Imperial Politics and Symbolics in Ancient Japan: The Tenmu Dynasty, 650–800, by Herman Ooms, is an ambitious and ground-breaking study that offers a new understanding of a formative stage in the development of the Japanese state. The late seventh and eighth centuries were a time of momentous change in Japan, much of it brought about by the short-lived Tenmu dynasty. Two new capital cities, a bureaucratic state led by an imperial ruler, and Chinese-style law codes were just a few of the innovations instituted by the new regime. Ooms presents both a wide-ranging and fine-grained examination of the power struggles, symbolic manipulations, new mythological constructs, and historical revisions that both defined and propelled these changes.
October 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3235-3 / $48.00 (CLOTH)
According to a myth constructed after Japan’s surrender to the Allied Forces in 1945, kabuki was a pure, classical art form with no real place in modern Japanese society. In Kabuki’s Forgotten War, 1931–1945, senior theater scholar James R. Brandon calls this view into question and makes a compelling case that, up to the very end of the Pacific War, kabuki was a living theater and, as an institution, an active participant in contemporary events, rising and falling in consonance with Japan’s imperial adventures.
October 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3200-1 / $52.00 (CLOTH)
Anthropologists and world historians make strange bedfellows. Although the latter frequently employ anthropological methods in their descriptions of cross-cultural exchanges, the former have raised substantial reservations about global approaches to history. Fearing loss of specificity, anthropologists object to the effacing qualities of techniques employed by world historians—this despite the fact that anthropology itself was a global, comparative enterprise in the nineteenth century. Anthropology’s Global Histories: The Ethnographic Frontier in German New Guinea, 1870–1935, by Rainer F. Buschmann, seeks to recover some of anthropology’s global flavor by viewing its history in Oceania through the notion of the ethnographic frontier—the furthermost limits of the anthropologically known regions of the Pacific. The colony of German New Guinea (1884–1914) presents an ideal example of just such a contact zone.
October 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3184-4 / $55.00 (CLOTH)
For more than half a century, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Gaimusho) possessed an independent police force that operated within the space of Japan’s informal empire on the Asian continent. Charged with “protecting and controlling” local Japanese communities first in Korea and later in China, these consular police played a critical role in facilitating Japanese imperial expansion during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Remarkably, however, this police force remains largely unknown. Crossing Empire’s Edge: Foreign Ministry Police and Japanese Expansionism in Northeast Asia, by Erik Esselstrom, is the first book in English to reveal its complex history.
October 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3231-5 / $59.00 (CLOTH)
Between 1932 and 1945, more than 320,000 Japanese emigrated to Manchuria in northeast China with the dream of becoming land-owning farmers. Following the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and Japan’s surrender in August 1945, their dream turned into a nightmare. Since the late 1980s, popular Japanese conceptions have overlooked the disastrous impact of colonization and resurrected the utopian justification for creating Manchukuo, as the puppet state was known. This re-remembering, Mariko Tamanoi argues, constitutes a source of friction between China and Japan today. Memory Maps: The State and Manchuria in Postwar Japan tells the compelling story of both the promise of a utopia and the tragic aftermath of its failure.
October 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3267-4 / $49.00 (CLOTH)
For more information on the new World of East Asia series, click here.
“[The Record of Linji] will be the translation of choice for Western Zen communities, college courses, and all who want to know that the translation they are reading is faithful to the original. Professional scholars of Buddhism will revel in the sheer wealth of information packed into footnotes and biliographical notes. Unique among translations of Buddhist texts, the footnotes to the Kirchner edition contain numerous explanations of grammatical constructions. Translators of classical Chinese will immediately recognize the Kirchner edition constitutes a small handbook of classical and colloquial Chinese grammar. It sets a new standard in scholarly translation of Buddhist primary texts.” —Victor Sogen Hori, McGill University
October 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-2821-9 / $53.00 (CLOTH)
Islands—as well as entire continents—are reputed to have disappeared in many parts of the world. Yet there is little information on this subject concerning its largest ocean, the Pacific. Over the years, geologists have amassed data that point to the undeniable fact of islands having disappeared in the Pacific, a phenomenon that the oral traditions of many groups of Pacific Islanders also highlight. There are even a few instances where fragments of Pacific continents have disappeared, becoming hidden from view rather than being submerged. In Vanished Islands and Hidden Continents of the Pacific, a scientifically rigorous yet readily comprehensible account of a fascinating subject, Patrick D. Nunn ranges far and wide, from explanations of the region’s ancient history to the meanings of island myths. Using both original and up-to-date information, he shows that there is real value in bringing together myths and the geological understanding of land movements.
October 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3219-3 / $50.00 (CLOTH)