Special Collections

Stories of East and South East Asia

The Stories of East and Southeast Asia collection consists of historical documentary series and programs produced by WGBH producers and independent filmmakers producing for public television. The earliest programs were broadcast in 1970 but the bulk of the collection is from 1989 -2014. These programs allowed American public television viewers - in many cases, for the first time - to explore historical events and see visual images of life in the countries of China, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Tibet. The collection includes a wealth of original interviews, outtakes, and archival footage.

The Stories of East and South East Asia collection features three series which were produced between 1989-1998. Most notably is WGBH/Ambrica Productions' six hour trilogy China: A Century of Revolution, which was the first US television special to explore China’s history between 1911-1949, as well as the tumultuous years under the rule of Mao Zedong (1949-1976), and the many changes that took place after his death (1976-1997). This unique series included never-before-seen images of Chinese leaders, as well as original interviews recounting stories of hope, progress, activism, atrocity and repression. The series was completed in 2003 with China in the Red which aired as a FRONTLINE episode. The collection also includes Korea: The Unknown War, a six hour series examining the origins and legacy of the Korean War which aired in 1990 and was produced by Thames Television. This was followed by A Tug of War: The Story of Taiwan which was a 90 minute documentary broadcast in 1998 which explored the forces which shaped Taiwan both past and present.

The collection also includes many single episodes from WGBH series such as NOVA, FRONTLINE, American Experience, Enterprise, The Course of Our Times, Basic Black, and Postcards from Buster. Two episodes from the 2014 series Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler which explore religious practices in Japan and India round out the collection.