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Celebrity Gods Cover

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Celebrity Gods

New Religions, Media, and Authority in Occupied Japan

Benjamin Dorman

Celebrity Gods explores the interaction of new religions and the media in postwar Japan. It focuses on the leaders and founders (kyōsō) of Jiu and Tenshō Kōtai Jingū Kyō, two new religions of Japan’s immediate postwar period that received substantial press attention. Jiu was linked to the popular prewar group Ōmotokyō, and its activities were based on the millennial visions of its leader, a woman called Jikōson. When Jiu attracted the legendary sumo champion Futabayama to its cause, Jikōson and her activities became a widely-covered cause célèbre in the press. Tenshō Kōtai Jingū Kyō (labeled odoru shūkyō, “the dancing religion,” by the press) was led by a farmer’s wife, Kitamura Sayo. Her uncompromising vision and actions toward creating a new society—one that was far removed from what she described as the “maggot world” of postwar Japan—drew harsh and often mocking criticism from the print media.

Looking back for precursors to the postwar relationship of new religions and media, Benjamin Dorman explores the significant role that the Japanese media traditionally played in defining appropriate and acceptable social behavior, acting at times as mouthpieces for government and religious authorities. Using the cases of Renmonkyō in the Meiji era and Ōmotokyō in the Taishō and Shōwa eras, Dorman shows how accumulated images of new religions in pre-1945 Japan became absorbed into those of the immediate postwar period. Given the lack of formal religious education in Japan, the media played an important role in transmitting notions of acceptable behavior to the public. He goes on to characterize the leaders of these groups as “celebrity gods,” demonstrating that the media, which were generally untrained in religious history or ideas, chose to fashion them as “celebrities” whose antics deserved derision. While the prewar media had presented other kyōsō as the antithesis of decent, moral citizens who stood in opposition to the aims of the state, postwar media reports presented them primarily as unfit for democratic society.

Celebrity Gods delves into an under-studied era of religious history: the Allied Occupation and the postwar period up to the early 1950s. It is an important interdisciplinary work that considers relations between Japanese and Occupation bureaucracies and the groups in question, and uses primary source documents from Occupation archives and interviews with media workers and members of religious groups. For observers of postwar Japan, this research provides a roadmap to help understand issues relating to the Aum Shinrikyō affair of the 1990s.

10 illus.

The Chaos and Cosmos of Kurosawa Tokiko Cover

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The Chaos and Cosmos of Kurosawa Tokiko

One Woman’s Transit from Tokugawa to Meiji Japan

Laura Nenzi

The Chaos and Cosmos of Kurosawa Tokiko is the story of a self-described “base-born nobody” who tried to change the course of Japanese history. Kurosawa Tokiko (1806–1890), a commoner from rural Mito domain, was a poet, teacher, oracle, and political activist. In 1859 she embraced the xenophobic loyalist faction (known for the motto “revere the emperor, expel the barbarians”) and traveled to Kyoto to denounce the shogun’s policies before the emperor. She was arrested for slander, taken to Edo’s infamous Tenmachō prison, and sentenced to banishment. In her later years, having crossed the Tokugawa-Meiji divide, Tokiko became an elementary school teacher and experienced firsthand the modernizing policies of the new government. After her death she was honored with court rank for her devotion to the loyalist cause.

Tokiko’s story reflects not only some of the key moments in Japan’s transition to the modern era, but also some of its lesser- known aspects, thereby providing us with a broader narrative of the late-Tokugawa crisis, the collapse of the shogunate, and the rise of the Meiji state. The peculiar combination of no-nonsense single-mindedness and visionary flights of imagination evinced in her numerous diaries and poetry collections nuances our understanding of activism and political consciousness among rural non-elites by blurring the lines between the rational and the irrational, focus and folly. Tokiko’s use of prognostication and her appeals to cosmic forces point to the creative paths women have constructed to take part in political debates as well as the resourcefulness required to preserve one’s identity in the face of changing times. In the early twentieth century, Tokiko was reimagined in the popular press and her story rewritten to offset fears about female autonomy and boost local and national agendas. These distorted and romanticized renditions offer compelling examples of the politicization of the past and of the extent to which present anxieties shape historical memory.

That Tokiko was unimportant and her loyalist mission a failure is irrelevant. What is significant is that through her life story we are able to discern the ordinary individual in the midst of history. By putting an extra in the spotlight, The Chaos and Cosmos of Kurosawa Tokiko offers a new script for the drama that unfolded on the stage of late-Tokugawa and early Meiji history.

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Closing the Shop

Information Cartels and Japan's Mass Media

Laurie Anne Freeman

How is the relationship between the Japanese state and Japanese society mediated by the press? Does the pervasive system of press clubs, and the regulations underlying them, alter or even censor the way news is reported in Japan? Who benefits from the press club system? And who loses? Here Laurie Anne Freeman examines the subtle, highly interconnected relationship between journalists and news sources in Japan.

Beginning with a historical overview of the relationship between the press, politics, and the public, she describes how Japanese press clubs act as "information cartels," limiting competition among news organizations and rigidly structuring relations through strict rules and sanctions. She also shows how the web of interrelations extends into, and is reinforced by, media industry associations and business groups (keiretsu). Political news and information are conveyed to the public in Japan, but because of institutional constraints, they are conveyed in a highly delimited fashion that narrows the range of societal inquiry into the political process.

Closing the Shop shows us how the press system in Japan serves as neither a watchdog nor a lapdog. Nor does the state directly control the press in ways Westerners might think of as censorship. The level of interconnectedness, through both official and unofficial channels, helps set the agenda and terms of political debate in Japan's mass media to an extent that is unimaginable to many in the United States and other advanced industrial democracies. This fascinating look at Japan's information cartels provides a critical but often overlooked explanation for the overall power and autonomy enjoyed by the Japanese state.

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Collaborative Regional Development in Northeast Asia

Towards a Sustainable Regional and Sub-regional Future

Edited by Won Bae Kim, Yue-manYeung, and Sang-Chuel Choe

Against the background of accelerating globalization and growing economic interdependence in Northeast Asia over the past two decades, including the recent global economic crisis, this book sets out to examine the status and prospect of cross-border cooperation. It has synthesized diverse strands of discussion and different country perspectives to highlight the challenges and opportunities of collaborative regional development in Northeast Asia. Distinct from previous studies, this book attempts to capture international, national, and local viewpoints in regional development. Practical experience across countries has been analyzed and consolidated to form the basis of a policy agenda for cross-border cooperation. Combining an intimate knowledge of the region and different disciplinary perspectives, this book offers a wealth of information, statistical and illustrative materials, and analyses across topics and countries of the region. Editors include Won Bae Kim, Research Advisor of the Gyeonggi Research Institute and former Senior Fellow at the Korean Research Institute for Human Settlements, Yue-man Yeung, Emeritus Professor of Geography and Honorary Fellow of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Sang- Chuel Choe, former Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Regional Development in South Korea and Professor Emeritus of Seoul National University.

Confluences of Medicine in Medieval Japan Cover

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Confluences of Medicine in Medieval Japan

Buddhist Healing, Chinese Knowledge, Islamic Formulas, and Wounds of War

Andrew Edmund Goble

Confluences of Medicine is the first book-length exploration in English of issues of medicine and society in premodern Japan. This multifaceted study weaves a rich tapestry of Buddhist healing practices, Chinese medical knowledge, Asian pharmaceuticals, and Islamic formulas as it elucidates their appropriation and integration into medieval Japanese medicine. It expands the parameters of the study of medicine in East Asia, which to date has focused on the subject in individual countries, and introduces the dynamics of interaction and exchange that coursed through the East Asian macro-culture.

The book explores these themes primarily through the two extant works of the Buddhist priest and clinical physician Kajiwara Shozen (1265–1337), who was active at the medical facility housed at Gokurakuji temple in Kamakura, the capital of Japan’s first warrior government. With access to large numbers of printed Song medical texts and a wide range of materia medica from as far away as the Middle East, Shozen was a beneficiary of the efflorescence of trade and exchange across the East China Sea that typifies this era. His break with the restrictions of Japanese medicine is revealed in Ton’isho (Book of the simple physician) and Man’apo (Myriad relief formulas). Both of these texts are landmarks: the former being the first work written in Japanese for a popular audience; the latter, the most extensive Japanese medical work prior to the seventeenth century.

Confluences of Medicine brings to the fore the range of factors—networks of Buddhist priests, institutional support, availability of materials, relevance of overseas knowledge to local conditions of domestic strife, and serendipity—that influenced the Japanese acquisition of Chinese medical information. It offers the first substantive portrait of the impact of the Song printing revolution in medieval Japan and provides a rare glimpse of Chinese medicine as it was understood outside of China. It is further distinguished by its attention to materia medica and medicinal formulas and to the challenges of technical translation and technological transfer in the reception and incorporation of a new pharmaceutical regime.

Creating a Public Cover

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Creating a Public

People and Press in Meiji Japan

James L. Huffman

No institution did more to create a modern citizenry than the newspaper press of the Meiji period (1868-1912). Here was a collection of highly diverse, private voices that provided increasing numbers of readers--many millions by the end of the period--with both its fresh picture of the world and a changing sense of its own place in that world. Creating a Public is the first comprehensive history of Japan's early newspaper press to appear in English in more than half a century. Drawing on decades of research in newspaper articles and editorials, journalists' memoirs and essays, it tells the story of Japan's newspaper press from its elitist beginnings just before the fall of the Tokugawa regime through its years as a shaper of a new political system in the 1880s to its emergence as a nationalistic, often sensational, medium early in the twentieth century.

Critical Perspectives on Classicism in Japanese Painting, 1600-1700 Cover

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Critical Perspectives on Classicism in Japanese Painting, 1600-1700

Elizabeth Lillehoj

In the West, classical art—inextricably linked to concerns of a ruling or dominant class—commonly refers to art with traditional themes and styles that resurrect a past golden era. Although art of the early Edo period (1600–1868) encompasses a spectrum of themes and styles, references to the past are so common that many Japanese art historians have variously described this period as a "classical revival," "era of classicism," or a "renaissance." How did seventeenth-century artists and patrons imagine the past? How did classical manners relate to other styles and themes found in Edo art? In considering such questions, the contributors to this volume hold that classicism has been an amorphous, changing concept in Japan—just as in the West. The authors of the essays collected here are by no means unanimous in their assessment of the use of the label "classicism." Although they may not agree on a definition of the term and its applicability to seventeenth-century Japanese art, all recognize the relevance of recent scholarly currents that call into question methods that privilege Western culture. Their various approaches—from stylistic analysis and theoretical conceptualization to assessment of related political and literary trends—greatly increase our understanding of the art of the period and its function in society.

The Cross and the Rising Sun, Volume 1 Cover

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The Cross and the Rising Sun, Volume 1

The Canadian Protestant Missionary Movement in the Japanese Empire, 1872-1931

Drawing on both Canadian and Japanese sources, this book investigates the life, work, and attitudes of Canadian Protestant missionaries in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan (the three main constituent parts of the pre-1945 Japanese empire) from the arrival of the first Canadian missionary in East Asia in 1872 until 1931. Canadian missionaries made a significant contribution to the development of the Protestant movement in the Japanese Empire. Yet their influence also extended far beyond the Christian sphere. Through their educational, social, and medical work; their role in introducing new Western ideas and social pursuits; and their outspoken criticism of the brutalities of Japanese rule in colonial Korea and Taiwan, the activities of Canadian missionaries had an impact on many different facets of society and culture in the Japanese Empire. Missionaries residing in the Japanese Empire served as a link between citizens of Japan and Canada and acted as trusted interpreters of things Japanese to their home constituents.

The Cross and the Rising Sun, Volume 2 Cover

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The Cross and the Rising Sun, Volume 2

The British Protestant Missionary Movement in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, 1865-1945

The influx of Protestant missionaries from Britain to Japan, Korea and Taiwan was an integral part of the British presence in East Asia from 1865 to 1945. Ion draws on both British and Japanese sources to examine the life, work and attitudes of the British missionaries, women and men, who ventured far from their homeland to preach the gospel. He explores the role played by British Protestants as both Christian missionaries and informal ambassadors of their own country and civilization. Through their educational, social and medical work the missionaries helped introduce Western ideas and social pursuits which in turn affected different facets of society and culture in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The study illustrates how the British missionaries’ intent to introduce Christianity was affected by the response of the East Asians to Western ideas.

In describing the high drama of the British missionary movement’s pioneering days in the late nineteenth century to its persecution during the late 1930s, Ion casts light on a particular, yet important, aspect of the changing tides of Anglo-Japanese relations. This book will ably complement his previous study of Canadian missionaries in East Asia during the same period.

Chosen as one of the 15 outstanding books of 1993 for mission studies by the International Bulletin of Missionary Research.

The Cross in the Dark Valley Cover

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The Cross in the Dark Valley

The Canadian Protestant Missionary Movement in the Japanese Empire, 1931-1945

In this pioneer study, Ion investigates the experience of the Canadians who were part of the Protestant missionary movement in the Japanese Empire. He sheds new light on the dramatic challenges faced by foreign missionaries and Japanese Christians alike in what was the watershed period in the religious history of twentieth-century East Asia.

The Cross in the Dark Valley delivers significant lessons for Christian and missionary movements in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe which even now have to contend with oppression from authoritarian regimes and with hostility.

This new book by A. Hamish Ion, written with objectivity and scholarly competence, will be of interest to all scholars of Japanese-Canadian relations and missionary studies as well as to general historians.

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