Experimental Buddhism: Innovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan

Experimental Buddhism

Experimental Buddhism highlights the complex and often wrenching interactions between long-established religious traditions and rapid social, cultural, and economic change. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, it is one of the first studies to give readers a sense of what is happening on the front lines as progressive Buddhist priests try to reboot their roles and traditions to gain greater significance in Japanese society. The book profiles innovative as well as controversial responses to the challenges facing Buddhist priests.

The work’s central theme of experimental Buddhism provides a fresh perspective to understand how priests and other individuals employ Buddhist traditions in selective and pragmatic ways, frequently risking criticism from their peers, constituents, and high-ranking religious authorities. Using these inventive approaches during a time of crisis and transition for Japanese temple Buddhism, priests and practitioners from all denominations seek solutions that not only can transform their religious traditions but also influence society and their fellow citizens in positive ways.

November 2013, 11 illustrations
$60.00 ISBN: 978-0-8248-3833-1, Cloth
$32.00 ISBN: 978-0-8248-3898-0, Paper
Topics in Contemporary Buddhism

Dilemmas of Adulthood: Japanese Women and the Nuances of Long-Term Resistance

Dilemmas of AdulthoodIn Dilemmas of Adulthood, Nancy Rosenberger investigates the nature of long-term resistance in a longitudinal study of more than fifty Japanese women over two decades. Between 25 and 35 years of age when first interviewed in 1993, the women represent a generation straddling the stable roles of post-war modernity and the risky but exciting possibilities of late modernity.

Rosenberger’s analysis establishes long-term resistance as a vital type of social change in late modernity where the sway of media, global ideas, and friends vies strongly with the influence of family, school, and work. Women are at the nexus of these contradictions, dissatisfied with post-war normative roles in family, work, and leisure and yet—in Japan as elsewhere—committed to a search for self that shifts uneasily between self-actualization and selfishness. The women’s rich narratives and conversations recount their ambivalent defiance of social norms and attempts to live diverse lives as acceptable adults. Dilemmas of Adulthood is essential for anyone wishing to understand how Japanese women have maneuvered their lives in the economic decline and pushed for individuation in the 1990s and 2000s.

November 2013, 224 pages, 2 illustrations
$24.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3696-2, Cloth
$50.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3887-4, Paper

“Voyagers of the Sky” Talk by Robert Shallenberger at Bishop Museum

Shallenberger-TOTP-Bishop MuseumConservation biologist and wildlife photographer Robert Shallenberger will share his exceptional images and knowledge on the seabirds of Hawai‘i on Thursday, December 12, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at Bishop Museum. The basis for his talk is Dr. Shallenberger’s UH Press book, Hawaiian Birds of the Sea: Nā Manu Kai, which showcases many of his photos accompanied by informative text on the natural history and behavior of Hawai‘i’s seabirds. His illustrated lecture is part in the museum’s Traditions of the Pacific educational program series. Click here for more information and to RSVP online.

Regionalizing Culture: The Political Economy of Japanese Popular Culture in Asia

Regionalizing CultureThis ambitious work provides a comprehensive, empirically grounded study of the production, circulation, and reception of Japanese popular culture in Asia. While many studies typically employ an interactive approach that focuses on the “meaning” of popular culture from an anthropological or cultural studies point of view, Regionalizing Culture emphasizes that the consumption side and contextual meaning of popular culture are not the only salient factors in accounting for its proliferation. The production side and organizational aspects are also important. In addition to presenting individual case studies, the book offers a big-picture view of the dramatic changes that have taken place in popular culture production and circulation in Asia over the past two decades.

“This highly informative book provides a comprehensive examination of the successful deployment of Japanese popular culture throughout East Asia. Surveying a broad spectrum of cultural products, including games, animation, and TV drama, it argues both that there is a Japanese model to popular cultural production and that that model of cultural commodification has contributed to the regionalization of East Asia. The use of extensive interviews with diverse stakeholders, including both industry personnel and audience, provides a fresh approach to the subject that will satisfy a growing interest in Japanese popular culture in university curriculum.” —Lisa Leung, Lingnan University, Hong Kong

October 2013, 256 pages, 13 illustrations
$42.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3694-8, Cloth

The Watersmart Garden: 100 Great Plants for the Tropical Xeriscape

The Watersmart GardenTwo of Hawai‘i’s foremost horticulturalists, Fred Rauch and Paul Weissich, have chosen 100 plants perfect for inclusion in Hawai‘i’s xeriscape gardens. These carefully chosen plants, all readily available and fairly simple to maintain, are described and illustrated in this guide to planning a water-saving garden for the tropical climate.

The Watersmart Garden will help you to select and group plants to create a beautiful garden while saving our most precious resource―water. Xeriscape principles are carefully explained and made easy to incorporate in your garden. Plants are organized by size and by water usage, while thoughtful plant notes will guide the interested gardener in planning for everything from the beach garden to a lei maker’s paradise. The book is beautifully illustrated with photographs of each plant and with flowers or foliage in close-up.

November 2013, 256 pages, 224 illustrations
$24.99; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3896-6, paper
A Latitude 20 Book

Mutiny and Aftermath: James Morrison’s Account of the Mutiny on the Bounty and the Island of Tahiti

Smith&Thomas-Mutiny-and-AftermathThe mutiny on the Bounty was one of the most controversial events of eighteenth-century maritime history. Mutiny and Aftermath publishes a full and absorbing narrative of the events by one of the participants, the boatswain’s mate James Morrison, who tells the story of the mounting tensions over the course of the voyage out to Tahiti, the fascinating encounter with Polynesian culture there, and the shocking drama of the event itself. It is based directly on a close study of Morrison’s original manuscript, one of the treasures of the Mitchell Library in Sydney, Australia.

The editors, Vanessa Smith and Nicholas Thomas, assess and explain Morrison’s observations of Islander culture and social relations, both on Tubuai in the Austral Islands and on Tahiti itself. The book fully identifies the Tahitian people and places that Morrison refers to and makes this remarkable text accessible for the first time to all those interested in an extraordinary chapter of early Pacific history.

“Morrison’s Account of the Mutiny on the Bounty has been known to scholars and students through Owen Rutter’s 1935 edition. Smith and Thomas draw on all the relevant scholarship in the seventy-five years since this edition, as well as their own distinguished research and expert understanding of Pacific cultures, to provide readers with an impeccable work of scholarship that will be an essential point of reference for all future writing on Tahiti at the time of first contact as well as on the Bounty mutiny itself.”—Rod Edmond, University of Kent

October 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3676-4 / $45.00 cloth