Yasutaro Soga’s Life behind Barbed Wire (Tessaku seikatsu) is an exceptional firsthand account of the incarceration of a Hawai‘i Japanese during World War II. On the evening of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Soga, the editor of a Japanese-language newspaper, was arrested along with several hundred other prominent Issei (Japanese immigrants) in Hawai‘i. After being held for six months on Sand Island, Soga was transferred to an Army camp in Lordsburg, New Mexico, and later to a Justice Department camp in Santa Fe. He would spend just under four years in custody before returning to Hawai‘i in the months following the end of the war.
Most of what has been written about the detention of Japanese Americans focuses on the Nisei experience of mass internment on the West Coast—largely because of the language barrier immigrant writers faced. This translation, therefore, presents us with a rare Issei voice on internment, and Soga’s opinions challenge many commonly held assumptions about Japanese Americans during the war regarding race relations, patriotism, and loyalty.
October 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-2033-6 / $24.00 (PAPER)
The Distorting Mirror: Visual Modernity in China, by Laikwan Pang, analyzes the multiple and complex ways in which urban Chinese subjects saw themselves interacting with the new visual culture that emerged during the turbulent period between the 1880s and the 1930s. The media and visual forms examined include lithography, photography, advertising, film, and theatrical performances. Urbanites actively engaged with and enjoyed this visual culture, which was largely driven by the subjective desire for the empty promises of modernity—promises comprised of such abstract and fleeting concepts as new, exciting, and fashionable.
October 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3093-9 / $55.00 (CLOTH)
“This book presents a careful historicization of the ‘visual.’ Rather than take the act of seeing as natural, Pang brilliantly argues that the visual is a modern phenomenon, linked to but extending and transforming indigenous cultural forms of seeing and looking. Equally meticulous in its theoretical and empirical coordinates, this book is eminently readable and consistently insightful. A wonderful look at how modern Chinese came to see.” —Rebecca E. Karl, New York University
Pacific Ethnomathematics: A Bibliographic Study, a ground-breaking work by distinguished Pacific researcher Nicholas J. Goetzfridt, examines mathematical concepts and practices in Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. It covers number systems, counting, measuring, classifying, spatial relationships, symmetry, geometry, and other aspects of ethnomathematics in relation to a wide range of activities such as trade, education, navigation, construction, rituals and festivals, divination, weaving, tattooing, and music. In compiling nearly five hundred citations, Goetzfridt makes use of the vast resources of writing about the Pacific from the 1700s to the present. In addition to discussing Pacific knowledge systems in general, his introductory chapter includes a helpful overview of the relatively new field of ethnomathematics and important theoretical reflections on the discipline as a research program.
October 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3170-7 / $75.00 (CLOTH)
Faith and Power in Japanese Buddhist Art, 1600–2005, by Patricia J. Graham, explores the transformation of Buddhism from the premodern to the contemporary era in Japan and the central role its visual culture has played in this transformation. Although Buddhism is generally regarded as peripheral to modern Japanese society, this book demonstrates otherwise. Its chapters elucidate the thread of change over time in the practice of Buddhism as revealed in temple worship halls and other sites of devotion and in imagery representing the religion’s most popular deities and religious practices. It also introduces the work of modern and contemporary artists who are not generally associated with institutional Buddhism and its canonical visual requirements but whose faith inspires their art.
157 illustrations, 46 in color
October 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3126-4 / $55.00 (CLOTH)
Patricia J. Graham is the author of Tea of the Sages: The Art of Sencha, also published by University of Hawai‘i Press.