Stories of Trauma in Contemporary Korea

The Red Room
Modern Korean fiction is to a large extent a literature of witness to the historic upheavals of twentieth-century Korea. Often inspired by their own experiences, contemporary writers continue to show us how individual Koreans have been traumatized by wartime violence—whether the uprooting of whole families from the ancestral home, life on the road as war refugees, or the violent deaths of loved ones. The Red Room: Stories of Trauma in Contemporary Korea, translated by Bruce and Ju-chan Fulton, brings together stories by three canonical Korean writers who examine trauma as a simple fact of life. In Pak Wan-so’s “In the Realm of the Buddha,” trauma manifests itself as an undigested lump inside the narrator, a mass needing to be purged before it consumes her. The protagonist of O Chong-hui’s “Spirit on the Wind” suffers from an incomprehensible wanderlust—the result of trauma that has escaped her conscious memory. In the title story by Im Ch’or-u, trauma is recycled from torturer to victim when a teacher is arbitrarily detained by unnamed officials. Western readers may find these stories bleak, even chilling, yet they offer restorative truths when viewed in light of the suffering experienced by all victims of war and political violence regardless of place and time.

“The characters, and the settings, in these stories are Korean. However, thanks to superb translations by Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton, the stories themselves are universal. They expose the devastating impact traumatic experiences have on an individual’s judgment, moral compass, and self-image long after the traumatic episodes themselves (in these stories, during the Korean War and Kwangju massacre) have faded into history. Historians often are so captivated by the Big Picture that they forget the impact of historic events on the individuals who were caught up in them. The Red Room takes us inside the heads of the traumatized, reminding us that traumatic events such as civil war damage even innocent bystanders for decades afterwards.” —Don Baker, University of British Columbia

August 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3397-8 / $15.00 (PAPER)

Purpose and Prosperity in Postwar Japan

The Growth IdeaWinner of the 2007–2008 First Book Award of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute

Our narratives of postwar Japan have long been cast in terms almost synonymous with the story of rapid economic growth. In The Growth Idea: Purpose and Prosperity in Postwar Japan, by Scott O’Bryan, this seemingly familiar history is reinterpreted through an innovative exploration, not of the anatomy of growth itself, but of the history of growth as a set of discourses by which Japanese “growth performance” as “economic miracle” came to be articulated. The premise of O’Bryan‘s work is simple: To our understandings of the material changes that took place in Japan during the second half of the twentieth century we must also add perspectives that account for growth as a new idea around the world, one that emerged alongside rapid economic expansion in postwar Japan and underwrote the modes by which it was imagined, forecast, pursued, and regulated. In an accessible, lively style, O’Bryan traces the history of growth as an object of social scientific knowledge and as a new analytical paradigm that came to govern the terms by which Japanese understood their national purposes and imagined a newly materialist vision of social and individual prosperity.

The Growth Idea represents a significant contribution to the emerging field of postwar Japanese history and an important step forward in the historicization of Japan’s high-speed growth of the 1950s and 1960s. It is the first and fullest treatment of the ideology of postwar growthism, of Keynesian thought in Japan, and of the development of postwar statistical practice. Well written, original, and based on first-rate scholarship, The Growth Idea approaches its subject in a fresh way that will interest specialists in Japanese history as well as others interested in Japan from a comparative perspective.” —Mark Metzler, University of Texas

August 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3282-7 / $40.00 (CLOTH)

UH Press 62nd Anniversary Special Offer

University of Hawai‘i Press will celebrate its 62nd anniversary next month with a special offer for our online customers. Please check back next week for more details! (Hint: The savings will be BIG so start making a list and clearing your bookshelves!)

The Origins of Buddhist Monastic Codes in China Now Available in Paperback

The Origins of Buddhist Monastic Codes in China: An Annotated Translation and Study of the Chanyuan qinggui, by Yifa, contains the first complete translation of China’s earliest and most influential monastic code. The twelfth-century text Chanyuan qinggui (Rules of Purity for the Chan Monastery) provides a wealth of detail on all aspects of life in public Buddhist monasteries during the Sung (960–1279).

“Absolutely essential for anyone who wishes to gain an accurate understanding of the actual day-to-day life of the Chan community. . . . [T]his book represents a real advance in our understanding of Chinese Chan and should be on the bookshelf of every scholar of Chinese Buddhism.” —Journal of Chinese Religions

August 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3425-8 / $28.00 (PAPER)>

Van Dyke receives UH Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research

University of Hawai‘i law professor Jon Van Dyke, author of Who Owns the Crown Lands of Hawai‘i?, has been awarded the University of Hawai‘i Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research. The medal for research recognizes “scholarly contributions that expand the boundaries of knowledge and enrich the lives of students and the community.”

Professor Van Dyke and the two other recipients of this year’s award will be recognized at the annual convocation ceremony on September 15, 10 a.m., at UH’s Kennedy Theatre.

Japan’s Medieval Population Now Available in Paperback

Japan’s Medieval Population: Famine, Fertility, and Warfare in a Transformative Age, by William Wayne Farris, charts a course through never-before-surveyed historical territory: Japan’s medieval population, a topic so challenging that neither Japanese nor foreign scholars have investigated it in a comprehensive way. And yet, demography is an invaluable approach to the past because it provides a way—often the only way—to study the mass of people who did not belong to the political or religious elite. By synthesizing a vast cache of primary and secondary sources, Farris constructs an important analysis of Japan’s population from 1150 to 1600 and considers social and economic developments that were life and death issues for ordinary Japanese.

“In Japan’s Medieval Population, Farris, true to form, asks questions that are relevant and essential for a broader understanding of Japanese society but also extremely challenging to answer. . . . There can be little doubt that [this] study fills an important void in English-language scholarship on pre-Tokugawa Japan. . . . Farris deserves accolades for taking on what is possibly the most challenging task for historians: asking the broader synthesizing questions for which the sources do not provide any readily available answers.” —Journal of Japanese Studies

August 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3424-1 / $25.00 (PAPER)