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Featured Submission: Top 15 Amazing Asian People

Posted April 4th, 2009 by Peter · 2 Comments

This is a wonderful article by Jeannette and Luther, who spent a great deal of time compiling a list of Amazing Asian People throughout the course of history. We’re not just talking Jet Li and Jackie Chan here, but the people that laid the foundations for Western Civilization and thought as well. We will be featuring a few on SAPL every week, so enjoy!

Chinese civilization was flourishing three thousand years ago. The Chinese Ancient Sages were eventually studied by Confucius, and included in his philosophy of living. Confucianism spread all over Asia and changed the course of its history. Buddha was born, and Buddhism spread and grew into many different sects. A number of amazing travelers took Buddhism with them to different Asian countries. Many ideas and discoveries from one Asian country eventually spread throughout Asia and beyond. There were sea-faring Asians travelling to the far reaches of their world long before the Europeans.


Events outside of Asia started to move the world in different directions. The Roman Empire came and went, as did others. Eventually Genghis Khan’s Mongol Empire reached the farthest of all. After the Jewish faith, Christianity became the predominant religion, and Islam was born. There were still amazing happenings in Asia, but many of these were not known outside of Asia. Japan and China both sought to keep European influences away, but eventually learned to live in the same world with the West.

Asian ideas of philosophy and religion, most notably Buddhism, are still alive today. China is now the most populous country in the word, with India behind it. There have been many amazing Asians over the last 3000 years. Some of them are famous and well-known around the world, while others are remembered in their home country and the region. Certain men, like Mahatma Gandhi and the current Dalai Lama, have inspired new generations of people around the world with their personal codes and lives of service.

15. Admiral Yi Sun-sin

Statue of Yi Sun-sin, Seoul, South Korea

Admiral Yi is one of Korea’s greatest historical figures. Famous for his successful naval tactics strategies, he has been compared to Lord Horatio Nelson. During the 1590’s, Toyotomi Hideyoshi had unified Japan, and attacked Korea. He was extremely successful on land. However, Admiral Yi stopped him at sea. Yi built up the Korean navy, and was undefeated in 23 naval battles over seven years. He was killed by a single bullet during the final battle. However he is revered in Korea for stopping the Japanese from annexing Korea, something they actually did centuries later in 1910.

14. King Mongkut Rama IV

This king was the ruler of Thailand, then known as Siam, from 1851 to 1868. He was a forward looking and reform-minded monarch. He brought many European ideas and practices to Siam. While men had been prohibited from wearing shirts at court to show that they had no concealed weapons, King Mongkut decreed that men should wear shirts at court, so that visiting Europeans would not consider Siam barbaric. King Mongkut was interested in everything from astronomy to the law. He helped keep Siam strong, and was responsible for the country maintaining its independence from conquest by a European power, a challenge that would continue under his son’s reign.
Westerners know King Mongkut as the King in “The King and I” and imagine Yul Brenner. In fact, he did hire Anna Leonowens to teach his children. However, the Thai dispute the portrayal of the king as well as the country at that time. History shows that King Mongkut freed many of his wives so they could marry others. Despite what he says in the movie, he did not offer to send Abraham Lincoln elephants to help him win the Civil War. Hid did offer elephants to President James Buchanan as beasts of burden, but by the time the letter arrived, Lincoln was in the White House.

13. Duke of Zhou

China was united by the Zhou, leading to the long Zhou Dynasty (1100 BCE–771 BCE). King Wu was the first Zhou king, and he came to power with the assistance of his brother, the Duke of Zhou. When King Wu died, the title was supposed to pass to his son, King Cheng, who was only a child. Duke Zhou took on the tasks of government but not the throne, serving as regent until the boy came of age. The fact that he did not steal the throne is admired, and he is remembered as “The First Virtuous Younger Brother” of the first Zhou king.
The Duke of Zhou contributed significantly to the development of what would later influence Confucius. He was perhaps the writer of what is called “The Chinese Book of Documents.” His Pronouncements and advisory pieces were mainly written to the people conquered by the Zhou, and also to King Cheng. Zhou’s writings are the heart of the Documents and were the most important parts later read by Confucius. Duke Zhou is considered one of the “Ancient Sages” of China. It is amazing that documents written a thousand years BCE still have influence today.

Stay tuned for the other 12 in the upcoming posts.

Thanks Jeannette and Luther!

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Tags: People

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anuj // Apr 9, 2009 at 5:34 am

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