New in Dimensions of Asian Spirituality

Theravada Buddhism
Theravada Buddhism: The View of the Elders, by Asanga Tilakaratne, brings to life the age-old religious tradition of Theravada (literally, “view of the elders”) Buddhism as it is found in ancient texts and understood and practiced today in South and Southeast Asia. Following a brief introduction to the life of the historical Buddha and the beginning of his mission, the book examines the Triple Gem (the Buddha, his teachings, and the community of monastic followers) and the basic teachings of the Buddha in the earliest available Pali sources. Basic Buddhist concepts such as dependent co-origination, the four noble truths, the three trainings, and karma and its result are discussed in non-technical language, along with the Buddha’s message on social wellbeing. The author goes on to chronicle his own involvement as an observer-participant in “the Theravada world,” where he was born and raised.

Dimensions of Asian Spirituality
September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3673-3 / $17.00 (PAPER)

Writing and Reading Japanese Characters for Upper-Level Proficiency

Remembering the Kanji 3: Third Edition
Students who have learned to read and write the kanji taught in Japanese schools run into the same difficulty that Japan university students themselves face: the number of characters included in the approved list is not sufficient for advanced reading and writing. Although each academic specialization requires supplementary kanji of its own, there is considerable overlap. With that in mind, this new, updated edition of Remembering the Kanji 3: Writing and Reading the Japanese Characters for Upper Level Proficiency, by James W. Heisig, employs the same methods as in Volume 1 and Volume 2 in this popular series to introduce additional characters useful for upper-level proficiency, bringing the total of all three volumes to 3,000 kanji.

The 3rd edition has been updated to reflect the 196 new kanji approved by the government in 2010, all of which have been relocated in Volume 1. The selection of 800 new kanji is based on frequency lists and cross-checked against a number of standard Japanese kanji dictionaries.

September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3702-0 / $34.00 (PAPER)

Beyond East-West Binaries in (Auto)Biographical Studies

Locating Life Stories
The thirteen essays in Locating Life Stories: Beyond East-West Binaries in (Auto)Biographical Studies, edited by Maureen Perkins, come from Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia, South Africa, and Hawai‘i. With a shared focus on the specific local conditions that influence the ways in which life narratives are told, the authors engage with a variety of academic disciplines, including anthropology, history, media studies, and literature, to challenge claims that life writing is an exclusively Western phenomenon. Addressing the common desire to reflect on lived experience, the authors enlist interdisciplinary perspectives to interrogate the range of cultural forms available for representing and understanding lives.

A Biography Monograph
September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3730-3 / $28.00 (CLOTH)
Published in association with the Biographical Research Center

A Journey into Hawaiian Ways of Knowing

Ancestry of Experience
As Hawaiians continue to recover their language and culture, the voices of kupuna (elders) are heard once again in urban and rural settings, both in Hawai‘i and elsewhere. How do kupuna create knowledge and “tell” history? What do they tell us about being Hawaiian? Adopted by a Midwestern couple in the 1950s as an infant, Leilani Holmes spent much of her early life in settings that offered no clues about her Hawaiian past—images of which continued to haunt her even as she completed a master’s thesis on Hawaiian music and identity in southern California. Ancestry of Experience: A Journey into Hawaiian Ways of Knowing documents Holmes’ quest to reclaim and understand her own origin story.

“Part memoir of a Kanaka academic in the diaspora searching for her ‘ohana, part historical and ethnographic celebration of Hawaiian culture, and part documentation of the reality of Kanaka ʻŌiwi constant communication with our kūpuna o ka pō (those who have passed into the ), Ancestry of Experience is that rarity of rarities: an academic page-turner. Leilani Holmes’ book will bring readers to tears in its evocation of the enduring love and spiritual connection in an ʻohana that spans many generations, and make them gasp at the incredible series of ‘coincidences’ that leads to Leilani’s re-connection with her ʻohana.” —Noenoe Silva, professor of political science, University of Hawai‘i, and author of Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism

September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3129-5 / $39.00 (CLOTH)

Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan

Drawing on Tradition
Manga and anime (illustrated serial novels and animated films) are highly influential Japanese entertainment media that boast tremendous domestic consumption as well as worldwide distribution and an international audience. Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan, by Jolyon Baraka Thomas, examines religious aspects of the culture of manga and anime production and consumption through a methodological synthesis of narrative and visual analysis, history, and ethnography.

“Studies of religion in popular culture often treat contemporary artifacts as if they are created ex nihilo, objects unmoored from any previous media or cultural conditions. Jolyon Baraka Thomas here charts a new course for engaging religion and the media of popular culture by demonstrating the myriad ways manga and anime matter. Such popular media matter to the creation of culture, to religion and the study thereof, as well as to the sometimes violent expressions of the extremities of faith. Thomas’ suggestive book ably proves that these comics are not the ‘funny papers,’ but deeply serious, just as they can be seriously playful.” —S. Brent Plate, author of Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the World, and managing editor of Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief

September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3654-2 / $25.00 (PAPER)

Animals and Religion in Contemporary Japan

Bones of Contention
Since the 1990s the Japanese pet industry has grown to a trillion-yen business and estimates place the number of pets above the number of children under the age of fifteen. There are between 6,000 to 8,000 businesses in the Japanese pet funeral industry, including more than 900 pet cemeteries. Of these about 120 are operated by Buddhist temples, and Buddhist mortuary rites for pets have become an institutionalized practice. In Bones of Contention: Animals and Religion in Contemporary Japan, Barbara Ambros investigates what religious and intellectual traditions constructed animals as subjects of religious rituals and how pets have been included or excluded in the necral landscapes of contemporary Japan.

“In this thoughtfully argued book, Barbara Ambros adroitly maneuvers through difficult terrain—rituals of death, changing cultural conceptions, and the relationships between humans and other animals. While many such studies of animals as pets have focused on North American and European cultures, Ambros’ work in East Asian studies is groundbreaking. Bones of Contention opens up a whole new area in the rapidly emerging field of animal studies and religion.” —Laura Hobgood-Oster, Southwestern University, author of The Friends We Keep: Unleashing Christianity’s Compassion for Animals and Holy Dogs and Asses: Animals in the Christian Tradition

September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3674-0 / $29.00 (PAPER)