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Differentiation and Uncertainty
What are people’s life experiences in present-day Japan? This timely volume addresses fundamental questions vital to understanding Japan in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Its chapters collectively reveal a questioning of middle-class ideals once considered the essence of Japaneseness. In the postwar model household a man was expected to obtain a job at a major firm that offered life-long employment; his counterpart, the “professional” housewife, managed the domestic sphere and the children, who were educated in a system that provided a path to mainstream success. In the past twenty years, however, Japanese society has seen a sharp increase in precarious forms of employment, higher divorce rates, and a widening gap between haves and have-nots.
Contributors draw on rich, nuanced fieldwork data collected during the 2000s to examine work, schooling, family and marital relations, child rearing, entertainment, lifestyle choices, community support, consumption and waste, material culture, well-being, aging, death and memorial rites, and sexuality. The voices in these pages vary widely: They include schoolchildren, teenagers, career women, unmarried women, young mothers, people with disabilities, small business owners, organic farmers, retirees, and the elderly.
New Religions, Media, and Authority in Occupied Japan
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.
Celluloid Comrades offers a cogent analytical introduction to the representation of male homosexuality in Chinese cinemas within the last decade. It posits that representations of male homosexuality in Chinese film have been polyphonic and multifarious, posing a challenge to monolithic and essentialized constructions of both ‘Chineseness’ and ‘homosexuality.’ Given the artistic achievement and popularity of the films discussed here, the position of ‘celluloid comrades’ can no longer be ignored within both transnational Chinese and global queer cinemas. The book also challenges readers to reconceptualize these works in relation to global issues such as homosexuality and gay and lesbian politics, and their interaction with local conditions, agents, and audiences. Tracing the engendering conditions within the film industries of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, Song Hwee Lim argues that the emergence of Chinese cinemas in the international scene since the 1980s created a public sphere in which representations of marginal sexualities could flourish in its interstices. Examining the politics of representation in the age of multiculturalism through debates about the films, Lim calls for a rethinking of the limits and hegemony of gay liberationist discourse prevalent in current scholarship and film criticism. He provides in-depth analyses of key films and auteurs, reading them within contexts as varied as premodern, transgender practice in Chinese theater to postmodern, diasporic forms of sexualities. Informed by cultural and postcolonial studies and critical theory, this acutely observed and theoretically sophisticated work will be of interest to a wide range of scholars and students as well as general readers looking for a deeper understanding of contemporary Chinese cultural politics, cinematic representations, and queer culture.
The Islamization of Law in Modern Indonesia
Challenging the Secular State examines Muslim efforts to incorporate shari’a (religious law) into modern Indonesia’s legal system from the time of independence in 1945 to the present. The author argues that attempts to formally implement shari’a in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim state, have always been marked by tensions between the political aspirations of proponents and opponents of shari’a and by resistance from the national government. As a result, although pro-shari’a movements have made significant progress in recent years, shari’a remains tightly confined within Indonesia’s secular legal system. The author first places developments in Indonesia within a broad historical and geographic context, offering a provocative analysis of the Ottoman empire’s millet system and thoughtful comparisons of different approaches to pro-shari’a movements in other Muslim countries (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan). He then describes early aspirations for the formal implementation of shari’a in Indonesia in the context of modern understandings of religious law as conflicting with the idea of the nation-state. Later chapters explore the efforts of Islamic parties in Indonesia to include shari’a in national law. Salim offers a detailed analysis of debates over the constitution and possible amendments to it concerning the obligation of Indonesian Muslims to follow Islamic law. A study of the Zakat Law illustrates the complicated relationship between the religious duties of Muslim citizens and the nonreligious character of the modern nation-state. Chapters look at how Islamization has deepened with the enactment of the Zakat Law and demonstrate the incongruities that have emerged from its implementation. The efforts of local Muslims to apply shari’a in particular regions are also discussed. Attempts at the Islamization of laws in Aceh are especially significant because it is the only province in Indonesia that has been allowed to move toward a shari’a-based system. The book concludes with a review of the profound conflicts and tensions found in the motivations behind Islamization.
Transformations of Cultural Traditions in Oceania
This book sheds new light on processes of cultural transformation at work in Oceania and analyzes them as products of interrelationships between culturally created meanings and specific contexts. In a series of inspiring essays, noted scholars of the region examine these interrelationships for insight into how cultural traditions are shaped on an ongoing basis.
The collection marks a turning point in the debate on the conceptualization of tradition. Following a critique of how tradition has been viewed in terms of dichotomies like authenticity vs. inauthenticity, contributors stake out a novel perspective in which tradition figures as context-bound articulation. This makes it possible to view cultural traditions as resulting from interactions between people—their ideas, actions, and objects—and the ambient contexts. Such interactions are analyzed from the past down to the Oceanian present—with indigenous agency being highlighted. The work focuses first on early encounters, initially between Pacific Islanders themselves and later with the European navigators of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, to clarify how meaningful actions and contexts interrelated in the past. The present-day memories of Pacific Islanders are examined to ask how such memories represent encounters that occurred long ago and how they influenced the social, political, economic, and religious changes that ensued. Next, contributors address ongoing social and structural interactions that social actors enlist to shape their traditions within the context of globalization and then the repercussions that these intersections and intercultural exchanges of discourses and practices are having on active identity formation as practiced by Pacific Islanders. Finally, two authorities on Oceania—who themselves move in the intersecting space between anthropology and history—discuss the essays and add their own valuable reflections.
With its wealth of illuminating analyses and illustrations, Changing Contexts, Shifting Meanings will appeal to students and scholars in the fields of cultural and social anthropology, history, art history, museology, Pacific studies, gender studies, cultural studies, and literary criticism.
Contributors: Aletta Biersack, Françoise Douaire-Marsaudon, Bronwen Douglas, David Hanlon, Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin, Peter Hempenstall, Margaret Jolly, Miriam Kahn, Martha Kaplan, John D. Kelly, Wolfgang Kempf, Gundolf Krüger, Jacquelyn Lewis-Harris, Lamont Lindstrom, Karen Nero, Ton Otto, Anne Salmond, Serge Tcherkézoff, Paul van der Grijp, Toon van Meijl.
An Irreverent Novel
This brilliant little novel, set against the backdrop of post-Mao China, juxtaposes recollections of childhood, pet ownership, and marriage with discussions of art, sex, and murder, weaving together an absurdist tapestry that is the inner life of the novel’s felicitously named protagonist, Huang Haha. Subversive, iconoclastic, and wholly irreverent. Fiction from Modern China
One Woman’s Transit from Tokugawa to Meiji Japan
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.
A Memoir of World War II Internment in the Philippines
Hours after attacking Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers stormed across the Philippine city of Baguio, where seven-year-old Curt Tong, the son of American missionaries, hid with his classmates in the woods near his school. Three weeks later, Curt, his mother, and two sisters were among the nearly five hundred Americans who surrendered to the Japanese army in Baguio. Child of War is Tong’s touching story of the next three years of his childhood as he endured fear, starvation, sickness, and separation from his father while interned in three different Japanese prison camps on the island of Luzon. Written by the adult Tong looking back on his wartime ordeal, it offers a rich trove of memories about internment life and camp experiences. Relegated first to the men’s barracks at Camp John Hay, Curt is taken under the wing of a close family friend who is also the camp’s civilian leader. From this vantage point, he is able to observe the running of the camp firsthand as the war continues and increasing numbers of Americans are imprisoned. Curt’s days are occupied with work detail, baseball, and childhood adventures. Along with his mother and sisters, he experiences daily life under a series of camp commandants, some ruling with intimidation and cruelty but one, memorably, with compassion. In the last months of the war the entire family is finally reunited, and their ordeal ends when they are liberated from Manila’s Bilibid Prison by American troops. Child of War is an engaging and thoughtful memoir that presents an unusual view of life as a World War II internee—that of a young boy. It is a valuable addition to existing wartime autobiographies and diaries and contributes significantly to a greater understanding of the Pacific War and its impact on American civilians in Asia.
Depictions of children have had a prominent place in Chinese art since the Song period (960-1279). Yet one would be hard pressed to find any significant discussion of children in art in the historical documents of imperial China or contemporary scholarship on Chinese art. Children in Chinese Art brings to the forefront themes and motifs that have crossed social boundaries for centuries but have been overlooked in scholarly treatises. In this volume, experts in the fields of art, religion, literature, and history introduce and elucidate many of the issues surrounding child imagery in China, including its use for didactic reinforcement of social values as well as the amuletic function of these works.
The introduction provides a thought-provoking overview of the history of depictions of children, exploring both stylistic development and the emergence of specific themes. In an insightful essay, China specialists combine expertise in literature and painting to propose that the focus on children in both genres during the Song is an indication of a truly humane society. Skillful use of visual and textual sources from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) period explains children's games and the meaning of depictions of boys at play. Gender issues are examined in an intriguing look at mothers and children in woodblock illustrations to Ming versions of the classical text Lie ni juan. Depictions of the childhood of saints and sages from murals and commemorative tablets in ancient temples are considered. The volume concludes with two highly original essays on child protectors and destroyers in Chinese folk religion and family portraits and their scarcity in China before the nineteenth century.
Contributors: Ellen B. Avril, Catherine Barnhart, Richard Barnhart, Terese Tse Bartholomew, Julia K. Murray, Ann Waltner, Ann Barrott Wicks.
Chinese Avant-garde Art and Independent Cinema
Children of Marx and Coca-Cola affords a deep study of Chinese avant-garde art and independent cinema from the mid-1990s to the beginning of the twenty-first century. Informed by the author’s experience in Beijing and New York—global cities with extensive access to an emergent transnational Chinese visual culture—this work situates selected artworks and films in the context of Chinese nationalism and post-socialism and against the background of the capitalist globalization that has so radically affected contemporary China. It juxtaposes and compares artists and independent filmmakers from a number of intertwined perspectives, particularly in their shared avant-garde postures and perceptions.
Xiaoping Lin provides illuminating close readings of a variety of visual texts and artistic practices, including installation, performance, painting, photography, video, and film. Throughout he sustains a theoretical discussion of representative artworks and films and succeeds in delineating a variegated postsocialist cultural landscape saturated by market forces, confused values, and lost faith. This refreshing approach is due to Lin’s ability to tackle both Chinese art and cinema rigorously within a shared discursive space. He, for example, aptly conceptualizes a central thematic concern in both genres as "postsocialist trauma" aggravated by capitalist globalization. By thus focusing exclusively on the two parallel and often intersecting movements or phenomena in the visual arts, his work brings about a fruitful dialogue between the narrow field of traditional art history and visual studies more generally.
Children of Marx and Coca-Cola will be a major contribution to China studies, art history, film studies, and cultural studies. Multiple audiences—specialists, teachers, and students in these disciplines, as well as general readers with an interest in contemporary Chinese society and culture—will find that this work fulfills an urgent need for sophisticated analysis of China’s cultural production as it assumes a key role in capitalist globalization.30 illus.