The Material Spirit of the Chinese Lifeworld

Burning MoneyFor a thousand years across the length and breadth of China and beyond, people have burned paper replicas of valuable things—most often money—for the spirits of deceased family members, ancestors, and myriads of demons and divinities. Although frequently denigrated as wasteful and vulgar and at times prohibited by governing elites, today this venerable custom is as popular as ever. Burning Money: The Material Spirit of the Chinese Lifeworld, by C. Fred Blake, explores the cultural logic of this common practice while addressing larger anthropological questions concerning the nature of value. The heart of the work integrates Chinese and Western thought and analytics to develop a theoretical framework that the author calls a “materialist aesthetics.” This includes consideration of how the burning of paper money meshes with other customs in China and around the world.

“Although focused on the topic of paper money, this study is in fact a much more ambitious consideration of Chinese life and civilization. Employing a distinctive mix of philosophical meditation, ethnographic vignette, historical narrative, folk tales, and more conventional anthropological analysis, Blake has constructed an impressively literate picture of what he clearly and persuasively views as the elusive ‘spirit’ of Chinese culture. This is a unique, highly original, and wide-ranging book.” —P. Steven Sangren, Cornell University

September 2011 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3532-3 / $52.00 (CLOTH)

Murder Leaves Its Mark / Murder Casts a Shadow – Special Sale

Murder Leaves Its MarkMurder Casts a ShadowNow through October 10, 2011, purchase Victoria Kneubuhl’s new Hawai‘i mystery Murder Leaves Its Mark online and receive the first book in the series, Murder Casts a Shadow, FREE.

Go to http:// to place your order. This special sale is online only; books ship as a set.

Advance praise for Murder Leaves Its Mark:

“[Mina Beckwith and Ned Manusia] return with another adventure in 1930s Hawaii. Journalist Mina and playwright Ned find themselves involved in the labor disputes resulting from attempts to organize the plantation workers on the islands. When Mina and Ned join family members at the Haleiwa Hotel for a luxurious weekend of horseback riding and beachcombing, they find themselves in the middle of a murder case. Mina’s brother-in-law, a police detective, asks her, her twin sister, Nyla, and Ned to help with the investigation. Suspects include a wealthy Chinese merchant who loves French cooking, a hot-headed labor organizer, a couple of wealthy businessmen, and the two enterprising Japanese daughters of the hotel owner. Mina and Nyla’s Hawaiian grandmother and her friend, a traditional native healer, make connections between the past and the present. The evolving relationship of Mina and Ned, the escapades of Ollie, a Portuguese water dog, keep the pages turning, while the island setting provides an atmospheric backdrop.” —Booklist

Gerald Horne Events in San Francisco & Oakland

Fighting in ParadiseGerald Horne, the author of the recent Fighting in Paradise: Labor Unions, Racism, and Communists in the Making of Modern Hawai‘i, will be in San Francisco and Oakland next month for two events:

Saturday, October 1, 11 am
ILWU Local 10 Union Hall, 200 North Point
Professor Horne will also talk about his earlier book The White Pacific: U.S. Imperialism and Black Slavery in the South Seas after the Civil War, published by UH Press in 2007.

Sunday, October 2, 2pm
Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave.
The presentation is entitled “Communists in Paradise? Racism and Radicalism in the Making of Modern Hawaii (and a US President).”

Oshiro Tatsuhiro’s The Cocktail Party

Oshiro TatsuhiroThe Cocktail Party, a play by Oshiro Tatsuhiro based on his Akutagawa Prize–winning book, will have its world premiere in Hawai‘i next month.

The first performance is on Wednesday, October 26, at 7 pm at the Hawai‘i Okinawa Center (in Waipio). Regular admission is $15; admission for seniors (65 or over) and students is $10. For ticket information, call 676-5400 or e-mail The second performance is on Thursday, October 27, at 7:30 pm at Orvis Auditorium (University of Hawai‘i–Mānoa campus). Admission is free. For ticket information, call 956-8246. Copies of Living Spirit: Literature and Resurgence in Okinawa and Voices from Okinawa will be available for purchase at $20 each at both performances. The Cocktail Party was published in Living Spirit, and Mr. Oshiro will be on hand to sign copies of the book.

The Orvis event will include a panel discussion of the humanities issues in the play. This portion of the project is sponsored by the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities with support from the “We the People” initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Mr. Oshiro will be participating, along with Frank Stewart and Katsunori Yamazato, the editors of Living Spirit.

This is the third in a series of events MANOA Journal has produced with the Manoa Readers/Theatre Ensemble and UHM Outreach College. Other sponsors include the UHM Center for Okinawan Studies, the University of Hawai‘i Japan Studies Endowment, the Manoa Foundation, and the UHM College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature. Cosponsor of the HOC performance is the Hawai‘i United Okinawan Association.

For information about Mr. Oshiro, Living Spirit, or Voices from Okinawa, please contact Frank Stewart at 956-3070 or write to See for further information.

UH Press Adds 3 New Publishers to Its Distribution Program

UH Press now distributes these fine publishers of Asia books: Seoul Selection, MerwinAsia, and iPRECIATION.

Upcoming Author Events in September

Carlos Andrade, author of Ha‘ena: Through the Eyes of Ancestors, will discuss how ancient and other points of view accumulate over time to create a unique story and sense of place. The event, “Telling the Story of Place: Ha‘ena,” will be held at the Kaua‘i Historical Society on Friday, September 16, at 5:30 pm. For more details, go to

John Clark will be at Kaimuki Library on Sunday, September 18, to talk about his latest book, Hawaiian Surfing: Traditions from the Past. Go to HawaiiNewsNow for more information:

The Japanese American National Museum will host a discussion by ShiPu Wang, author of Becoming American? The Art and Identity Crisis of Yasuo Kuniyoshi, on Saturday, September 24, at 2:00 pm. Check the JANM event calendar: