Posted by UH Press Marketing on 21 February 2014
In 2008, 140 years after it had annexed Ainu lands, the Japanese government shocked observers by finally recognizing Ainu as an Indigenous people. In this moment of unparalleled political change, it was Uzawa Kanako, a young Ainu activist, who signalled the necessity of moving beyond the historical legacy of “Ainu studies.” Mired in a colonial mindset of abject academic practices, Ainu Studies was an umbrella term for an approach that claimed scientific authority vis-à-vis Ainu, who became its research objects. As a result of this legacy, a latent sense of suspicion still hangs over the purposes and intentions of non-Ainu researchers.
This major new volume seeks to re-address the role of academic scholarship in Ainu social, cultural, and political affairs. Placing Ainu firmly into current debates over Indigeneity, Beyond Ainu Studies provides a broad yet critical overview of the history and current status of Ainu research.
Posted in anthropology, Asia, ethnography, history, Japan, political science | Tagged: ethnic studies, indigenous studies, Japan | Comments Off
Posted by UH Press Marketing on 6 February 2014
Arguing against the popular stereotype of Japan as a non-litigious society, an international group of contributors from Japan, Taiwan, Germany, and the U.S. explores how in Japan and its colonies, as elsewhere in the modern world, law became a fundamental means of creating and regulating gendered subjects and social norms in the period from the 1870s to the 1950s. In Gender and Law in the Japanese Imperium, the authors suggest that legal discourse was subject to negotiation, interpretation, and contestation at every level of their formulation and deployment.
With this as a shared starting point, they explore key issues such reproductive and human rights, sexuality, prostitution, gender and criminality, and the formation of the modern conceptions of family and conjugality, and use these issues to complicate our understanding of the impact of civil, criminal, and administrative laws upon the lives of both Japanese citizens and colonial subjects. The result is a powerful rethinking of not only gender and law, but also the relationships between the state and civil society, the metropole and the colonies, and Japan and the West.
Posted in Asia, gender studies, history, Japan, law | Comments Off
Posted by UH Press Marketing on 12 December 2013
What are we to make of contemporary newspapers in Japan speculating about the possible connection between aquatic creatures and earthquakes? Of a city council deciding to issue evacuation advice based on observed animal behavior? Why, between 1977 and 1993, did Japan’s government spend taxpayer money to observe catfish in aquariums as part of its mandate to fund earthquake prediction research? All of these actions are direct legacies of the 1855 Ansei Edo earthquake, one of the major natural disasters of the period. In Seismic Japan:The Long History and Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo Earthquake, Gregory Smits investigates the science, politics, and lore of seismic events in Japan as he examines this earthquake in a broad historical context.
The Ansei Edo earthquake shook the shogun’s capital during a year of special religious significance and at a time of particularly vigorous seismic activity. It was also a turning point because, according to the prevailing understanding of earthquakes at the time, it should never have happened. Many Japanese, therefore, became receptive to new ideas about the causes of earthquakes as well as to the notion that by observing some phenomena—for example, the behavior of catfish—one might determine when an earthquake would strike.
December 2013 | 256 pages, 5 illus. | ISBN: 978-0-8248-3817-1 | Cloth $54.00
Posted in Asia, geography, geology, history, Japan, land use, physical science | Tagged: natural disasters | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UH Press Marketing on 11 December 2013
Experimental Buddhism highlights the complex and often wrenching interactions between long-established religious traditions and rapid social, cultural, and economic change. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, it is one of the first studies to give readers a sense of what is happening on the front lines as progressive Buddhist priests try to reboot their roles and traditions to gain greater significance in Japanese society. The book profiles innovative as well as controversial responses to the challenges facing Buddhist priests.
The work’s central theme of experimental Buddhism provides a fresh perspective to understand how priests and other individuals employ Buddhist traditions in selective and pragmatic ways, frequently risking criticism from their peers, constituents, and high-ranking religious authorities. Using these inventive approaches during a time of crisis and transition for Japanese temple Buddhism, priests and practitioners from all denominations seek solutions that not only can transform their religious traditions but also influence society and their fellow citizens in positive ways.
November 2013, 11 illustrations
$60.00 ISBN: 978-0-8248-3833-1, Cloth
$32.00 ISBN: 978-0-8248-3898-0, Paper
Topics in Contemporary Buddhism
Posted in Asia, Buddhism, Japan, religion | Tagged: Buddhism, Topics in Contemporary Buddhism | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UH Press Marketing on 11 December 2013
In Dilemmas of Adulthood, Nancy Rosenberger investigates the nature of long-term resistance in a longitudinal study of more than fifty Japanese women over two decades. Between 25 and 35 years of age when first interviewed in 1993, the women represent a generation straddling the stable roles of post-war modernity and the risky but exciting possibilities of late modernity.
Rosenberger’s analysis establishes long-term resistance as a vital type of social change in late modernity where the sway of media, global ideas, and friends vies strongly with the influence of family, school, and work. Women are at the nexus of these contradictions, dissatisfied with post-war normative roles in family, work, and leisure and yet—in Japan as elsewhere—committed to a search for self that shifts uneasily between self-actualization and selfishness. The women’s rich narratives and conversations recount their ambivalent defiance of social norms and attempts to live diverse lives as acceptable adults. Dilemmas of Adulthood is essential for anyone wishing to understand how Japanese women have maneuvered their lives in the economic decline and pushed for individuation in the 1990s and 2000s.
November 2013, 224 pages, 2 illustrations
$24.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3696-2, Cloth
$50.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3887-4, Paper
Posted in anthropology, Asia, cultural studies, gender studies, Japan, sociology, women's studies | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UH Press Marketing on 10 December 2013
This ambitious work provides a comprehensive, empirically grounded study of the production, circulation, and reception of Japanese popular culture in Asia. While many studies typically employ an interactive approach that focuses on the “meaning” of popular culture from an anthropological or cultural studies point of view, Regionalizing Culture emphasizes that the consumption side and contextual meaning of popular culture are not the only salient factors in accounting for its proliferation. The production side and organizational aspects are also important. In addition to presenting individual case studies, the book offers a big-picture view of the dramatic changes that have taken place in popular culture production and circulation in Asia over the past two decades.
“This highly informative book provides a comprehensive examination of the successful deployment of Japanese popular culture throughout East Asia. Surveying a broad spectrum of cultural products, including games, animation, and TV drama, it argues both that there is a Japanese model to popular cultural production and that that model of cultural commodification has contributed to the regionalization of East Asia. The use of extensive interviews with diverse stakeholders, including both industry personnel and audience, provides a fresh approach to the subject that will satisfy a growing interest in Japanese popular culture in university curriculum.” —Lisa Leung, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
October 2013, 256 pages, 13 illustrations
$42.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3694-8, Cloth
Posted in anthropology, art & visual culture, Asia, cultural studies, Japan, media, sociology | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UH Press Marketing on 12 August 2013
Eccentric artists are “the vagaries of humanity” that inhabit the deviant underside of Japanese society: This was the conclusion drawn by pre–World War II commentators on most early modern Japanese artists. Postwar scholarship, as it searched for evidence of Japan’s modern roots, concluded the opposite: The eccentric, mad, and strange are moral exemplars, paragons of virtue, and shining hallmarks of modern consciousness. In recent years, the pendulum has swung again, this time in favor of viewing these oddballs as failures and dropouts without lasting cultural significance.
This work corrects the disciplinary (and exclusionary) nature of such interpretations by reconsidering the sudden and dramatic emergence of aesthetic eccentricity during the Edo period (1600–1868). A study of impressive historical and disciplinary breadth, The Aesthetics of Strangeness also makes extensive use of primary sources, many previously overlooked in existing English scholarship. Its coverage of the entire Edo period and engagement with both Chinese and native Japanese traditions reinterprets Edo-period tastes and perceptions of normalcy. By wedding art history to intellectual history, literature, aesthetics, and cultural practice, W. Puck Brecher strives for a broadly interdisciplinary perspective on this topic. The Aesthetics of Strangeness demystifies this emergent paradigm by illuminating the conditions and tensions under which certain rubrics of strangeness— ki and kyō particularly—were appointed as aesthetic criteria. Its revision of early modern Japanese culture constitutes an important contribution to the field.
2013, 272 pages, 26 illustrations; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3666-5, Cloth $42.00
Posted in China, history, Japan, sociology | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UH Press Marketing on 26 July 2013
Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power, edited by Ian Jared Miller, Julia Adeney Thomas, and Brett L. Walker, is a timely collection of essays that explores the relationship between Japan’s history, culture, and physical environment. It greatly expands the focus of previous work on Japanese modernization by examining Japan’s role in global environmental transformation and how Japanese ideas have shaped bodies and landscapes over the centuries.
“At last, a multi-faceted environmental history of Japan! Ranging from a Tokugawa national biological survey to the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, this fascinating volume is now the place to start for anyone interested in the subject.” —J. R. McNeill, Georgetown University
July 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3876-8 / $30.00 (PAPER)
Posted in Asia, history, Japan | Tagged: environmental history | Leave a Comment »