Recasting Red Culture turns a critical eye on the influential proletarian cultural movement that flourished in 1920s and 1930s Japan. This was a diverse, cosmopolitan, and highly contested moment in Japanese history when notions of political egalitarianism were being translated into cultural practices specific to the Japanese experience. Both a political and historiographical intervention, the book offers a fascinating account of the passions—and antinomies—that animated one of the most admirable intellectual and cultural movements of Japan’s twentieth century, and argues that proletarian literature, cultural workers, and institutions fundamentally enrich our understanding of Japanese culture.
Weaving over a dozen translated fairytales, poems, and short stories into his narrative, Samuel Perry offers a fundamentally new approach to studying revolutionary culture. By examining the margins of the proletarian cultural movement, Perry effectively redefines its center as he closely reads and historicizes proletarian children’s culture, avant-garde “wall fiction,” and a literature that bears witness to Japan’s fraught relationship with its Korean colony. Along the way, he shows how proletarian culture opened up new critical spaces in the intersections of class, popular culture, childhood, gender, and ethnicity.
2014 | 248 pages | 12 illustrations
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3893-5 | $49.00s | Cloth
Chang-rae Lee’s Native Speaker, Kerri Sakamoto’s The Electrical Field, Don Lee’s Country of Origin, Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Susan Choi’s A Person of Interest. These and a host of other Asian North American detection and mystery titles were published between 1995 and 2010. Together they reference more than a decade of Asian North America monitoring that includes internment, campaign financing, espionage, and post-9/11 surveillance. Monica Chiu reveals how Asian North American novels’ fascination with mystery, detection, spying, and surveillance is a literary response to anxieties over race.
Scrutinized! is broadly about oversight and insight. The race policing of the past has been subsumed under post-racism—an oversight based on a persistent visual construction of race. Readers revisit Oriental visions, or Asian stereotypes, and then encounter official documentation on major events, such as the Japanese American and Japanese Canadian internment. The former visions, which endure, and the latter documents, diplomatically forgotten, shape how Asian subjects were and are scrutinized and to what effect. They determine which surveillance images remain emblazoned in a nation’s collective memory and which face political burial.
2014 | 208 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3842-3 | $45.00s | Cloth
Intersections: Asian and Pacific American Transcultural Studies
On Sunday, October 27, at 3 pm, all-volunteer independent Revolution Books (Honolulu) will host a reading by Gary Pak for his new book, Brothers under a Same Sky. Here’s the store’s perspective on the book:
This is a fascinating novel about the psychological toll on Korean Americans during and after the Korean War and the ethical and moral decisions they were forced to make. Those of you who know Gary Pak, know that in this novel he’s speaking very personally. Perhaps the dedication “in the memory of Uncle Kenam” says it all. While the book directly relates to the Korean War, it is especially fitting that this reading will take place near the 12th anniversary of the U.S. war on Afghanistan – a war where hundreds of thousands of young men and women had to make similar decisions as those Nam Ki faced.
As part of the celebration to mark the 110th anniversary of the first Korean immigration to Hawai‘i, four Hawai‘i-based Korean American writers will read and discuss their work on Thursday, September 26, 7:00 p.m., at the Center for Korean Studies, UH Mānoa. Presenters with UH Press books include novelist Gary Pak (Brothers under a Same Sky; A Ricepaper Airplane; Children of a Fireland) and documentarian Roberta Chang (The Koreans in Hawai‘i: A Pictorial History; When the Korean World in Hawaii Was Young). The other two participants are award-winning author Chris McKinney and poet/fiction writer Brenda Kwon.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, see the CKS announcement, or call the Center at (808) 956-7041.
Related link: Listen to the Hawai‘i Public Radio interview with Gary Pak about his most recent book, Brothers under a Same Sky.
Online newsmagazine The Hawaii Independent has partnered with Box Jelly to present a new event series called Quotes, “evening[s] of smart conversation and great company.” For the inaugural Quotes on Wednesday, August 28, 6:30 p.m., the modern Korean and Korean-American experience will be explored with UH-Mānoa English professor Gary Pak, who will present his new novel, Brothers under a Same Sky. He will be joined by Annie Koh, UHM PhD candidate in urban & regional planning, who will contribute additional commentary and discussion.
Sign up here or at the door. Read an excerpt from the book posted earlier on Hawaii Independent. Books will be available for purchase and signing.