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Stories and Essays by Sato Haruo
Sato Haruo has been called one of the most representative writers of the Taisho era (1912-1926), a transitional period following Japan's monumental push toward modernization. Although he never identified himself as a modernist, Sato exhibited what some writers have identified as a characteristic of modernism: a complex net of contradictory impulses that embrace both the revolutionary and the conservative, revealing both an optimistic looking to the future and a pessimistic nostalgia for the past. Six stories of amazing diversity and two critical essays revealing the understated Japanese ideals of beauty make up this volume, all translated into English for the first time. Forming a sequel to the three stories published in Sato's The Sick Rose, these stories exhibit an extraordinary variety of themes and styles, ranging from poetic fairy tales to psychological portraits to who-done-it crime stories. The title story is a utopian dream of a better city, populated by ideal people, that vanishes in a mirage. Another tale portrays the loneliness of a man unsuccessful with women. A third embellishes a bare Basho haiku about the man next door. Here too are the dream ballad of a Chinese prince, the imaginary world of a mad Japanese artist in Paris, and the probing search for an opium-drugged murderer. Sato's critical essays that conclude this volume have their themes in an exploration of the sad beauty of impermanence, the nature of enlightenment, the awareness of self, the merging of the instant and the eternal, and the "self-indulgent, unrestrained beauty" of the Japanese language. This collection not only affords insights into the complexity of the work of a gifted writer, but also significantly broadens the perspective of the literary world of the Taisho period.
The Art and Identity Crisis of Yasuo Kuniyoshi
"A few short days has changed my status in this country, although I myself have not changed at all."
On December 8, 1941, artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889-1953) awoke to find himself branded an "enemy alien" by the U.S. government in the aftermath of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The historical crisis forced Kuniyoshi, an émigré Japanese with a distinguished career in American art, to rethink his pictorial strategies and to confront questions of loyalty, assimilation, national and racial identity that he had carefully avoided in his prewar art. As an immigrant who had proclaimed himself to be as "American as the next fellow," the realization of his now fractured and precarious status catalyzed the development of an emphatic and conscious identity construct that would underlie Kuniyoshi’s art and public image for the remainder of his life.
Drawing on previously unexamined primary sources, Becoming American? is the first scholarly book in over two decades to offer an in-depth and critical analysis of Yasuo Kuniyoshi’s pivotal works, including his "anti-Japan" posters and radio broadcasts for U.S. propaganda, and his coded and increasingly enigmatic paintings, within their historical contexts. Through the prism of an identity crisis, the book examines Kuniyoshi’s imagery and writings as vital means for him to engage, albeit often reluctantly and ambivalently, in discussions about American democracy and ideals at a time when racial and national origins were grounds for mass incarceration and discrimination. It is also among the first scholarly studies to investigate the activities of Americans of Japanese descent outside the internment camps and the intense pressures with which they had to deal in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.
As an art historical book, Becoming American? foregrounds broader historical debates of what constituted American art, a central preoccupation of Kuniyoshi’s artistic milieu. It illuminates the complicating factors of race, diasporas, and ideology in the construction of an American cultural identity. Timely and provocative, the book historicizes and elucidates the ways in which "minority" artists have been, and continue to be, both championed and marginalized for their cultural and ethnic "difference" within the twentieth-century American art canon.
Scripting Modernity in Japanese Drama, 1900-1930
In the opening decades of the twentieth century in Japan, practically every major author wrote plays that were published and performed. The plays were seen not simply as the emergence of a new literary form but as a manifestation of modernity itself, transforming the stage into a site for the exploration of new ideas and ways of being. A Beggar’s Art is the first book in English to examine the full range of early twentieth-century Japanese drama. Accompanying his study, M. Cody Poulton provides his translations of representative one-act plays. Poulton looks at the emergence of drama as a modern literary and artistic form and chronicles the creation of modern Japanese drama as a reaction to both traditional (particularly kabuki) dramaturgy and European drama. Translations and productions of the latter became the model for the so-called New Theater (shingeki), where the question of how to be both modern and Japanese at the same time was hotly contested. Following introductory essays on the development of Japanese drama from the 1880s to the early 1930s, are translations of nine seminal one-act plays by nine dramatists, including two women, Okada Yachiyo and Hasegawa Shigure. The subject matter of these plays is that of modern drama everywhere: discord between men and women, between parents and children, and the resulting disintegration of marriages and families. Both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat make their appearances; modern pretensions are lampooned and modern predicaments lamented in equal measure. Realism (as evidenced in the plays of Kikuchi Kan and Tanaka Chikao) prevails as the mode of modernity, but other styles are presented: the symbolism of Izumi Kyoka, Suzuki Senzaburo’s brittle melodrama, Kubota Mantaro’s minimalistic lyricism, Akita Ujaku’s politically incisive expressionism, and even a proto-absurdist work by Japan’s master of prewar drama, Kishida Kunio. With its combination of new translations and informative and theoretically engaging essays, A Beggar’s Art will prove invaluable for students and researchers in world theater and Japanese studies, particularly those with an interest in modern Japanese literature and culture.
An analytically innovative work, Begin Here widens the current critical focus of Asian North American literary studies by proposing an integrated thematic and narratological approach to the practice of autobiography. It demonstrates how Asian North American memoirs of childhood challenge the construction and performative potential of national experiences. This understanding influences theoretical approaches to ethnic life writing, expanding the boundaries of traditional autobiography by negotiating narrative techniques and genre and raising complex questions about self-representation and the construction of cultural memory. By examining the artistic project of some fifty Asian North American writers who deploy their childhood narratives in the representation of the individual processes of self-identification and negotiation of cultural and national affiliation, this work provides a comprehensive overview of Asian North American autobiographies of childhood published over the last century. Importantly, it also attends to new ways of writing autobiographies, employing comics, blending verse, prose, diaries, and life writing for children, and using relational approaches to self-identification, among others.
The Sacred Book of Japan's Hidden Christians
In 1865 a French priest was visited by a small group of Japanese at his newly built church in Nagasaki. They were descendants of Japan's first Christians, the survivors of brutal religious persecution under the Tokugawa government. The Kakure Kirishitan, or "hidden Christians," had practiced their religion in secret for several hundred years. Sometime after their visit the priest received a copy of the Kakure bible, the Tenchi Hajimari no Koto, "Beginning of Heaven and Earth," an intriguing amalgam of Bible stories, Japanese fables, and Roman Catholic doctrine. Whelan offers a complete translation of this unique work accompanied by an illuminating commentary that provides the first theory of origin and evolution of the Tenchi. Today, the few Kakure Kirishitan communities still in existence view the Tenchi as strange and flawed, expressing a distorted form of Christianity. It is, however, the only text produced by the Kakure Kirishitan that depicts their highly syncretistic tradition and provides a colorful window through which to examine the dynamics of religious acculturation.
The Visual Communication of Character and Culture
Beijing Opera Costumes is the first in-depth English-language book focused exclusively on the costumes of Jingju, the highest form of stage arts in China. This comprehensive volume provides both theory and analysis of the costumes and the method of their selection for the roles as well as technical information on embroidery, patterns, and construction. Extensive descriptions illuminate the use of colors and surface images derived from historical dress and modified for the stage. Details on makeup, hairstyles, and dressing techniques present a complete view of the Jingju performer from head to toe. Meticulously researched in Taipei and Beijing, this definitive work begins with an outline of the rich and complex history of Beijing opera and significant developments in design over the past millennium. Chapters on costume theory and design elements and their modification to create a wide variety of images are followed by presentations of individual costumes together with their historical background and use of color and pattern. A survey of the accessories and headdresses, makeup and hairstyles, accompanies the discussion of each costume. The intricacies of choosing costumes for a production and dressing actors are also discussed. Lavishly illustrated with more than 250 color and black-and-white photographs and pattern drafts, Beijing Opera Costumes is an indispensable record of and resource for Jingju as it is performed in China today. Textile artists will appreciate the beauty of the colors and designs as well as the information on embroidery techniques and symbolism of the images. China scholars will value the contextual analysis and theater specialists the explication of costumes in relation to performance. Finally, costume designers will relish the opportunity to examine in detail their art in another cultural setting and theatrical style.
The Social Ethics of Engaged Buddhism
Engaged Buddhism is the contemporary movement of nonviolent social and political activism found throughout the Buddhist world. Its ethical theory sees the world in terms of cause and effect, a view that discourages its practitioners from becoming adversaries, blaming or condemning the other. Its leaders make some of the most important contributions in the Buddhist world to thinking about issues in political theory, human rights, nonviolence, and social justice. Being Benevolence provides for the first time a rich overview of the main ideas and arguments of prominent Engaged Buddhist thinkers and activists on a variety of questions: What kind of political system should modern Asian states have? What are the pros and cons of Western "liberalism"? Can Buddhism support the idea of human rights? Can there ever be a nonviolent nation-state? It identifies the roots of Engaged Buddhist social ethics in such traditional Buddhist concepts and practices as interdependence, compassion, and meditation, and shows how these are applied to particular social and political issues. It illuminates the movement’s metaphysical views on the individual and society and goes on to examine how Engaged Buddhists respond to fundamental questions in political theory concerning the proper balance between the individual and society. The second half of the volume focuses on applied social-political issues: human rights, nonviolence, and social justice.
A Personal Account of the Secret U.S.-Japan Okinawa Reversion Negotiations
This volume affords a fascinating and rare look at the sensitive issue of nuclear diplomacy between two critical Cold War allies, the United States and Japan, during the 1960s. Challenging the silence of the official bureaucracies in Washington and Tokyo, Wakaizumi Kei reveals the truth behind the secret 1969 agreement that ensured the eventual reversion of Okinawa to Japanese jurisdiction in 1972. Revelation of this secret accord created considerable controversy in Japan when Wakaizumi's memoir was first published in 1994. With the publication of this translation, his description of the events leading up to the closed-door agreement is available to an English-language audience for the first time. At a time when security matters are once again predominant in the U.S.-Japan alliance, Professor Wakaizumi's account is a timely reminder of the gap between official, media-filtered descriptions of diplomatic relations and the private discussions of national leaders. The long-standing reluctance of the Japanese government to declassify its postwar diplomatic records has meant that Japan's side of its relationship with the U.S. has been only partially revealed. The Best Course Available attempts to correct this shortcoming and at the same time provides insight into the complicated and arcane process of foreign policymaking, national leadership, and domestic politics in Japan after 1945.
Stories of Cloth, Lives and Travels from Sumba
Textiles have long been integral to the social life and cosmology of the people of East Sumba, Indonesia. In recent decades, Sumbanese have entered a larger world economy as their textiles have joined the commodity flow of an international “ethnic arts” market stimulated by Indonesia’s tourist trade. Through the individual stories of those involved in the contemporary production and trade of local cloth—including animists, Christians, and Moslems; Sumbanese, Indonesian Chinese, and Westerners; inventive geniuses, master artisans, and exploited weavers; rogues, entrepeneurs, nobles, and servants—a vivid account emerges of the inner workings of a so-called “traditional” society and its arts responding inventively to decades of international collecting.
The Life and Death of a Modern Hawaiian Warrior
Big Happiness is extremely important to our community. Mark Panek’s biography of Percy Kipapa speaks to the consequences of the destruction of Hawai‘i’s rural neighborhoods, unchecked development, the ice epidemic, the failures of government, sumo, intricate family and neighbor relationships, and more. What is most impressive is Panek’s ability to weave all of these complex topics together in a seamless narrative that connects all the dots. Part mystery, part investigative journalism, part poignant Island portrait, this work contains an emotional element that binds the reader to the subjects in a dignified yet touching way, showing compassion and even affection for people while revealing their flaws and shortcomings. This book will resonate with an Island audience and with anyone interested in Hawai‘i. —Victoria Kneubuhl, Hawai‘i writer and playwright
"This book tells of personal triumphs and failures, and also the triumphs and failures of families, communities, organizations, agencies, governments, and churches dealing with the multiple consequences of ‘progress’ in contemporary Hawai‘i. There have been heroes and villains at all levels—frequently, the same individuals and agencies are both at the same time. The story of Percy Kipapa is especially poignant because professional sumo gave him a unique opportunity to transcend Hawai‘i’s culture of colonialism, racism, poverty, and drug addiction, which in the end all brought him down anyway. Mark Panek has done a masterful job of weaving these strands together."—Reverend Bob Nakata, former Hawai‘i state senator
"Spanning the history of Waikane and the brutality of Japan’s national sport, Big Happiness is a remarkably ambitious piece that links one man’s murder to the ice epidemic, land development, and political corruption in Hawai‘i. Mark Panek’s meticulously researched, skillfully written, heartbreaking story, filled with voices that ring true, is an indictment of an entire system that crushed a gentle giant. While other Hawai‘i writers dwell in ‘take me back to da kine’ nostalgia, Panek tells it like it really is." —Chris McKinney, author of The Tattoo and Mililani Mauka