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  • From the Editor
  • Siyuan Liu

One evening in February, on the balcony of the University of Hawai'i's (UH's) magnificent Kennedy Theatre, I found myself talking to Reiko Brandon, widow of ATJ's founding editor Jim Brandon. I was there to watch the ninth jingju (Beijing opera) production directed by Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak, Jim's co-editor. As I was telling Reiko of ATJ's change of editor, I was reminded of the outsize contribution UH's theatre program has made to Asian theatre studies, particularly to ATJ over the past three and half decades. Indeed, all my predecessors came from the program as professors or students, starting from Jim and Elizabeth (1984–1991), through Sam Leiter (1992–2004), to Kathy Foley (2005–2018). Together, they have made ATJ the go-to journal for Asian theatre studies in the world. This is a remarkable achievement and I will try my best to follow their steps.

I especially want to thank Kathy for her invaluable advice, both during the transition and since my first publication in ATJ as an "emerging scholar." I'm also grateful for the strong editorial support structure I continue to rely on, with associate editors Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei and Claudia Orenstein and area editors (including several new members): Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak, Xing Fan, Josh Stenberg, Kevin Wetmore, Matthew Shores, Chan Park, Jan Creutzenberg, David Mason, Shayoni Mitra, Kathy Foley, and Matthew Cohen. Other members of the Association for Asian Performance have kindly provided sharp reviews and comments that make this issue possible. Starting from this issue, we have added a dedicated book review editor. I'm grateful to David Jortner for agreeing to take on the responsibility. Finally, ATJ would not have been possible without the continued support of the University of Hawai'i Press and its dedicated staff; I especially want to thank Alicia Upano.

This is the thirty-fifth year of ATJ's publication. As Confucius said, "at thirty I stood firm; at forty I had no more doubts." That seems to [End Page iii] describe ATJ aptly: we're now firmly established as the journal on Asian theatre but we are still growing, not yet at the stage having no more doubts or questions. In a way, this issue serves as a reminder of our wide scope, both in terms of the contributors' geographic locations, with half of them based in Asia, and their topics, from traditional theatre to spoken drama, from translation of a wartime Japanese student play to discussion of the world's largest collection of Indonesian puppets, from dance as gendered nationalism in Tajikistan to the institutionalization of Chinese ethnic dance in Singapore.

We start with Hanae Kurihara Kramer and Scott Kramer's translation and analysis of Three Heroes, a student play in wartime Japan by Haseyama Toshihiko. The play's subject matter should be familiar to the readers since it was one of many pieces about the "Three Human Bombs," a huge phenomenon of Japan's wartime propaganda. Jim Brandon discussed its kabuki version in his last book Kabuki's Forgotten War: 1931–1945, even using its poster for the book's cover.

The articles section starts with Matthew Cohen's captivating and nuanced discussion of the newly acquired Dr. Walter Angst and Sir Henry Angest Collection of Indonesian Puppets at Yale University, the world's largest collection of wayang puppets. Drawing on Marshall Sahlins' concept of "structure of the conjuncture," Cohen's narrative is filled with fascinating details of how the Swiss collector Angst assembled the collection between 1973 and 2011, ending with its suspense-filled final journey to Yale after Angst's death.

Two following pieces focus on the relationship between dance and nationalism. Emelie Mahdavian's "Gendered Nostalgia: Tajik Traditional Dance and the Logic of Nationalism" offers a rare view of the intertwined relationship between dance, nationalism, and gender performance in the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan in central Asia, a region that has received limited attention in English scholarship. The other piece on dance and ethnicity is Joey Chua's "The Process of Institutionalization of Chinese Dance in Singapore, 1980s–1990s." Chua perceptively examines Singapore's shift from creating hybrid multi-racial dance in...