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New Books in Japanese Studies
55 minutes | 3 days ago
Matjaz Ursic and Heide Imai, "Creativity in Tokyo: Revitalizing a Mature City" (Palgrave, 2020)
In Creativity in Tokyo: Revitalizing a Mature City (Palgrave, 2020), Heide Imai and Matjaz Ursic focues on overlooked contextual factors that constitute the urban creative climate or innovative urban milieu in contemporary cities. Filled with reflections based on interviews with a diverse range of creative actors in various local neighborhoods in Tokyo, it offers a rare glimpse into the complex set of elements that provide long-term, physical, and sociocultural support to urban creativity. The authors highlight the interplay between physical and soft (social) factors in the process of place-making and explore how a city’s creativity is influenced by financial support and accessible infrastructure, as well as the sets of informal networks, services, and tacit, locally embedded knowledge that provide the basic layers of stimuli needed for creativity to fully develop. The authors show how the future development of creativity and the overall development of a city depend not only on the (top-down) planning strategies of formal authorities, but also on the appropriate (bottom-up) inclusion of heterogeneous elements that are provided and embedded within the small, hidden context of city spaces.
63 minutes | 6 days ago
Woojeong Joo, "Cinema of Ozu Yasujiro: Histories of the Everyday" (Edinburgh UP, 2017)
One of the most well regarded of non-Western film directors, responsible for acknowledged classics like Tokyo Story (1953), Ozu Yasujiro worked during a period of immense turbulence for Japan and its population. In The Cinema of Ozu Yasujiro: Histories of the Everyday (Edinburgh University Press, 2017), Woojeong Joo offers a new interpretation of Ozu's career, from his earliest work in the 1920s up to his death in 1963, focusing on Ozu's depiction of the everyday life and experiences of ordinary Japanese people during a time of depression, war and economic resurgence. Firmly situating him within the context of the Japanese film industry, Woojeong Joo examines Ozu's work as a studio director and his relation to sound cinema, and looks in-depth at his wartime experiences and his adaptation to post-war Japanese society. Drawing on Japanese materials not previously examined in western scholarship, this is a ground-breaking new study of a master of cinema.In this interview, I asked Woojeong a series of questions concerning the operative notion of the "everyday" in the works of Ozu. It seems that the ordinary and oft-repetitive experience of the "present" enabled Ozu to create a space in which one could resist the nationalistic dictum of the "Japanese spirit" in 1930–40s Japan. Despite the fact that there is a certain continuity between his pre-war and post-war works (just like the works of the Kyoto School philosophers that the book cites), and despite the limitations Ozu's works inherently contain for a contemporary audience, his films are saturated with acute social commentaries, and offer insight into the emergence of different social "everday"s in modern Japan. Woojeong's interpretation of "feminity" in the works of Ozu also demonstrates his cross-cultural and cross-generational sensitivity, which is necessary for understanding the significance of "femininity" in the wider intellectual and historical context of feminist philosophy and Gender studies. I ended with a question about Ozu's signature technique of the "low height" angle. Is there anything that we should know about this distinct technique? What did Ozu intend to achieve with this peculiar viewpoint? Woojeong's informed answer, just like this book, will no doubt make us feel like watching the Ozu films again.Woojeong Joo received his PhD degree from University of Warwick. He has worked at the University of East Anglia as a postdoctoral research assistant for the AHRC-funded project "Manga to Movies" and is currently teaching in the Japan-in-Asia Cultural Studies Program at Nagoya University, Japan.Takeshi Morisato is philosopher and sometimes academic. I specialize in comparative and Japanese philosophy but I am also interested in making Japan and philosophy accessible to a wider audience.
51 minutes | 10 days ago
Gracia Liu-Farrer, "Immigrant Japan: Mobility and Belonging in an Ethno-nationalist Society" (Cornell UP, 2020)
Immigrant Japan? Sounds like a contradiction, but as Gracia Liu-Farrer shows in Immigrant Japan Mobility and Belonging in an Ethno-nationalist Society (Cornell University Press, 2020), millions of immigrants make their lives in Japan, dealing with the tensions between belonging and not belonging in this ethno-nationalist country. Why do people want to come to Japan? Where do immigrants with various resources and demographic profiles fit in the economic landscape? How do immigrants narrate belonging in an environment where they are "other" at a time when mobility is increasingly easy and belonging increasingly complex? Gracia Liu-Farrer illuminates the lives of these immigrants by bringing in sociological, geographical, and psychological theories—guiding the reader through life trajectories of migrants of diverse backgrounds while also going so far as to suggest that Japan is already an immigrant country.In this interview we talked about what has contributed to the formation of "ethno-nationalism" in the history of modern Japan and how the growing population of immigrants and the complex reality of their lives offer us a more comprehensive understanding of "belonging" and "displacement" in contemporary Japanese society. After discussing the problems that prevent us from clearly seeing Japan as an immigrant country I asked Gracia two questions about the present and the future of this country: "Does the COVID19 pandemic introduce any new problems that fall outside the purview of this book, or does the book provide any new insights into current situation?" "What could people do to create a robust sense of belonging that is inclusive of everyone in Japan?" Her answers were as insightful and salient as her analysis of the relationship between migration and belonging in Japan.Gracia Liu-Farrer is Professor of Sociology at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, and Director of Institute of Asian Migrations, Waseda University, Japan. She is the author of Labor Migration from China to Japan and coeditor of the Routledge Handbook of Asian Migrations.
45 minutes | 10 days ago
William C. Hedberg, "The Japanese Discovery of Chinese Fiction: The Water Margin and the Making of a National Canon" (Columbia UP, 2019)
The classic Chinese novel The Water Margin (Shuihu zhuan) tells the story of a band of outlaws in twelfth-century China and their insurrection against the corrupt imperial court. Imported into Japan in the early seventeenth century, it became a ubiquitous source of inspiration for translations, adaptations, parodies, and illustrated woodblock prints. There is no work of Chinese fiction more important to both the development of early modern Japanese literature and the Japanese imagination of China than The Water Margin.In The Japanese Discovery of Chinese Fiction: The Water Margin and the Making of a National Canon (Columbia UP, 2019), William C. Hedberg investigates the reception of The Water Margin in a variety of early modern and modern Japanese contexts, from eighteenth-century Confucian scholarship and literary exegesis to early twentieth-century colonial ethnography. He examines the ways Japanese interest in Chinese texts contributed to new ideas about literary canons and national character. By constructing an account of Japanese literature through the lens of The Water Margin’s literary afterlives, Hedberg offers an alternative history of East Asian textual culture: one that focuses on the transregional dimensions of Japanese literary history and helps us rethink the definition and boundaries of Japanese literature itself.Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese Cultural and Literary History, University of Arizona
83 minutes | 12 days ago
William W. Kelly, "The Sportsworld of the Hanshin Tigers: Professional Baseball in Modern Japan" (University of California Press, 2018)
Baseball has been Japan's most popular sport for over a century. In The Sportsworld of the Hanshin Tigers: Professional Baseball in Modern Japan (University of California Press, 2018), anthropologist William Kelly analyzes Japanese baseball ethnographically by focusing on a single professional team, the Hanshin Tigers. For over fifty years, the Tigers have been the one of the country’s most watched and talked-about professional baseball teams, second only to their powerful rivals, the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants. Despite a largely losing record, perennial frustration, and infighting among players, the Tigers remain overwhelming sentimental favorites in many parts of the country. This book analyzes the Hanshin Tiger phenomenon, and offers an account of why it has long been so compelling and instructive. Professor Kelly argues that the Tigers represent what he calls a sportsworld —a collective product of the actions of players, coaching staff, management, media, and millions of passionate fans. The team has come to symbolize a powerful counter-narrative to idealized notions of Japanese workplace relations. The Tigers are savored as a melodramatic representation of real corporate life, rife with rivalries and office politics familiar to every Japanese worker. And playing in a historic stadium on the edge of Osaka, they carry the hopes and frustrations of Japan’s second city against the all-powerful capital.John W. Traphagan, Ph.D. is Professor and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Fellow in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also a professor in the Program in Human Dimensions of Organizations.
58 minutes | 18 days ago
Kelly A. Hammond, "China's Muslims and Japan's Empire: Centering Islam in World War II" (UNC Press, 2020)
The 1930s-40s expansion of the Japanese empire was marked by significant interest among Japan-based scholars and policy-makers in China’s Muslim population and how best to write them into a new pan-Asian story. At the very same time, as Kelly Hammond shows in China's Muslims and Japan's Empire: Centering Islam in World War II (UNC Press, 2020), members of this longstanding community of Sino-Muslims were themselves engaged in numerous complex debates over culture and identity, and their place in an emerging post-dynastic China and a wider Islamic world. Choosing to reciprocate Japanese interest was thus just one possible path.Expertly navigating the multi-layered, transnational concerns which are brought into focus by the twentieth-century encounter between Japanese Empire, Chinese Nationalism and Sino-Muslims, Hammond reframes our understanding of wartime East Asia. From global developments stretching as far afield as Central Asia, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany to the more intimate everyday experiences of Sino-Muslims caught between imperial spaces, the author offers a rich and little-told account of a particularly febrile period of recent history, as well as charting developments which continue to resonate in international relations and domestic minority policies to this day.Ed Pulford is a Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on friendships and histories between the Chinese, Korean and Russian worlds, and northeast Asian indigenous groups.
109 minutes | a month ago
David Fedman, "Seeds of Control: Seeds of Control: Japan’s Empire of Forestry in Colonial Korea" (U Washington Press, 2020)
David Fedman's Seeds of Control: Seeds of Control: Japan’s Empire of Forestry in Colonial Korea (University of Washington Press, 2020) is hard to categorize. In a good way. Put simply, it is a broad but sharp look at the history of Japanese forest management in the Korean peninsula, 1910-1945. In this sense, Fedman’s book is an environmental history, to be sure, but also a material history of empire, science, and industry. It is a history of Japan and Korea, but also of transnational networks of knowledge and power. In other words, Seeds of Control is positioned at the intersection of environmental, imperial, and material histories, but it also contributes to studies in the history of science and other fields. Fedman problematizes the ideologies and practices of forest conservation and regeneration (“greenification”) within the asymmetric politics of colonial rule. Part 1 sets the stage with an overview of the institutional transformations of Japanese forestry across the Tokugawa-Meiji divide and the ways that Japanese “stories about the land… were mobilized in service of settler colonialism.” Part 2 begins with the reform of land rights under imperial rule. Fedman then delineates the histories of the Forest Experiment Stations, the timber industry (especially in the Yalu River basin), and the state-led project of civic forestry and the place of Forest Owners Associations. Finally, Part 3 looks at wartime (1937-1945), starting with the uses of “forest-love thought” as an “ideological lubricant” for mobilization and finally the spectacular denuding and exploitation of the Korean peninsula’s forests in support. Because of its transdisciplinarity, this book will appeal to a wide range of academic audiences.Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese and East Asian history in the Graduate School of Humanities, Nagoya University.
48 minutes | a month ago
Noel John Pinnington, "A New History of Medieval Japanese Theatre: Noh and Kyōgen from 1300 to 1600" (Springer, 2019)
Noel Pinnington's A New History of Medieval Japanese Theatre: Noh and Kyōgen from 1300 to 1600 (Palgrave, 2019) traces the history of noh and kyōgen, the first major Japanese theatrical arts. Going beyond P. G. O'Neill's Early Nō Drama of 1958, it covers the full period of noh's medieval development and includes a chapter dedicated to the comic art of kyōgen, which has often been left in noh's shadow. Pinnington writes in a clear and accessible style, making this an ideal work for theatre students and Japanese scholars alike.Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA program at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts. His plays have been produced, developed, or presented at IRT, Pipeline Theatre Company, The Gingold Group, Dixon Place, Roundabout Theatre, Epic Theatre Company, Out Loud Theatre, Naked Theatre Company, Contemporary Theatre of Rhode Island, and The Trunk Space. He is currently working on a series of 50 plays about the 50 U.S. states. His website is AndyJBoyd.com, and he can be reached at email@example.com.
43 minutes | 2 months ago
Elizabeth Son, "Embodied Reckonings: 'Comfort Women,' Performance, and Transpacific Redress" (U Michigan Press, 2018)
In a bustling city-center of Seoul, women in yellow vests protesting over the “final” resettlement between the Japanese and Korean governments every Wednesday is an iconic sight, testifying to the strength and resilience of the “comfort women” movement. In her award-winning book Embodied Reckonings: “Comfort Women,” Performance, and Transpacific Redress (University of Michigan Press, 2018), Elizabeth Son examines a long neglected aspect of the “comfort women” advocacy movement: embodied practices of the former “comfort women” and activists as they protest against the historical amnesia of sexual slavery. Through a transpacific framework, Son shows how the “comfort women” movement holds Asian American and Asian activists together as they collectively address America’s imperialist past and seek redress against militarized sexual violence. Son’s monograph takes the reader to the materiality, physicality, and aurality of the Wednesday demonstrations as the collective presence of former “comfort women” and activists refuse the label “post” of post-colonial, and counter the forced historical amnesia of “comfort women” history. Son further examines the testimonies of “comfort women” during the Women’s Tribunal, which was organized transnationally to highlight the failure of Tokyo Tribunal and other international organizations in recognizing sexual slavery as a crime. Transpacific redressive theater further critiques cultural amnesia, and transpacific memorials connect “comfort women” from formerly colonized nations as well as Japan to rise in solidarity against the universal atrocity of the war. In examining embodied aspects of transpacific redress of the “comfort women” movement, Son’s work asks important questions surrounding the limits/possibilities of transpacific alliances, historical erasure of sexual slavery and the violent legacy of militarized imperialism.Elizabeth Son is Associate Professor and the Director of the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama (IPTD) Program at Northwestern University. She was an inaugural Mellon/ACLS Scholars & Society fellow, and was a scholar-in-residence at KAN-WIN: Empowering Women in the Asian American Community. She continues to partner with KAN-WIN as a crisis hotline volunteer and co-founding member of their “comfort women” justice advocacy team.
85 minutes | 2 months ago
Charlotte Eubanks, "The Art of Persistence: Akamatsu Toshiko and the Visual Cultures of Transwar Japan" (U Hawaii Press, 2019)
The Art of Persistence: Akamatsu Toshiko and the Visual Cultures of Transwar Japan (U Hawaii Press, 2019) examines the relations between art and politics in transwar Japan, exploring these via a microhistory of the artist, memoirist, and activist Akamatsu Toshiko (also known as Maruki Toshi, 1912–2000). Scaling up from the details of Akamatsu’s lived experience, the book addresses major events in modern Japanese history, including colonization and empire, war, the nuclear bombings, and the transwar proletarian movement. More broadly, it outlines an ethical position known as persistence, which occupies the grey area between complicity and resistance: Like resilience, persistence signals a commitment to not disappearing—a fierce act of taking up space but often from a position of privilege, among the classes and people in power. Akamatsu grew up in a settler-colonial family in rural Hokkaido before attending arts college in Tokyo and becoming one of the first women to receive formal training as an oil painter in Japan. She later worked as a governess in the home of a Moscow diplomat and traveled to the Japanese Mandate in Micronesia before returning home to write and illustrate children’s books set in the Pacific. She married the surrealist poet and painter Maruki Iri (1901–1995), and together in 1948—and in defiance of Occupation censorship—they began creating and exhibiting the Nuclear Series, some of the most influential and powerful artwork depicting the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing. For the next forty or more years, the couple toured the world to protest war and nuclear proliferation and were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.With abundant excerpts and drawings from Akamatsu’s journals and sketchbooks, The Art of Persistence offers a bridge between scholarship on imperial Japan and postwar memory cultures, arguing for the importance of each individual’s historical agency. While uncovering the longue durée of Japan’s visual cultures of war, it charts the development of the national(ist) “literature for little citizens” movement and Japan’s postwar reorientation toward global multiculturalism. Finally, the work proposes ways to enlist artwork generally, and the museum specifically, as a site of ethical engagement.Charlotte Eubanks is associate professor of comparative literature, Japanese and Asian Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. She studies the material culture of books and word/image relations, with a focus on Japanese literature from the medieval period to the present. Her articles have appeared in Ars Orientalis, Book History, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, PMLA, Symposium, Word &Image, and a range of other venues. She is associate editor at the journal Verge: Studies in Global Asias.
41 minutes | 2 months ago
Amy Stanley, "Stranger in the Shogun's City: A Japanese Woman and Her World" (Scribner, 2020)
“To mother, from Tsuneno (confidential). I’m writing with spring greetings. I went to Kanda Minagawa-chō in Edo—quite unexpectedly—and I ended up in so much trouble!”This letter, hidden in an archive in Niigata Prefecture, inspired Professor Amy Stanley to write her latest work: Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World (Scribner, 2020). She traces Tsuneno’s life, from growing up in a rural community through her escape to the city of Edo, where she lives in the final decades of the Tokugawa Shogunate. In this interview with Professor Stanley, we discuss her book: the life of its main character and its historical setting. We touch on how Tsuneno's life tells us more about life, especially the life of women, during this period of Japanese history. We also talk about what inspired her to write about this ordinary woman, and what the research process was like.Amy Stanley is a Professor of History at Northwestern University, where she is a historian of early and modern Japan, with special interest in women's history. You can follow her on Twitter at @astanley711.You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Stranger in the Shogun's City. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia.
71 minutes | 2 months ago
Tobias Harris, "The Iconoclast: Shinzo Abe and the New Japan" (Hurst, 2020)
Abe Shinzō is seen today through many lenses: as the longest-serving prime minister in the history of Japan; as a pragmatic leader with a consistent policy vision and a commitment to the art of statecraft; as a nationalist whose strong historical revisionist beliefs led him to make inflammatory moves that opened old wounds and antagonized Japan’s neighbors. In his new biography, The Iconoclast: Shinzō Abe and the New Japan (Hurst, 2020), Tobias Harris presents a painstakingly researched, engagingly written, and fair assessment of Abe’s political career and legacy.Beginning with Abe’s familial connection to the leaders of the Meiji Restoration, Harris show how the political dynasty linking Abe to his father Abe Shintarō and his grandfather Kishi Nobusuke played significant—and often controversial—roles in the political history of Japan dating back to the 1930s. Readers will witness Abe’s gradual rise through the ranks of the Liberal Democratic Party and his complex relationships with leading figures in both Japanese and US political circles. Harris skillfully analyzes the failure of Abe’s first premiership, the lessons he learned during his time in the political wilderness, and his path to reelection in 2012, which marked the beginning of his historic second administration.Harris’s balanced discussion of the Abe administration’s accomplishments and failures leaves no stone unturned, providing insight into everything from the Abenomics program and Abe’s efforts to revise the postwar constitution to an insider’s view of his diplomatic engagement with the Obama and Trump administrations and his attempts to improve Japan’s international relations. Readers predisposed to dislike Abe because of his revisionist perspective on Japanese history will be challenged to see him in a wider context, and Harris raises poignant questions about Abe’s missed opportunities for his champions to consider.Steve Wills is Associate Professor of History at Nebraska Wesleyan University and one of the hosts of the New Books in East Asian Studies series.
83 minutes | 2 months ago
Sujung Kim, "Shinra Myojin and Buddhist Networks of the East Asian 'Mediterranean'" (U Hawaii Press, 2020)
Shinra Myojin and Buddhist Networks of the East Asian “Mediterranean” (University of Hawaii Press, 2020) is a fascinating study of the transcultural underpinnings of Medieval East Asian Buddhist traditions with an emphasis on Shinra Myōjin, a deity integral to the institutional development of the Medieval Japanese Tendai faction, the Jimon. It demonstrates the linkage between continental Buddhist Culture and Buddhism in Medieval Japan through the intersectionality of various subjective and objective actors such as, traveling monks from Japan bound for China, merchants and other immigrants from the Korean peninsula, archetypal old man and pestilence deities, as medieval Japanese aristocrats and Shungendō practitioners in the theoretical space of the East Asian Mediterranean. For those interested in transcultural Buddhist studies, Tendai Buddhism, and the diffusion of Buddhism in East Asia, more broadly this interview with Sujung Kim, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at DePauw University, should be an enjoyable and insightful listen.Trevor McManis is a novice monk in a branch of the Vietnamese, Línjǐ school at Phước Sơn temple in Modesto, California.
78 minutes | 3 months ago
Suma Ikeuchi, "Jesus Loves Japan: Return Migration and Global Pentecostalism in a Brazilian Diaspora" (Stanford UP, 2019)
In 1990, the Japanese government introduced the Nikkei-jin (Japanese descendant) visa and since then it has attracted more than 190,000 Nikkei Brazilian nationals to Japan. In Jesus Loves Japan: Return Migration and Global Pentecostalism in a Brazilian Diaspora (Stanford UP, 2019), Dr. Ikeuchi points out that “Unlike Japanese migrants in early twentieth-century Brazil, Brazilian migrants in twenty-first-century Japan lack solid governmental support from their home country, sufficient socioeconomic capital, and birthright citizenship.” Trapped in a suspended time and space of the precariousness of unskilled labor, Dr. Ikeuchi argues that many Brazilian migrants turned to Pentecostalism, a religion that allowed these people who have been “putting aside living” and feeling “neither here nor there” in Japan to find temporal and cultural belonging.Suma Ikeuchi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara.Daigengna Duoer is a PhD student at the Religious Studies Department, University of California, Santa Barbara. Her dissertation researches on transnational and transregional Buddhist networks connecting twentieth-century Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, Republican China, Tibet, and the Japanese Empire.
64 minutes | 3 months ago
Frank Jacob, "Japanese War Crimes during World War II: Atrocity and the Psychology of Collective Violence" (Praeger, 2018)
When you mention Japanese War crimes in World War Two, you’ll often get different responses from different generations. The oldest among us will talk about the Bataan Death March. Younger people, coming of age in the 1990s, will mention the Rape of Nanking or the comfort women forced into service by the Japanese army. Occasionally, someone will mention biological warfare.Frank Jacob has offered a valuable service by surveying Japanese mistreatment of civilians and soldiers comprehensively. His book, Japanese War Crimes during World War II: Atrocity and the Psychology of Collective Violence (Praeger, 2018), is short and doesn’t treat any event or issue in depth. But he offers a lucid and thorough evaluation of the literature and nuggets of additional insight. And he frames it with a thoughtful attempt to explain the conduct about which he is writing.If you’re looking for a deep dive into a particular topic, you’re not the audience Jacob had in mind. But this is a good place to come to grips with the broad picture of Japanese misconduct during the war.Kelly McFall is Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Newman University. He’s the author of four modules in the Reacting to the Past series, including The Needs of Others: Human Rights, International Organizations and Intervention in Rwanda, 1994, published by W. W. Norton Press.
52 minutes | 4 months ago
Fabio Rambelli, “Spirits and Animism in Contemporary Japan” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019)
In Japan, a country popularly perceived as highly secularized and technologically advanced, ontological assumptions about spirits (tama or tamashii) seem to be quite deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric. From ancestor cults to anime, spirits, ghosts, and other invisible dimensions of reality appear to be pervasive. In Spirits and Animism...
73 minutes | 4 months ago
Ann-elise Lewallen, “The Fabric of Indigeneity: Ainu Identity, Gender, and Settler Colonialism in Japan” (U New Mexico Press, 2016)
The Fabric of Indigeneity: Ainu Identity, Gender, and Settler Colonialism in Japan (University of New Mexico Press) is a recent addition to the growing scholarship on Ainu identity and settler colonialism in Japan. Combining ethnographic fieldwork in contemporary Ainu communities and organizations with museum and archival research, Dr. Lewallen shows...
69 minutes | 5 months ago
Adam Broinowski, “Cultural Responses to Occupation in Japan: The Performing Body During and After the Cold War” (Bloomsbury 2016)
In Cultural Responses to Occupation in Japan: The Performing Body During and After the Cold War (Bloomsbury 2016), Adam Broinowski analyzes the emergence of Ankoku Butoh (dance of darkness) in the context of America’s de jure and then de facto occupation of Japan following the Second World War. Broinowski traces...
78 minutes | 5 months ago
Nozomi Naoi, “Yumeji Modern: Designing the Everyday in Twentieth-Century Japan” (U Washington Press, 2020)
Nozomi Naoi’s Yumeji Modern: Designing the Everyday in Twentieth-Century Japan (University of Washington Press, 2020) is the first book-length English-language study of one of Japan’s iconic twentieth-century artists, Takehisa Yumeji (1884–1934). While he is most famous for portraits of beautiful women and stylish graphic design―which remain enormously popular and ubiquitous in...
44 minutes | 5 months ago
Daniel P. Aldrich, “Black Wave: How Networks and Governance Shaped Japan’s 3/11 Disasters” (U Chicago Press, 2020)
Despite the devastation caused by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and 60-foot tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, some 96% of those living and working in the most disaster-stricken region of Tōhoku made it through. Smaller earthquakes and tsunamis have killed far more people in nearby China and India. What accounts...
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