Portal:Asia/Featured biography

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Portal:Asia/Featured biography/1

Zhou Tong stroking his beard
Zhou was the archery teacher and second military arts tutor of famous Song Dynasty general Yue Fei. Originally a local hero from Henan, he was hired to continue Yue Fei's military training in archery after the boy had rapidly mastered spearplay under his first teacher. In addition to the future general, Zhou accepted other children as archery pupils. During his tutelage, Zhou taught the children all of his skills and even rewarded Yue with his two favorite bows because he was his best pupil. After Zhou's death, Yue would regularly visit his tomb twice a month and perform unorthodox sacrifices that far surpassed that done for even beloved tutors. Yue later taught what he had learned from Zhou to his soldiers and they were successful in battle.With the publishing of Yue Fei's 17th folklore biography, The Story of Yue Fei (1684), a new distinct fictional Zhou Tong emerged, which differed greatly from his historical persona. Not only was he now from Shaanxi; but he was Yue's adopted father, a learned scholar with knowledge of the eighteen weapons of war, and his personal name was spelled with a different, yet related, Chinese character. The novel's author portrayed him as an elderly widower and military arts tutor who counted Lin Chong and Lu Junyi, two of the fictional on which the Water Margin is based, among his former pupils.



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Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations, after succeeding Kofi Annan in 2007. Before going on to be Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations. He entered diplomatic service the year he graduated from university, accepting his first post in New Delhi, India. In the foreign ministry he established a reputation for modesty and competence. Ban was the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea from January 2004 to November 2006. In February 2006, he began to campaign for the office of Secretary-General. Ban was initially considered to be a long shot for the office. As foreign minister of South Korea, however, he was able to travel to all of the countries that were members of the United Nations Security Council, a maneuver that turned him into the front runner. On 13 October 2006, he was elected to be the eighth Secretary-General by the United Nations General Assembly and officially succeeded Annan on 1 January 2007. Ban has led several major reforms regarding peacekeeping and UN employment practices. Diplomatically, Ban has taken particularly strong views on Darfur, where he helped persuade Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to allow peacekeeping troops to enter Sudan; and on global warming, pressing the issue repeatedly with former U.S. President George W. Bush. Ban has received strong criticism from OIOS, the UN internal audit unit, stating that the secretariat, under Ban's leadership, is "drifting into irrelevance".



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Icon of St. Gregory the Theologian
Gregory of Nazianzus was a 4th-century Archbishop of Constantinople. He is widely considered the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of the patristic age. As a classically trained speaker and philosopher he infused Hellenism into the early church, establishing the paradigm of Byzantine theologians and church officials. Gregory made a significant impact on the shape of Trinitarian theology among both Greek- and Latin-speaking theologians, and he is remembered as the "Trinitarian Theologian". Much of his theological work continues to influence modern theologians, especially in regard to the relationship among the three Persons of the Trinity. Along with the two brothers Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, he is known as one of the Cappadocian Fathers. Gregory is a saint in both Eastern and Western Christianity. In the Roman Catholic Church he is numbered among the Doctors of the Church; in Eastern Orthodoxy and the Eastern Catholic Churches he is revered as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs, along with Basil the Great and John Chrysostom. Gregory's most significant theological contributions arose from his defense of the Nicene doctrine of the Trinity. He is especially noted for his contributions to the field of pneumatology—that is, theology concerning the nature of the Holy Spirit.In this regard, Gregory is the first to use the idea of procession to describe the relationship between the Spirit and the Godhead: "The Holy Spirit is truly Spirit, coming forth from the Father indeed but not after the manner of the Son, for it is not by generation but by procession, since I must coin a word for the sake of clearness."



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Stamp of Zhang Heng
Zhang Heng was a Chinese astronomer, mathematician, inventor, geographer, cartographer, artist, poet, statesman, and literary scholar from Nanyang, Henan. He lived during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220 CE) of China. He was educated in the capital cities of Luoyang and Chang'an, and began his career as a minor civil servant in Nanyang. Eventually, he became Chief Astronomer, Prefect of the Majors for Official Carriages, and then Palace Attendant at the imperial court. His uncompromising stances on certain historical and calendrical issues led to Zhang being considered a controversial figure, which prevented him from becoming an official court historian. His political rivalry with the palace eunuchs during the reign of Emperor Shun (r. 125–144) led to his decision to retire from the central court to serve as an administrator of Hejian, in Hebei. He returned home to Nanyang for a short time, before being recalled to serve in the capital once more in 138. He died there a year later, in 139.Zhang applied his extensive knowledge of mechanics and gears in several of his inventions. He invented the world's first water-powered armillary sphere, to represent astronomical observation; improved the inflow water clock by adding another tank; and invented the world's first seismometer, which discerned the cardinal direction of an earthquake 500 km (310 mi) away. Furthermore, he improved previous Chinese calculations of the formula for pi. In addition to documenting about 2,500 stars in his extensive star catalogue, Zhang also posited theories about the Moon and its relationship to the Sun; specifically, he discussed the Moon's sphericity, its illumination by reflecting sunlight on one side and remaining dark on the other, and the nature of solar and lunar eclipses. His fu (rhapsody) and shi poetry were renowned and commented on by later Chinese writers. Zhang received many posthumous honors for his scholarship and ingenuity, and is considered a polymath by some scholars. Some modern scholars have also compared his work in astronomy to that of Ptolemy (CE 86–161).



Portal:Asia/Featured biography/5

Memorial to Thích Quảng Đức at the place where he burned himself to death
Thích Quảng Đức was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on 11 June 1963. Đức was protesting the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam's Roman Catholic government. Photos of his self-immolation were circulated widely across the world and brought attention to the policies of the Diệm regime. Malcolm Browne won a Pulitzer Prize for his renowned photograph of the monk's death. After his death, his body was re-cremated, but his heart remained intact.Đức's act increased international pressure on Diệm and led him to announce reforms with the intention of mollifying the Buddhists. However, the promised reforms were not implemented, leading to a deterioration in the dispute. With protests continuing, the ARVN Special Forces loyal to Diệm's brother, Ngô Đình Nhu, launched nationwide raids on Buddhist pagodas, seizing Đức's heart and causing deaths and widespread damage. Several Buddhist monks followed Đức's example, also immolating themselves. Eventually, an Army coup toppled and assassinated Diệm on 2 November 1963. Accounts of the life of Thích Quảng Đức are derived from information disseminated by Buddhist organizations. These record him as being born in the village of Hội Khánh, in Vạn Ninh District of Khánh Hòa Province in central Vietnam. He was born as Lâm Văn Tức, one of seven children born to Lâm Hữu Ứng and his wife, Nguyễn Thị Nương. At the age of seven, he left worldly life to study Buddhism under Hòa thượng Thích Hoằng Thâm, who was his maternal uncle and spiritual master. Thích Hoằng Thâm raised him as a son and Lâm Văn Tức changed his name to Nguyễn Văn Khiết. At the age of 15, he took the samanera (novice) vows and was ordained as a monk at age 20 under the dharma name Thích Quảng Đức. After ordination, he traveled to a mountain near Ninh Hòa, vowing to live the life of a solitary Buddhism-practicing hermit for three years. He returned in later life to open the Thien Loc pagoda at his mountain retreat.



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Hasekura's portrait during his mission in Rome in 1615, by Claude Deruet, Coll. Borghese, Rome
Hasekura Rokuemon Tsunenaga was a Japanese samurai and retainer of Date Masamune, the daimyo of Sendai. In the years 1613 through 1620, Hasekura headed a diplomatic mission to the Vatican in Rome, traveling through New Spain (arriving in Acapulco and departing from Veracruz) and visiting various ports-of-call in Europe. This historic mission is called the Keichō Embassy , and follows the Tenshō embassy of 1582. On the return trip, Hasekura and his companions re-traced their route across Mexico in 1619, sailing from Acapulco for Manila, and then sailing north to Japan in 1620. He is conventionally considered the first Japanese ambassador in the Americas and in Europe. Although Hasekura's embassy was cordially received in Europe, it happened at a time when Japan was moving toward the suppression of Christianity. European monarchs such as the King of Spain thus refused the trade agreements Hasekura had been seeking. Hasekura returned to Japan in 1620 and died of illness a year later, his embassy seemingly ending with few results in an increasingly isolationist Japan.Japan's next embassy to Europe would only occur more than 200 years later, following two centuries of isolation, with the "First Japanese Embassy to Europe" in 1862.



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Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray was an Indian Bengali filmmaker. He is regarded as one of the greatest auteurs of 20th century cinema. Ray was born in the city of Kolkata into a Bengali family prominent in the world of arts and literature. Starting his career as a commercial artist, Ray was drawn into independent filmmaking after meeting French filmmaker Jean Renoir and viewing the Italian neorealist film Bicycle Thieves of Vittorio De Sica during a visit to London.Ray directed thirty-seven films, including feature films, documentaries and shorts. He was also a fiction writer, publisher, illustrator, graphic designer and film critic. Ray's first film, Pather Panchali (1955), won eleven international prizes, including Best Human Documentary at the Cannes film festival. This film, Aparajito (1956) and Apur Sansar (1959) form The Apu Trilogy. Ray did the scripting, casting, scoring, and editing, and designed his own credit titles and publicity material. Ray received many major awards in his career, including 32 Indian National Film Awards, a number of awards at international film festivals and award ceremonies, and an Academy Honorary Award in 1992.Satyajit Ray's ancestry can be traced back for at least ten generations. Ray's grandfather, Upendrakishore Ray was a writer, illustrator, philosopher, publisher, amateur astronomer and a leader of the Brahmo Samaj, a religious and social movement in nineteenth century Bengal.



Portal:Asia/Featured biography/8 Choe Bu (1454–1504) was a Korean official during the early Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910). He is most well known for the account of his shipwrecked travels in China from February to July 1488, during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). He was eventually banished from the Joseon court in 1498 and executed in 1504 during two political purges. However, in 1506 he was exonerated and given posthumous honors by the Joseon court. Choe's diary accounts of his travels in China became widely printed in the 16th century in both Korea and Japan. Modern historians also utilize his written works, since his travel diary provides a unique outsider's perspective on Chinese culture in the 15th century and valuable information on China's cities and regional differences. The attitudes and opinions expressed in his writing represent in part the standpoints and views of the 15th century Confucian Korean literati, who viewed Chinese culture as compatible with and similar to their own. His description of cities, people, customs, cuisines, and maritime commerce along China's Grand Canal provides insight into the daily life of China and how it differed between northern and southern China during the 15th century.Choe Bu of the Jeonju Choe clan was born in 1454 in the prefectural town of Naju in Jeollanam-do, Korea. Choe passed the jinsa examinations in 1477,which was a lower examination that did not immediately ensure a post in government; rather, it permitted enrollment in the National Academy, or Seonggyungwan, where he could study further for the higher mungwa examinations.



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Phan Xich Long
Phan Xích Long, also known as Hồng Long, born Phan Phát Sanh (1893–1916), was a 20th-century Vietnamese mystic and geomancer who claimed to be the Emperor of Vietnam. He attempted to exploit religion as a cover for his own political ambitions, having started his own ostensibly religious organisation. Claiming to be a descendant of Emperor Ham Nghi, Long staged a ceremony to crown himself, before trying to seize power in 1913 by launching an armed uprising against the colonial rule of French Indochina. His supporters launched an attack on Saigon in March 1913, drinking potions that purportedly made them invisible and planting bombs at several locations. The insurrection against the French colonial administration failed when none of the bombs detonated and the supposedly invisible supporters were apprehended.The French authorities imprisoned Long and many of his supporters, who openly admitted their aim of overthrowing French authorities at the trial. During the 1916 Cochinchina uprisings against French rule, many of Long's supporters attempted to break him out of jail. The French easily repelled the attack on the jail, decimating Long's movement. Following the attempted breakout, Long and his key supporters were put to death. Many of the remnants of his support base went on to join what later became the Cao Dai, a major religious sect in Vietnam.



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Preity Zinta
Preity Zinta is an Indian film actress. She has appeared in Hindi films of Bollywood, as well as Telugu, Punjabi and English language films. After graduating with a degree in criminal psychology, Zinta made her acting debut in Dil Se in 1998 followed by a role in Soldier the same year. These performances earned her a Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut, and she was later recognised for her role as a teenage single mother in Kya Kehna (2000). She subsequently played a variety of character types; her film roles along with her screen persona contributed to a change in the concept of a Hindi film heroine.Zinta received a Filmfare Award for Best Actress in 2003 for her performance in the drama Kal Ho Naa Ho. She went on to play the lead female role in two consecutive annual top-grossing films in India: the science fiction film Koi... Mil Gaya (2003), her biggest commercial success, and the star-crossed romance Veer-Zaara (2004), which earned her critical acclaim. She was later noted for her portrayal of independent, modern Indian women in Salaam Namaste (2005) and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), top-grossing productions in overseas markets. These accomplishments have established her as a leading actress of Hindi cinema. Her first international film role was in the Canadian film Heaven on Earth, for which she was awarded the Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress at the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival.



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Portrait by Rudolf Swoboda, 1888
Mohammed Abdul Karim was an Indian Muslim attendant of Queen Victoria. He served her during the final fifteen years of her reign, gaining her affection over that time.Karim was born near Jhansi in British India, the son of a hospital assistant. In 1887, Victoria's Golden Jubilee year, Karim was one of two Indians selected to become servants to the Queen. Victoria came to like him a great deal and gave him the title of "Munshi", a Hindustani word often translated as "clerk" or "teacher". Victoria appointed him her Indian Secretary, showered him with honours, and obtained a land grant for him in India. The close relationship between Karim and the Queen led to friction within the Royal Household, the other members of which felt themselves to be superior to him. The Queen insisted on taking Karim with her on her travels, which caused arguments between her and her attendants. Following Victoria's death in 1901, her successor, Edward VII, returned Karim to India and ordered the confiscation and destruction of the Munshi's correspondence with Victoria. Karim subsequently lived quietly near Agra, on the estate that Victoria had arranged for him, until his death at the age of 46.



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Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Gujarati: મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી; Hindi: मोहनदास करमचंद गांधी, (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement. Pioneering the use of non-violent resistance to tyrannical colonial rule through mass civil disobedience, saying, "I shall resist organized tyranny to the uttermost." He developed a model to fight for civil rights and freedom that he called satyagraha. He founded his doctrine of nonviolent protest to achieve political and social progress based upon ahimsa, or total nonviolence for which he is internationally renowned.

Gandhi led India to its independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Gandhi is often referred to as Mahatma (or "Great Soul," an honorific first applied to him by Rabindranath Tagore). In India, he is also called Bapu (or "Father") and officially honoured as the Father of the Nation. His birthday, 2 October, is commemorated in India as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence.



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[[Image:SRK TagH.jpg|150px|Shahrukh Khan]]
[Shahrukh Khan[]] born 2 November 1965 is an Indian film actor, producer and television host. Often referred to as "The King of Bollywood", Khan has acted in over 70 Hindi films. Khan has won fourteen Filmfare Awards from thirty nominations for his work in Indian films and holds the record for the most number of Best Actor award won along with Dilip Kumar; 8 wins. In 2005, the Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri for his contributions towards Indian Cinema.

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Three Maiko posing on an engawa, c. 1885. Hand-coloured albumen silver print
Adolfo Farsari was an Italian photographer based in Yokohama, Japan. Following a brief military career, including service in the American Civil War, he became a successful entrepreneur and commercial photographer. His photographic work was highly regarded, particularly his hand-coloured portraits and landscapes, which he sold mostly to foreign residents and visitors to the country. Farsari's images were widely distributed, presented or mentioned in books and periodicals, and sometimes recreated by artists in other media; they shaped foreign perceptions of the people and places of Japan and to some degree affected how Japanese saw themselves and their country. His studio, the last notable foreign-owned studio in Japan, was one of the country's largest and most prolific commercial photographic firms. Largely due to Farsari's exacting technical standards and his entrepreneurial abilities it had a significant influence on the development of photography in Japan.arsari expanded his business interests into commercial photography and taught himself photography in 1883. In 1885 he formed a partnership with photographer Tamamura Kozaburō to acquire the Stillfried & Andersen studio (also known as the Japan Photographic Association), which had some 15 Japanese employees.The studio's stock included images by Felice Beato that it had acquired along with Beato's studio in 1877.



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