In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • From the Editor
  • Kathy Foley

This issue of Asian Theatre Journal, which includes papers from the symposium “Founders of the Field: First-Generation Asian Theatre Scholars in the United States,” has been a collaborative effort of many members of the Association of Asian Performance. It began with a loss: Andrew Tsubaki, a longtime friend and member of the Association for Asian Performance (AAP) died in 2009. The wish of members to commemorate his work at our annual conference led to the presentations and papers that form the spine of this issue.

AAP officers Siyuan Liu and David Jortner, who guest edited these symposium papers, put together a panel for our 2010 conference that included Tsubaki’s work and considered a larger number of individuals who had contributed—men who had helped establish the study of Asian theatre in Drama and related departments in the United States. Colin Mackerras, who taught primarily in Australia, is the one scholar in this issue who did not do his teaching or performance work here, but his example and mentorship made his inclusion important.

The symposium was held at the Association for Asian Performance Conference in Los Angeles on 3 August 2010. To keep the number of presentations manageable, the symposium focused on those who had already concluded their teaching career; this meant that a number of seminal figures whose careers may have begun about the same time as a few noted here are not addressed. We beg the patience of these artist-scholars and hope we can create entries on them sometime in the future.

While the entries individually cover biographical information in a largely chronological format, the intent is that these short essays, read together, become more than a sum of their parts and lay a groundwork for a cumulative history of our field and the Association for Asian Performance, which produces this journal. After the initial presentations in July, two former editors of this journal, James R. Brandon and Samuel L. Leiter, volunteered to write additional entries. Drawing on their longer memory of Asian theatre activities in the United States, they [End Page v] fleshed out the story, adding explanations of the work of Earle Ernst, Faubion Bowers, and John Mitchell and the history and prehistory of the AAP from the late 1960s to the present.

We hope this symposium starts to fill in the larger picture of how sensitive and enthusiastic artists and scholars have seized opportunities (or been held back by political or other limitations) as they sought to advance the study of Asian theatre genres in the United States. The advance from very minimal attention to non-Western theatre in the 1950s in American theatre departments to the considerable number of courses and visible presence in scholarship and production at pre sent shows a disciplinary advance that owes much to those discussed here.

The entries in this issue make it clear, however, that the sine qua non for truly successful advance has been the ability of Western scholars to visit and study in Asia with Asian artists and of Asian artists and scholars to come to teach in the United States. This cross-cultural flow has enriched American arts and teaching and often provided fruitful experiences for the Asian artists with whom these Western scholars have worked.

This issue of ATJ will not provide definitive answers to what the process of intercultural flow means, but I hope it can remind us of from whence we have come. By knowing those who came before, we hope our current members can select among the paradigms to find ones that might work best in their own institution. By working together as a group we all learn both content material and ways to build programs and work collaboratively across our areas of expertise and to be smarter as a group than any of us could be alone.

Additionally, I draw attention to the strong articles that represent a wide geographical range (William Peterson on a Filipino “Mardi Gras,” Ashley Thorpe on symphonic jinju, Yuka Amano on Zeami’s aesthetics, and Jungman Park on an elite performance genre of the students of Chosun). Our reviews by Grame Vanderstoel and Iris Hsin-Chun Tuan add...