The Far East

This Destination must necessarily cover a lot of ground. China will serve as anchor to the vast territory of the Orient because it has the oldest, most pervasive, and most powerful culture of all the nations that make up eastern Asia. Below is a passage I put down in my journal as I was departing China in 2012. It represents only my own spontaneous and amateurish attempt to get a grasp on the relationships between individual countries in this expansive domain.


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From the Caravan Journals:

China’s influence has been deeply felt by all the cultures that lie near its borders. In the centuries of the Mongol Empire, this influence penetrated well into the Eurasian lands along the Silk Road. The nation of Mongolia now rests remote and placid at the top of China. The two Koreas jut out into the Pacific in a seeming effort to separate themselves. Japan, among the first of China’s rebellious offspring, sits in bristling isolation. Tibet, wounded and oppressed in the bosom of the Himalayas, labors under the displeasure of its fatherland. Tiny Bhutan nurtures a cautious but proud independence. Vietnam and its neighbors in Southeast Asia acknowledge their debt of parentage to China but they fight among themselves for autonomy. Thailand goes its own way with a greater debt to the culture of India. All of the countries that sit like a necklace on the shoulders of China struggle with the mixed messages of Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, and Chinese religious identities. This is a metaphorical family drama that could be enacted with all the pageantry of a Chinese opera.

China claims the lion’s share of movies in my Far East archive, with Japan running second. Japan is strongest for producing its own generation of revered filmmakers after World War II.

For a full list of movies viewed for this website, go to Movie Archive, above.