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Pacific Century Series

Pacific Century Collection (245 linear feet, 146 film reels)

The Pacific Century, the award-winning 10-hour PBS series, along with its two accompanying books, serves as a telcourse for some 200 colleges and institutional subscribers. Since its premiere on PBS in 1992, it has also been continually aired for general TV audiences in the United States, Canada and other Pacific Basin countries. (Translated versions exist in Japanese, Chinese and Korean). The PBI Archive holds master copies, scripts, film and audio reels, and historical papers recounting the production of this important series and urges scholars to visit the archive for access to these restricted materials. This series is currently out-of-print and unavailable for purchase. There are no current plans to re-issue this series.

A Summary of The Pacific Century: The Television Series 

Pomona College has long been in the vanguard of Asian Studies. And PBI's 1993 co-production of the landmark 10-hour PBS series The Pacific Century, written by Alex Gibney, uniquely positions it to complement Pomona's curricular and research commitment to the Pacific Basin.  

The Two Coasts of China: Asia and the Challenge of the West

Traces current economic and political issues back to their roots in Asia. With original production footage shot in Mongolia, China, Japan and Southeast Asia. This program evokes the greatness of Asia's ancient civilizations, and the challenge posed to them in the 19th century by western traders and colonizers. Produced in association with Antelope Films ( "The Heart of the Dragon"), "The Seaborne Barbarians" recreates the dramatic background of the Mongol Invasions and the Opium War. 

The Meiji Revolution

Japan became the first industrially and technically underdeveloped nation to modernize itself and become a great power. In contrast, China, beset by internal division, external challenges, and corrupt rulers, was unable to change quickly and thus declined in power and influence. 

From the Barrel of a Gun

The lives of Vietnamese revolutionary Ho Chi Minh and the Indonesian leader Sukarno reflect the nationalist movements in those former colonies of Western powers. 

Writers and Revolutionaries

Chinese writer Lu Xan and Japanese right-wing philosopher Kita Ikki are profiled as intellectuals who sought to resolve the conflict between the national character and international standing of their homelands.

Reinventing Japan 

This program examines the utter transformation of the pacific Basin region in the wake of World War II. The expanding- and often contentious- American and Japanese relationship included the ambiguous roles of conqueror and conquered.  

Inside Japan, Inc.

The political, historical, and cultural underpinnings of Japan's post-war economic miracle are considered, both in the wealth it brought to the Pacific Basin and in its creation of a new Asian model of capitalism.  

Big Business and the Ghost of Confucius

Asia's newly industrialized countries- Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore- are moving quickly to the forefront of the world economy. Their rapid economic development raises fundamental questions about how Asian-Pacific societies have entered the modern world, the role of the state in economic growth, and the way rulers and ruled alike have invoked traditional values in their efforts to "catch up".  

The Fight for Democracy

The rising level of expectations among Asian peoples for greater political freedom and self-determination is explored. In the Republic of Korea, rapid economic growth has fostered democratic aspirations. The gap between economic development and political freedoms has fostered popular challenges to autocratic power.  

Sentimental Imperialists: America in Asia

Using the case studies of American involvement with China and the Philippines, this program examines American attitudes toward Asia from 1776 to the present. The merchants, missionaries and Marines - however well intentioned - often saw in Asia and Asians what they wanted to see, rather than the realities of those cultures and peoples.  

The Pacific Century: The Future of the Pacific Basin

This final episode looks at the difficult social problems - pollution, population growth, trade friction, immigration - that are shared by the entire region. In the context of the growing economic and ecological interdependence of the Asian-Pacific nations, it examines emerging international conflicts as well as possible solutions.