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Women, Society, and Detective Fiction in 1990s Japan
The publication in 1992 of Miyabe Miyuke’s highly anticipated Kasha (translated into English as All She Was Worth) represents a watershed in the history of Japanese women’s detective fiction. Inspired by Miyabe’s success and the increasing number of Western mysteries in translation, women began writing mysteries of all types, employing the narrative and conceptual resources of the detective genre to depict and critique contemporary Japanese society—and the situation of women in it. Bodies of Evidence examines this recent boom and the ways in which five contemporary authors (Miyabe, Nonami Asa, Shibata Yoshiki, Kirino Natsuo, and Matsuo Yumi) critically engage with a variety of social issues and concerns: consumerism and the crisis of identity, discrimination and harassment in the workplace, sexual harassment and sexual violence, and motherhood. Bodies of Evidence moves beyond the borders of detective fiction scholarship by exploring the worlds constructed by these authors in their novels and showing how they intersect with other political, cultural, and economic discourses and with the lived experiences of contemporary Japanese women.
Animals and Religion in Contemporary Japan
Since the 1990s the Japanese pet industry has grown to a trillion-yen business and estimates place the number of pets above the number of children under the age of fifteen. There are between 6,000 to 8,000 businesses in the Japanese pet funeral industry, including more than 900 pet cemeteries. Of these about 120 are operated by Buddhist temples, and Buddhist mortuary rites for pets have become an institutionalized practice. In Bones of Contention, Barbara Ambros investigates what religious and intellectual traditions constructed animals as subjects of religious rituals and how pets have been included or excluded in the necral landscapes of contemporary Japan.
Pet mortuary rites are emblems of the ongoing changes in contemporary Japanese religions. The increase in single and nuclear-family households, marriage delays for both males and females, the falling birthrate and graying of society, the occult boom of the 1980s, the pet boom of the 1990s, the anti-religious backlash in the wake of the 1995 Aum Shinrikyō incident—all of these and more have contributed to Japan’s contested history of pet mortuary rites. Ambros uses this history to shed light on important questions such as: Who (or what) counts as a family member? What kinds of practices should the state recognize as religious and thus protect financially and legally? Is it frivolous or selfish to keep, pamper, or love an animal? Should humans and pets be buried together? How do people reconcile the deeply personal grief that follows the loss of a pet and how do they imagine the afterlife of pets? And ultimately, what is the status of animals in Japan? Bones of Contention is a book about how Japanese people feel and think about pets and other kinds of animals and, in turn, what pets and their people have to tell us about life and death in Japan today.
Evangelicalism in Korea
Known as Asia’s "evangelical superpower," South Korea today has some of the largest and most dynamic churches in the world and is second only to the United States in the number of missionaries it dispatches abroad. Understanding its evangelicalism is crucial to grasping the course of its modernization, the rise of nationalism and anticommunism, and the relationship between Christians and other religionists within the country.
Born Again is the first book in a Western language to consider the introduction, development, and character of evangelicalism in Korea—from its humble beginnings at the end of the nineteenth century to claiming one out of every five South Koreans as an adherent at the end of the twentieth. In this thoughtful and thorough study, Timothy S. Lee argues that the phenomenal rise of this particular species of Christianity can be attributed to several factors. As a religion of salvation, evangelicalism appealed powerfully to multitudes of Koreans, arriving at a time when the country was engulfed in unprecedented crises that discredited established social structures and traditional attitudes. Evangelicalism attracted and empowered Koreans by offering them a more compelling worldview and a more meaningful basis for association. Another factor is evangelicalisms positive connection to Korean nationalism and South Korean anticommunism. It shared in the aspirations and hardships of Koreans during the Japanese occupation and was legitimated again during and after the Korean conflict as South Koreans experienced the trauma of the war. Equally important was evangelicals’ relentless proselytization efforts throughout the twentieth century.
Lee explores the beliefs and practices that have become the hallmarks of Korean evangelicalism: kibok (this-worldly blessing), saebyok kido (daybreak prayer), and kumsik kido (fasting prayer). He concludes that Korean evangelicalism is distinguishable from other forms of evangelicalism by its intensely practical and devotional bent. He reveals how, after a long period of impressive expansion, including the mammoth campaigns of the 1970s and 1980s that drew millions to its revivals, the 1990s was a decade of ambiguity for the faith. On the one hand, it had become South Korea’s most influential religion, affecting politics, the economy, and civil society. On the other, it found itself beleaguered by a stalemate in growth, the shortcomings of its leaders, and conflicts with other religions. Evangelicalism had not only risen in South Korean society; it had also, for better or worse, become part of the establishment.
Despite this significance, Korean evangelicalism has not received adequate treatment from scholars outside Korea. Born Again will therefore find an eager audience among English-speaking historians of modern Korea, scholars of comparative religion and world Christianity, and practitioners of the faith.
The Asian Development Bank, China, and Thailand
Transnational economic integration has been described by globalization boosters as a rising tide that will lift all boats, an opportunity for all participants to achieve greater prosperity through a combination of political cooperation and capitalist economic competition. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has championed such rhetoric in promoting the integration of China, Southeast Asia’s formerly socialist states, and Thailand into a regional project called the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). But while the GMS project is in fact hastening regional economic integration, Jim Glassman shows that the approach belies the ADB’s idealized description of "win-win" outcomes. The process of "actually existing globalization" in the GMS does provide varied opportunities for different actors, but it is less a rising tide that lifts all boats than an uneven flood of transnational capitalist development whose outcomes are determined by intense class struggles, market competition, and regulatory battles.
Glassman makes the case for adopting a class-based approach to analysis of GMS development, regionalization, and actually existing globalization. First he analyzes the interests and actions of various Thai participants in GMS development, then the roles of different Chinese actors in GMS integration. He next provides two cases illustrating the serious limits of any notion that GMS integration is a relatively egalitarian process—Laos’ participation in GMS development and the role of migrant Burmese workers in the production of the GMS. He finds that Burmese migrant workers, dam-displaced Chinese and Laotian villagers, and economically-stressed Thai farmers and small businesses are relative "losers" compared to the powerful business interests that shape GMS integration from locations like Bangkok and Kunming, as well as key sites outside the GMS like Beijing, Singapore, and Tokyo. The final chapter blends geographical-historical analysis with an assessment of uneven development and actually existing globalization in the GMS.
Cogent and persuasive, Bounding the Mekong will attract attention from the growing number of scholars analyzing globalization, neoliberalism, regionalization, and multiple scales of governance. It is suitable for graduate courses in geography, political science, and sociology as well as courses with a regional focus.
17 illus., 7 maps
Music, Myth, and Cultural Politics at an Indonesian Festival
The spectacular Lingsar festival is held annually at a village temple complex built above the most abundant water springs on the island of Lombok, near Bali. Participants come to the festival not only for the efficacy of its rites but also for its spiritual, social, and musical experience. A nexus of religious, political, artistic, and agrarian interests, the festival also serves to harmonize relations between indigenous Sasak Muslims and migrant Balinese Hindus. Ethnic tensions, however, lie beneath the surface of cooperative behavior, and struggles regularly erupt over which group--Balinese or Sasak--owns the past and dominates the present. Bridges to the Ancestors is a broad ethnographic study of the festival based on over two decades of research. The work addresses the festival's players, performing arts, rites, and histories, and considers its relationship to the island's sociocultural and political trends. Music, the most public icon of the festival, has been largely responsible for overcoming differences between the island's two ethnic groups. Through the intermingling of Balinese and Sasak musics at the festival, a profound union has been forged, which participants confirm has been the event's primary social role. Bridges to the Ancestors effectively reveals the Lingsar festival as a site of cultural struggle as the author explores how history, identity, and power are constructed and negotiated. He addresses the fascinating interaction between music and myth and the forces of modernity, globalization, authenticity, tourism, religion, regionalism, and nationalism in maintaining "tradition."
Identity and Development in Vanuatu
The South Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu simultaneously experienced the two major types of colonialism of the modern era (British and French), the only instance in which these colonial powers jointly ruled the same people in the same territory over an extended period of time. This, in addition to its small size and recent independence (1980), makes Vanuatu an ideal case study of the clash of contemporary colonialism and its enduring legacies. At the same time, the uniqueness of Melanesian society highlights the singular role of indigenous culture in shaping both colonial and postcolonial political reality. With its close attention to global processes, Bridging Mental Boundaries in a Postcolonial Microcosm provides a fresh comparative approach to an island state that has most frequently been examined from an ethnographic or area studies perspective. William F. S. Miles looks at the long-term effects of the joint Franco-British administration in public policy, political disputes, and social cleavages in post-independence Vanuatu. He emphasizes the strong imprint left by "condocolonialism" in dividing ni-Vanuatu into "Anglophones" and "Francophones," but also suggest how this basic division is being replaced (or overlaid) by divisions based on urban or rural residence, "traditional" or "modern" employment, and disparities between the status and activities of men and women. As such, this volume is more than an analysis of a unique case of colonialism and its effects; it is an interpretation of the evolution of an insular society beset by particularly convoluted precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial fractures. Based principally on research conducted in 1991 and, following a key change in Vanuatu's government, a subsequent visit in 1992, the analysis is enriched by regular comparisons between Vanuatu and other colonized societies where the author has carried out original research, including Niger, Nigeria, Martinique, and Pondicherry. Extensive interviews with ni-Vanuatu are integrated throughout the text, presenting islanders' views of their own experience.
Turning Adversity into Success
The dark hours: They occur when we find things spiraling out of control, when we feel most vulnerable and incapable of finding a solution. In a world often turned dark and cold, more and more people seem to be trapped in nightmarish circumstances. Americans, the world's optimists, when faced with an intractable situation, are taught to believe that through hardwork and will power they can "beat the odds." Yet, according to David Heenan, keeping one's nose to the grindstone may actually make things worse. Bright Triumphs From Dark Hours examines the lives of ten extraordinary people who overcame great adversity in their personal or professional lives by applying winning strategies that guided them out of the darkness of near-defeat and into the light of success. From New York City school chancellor Joel Klein taking on the monumental task of overhauling the city's embattled public school system to renowned scientist Shirley Ann Jackson breaking down barriers to become the first African American woman to receive a doctorate from MIT and head a major research university to retired U.S. Navy Commander Scott Waddle reshaping his life after the Ehime Maru disaster--in these inspiring stories Heenan identifies key strategies that helped each person stay upbeat in the swirling vortex of tough times. The final chapter outlines these practices in greater detail and explains how they can be used to create personal roadmaps to negotiate life's darkest hours--from which come its greatest successes, its brightest triumphs.
The Healing Heart of Japanese Women’s Rituals
Healing lies at the heart of Zen in the home, as Paula Arai discovered in her pioneering research on the ritual lives of Zen Buddhist laywomen. She reveals a vital stream of religious practice that flourishes outside the bounds of formal institutions through sacred rites that women develop and transmit to one another. Everyday objects and common materials are used in inventive ways. For example, polishing cloths, vivified by prayer and mantra recitation, become potent tools. The creation of beauty through the arts of tea ceremony, calligraphy, poetry, and flower arrangement become rites of healing.
Bringing Zen Home brings a fresh perspective to Zen scholarship by uncovering a previously unrecognized but nonetheless vibrant strand of lay practice. The creativity of domestic Zen is evident in the ritual activities that women fashion, weaving tradition and innovation, to gain a sense of wholeness and balance in the midst of illness, loss, and anguish. Their rituals include chanting, ingesting elixirs and consecrated substances, and contemplative approaches that elevate cleaning, cooking, child-rearing, and caring for the sick and dying into spiritual disciplines. Creating beauty is central to domestic Zen and figures prominently in Arai’s analyses. She also discovers a novel application of the concept of Buddha nature as the women honor deceased loved ones as “personal Buddhas.”
One of the hallmarks of the study is its longitudinal nature, spanning fourteen years of fieldwork. Arai developed a “second-person,” or relational, approach to ethnographic research prompted by recent trends in psychobiology. This allowed her to cultivate relationships of trust and mutual vulnerability over many years to inquire into not only the practices but also their ongoing and changing roles. The women in her study entrusted her with their life stories, personal reflections, and religious insights, yielding an ethnography rich in descriptive and narrative detail as well as nuanced explorations of the experiential dimensions and effects of rituals.
In Bringing Zen Home, the first study of the ritual lives of Zen laywomen, Arai applies a cutting-edge ethnographic method to reveal a thriving domain of religious practice. Her work represents an important contribution on a number of fronts—to Zen studies, ritual studies, scholarship on women and religion, and the cross-cultural study of healing.
Nam Kun and Nam Ki Han, brothers born on a Wahiawa sugar plantation, could not have been more different. Pragmatic and stubborn, Nam Kun dutifully supported his family but refused to become “one Christian fanatic” like his widowed mother and youngest sibling, Nam Ki. When Nam Ki is drafted into the army at the start of the Korean War, he tells Nam Kun that as a Christian he cannot kill. “You gotta do it,” Nam Kun replies, thinking the war will make a man of this “mama’s boy.”
Nam Ki finds refuge from the chaos and brutality of life as a soldier in his love for a young Korean woman, a Christian. He returns after the war to search for her and discovers she has become a prostitute. With his sense of reality shattered, Nam Ki must choose between his faith and all that he has witnessed in war-torn Korea. Brothers under a Same Sky explores the social and psychological turmoil experienced by Korean Americans during and after the war but, more important, it examines the individual’s decision to keep—or betray—a fundamental belief in human goodness. Set amid the social and political disruptions and forced separations that have characterized the history of modern Korea, this is the story of a struggle toward healing, unity, and perhaps a reconciliation between love and hatred.
Gary Pak is professor of English at the University of Hawai`i. His books include Children of a Fireland, A Ricepaper Airplane, and The Watcher of Waipuna and Other Stories.
Gender, Power, and Buddhist Practice in Vietnam
The most common description of the supernatural landscape in Vietnam makes a distinction between Buddhist and non-Buddhist “sides.” The “Buddha side” (ben phat) is the focus of this investigation into the intersection of gender, power, and religious praxis. Employing an anthropological approach to Buddhist practice that takes into account modes of action that are not only socially constructed and contextual, but also negotiated by the actors, The Buddha Side uniquely explores how gender and age affect understandings of what it means to be a Buddhist.
In seeking to map out the ways and meanings of Buddhist engagement, Alexander Soucy examines everything from the skeptical statements of young men and devotional performances of young women to the pilgrimages of older women and performances of orthodoxy used by older men to assert their position within the pagoda space.
Soucy draws on more than four years’ experience conducting ethnographic research in Hanoi to investigate how religious practice is grounded in the constitution and marking of social identity. From this in-depth view, he describes the critical role of religion in shaping social contexts and inserting selves into them. Religion can thus be described as a form of theatre—one in which social identities (youth, old age, masculinity, femininity, authority) are constructed and displayed via religious practice.
A compelling look at the performative aspect of Buddhism in contemporary Vietnam, The Buddha Side will be welcomed by anyone with an interest in Buddhism as it is practiced on the ground.