Category Archives: Asian Studies

February 2017 News, Reviews, and Events

News

We are pleased to announce that Catherine Cocks is joining our acquisitions team as Senior Acquisition Editor, starting February 15. She started her career in academic publishing at SAR Press, the publishing arm of the School for Advanced Research, where she established the cutting-edge series in Global Indigenous Politics, among other accomplishments. She worked most recently at the University of Iowa Press, where she is currently Editorial Director. Please join us in welcoming Catherine to the press!

The University of Washington Press has five selected entries in the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) 2017 Book, Jacket, and Journal Show. Congratulations to the designers, our Editorial, Design, and Production department, and all involved!

Nine University of Washington Press authors will be participating in the 12th Annual Literary Voices event on May 3, 2017. Annie Proulx is this year’s keynote speaker.

Reviews and Interviews

The Times Literary Supplement reviews Ice Bear by Michael Engelhard: “Engelhard has an apt and unusual background for a book such as this. . . . Among the strengths of Ice Bear is its grasp of the rituals by which humans have always aspired to draw the strength of the polar bear into themselves.”—Mark Abley

The Spectator also reviews the book: “[A] beautifully illustrated, hugely engaging book. . . . For all its nightmare-haunting power, however, the aspect of the polar bear that really makes it an icon of the age is its vulnerability . . . . Another merit of the book is the author’s willingness to track these themes to their origins.”—Mark Cocker

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Remembering Pearl Harbor 75 years later: Excerpt from “Emperor Hirohito and the Pacific War” by Noriko Kawamura

Wedemperorhirohito-kawamuranesday, December 7, 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii that thrust the United States into World War II. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor with US president Barack Obama later this month, making Abe the first Japanese leader to visit the site of the attack since 1941 (Washington Post). This excerpt from Emperor Hirohito and the Pacific War by Noriko Kawamura explores the decision by Japan to go to war with the United States.

The final decision to commence war with the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands was made at the imperial conference on December 1. The nearly two-hour-long meeting simply formalized the decision for war that had already been made a month earlier, and “His Majesty, ever the silent spectator of the scene,” as Robert Butow puts it, “left the chamber.”  It is not too difficult to document the emperor’s personal agony and hesitation to sanction the final decision for war. Deputy Grand Chamberlain Kanroji Osanaga recalled in his memoir,

The anguish he [the emperor] suffered on the eve of war with America was extreme. . . . At such times the emperor would be in his room alone. . . . But we could hear him pacing the floor, sometimes muttering to himself, and we knew that something had happened again, and was worrying him, but it was not our place to ask what. The pacing would continue for a long time, each step resounding painfully in our minds, so that we wished to stop up our ears.

On November 26, the emperor suggested to Tojo that the jushin attend the imperial conference to deliberate the war question, but the prime minister did not accept that idea.  Instead, the emperor invited eight jushin to a luncheon on November 29 and listened to their opinions for about an hour afterward. Although recognizing the grave situation Japan was facing in the wake of the failed negotiations with the United States, most of the jushin expressed doubts or hesitation about making a hasty decision for war, but without directly saying that it was not the right time to go to war.  If the emperor was looking for a strong voice against war from the jushin, he must have been disappointed. Later he recalled, “The opinions of those who were against war were abstract, but the cabinet argued for war by providing numbers to back up its case, and therefore, to my regret, I did not have power to curb the argument in favor of war.”

On November 30, the day before an imperial conference was to be convened to endorse a final war decision, the emperor briefly withheld his order to convene the meeting, after being told by his brother, Prince Takamatsu, that the navy still had lingering doubts about going to war with the United States. Neither the emperor nor his brother was able to get rid of worries that Japan might not be able to win the war. The emperor consulted with Kido, who in turn advised him to summon Navy Minister Shimada and Chief of the Naval General Staff Nagano and ask for their candid opinions.

According to Navy Minister Shimada’s November 30 diary entry, the two admirals had an audience with the emperor for twenty-five minutes in the evening. The emperor asked them, “The time is getting pressed: an arrow is about to leave a bow. Once an arrow is fired, it will become a long-drawnout war, but are you ready to carry it out as planned?” Admiral Nagano expressed the navy’s firm resolve to carry out an attack, upon receiving an imperial mandate (taimei ), and told the emperor, “The task force will arrive 1,800 ri  [4,392 miles] west of Oahu by tomorrow.” The emperor turned to Admiral Shimada and asked, “As navy minister, are you prepared in every aspect?” Shimada replied, “Both men and supplies are fully prepared and we are waiting for an imperial mandate.” The emperor continued, “What would happen if Germany stopped fighting in Europe?” The navy minister replied, “I do not think Germany is a truly reliable country. Even if Germany withdrew, we would not be affected.” At the end of the audience, “in order to make the emperor feel at ease,” in Shimada’s words, the navy chief and the navy minister guaranteed a successful attack on Pearl Harbor and the navy’s resolve to win the war at all cost. The navy minister observed that “the emperor appeared to be satisfied.”  After the audience, the emperor told Kido that Shimada and Nagano were “reasonably confident” about the war, and consequently he approved of holding an imperial conference the next day, as originally scheduled. This was the point of no return.

Thus, the role that Emperor Showa played in Japan’s decision to go to war with the United States could be compared to Max Weber’s discussion of the absolute monarch who is “impotent in face of the superior specialized knowledge of the bureaucracy.” The emperor was personally against war with the United States and exerted his influence to delay the war decision for one and a half months; but his influence was circumscribed within the nebulous triangular power relationship among court, government, and military. Emperor Hirohito eventually succumbed to the persistent pressure of the military bureaucracy and accepted the argument that war was inevitable and possibly winnable. But though Hirohito eventually sanctioned the government’s war decision, he was never free from the fear that his country might lose the war.

Annual Conference on South Asia Preview

The 45th Annual Conference on South Asia takes place in Madison, Wisconsin, this week (October 20-23, 2016). We are thrilled to celebrate the publication of three new titles in the Global South Asia series.

Edited by Padma Kaimal, Kalyanakrishnan (Shivi) Sivaramakrishnan, and Anand A. Yang, Global South Asia draws on humanities, social sciences, and interdisciplinary approaches to examine the ways in which South Asia is and has been global and shaping the world. Learn more in the series flyer.

16-cosa-final-colorIf you are attending the meeting, we hope you will stop by booth #4 to check out our new and forthcoming titles in South Asian studies and to meet Executive Editor Lorri Hagman.

Read on for more information about our featured titles:

The Afterlife of Sai Baba: Competing Visions of a Global Saint
By Karline McLain

Karline McLain uses a wide range of sources to investigate the different ways that Sai Baba has been understood in South Asia and beyond, and the reasons behind his skyrocketing popularity among Hindus in particular for an entertaining and enlightening look at one of the world’s most popular spiritual gurus.

Sensitive Space: Fragmented Territory at the India-Bangladesh Border
By Jason Cons

Offering lessons for the study of enclaves, lines of control, restricted areas, gray spaces, and other geographic anomalies, Sensitive Space develops frameworks for understanding the persistent confusions of land, community, and belonging in the India-Bangladesh border zones.


The Gender of Caste: Representing Dalits in Print
By Charu Gupta

The Gender of Caste uses print as a critical tool to examine the depictions of Dalits by colonizers, nationalists, reformers, and Dalits themselves and shows how differentials of gender were critical in structuring patterns of domination and subordination.

Recent Award Winners in Asian Studies

Letters and Epistolary Culture in Early Medieval China
By Antje Richter

Honorable Mention for the 2016 Eugene M. Kayden Book Award


The World of a Tiny Insect: A Memoir of the Taiping Rebellion and Its Aftermath
By Zhang Daye
Translated by Xiaofei Tian

Winner of the 2016 Patrick D. Hanan Prize for Translation (China), Association for Asian Studies


Excavating the Afterlife: The Archaeology of Early Chinese Religion
By Guolong Lai

Honorable Mention in the Scholarly Category for the Society for American Archaeology Book Award

Exhibitions on View: ‘Conflicts of Interest’

We are delighted to present the catalog to accompany the exhibition, Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, presented at the Saint Louis Art Museum from October 16, 2016 – January 8, 2017.

Conflicts of Interest showcases extraordinary visual material documenting Japan’s rise as a military power in East Asia, starting with the Meiji Restoration in 1868, then depicting events of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), two wars between Japan and its imperial neighbors China and Russia, and then culminating with Pearl Harbor.

The exhibition is organized by the Saint Louis Art Museum and curated by Philip Hu, associate curator-in-charge of Asian Art, in collaboration with Rhiannon Paget, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow for Japanese Art. The corresponding book edited by Philip Hu features essays by Hu, Andreas Marks, Sonja Hotwagner, Sebastian Dobson, Rhiannon Paget, and Maki Kaneko; catalogue entries by Hu and Paget; and contributions by Sonja Hotwagner.

Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915),The Fall of Jinzhou Fortress: Private First Class Onoguchi Tokuji, 1895, published by Katada Chojiro (active late 19th-early 20th century), center panel of triptych of color woodblock prints, 121:2010b.

Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915),The Fall of Jinzhou Fortress: Private First Class Onoguchi Tokuji, 1895, published by Katada Chojiro (active late 19th-early 20th century), center panel of triptych of color woodblock prints, 121:2010b.

In presenting highlights of this collection to the public, the Museum endeavors to foster understanding of the extraordinary art and visual culture of wartime Japan and the complex causes and repercussions of these conflicts, as well as reflect on the ways in which the images communicate, sometimes with devastating consequences, narratives and ideals of nation, empire, and ethnic identity.—From the foreword by Brent R. Benjamin, The Barbara B. Taylor Director, Saint Louis Art Museum

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Exhibitions on View: ‘Bhupen Khakhar’

Bhupen

Khakhar painting “Paan Beedi Shop” at Documenta IX, Kassel, 1992. Photograph by Benjamin Katz.

“I think your own weakness should also be reflected in painting. One can’t hide oneself behind a painting. It is standing naked in front of everyone—what you are.”—Bhupen Khakhar, Arts Council of Great Britain, 1983

The University of Washington Press recently copublished Bhupen Khakhar: You Can’t Please All, edited by Chris Dercon and Nada Raza, with Tate Modern in London. The book accompanies an exhibition on display until November 6, 2016. Bringing together Khakhar’s paintings and some of his ceramics, Bhupen Khakhar: You Can’t Please All is a rare opportunity to discover Khakhar’s work and his inspirational story. Continue reading

Excerpt: Onnagata: A Labyrinth of Gendering in Kabuki Theater

For a close-up look at transgender expression in another time and place, this Pride Month we wanted to share a selection from Maki Isaka’s book Onnagata: A Labyrinth of Gendering in Kabuki Theater. Onnagata, usually male actors who perform the roles of women, have been an important aspect of kabuki since its beginnings in 17th-century Japan. Isaka examines how the onnagata‘s theatrical gender “impersonation” has shaped the concept and mechanisms of femininity and gender construction in Japan. The implications of this study go well beyond the realm of theater and East Asia, informing theory about gender more broadly.

—Lorri Hagman, Executive Editor

Quatercentenary kabuki theater in Japan is a “queer” theater. That is not so much to say that kabuki is an all-male theater, in which male actors play women’s roles, as to note how radically this art form has altered the connotations of the word “kabuki.” Just as with the word “queer,” the implication of which has changed fundamentally over the years, the meanings of the word “kabuki”—nominalized from a verb, kabuku (to lean; to act and/or dress in a peculiar and queer manner)—have transformed dramatically. Not only did it shift from a generic word (that which is eccentric, deviant, queer, and the like) to a proper noun (this theater), but its connotations also altered tremendously from something negative to something positive. That is, kabuki theater was born as a kabuki thing—merely another stray entertainment among many, which was considered akin to prostitution—and ended up proudly styling itself the kabuki theater. With a checkered past marked by bans, shutdowns, exile, and even capital punishment for the parties concerned, kabuki—once a theater of rebellion for the common people—is now one of four classical genres of Japanese theater that the nation proudly presents to the world, along with noh (a medieval Buddhist theater a few centuries older than kabuki), kyōgen (a theater of mime and speech that accompanies noh), and bunraku (a puppet theater), all of which are all-male theater.

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June 2016 News, Reviews, and Events

News

Niccole Coggins staff news photo

We are pleased to announce that Niccole Leilanionapae‘āina Coggins has joined us as the 2016-2017 Mellon University Press Diversity Fellow, effective June 1. Niccole comes to us from the department of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Please welcome Niccole to the Press!

Congratulations to artist, author, and University of Washington alumna Barbara Earl Thomas, recently awarded the 2016 Irving and Yvonne Twining Humber Award from Artist Trust, and a nominee for a 2016 Stranger Genius Award in visual arts. Thomas is the author of Storm Watch (1998) and co-author of Never Late for Heaven (2003) and Joe Feddersen (2008).

College Art Association has awarded a grant through the Millard Meiss Publication Fund for Painting by Candlelight: The Art of Resistance in Mao’s China by Shelley Drake Hawks (Fall 2017). Congratulations to the author and all involved!

Congratulations to Antje Richter, awarded an Honorable Mention for Letters and Epistolary Culture in Early Medieval China (2013) by the Eugene M. Kayden Book Award at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

We also congratulate Barbara Goldstein, editor of Public Art by the Book, winner of the 2016 Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Award.

spring-sale-2016Our Spring Sale 2016 is on now! Visit our site through June 30, 2016 to save 50% off hundreds of titles. Use code WSPR to order online or call 1-800-537-5487.

The University of Washington Press shares in the remembrance of three remarkable people. Anne Gould Hauberg, a major figure in Seattle’s cultural life, advocate for the learning disabled, and subject of the biography Fired by Beauty: Anne Gould Hauberg by Barbara Johns, passed away on April 11 at age 98. Arthur (Art) R. Kruckeberg, influential botanist and author of Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest, among other books, died on May 25 at age 96. Renowned Chinese writer Yang Jiang—author of Six Chapters from My Life ‘Downunder’ (Ganxiao liuji), translated by Howard Goldblatt—passed away on May 25 at age 104.

Reviews and Interviews

An excerpt of Once and Future River with photographs by Tom Reese and essay by Eric Wagner appears online at the Seattle Times and in print in Pacific NW Magazine.
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