Afleveringen

  • Signed on September 2, 1945 aboard the American battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay by Japanese and Allied leaders, the instrument of surrender formally ended the war in the Pacific and brought to a close one of the most cataclysmic engagements in history, one that had cost the lives of millions. VJ―Victory over Japan―Day had taken place two weeks or so earlier, in the wake of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the entrance of the Soviet Union into the war. In the end, the surrender itself fulfilled the commitment that Franklin Roosevelt had made that it be "unconditional," as had been the case with Nazi Germany in May, 1945. 
    Though readily accepted as war policy at the time, after Roosevelt's death in April 1945, popular support for unconditional surrender wavered, particularly when the bloody campaigns on Iwo Jima and Okinawa made clear the cost of military victory against Japan. The ending of the war in Europe spurred calls in Congress, particularly among anti-New Deal Republicans, to shift the American economy to peacetime and bring home troops. Even after the atomic bombs had been dropped, Japan continued to seek a negotiated surrender, further complicating the debate. Though this was the last time Americans would impose surrender unconditionally, questions surrounding it continued at home through the 1950s and 1960s, when liberal and conservative views reversed, and particularly in Vietnam and the definition of "peace with honor." It remained controversial through the ceremonies surrounding the 50th anniversary and the Gulf War, when the subject revived.

    In Unconditional: The Japanese Surrender in World War II (Oxford UP, 2020), which publishes in time for the 75th anniversary of the surrender, Bancroft Prize co-winner Marc Gallicchio offers a narrative of the surrender in its historical moment, revealing how and why the event unfolded as it did and the principle figures behind it, including George C. Marshall and Douglas MacArthur, who would effectively become the leader of Japan during the American occupation. It also reveals how the policy underlying it remained controversial at the time and in the decades following, shaping our understanding of World War II.
    Grant Golub is a PhD candidate in the Department of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research focuses on the politics of American grand strategy during World War II.
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  • “The Europeans raise all the cattle, but the Chinese get all the milk.”
    This joke, told in colonial Singapore, was indicative of the importance of the Chinese diaspora throughout Southeast Asia. Chinese migrants were miners, laborers, merchants and traders: the foundation of many colonial cities throughout Asia--while also making sure that their own communities back home benefited.
    Distant Shores: Colonial Encounters on China's Maritime Frontier (Princeton University Press: 2021), written by Professor Melissa Macauley, looks at one particular community within the Chinese diaspora: the Chaozhou people--also known as the “Chiu Chow” people--hailing from the Shantou--also known as Swatou--area in Eastern Guangdong Province. The Chouzhouese traveled far and wide, engaging in trade, commerce and business--a history that survives to this day, with many Southern Chinese and Southeast Asian business tycoons having ties to this migrant community.
    Professor Melissa Macauley is a Professor at Northwestern University, where she specializes in late imperial and modern Chinese history from 1500 to 1958. Her research focuses on such topics as the interrelated history of southeastern China and Southeast Asia; colonialism and imperialism in East and Southeast Asia; and legal culture in Chinese social history. Her first book, Social Power and Legal Culture: Litigation Masters in Late Imperial China (Stanford University Press: 1998)
    We’re joined in this interview by fellow NBN host Sarah Bramao-Ramos. Sarah is a PHD candidate at Harvard University that studies Qing China.
    Today, the three of us talk about the Chouzhouese people, and how their trading efforts throughout the region challenges the way we think about “empire” and “colonialism”.
    You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Distant Shores. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia.
    Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.
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  • When faced with some of the complex identity questions which often arise in borderlands, Koreans in China – known as Chosonjok in Korean, Chaoxianzu in Chinese – have long seemed adept at navigating the shifting demands of being both Chinese and Korean. Sunhee Koo’s new book, Sound of the Border: Music and Identity of Korean Minority Nationality in China (U Hawaii Press, 2021), makes a strong case for Chaoxianzu music being a clear index of this, reflecting as it does the layered cultural worlds of this community living in Yanbian prefecture where China, North and South Korea, and the wider world collide.
    Offering an in-depth account of the shifting styles, genres and themes present in Chaoxianzu musical output across the decades, Koo examines the form and content of Korean folksongs and traditional instrumentation, Chinese- and North Korean-inflected socialist propaganda tunes, and more recent commercialised blends of essentialised ‘ethnic’ music and South Korean pop. Woven into the book’s close musical analysis are rich reflections on the often-tumultuous social and political contexts navigated by Chaoxianzu musicians and their publics over time, all of which reveals that from these intersecting cultural worlds has emerged not so much a musical chimera as a varied and distinctive musical tradition in its own right.
    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 indigeneity in northeast Asia.
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  • Indigenous Cultural Translation: A Thick Description of Seediq Bale (Routledge, 2020) is about the process that made it possible to film the 2011 Taiwanese blockbuster Seediq Bale in Seediq, an endangered indigenous language. Seediq Bale celebrates the headhunters who rebelled against or collaborated with the Japanese colonizers at or around a hill station called Musha starting on October 27, 1930, while this book celebrates the grandchildren of headhunters, rebels, and collaborators who translated the Mandarin-language screenplay into Seediq in central Taiwan nearly eighty years later.
    As a “thick description” of Seediq Bale, this book describes the translation process in detail, showing how the screenwriter included Mandarin translations of Seediq texts recorded during the Japanese era in his screenplay, and then how the Seediq translators backtranslated these texts into Seediq, changing them significantly. It argues that the translators made significant changes to these texts according to the consensus about traditional Seediq culture they have been building in modern Taiwan, and that this same consensus informs the interpretation of the Musha Incident and of Seediq culture that they articulated in their Mandarin-Seediq translation of the screenplay as a whole. The argument more generally is that in building cultural consensus, indigenous peoples like the Seediq are “translating” their traditions into alternative modernities in settler states around the world.
    Darryl Sterk is an Assistant Professor of Translation Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. He is also a literary translator, especially of fiction from Taiwan.
    Li-Ping Chen is Postdoctoral Scholar and Teaching Fellow in the East Asian Studies Center at the University of Southern California. Her research interests include literary translingualism, diaspora, and nativism in Sinophone, inter-Asian, and transpacific contexts.
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  • What is digital vigilantism? How do Chinese citizens seek justice online? How does digital vigilantism reflect contemporary Chinese technological and socio-political development? In a conversation with Joanne Kuai, a visiting PhD Candidate at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Qian Huang, lecturer and PhD Candidate at Erasmus University Rotterdam, explains the growing phenomenon of online collective action against an individual to protect a shared value and the consequences of it.
    Digital vigilantism refers to citizens’ practice of weaponising online visibility for retaliation when collectively offended. Qian Huang speaks to the Nordic Asia Podcast about her research on Chinese digital vigilantism, a part of the research project funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) entitled Digital Vigilantism: Mapping the terrain and assessing societal impacts. Qian Huang is also the co-editor of the book Introducing Vigilant Audiences (Open Book Publishers, 2020)
    The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the Stockholm Centre for Global Asia at Stockholm University. We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.
    About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk
    Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast
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  • Reconsidering the Life of Power: Ritual, Body, and Art in Critical Theory and Chinese Philosophy by James Garrison (SUNY Press 2021), argues that the tradition of Confucian philosophy can provide resources for theorists like Judith Butler and Michel Foucault in understanding what it is to be a subject in the social world. Garrison’s interlocutors are intercultural, from Confucius to Kant, Arendt to Butler, Hegel to Nietzsche. His book argues that Confucianism offers a relational, discursive, bodily, and ritualistic conception of the self. Through philosophers like Mencius, Xún Zǐ, and Lǐ Zéhòu, Confucianism’s emphasis on embodied aesthetic experiences presents new ways of thinking about how human beings can resist passivity in the face of society and instead learn how to consciously and bodily gain purposeful self-awareness.
    Malcolm Keating is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on Sanskrit philosophy of language and epistemology. He is the author of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and host of the podcast Sutras (and stuff).
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  • In the wake of labor market deregulation during the 2000s, online content sharing and social networking platforms were promoted in Japan as new sites of work that were accessible to anyone. Enticed by the chance to build personally fulfilling careers, many young women entered Japan's digital economy by performing unpaid labor as photographers, net idols, bloggers, online traders, and cell phone novelists. While some women leveraged digital technology to create successful careers, most did not. In Invisibility by Design: Women and Labor in Japan's Digital Economy (Duke UP, 2020), Gabriella Lukács traces how these women's unpaid labor became the engine of Japan's digital economy. Drawing on interviews with young women who strove to sculpt careers in the digital economy, Lukács shows how platform owners tapped unpaid labor to create innovative profit-generating practices without employing workers, thereby rendering women's labor invisible. By drawing out the ways in which labor precarity generates a demand for feminized affective labor, Lukács underscores the fallacy of the digital economy as a more democratic, egalitarian, and inclusive mode of production.
    Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing.
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  • Many Western entrepreneurs and businesses have foundered in trying to set up shop in China. Different expectations, different ways of doing business, different institutions and platforms—all come together to remove any pretensions that one can easily transplant a foreign business model into the Chinese market.
    One of these entrepreneurs was Xavier Naville, who moved to China in 1997 where he built Creative Food. Unlike many others, his venture was a success. It's now a key supplier to major restaurant chains across the country including McDonald's, KFC and Starbucks.
    The Lettuce Diaries: How A Frenchman Found Gold Growing Vegetables In China tells Xavier’s story growing Creative Foods: managing a Chinese team as a foreign manager, trying to work with farmers to improve how they conducted agriculture, and navigating investor demands. 
    In this interview, Xavier and I talk about his time in China, what he learned about starting a business, and whether things are different in a more developed, more advanced economy.
    You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of The Lettuce Diaries. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia.
    Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.
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  • What happened to the Buddhist scholars who stayed behind in Tibet and China after the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans fled from the People’s Liberation Army in 1959?
    In Lineages of the Literary: Tibetan Buddhist Polymaths of Socialist China (Columbia University Press 2021), Nicole Willock discovers through the stories and writings of the “Three Polymaths” (Tib. mkhas pa mi gsum) of socialist China that contrary to common assumptions, Tibetan Buddhist leaders active in the People’s Republic of China were not mere political “collaborators.” Willocks reveals in the book that the three Buddhist polymaths, Tséten Zhabdrung (1910 – 1985), Mugé Samten (1914 – 1993), and Dungkar Rinpoché (1927 – 1997) alternately safeguarded, taught, adapted, celebrated, and discarded religious epistemes, practices, and institutions in a post-Cultural Revolution PRC.
    The title of the “Three Polymaths” is often used to refer to Mar Shakyamuni, Yo Géjung, and Tsang Rabsel, who according to Tibetan Buddhist historiography, preserved the Buddhist monastic lineage from the tyrannical king Langdarma (d. 842) one millennium ago. Willock points out that since the early 1980s, the title of the “Three Polymaths” has been passed on to the twentieth-century Buddhist scholars Tséten Zhabdrung, Mugé Samten, and Dungkar Rinpoché, who became not only heroes to many Tibetans in China but also cultural icons symbolizing both the survival and the continuance of Tibetan culture in the post-Mao era.
    In Lineages of the Literary, Willock explores the Three Polymaths’ writings from a wide range of literary genres, including more traditional ones such as autobiographical life writing (Tib. byung ba brjod pa) and Buddhist poetry, as well as modern innovations such as encyclopedia entries (Tib. tshig mdzod) and academic essays (Tib. dpyad rtsom). Willock argues that the writings of the Three Polymaths highlight the way they adapt and disregard religious epistemes for the purposes of revitalizing Tibetan culture in their own fashion.
    Interestingly, the Three Polymaths’ writings do not engage explicitly with the social-political contexts of their lives. What is revealed instead, Willock argues, is how these three Tibetan Buddhist leaders acted as moral agents who strategically deployed Buddhist epistemes to impart varying visions of Tibetan culture in the post-Mao era. Taking Saba Mahmood’s idea of “moral agency,” Willock finds that “[T]he culturally specific disciplines and religious epistemes that [the Three Polymaths] accessed in their unique subject positions as male Géluk Buddhist elites allowed them, unlike many other leaders in post-Mao China, to cross state-imposed divides between secular and religious institutions that might otherwise have been impossible to bridge.”
    Daigengna Duoer is a Ph.D. student at the Religious Studies Department, University of California, Santa Barbara. Her dissertation is a digital humanities project mapping transnational and transregional Buddhist networks connecting twentieth-century Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, Republican China, Tibet, and the Japanese Empire.
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  • Tokyo Boogie-Woogie: Japan's Pop Era and its Discontents (Harvard University Press, 2017) by Hiromu Nagahara is the first English-language history of the origins and impact of the Japanese pop music industry. The book connects the rise of mass entertainment, epitomized by ryūkōka (“popular songs”), with Japan’s transformation into a middle-class society in the years after World War II.
    With the arrival of major international recording companies like Columbia and Victor in the 1920s, Japan’s pop music scene soon grew into a full-fledged culture industry that reached out to an avid consumer base through radio, cinema, and other media. The stream of songs that poured forth over the next four decades represented something new in the nation’s cultural landscape. Emerging during some of the most volatile decades in Japan’s history, popular songs struck a deep chord in Japanese society, gaining a devoted following but also galvanizing a vociferous band of opponents. A range of critics—intellectuals, journalists, government officials, self-appointed arbiters of taste—engaged in contentious debates on the merits of pop music. Many regarded it as a scandal, evidence of an increasingly debased and Americanized culture. For others, popular songs represented liberation from the oppressive political climate of the war years.
    Tokyo Boogie-Woogie is a tale of competing cultural dynamics coming to a head just as Japan’s traditionally hierarchical society was shifting toward middle-class democracy. The pop soundscape of these years became the audible symbol of changing times.
    Hiromu Nagahara is an associate professor of history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
    Shatrunjay Mall is a PhD candidate at the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He works on transnational Asian history, and his dissertation explores intellectual, political, and cultural intersections and affinities that emerged between Indian anti-colonialism and imperial Japan in the twentieth century.
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  • Japan's nationalist right have used the internet to organize offline activism in increasingly visible ways. Jeffrey J. Hall, investigates the role of internet-mediated activism in Japan's ongoing historical and territorial disputes. He explores the emergence of two right-wing activist organizations, Nihon Bunka Channel Sakura and Ganbare Nippon, which have played a significant role in pressure campaigns against Japanese media outlets, campaigns to influence historical memorials, and campaigns to assert Japan's territorial claim to the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. 
    In Japan's Nationalist Right in the Internet Age: Online Media and Grassroots Conservative Activism (Routledge, 2021), Hall analyses how activists maintained cohesion, raised funds, held protests that regularly drew hundreds to thousands of participants, and used fishing boats to land activists on disputed islands. Detailing events that took place between 2004 and 2020, he demonstrates how skilled social actors built cohesive grassroots protest organizations through the creation of shared meaning for their organization and its supporters. A valuable read both for scholars seeking insight into the dynamics surrounding Japan's history disputes and territorial issues, as well as those seeking to compare Japanese right-wing internet activism with its counterparts elsewhere.
    Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing.
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  • Today I spoke to Professor Andrew Kipnis about his book on social change in urban China from the perspective of funerals. In rural China funerals are conducted locally, on village land by village elders. But in urban areas, people have neither land for burials nor elder relatives to conduct funerals. Chinese urbanization, which has increased drastically in recent decades, involves the creation of cemeteries, state-run funeral homes, and small private funerary businesses. The Funeral of Mr. Wang: Life, Death, and Ghosts in Urbanizing China (U California Press, 2021) examines social change in urbanizing China through the lens of funerals, the funerary industry, and practices of memorialization. It analyzes changes in family life, patterns of urban sociality, transformations in economic relations, the politics of memorialization, and the echoes of these changes in beliefs about the dead and ghosts.
    Dr. Suvi Rautio is an anthropologist of China.
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  • Water, Wood, and Wild Things: Learning Craft and Cultivation in a Japanese Mountain Town  (Viking, 2021) is memoir, ethnography, cookbook, and sketchbook rolled into one." This is the Princeton Independence's description of the polyvocal and artistic text, written by Hannah Kirshner. I cannot agree more with the following review they made on the creative quality of the book: "It evokes the best of the nature writing of Rachel Carson and Wendell Berry, as well as the food writing of M.F.K. Fisher and craft writing of Edmund de Waal." It is certainly a great book to read if you are traveling to Japan or to buy as a gift if you know someone who might be interested in Japanese culture but does not where to start. 
    An immersive journey through the culture and cuisine of one Japanese town, its forest, and its watershed–where ducks are hunted by net, saké is brewed from the purest mountain water, and charcoal is fired in stone kilns–by an American writer and food stylist who spent years working alongside artisans
    One night, Brooklyn-based artist and food writer Hannah Kirshner received a life-changing invitation to apprentice with a “saké evangelist” in a misty Japanese mountain village called Yamanaka. In a rapidly modernizing Japan, the region–a stronghold of the country’s old-fashioned ways–was quickly becoming a destination for chefs and artisans looking to learn about the traditions that have long shaped Japanese culture. Kirshner put on a vest and tie and took her place behind the saké bar. Before long, she met a community of craftspeople, farmers, and foragers–master woodturners, hunters, a paper artist, and a man making charcoal in his nearly abandoned village on the outskirts of town. Kirshner found each craftsperson not only exhibited an extraordinary dedication to their work but their distinct expertise contributed to the fabric of the local culture. Inspired by these masters, she devoted herself to learning how they work and live.
    Taking readers deep into evergreen forests, terraced rice fields, and smoke-filled workshops, Kirshner captures the centuries-old traditions still alive in Yamanaka. Water, Wood, and Wild Things invites readers to see what goes into making a fine bowl, a cup of tea, or a harvest of rice and introduces the masters who dedicate their lives to this work. Part travelogue, part meditation on the meaning of work, and full of her own beautiful drawings and recipes, Kirshner’s refreshing book is an ode to a place and its people, as well as a profound examination of what it means to sustain traditions and find purpose in cultivation and craft.
    During the interview, we talked about Hannah's process of creative writing and its symbiotic relation with accompanying illustrations. Our discussions quickly led to a series of episodes, which described her cross-cultural and cross-linguistic interactions with others (including humans, animals, plants, art crafts, and natural surroundings) in the wonderful mountain town, Yamanaka, in Ishikawa Prefecture. This book is not only a great invitation to the magical experience of living in rural Japan and becoming a part of satoyama, but also an indispensable contribution to our ongoing discussions on the larger problems of "sustainability," "decline of rural economy and tradition," "ecology," and the negative aspect of "urbanisation" or of "ageing rural society" in Japan among others. 
    Takeshi Morisato is philosopher and sometimes academic. He is the editor of the European Journal of Japanese Philosophy. He specializes in comparative and Japanese philosophy but he is also interested in making Japan and philosophy accessible to a wider audience.
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  • In the past four hundred years, the cultural position of Taiwan has been undergoing a series of drastic changes due to constant political turmoil. From the early seventeenth century to the late twentieth century, the ruling power of Taiwan shifted from Spaniard and Dutch to the Late-Ming Zheng regime, then to the Qing court and imperial Japan, and finally to the Kuomintang (KMT) government from China. In this regard, Taiwan has long been regarded as a supplementary addition to its cultural Other: China, Japan, or imperial western powers, despite its rich Aboriginal cultures. To create a self-claimed subjectivity, the localist camp of the island has been promoting the Taiwanese consciousness via political movements and literary writings in a century-long campaign. Its focus on the native soil and experience is well connected with the Sinophone studies, which has been a prominent field across geographical and disciplinary barriers.
    As Taiwan’s community grows more diverse, Taiwan literature is enriched by a series of locally based writings that draw attention to a specific space and/or to the division between places. In the twentieth century, more and more Taiwanese writers are no longer content with a singular place or dual comparison in their literary creations. Rather, they have started to recognize the plurality of Taiwaneseness and thus re-create an ambiguous form of the Taiwanese subjectivity in response to the conflict and compromise between political beliefs and ethnic groups in a cross-cultural light.
    To further engage with the multifaceted cultural expressions of Taiwan, Chia-Rong Wu's Remapping the Contested Sinosphere: The Cross-Cultural Landscape and Ethnoscape of Taiwan (Cambria Press, 2020) speaks to the current framework of Sinophone studies by focusing on modern Taiwan and its entanglement with cultural China, Chinese diasporas, nativist trend, and Aboriginal consciousness. Recognizing the unresolved ethnic issues of Taiwan, this study explores different dimensions of ethnoscape in response to the cross-cultural landscape of Taiwan and beyond, while at the same time taking into account the intertwining of the official history and the individual, or ethnic, memory of Taiwan.
    Chia-rong Wu is a Senior Lecturer of Chinese Studies at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He is also the author of Supernatural Sinophone Taiwan and Beyond (Cambria, 2016).
    Li-Ping Chen is Postdoctoral Scholar and Teaching Fellow in the East Asian Studies Center at the University of Southern California. Her research interests include literary translingualism, diaspora, and nativism in inter-Asian and transpacific contexts.
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  • In Affect, Narratives and Politics of Southeast Asian Migration (Routledge, 2021), Carlos M. Piocos explores the politics of gendered labor migration in Southeast Asia through the stories and perspectives of Indonesian and Filipina women presented in films, fiction, and performance to show how the emotionality of these texts contribute to the emergence and vitality of women's social movements in Southeast Asia. By placing literary and filmic narratives of Filipina and Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong and Singapore within existing conversations concerning migration policies, he offers an innovative approach towards examining contemporary issues of Asian migration. Furthermore, through rich ethnographic accounts, the book unpacks themes of belonging and displacement, shame and desire, victimhood and resistance, sacrifice, and grief to show that the stories of Filipina and Indonesian migrant women don't just depict their everyday lives and practices but also reveal how they mediate and make sense of the fraught politics of gendered labor diaspora and globalization. Contributing to the "affective turn" of feminist and transnational scholarship, the book draws insight from the importance and centrality of affect, emotions, and feelings in shaping discourses on women's subjectivity, labor, and mobility. In addition, the book demonstrates the issues of vulnerability and agency inherent in debates on social exclusion, human rights, development, and nation-building in Southeast Asia. Offering an innovative and multidisciplinary approach to analyses of Asian migration, this book will be of interest to academics in the fields of Asian Studies, literary and cultural studies, film studies, gender and women's studies, and migration studies.
    Carlos M. Piocos III is a professor in the Literature Department at De La Salle University. He has published widely on gender and transnationalism in international peer-reviewed journals and his monograph, Narratives, Affect and Politics of Southeast Asian Migration, was published in 2021.
    Clara Iwasaki is an assistant professor in the East Asian Studies department at the University of Alberta.
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  • In the early eighteenth century, the noblewoman Ōgimachi Machiko composed a memoir of Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu, the powerful samurai for whom she had served as a concubine for twenty years. Machiko assisted Yoshiyasu in his ascent to the rank of chief adjutant to the Tokugawa shogun. She kept him in good graces with the imperial court, enabled him to study poetry with aristocratic teachers and have his compositions read by the retired emperor, and gave birth to two of his sons. Writing after Yoshiyasu’s retirement, she recalled it all—from the glittering formal visits of the shogun and his entourage to the passage of the seasons as seen from her apartments in the Yanagisawa mansion.
    In the Shelter of the Pine is the most significant work of literature by a woman of Japan’s early modern era. Featuring Machiko’s keen eye for detail, strong narrative voice, and polished prose studded with allusions to Chinese and Japanese classics, this memoir sheds light on everything from the social world of the Tokugawa elite to the role of literature in women’s lives. Machiko modeled her story on The Tale of Genji, illustrating how the eleventh-century classic continued to inspire its female readers and provide them with the means to make sense of their experiences. Elegant, poetic, and revealing, In the Shelter of the Pine is a vivid portrait of a distant world and a vital addition to the canon of Japanese literature available in English.
    Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing.
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  • European Decadence, a controversial artistic movement that flourished mainly in late-nineteenth-century France and Britain, has inspired several generations of Chinese writers and literary scholars since it was introduced to China in the early 1920s. Translated into Chinese as tuifei, which has strong hedonistic and pessimistic connotations, the concept of Decadence has proven instrumental in multiple waves of cultural rebellion, but has also become susceptible to moralistic criticism. Many contemporary scholars have sought to rehabilitate Chinese Decadence but have found it difficult to dissociate it from the negative connotations of tuifei. More importantly, few have reconnected Decadence with its steadfast pursuit of intellectual pleasure and unique paradoxes or explored the specific socio-historical conditions and cultural dynamics that gave rise to Decadence.
    Decadence in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture: A Comparative and Literary-Historical Reevaluation (Cambria Press, 2020) is the first comprehensive study of Decadence in Chinese literature since the early twentieth century. Standing at the intersection of comparative literature and cultural history, it transcends the framework of tuifei by locating European Decadence in its sociocultural context and uses it as a critical lens to examine Chinese Decadent literature and Chinese society. Its in-depth analysis reveals that some Chinese writers and literary scholars creatively appropriated the concept of Decadence for enlightenment purposes or to bid farewell to revolution. Meanwhile, the socialist system, by first fostering strong senses of elitism among certain privileged groups and then rescinding its ideological endorsement and material support, played a crucial role in the emergence of Chinese Decadent literature in the European sense.
    Decadence in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture is an important book for scholars and students interested in Decadence, modern Chinese literature and cultural history, Asian studies, and comparative literature.
    This book is in the Cambria Sinophone World Series headed by Victor H. Mair (University of Pennsylvania).
    Victoria Oana Lupașcu is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies at University of Montréal. Her areas of interest include medical humanities, visual art, 20th and 21st Chinese, Brazilian and Romanian literature and Global South studies.
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  • Alluring, nurturing, dangerous, and vulnerable, the yamamba, or Japanese mountain witch, has intrigued audiences for centuries. What is it about the fusion of mountains with the solitary old woman that produces such an enigmatic figure? And why does she still call to us in this modern, scientific era?
    Co-editors Rebecca Copeland and Linda C. Ehrlich first met the yamamba in the powerful short story “The Smile of the Mountain Witch” by acclaimed woman writer Ōba Minako. The story revealed the compelling way creative women can take charge of misogynistic tropes, invert them, and use them to tell new stories of female empowerment. 
    Yamamba: In Search of the Japanese Mountain Witch (Stone Bridge Press, 2021) represents the creative and surprising ways artists and scholars from North America and Japan have encountered the yamamba.
    Matthew Hayes is the Japanese Studies and Asian American Studies Librarian at Duke University and a researcher in the area of early modern Japanese Buddhism. You can find him on Twitter at @_matthewhayes_.
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  • In An Urban History of China (Cambridge UP, 2021), Toby Lincoln offers the first history of Chinese cities from their origins to the present. Despite being an agricultural society for thousands of years, China had an imperial urban civilization. Over the last century, this urban civilization has been transformed into the world's largest modern urban society. Throughout their long history, Chinese cities have been shaped by interactions with those around the world, and the story of urban China is a crucial part of the history of how the world has become an urban society. Exploring the global connections of Chinese cities, the urban system, urban governance, and daily life alongside introductions to major historical debates and extracts from primary sources, this is essential reading for all those interested in China and in urban history.
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  • The widely acclaimed films of Wong Kar-wai are characterized by their sumptuous yet complex visual and sonic style. This study of Wong’s filmmaking techniques uses a poetics approach to examine how form, music, narration, characterization, genre, and other artistic elements work together to produce certain effects on audiences. Bettinson argues that Wong’s films are permeated by an aesthetic of sensuousness and “disturbance” achieved through techniques such as narrative interruptions, facial masking, opaque cuts, and other complex strategies. The effect is to jolt the viewer out of complete aesthetic absorption. Each of the chapters focuses on a single aspect of Wong’s filmmaking. The book also discusses Wong’s influence on other filmmakers in Hong Kong and around the world.
    The Sensuous Cinema of Wong Kar-wai: Film Poetics and the Aesthetic of Disturbance (Hong Kong University Press, 2014) will appeal to all who are interested in authorship and aesthetics in film studies, to scholars in Asian studies, media and cultural studies, and to anyone with an interest in Hong Kong cinema in general, and Wong’s films in particular.
    Gary Bettinson is a senior lecturer in film studies at Lancaster University, UK. He is editor of Asian Cinema, Directory of World Cinema: China and author (with Richard Rushton) of What is Film Theory? An Introduction to Contemporary Debates.
    Gustavo E. Gutiérrez Suárez is MA in Anthropology, and BA in Social Communication. His areas of interest include Andean and Amazonian Anthropology, Film theory and aesthetics. You can follow him on Twitter vía @GustavoEGSuarez.
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