chores while they sit.Part III

  1. How literature, performance, and other creative endeavors been important in the larger historical and/or sociological context

Art, literature, performance andother creative endeavours have played a large part in influencing myhistorical and sociological context. As noted earlier the Han peopleloved performance. One of the most outstanding performances in theorchestra which is very common in China even today. In the pastpeople used event such as the Orchestra as a source of entertainmentespecially for the upper class. In addition, such events broughtpeople together especially after long months of work. The Han people have historicallyused their Folk culture as a source of their identity. As notedearlier, my community was good at Calligraphywhich involved fancy lettering. Such writings have played asignificant role in affirming the artistic identity of the Hanpeople. Our calligraphic works were also important in the sense thatthey acted as a way of preserving the Han culture. Also, our paintshave been distinct from those of other ethnic groups in China. Thecolors used in the paintings and the manner in which the paintingsare displayed are quite different from other cultures in the worldboth in the past and even in current society.

  1. Why I consider myself to be a writer

I doconsider myself a writer. This is because I am able to use writing todepict the struggles and intrigues that society goes through. In myopinion, a good writer should take note of issues while at the usethe stroke of a pen, creatively deal with issues affecting society. Awriter is often conceived as the benchmark of society since he or sheis able to highlight the ills and positive aspects while at the sametime bringing into focus matters that may be helpful to the communityin the long run. I alsoconsider myself a writer in the sense that I am able to sell thecommunities agenda with my writing. A good writer should be able toanalyze the opinions of other members of the community and in thelong run bring about positive change. As far as minorities areconcerned, a good writer should be able to sell their agenda and beable to uplift their living standards.

  1. My role in changing the larger historical and/or sociological contexts

I believethat I have a role in changing the largerhistorical and sociological contexts. The socio economic fabric ofsociety today can be uplifted if opportunities are provided to thosein need. However, this calls for fair competition for the availableresources without any group feeling short changed. I can use mywriting skills to promote equal economic rights essentially for manypeople in China who still struggle economically. The aspectof gender equality should also be looked into. A large percentage ofthe population, mainly of the female gender in ancient China hadlittle or very limited opportunities to work and make money. I wouldchange this by providing the said opportunities. This includeprovision of social amenities for example markets, provision of jobsand encourage small and large scale entrepreneurship for all. As a womanof Chinese decent, I consider education very important. Educating thefemale child is equated to educating the whole community. I wouldinvest heavily in education which would in turn uplift the communityliving standards.

References

Mullaney, T, Leibold, J, Gros, S,Bussche, V. (2012). CriticalHan Studies. LosAngeles: University of California Press.

Wright, C. (2011).The History ofChina Greenwood histories of the modern nations. ABC.