Category Archives: Asian Studies

Photo Essay: ‘The Hope of Another Spring’

This Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month we are excited to share special features with authors and editors of new and recent titles that celebrate Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

Today we feature a guest post from The Hope of Another Spring: Takuichi Fujii, Artist and Wartime Witness author Barbara Johns exploring some of the most powerful and intriguing pieces by Issei artist Takuichi Fujii (1891-1964).

Her book, published this spring, reveals Fujii’s life story and work and gives a telling alternative view of the wartime ordeal of West Coast Japanese Americans. The centerpiece of Fujii’s large and heretofore unknown collection is his illustrated diary, which historian Roger Daniels calls “the most remarkable document created by a Japanese American prisoner during the wartime incarceration.”

Please join us to celebrate the publication of The Hope of Another Spring at these events:

Wednesday, June 7 at 7 p.m., Folio with Elliott Bay Book Company, Denshō, and the Wing Luke Museum, Seattle, WA

Thursday, June 8 at 7 p.m., Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Wednesday, September 13 at 7 p.m., In conversation with Tom Ikeda, Seattle Public Library – Central Library with Elliott Bay Book Company and Denshō, Seattle, WA Seattle, WA

Saturday, September 16 at 2 p.m., Exhibit opening and curator talk, Washington State History Museum, Tacoma, WA

Wednesday, September 20 at 7 p.m., Friends of Mukai at the Vashon Land Trust building, Vashon Island, WA

Saturday, October 7 at 2 p.m., Kinokuniya, Seattle, WA

Saturday, October 14 at 2 p.m., University Book Store, Tacoma, WA

Friday, October 20 at 1:30 p.m., Walla Walla Art Club, Walla Walla, WA

The Washington State History Museum in Tacoma will present the corresponding exhibition, Witness to Wartime: Takuichi Fujii, from September 21, 2017 – January 4, 2018.

After the exhibition closes in Tacoma, it will travel to the Alexandria Museum of Art in Alexandria, LA from March 1 – June 27, 2018.


Takuichi Fujii (1891-1964), Chicago, ca. 1953. Fujii, pictured here in his early sixties, moved to Chicago after World War II. During the war Chicago became the center of Japanese America as the result of the War Relocation Authority’s resettlement policy. Fujii moved to the city after the war and spent the remainder of his life there.

Photo courtesy of Sandy and Terry Kita.

Fujii, High School Girl, ca. 1934-1935. Fujii immigrated from Hiroshima to Seattle at the age of fifteen, established a small fish sales business, and by the 1930s was a well-recognized artist. This painting pictures his daughter, a student at Broadway High School.

Oil on canvas, 22 3/4 x 29 in. Wing Luke Asian Museum Collection. Photo: Richard Nicol.

Fujii, Evacuation, 1942. Executive Order 9066, issued on February 19, 1942, authorized the army to establish military zones “from which any or all persons may be excluded,” targeting although not naming persons of Japanese ancestry. The mass forced removal began in late March, and by June, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast were incarcerated under armed guard. Fujii began an illustrated diary that he would keep throughout the war, and here, shows his family leaving home.

Diary frontispiece. Ink and watercolor on paper, image 4 1/4 x 4 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Fujii, Diary entry, 1942. Fujii wrote, “We arrived at the Puyallup Assembly Center. Those who had been sent here earlier greeted us from inside the barbed wire.” Fujii’s diary, nearly four hundred pages of text and images, gives a detailed account of the “camp” experience from an inmate’s perspective.

Ink on paper, 8 x 5 1/2 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Puyallup Assembly Center, Washington, 1942. Crudely built barracks on the Western Washington Fairgrounds and surrounding area housed more than 7,000 Japanese Americans from May to September. Meals, latrines, showers, and laundry were communal. Inadequate plumbing, noise, endless lines, and mandatory roll call were daily conditions.

Denshō, courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ6-1654, http://encyclopedia.densho.org/sources/en-denshopd-i217-00021-1/.

Fujii, Puyallup Assembly Center. In addition to his diary, Fujii produced well over one hundred watercolors that replicate or complement the diary drawings. He writes in the diary entry on which this watercolor is based, “The south side of the camp: the place where there was a tall watchtower.” His drawings and watercolors repeatedly trace the means of confinement and specify his viewpoint, positioning him as a witness.

Watercolor on paper, 4 x 6 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Fujii, Puyallup Assembly Center, man standing by barracks. This watercolor enlarges a detail from the diary drawing, as Fujii continued to reflect on his experience.

Watercolor on paper, 14 x 10 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Fujii, Minidoka War Relocation Authority camp. Minidoka occupied 950 acres of desert land in south-central Idaho and at its peak, housed over 9,000 Japanese Americans. This painting is one of three related images to picture this portion of the fence, including the tumultuous montage on the cover of The Hope of Another Spring. Fujii’s diary reads, “This is the barbed wire and [the scene] around Block 24.”

Watercolor on paper, 13 1/2 x 10 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Fujii, Minidoka, pounding mochi for New Year’s day. At the end of December 1942, two generations of men pound steamed rice for mochi in preparation for the first New Year at Minidoka. An Issei, or immigrant-generation Japanese, he often contrasts his and the younger generation in his diary, but here, he describes their shared social celebration as “we pounded the [mochi] shouting enthusiastically.”

Watercolor on paper, 6 1/4 x 4 1/2 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Fujii, Minidoka, drawing by flashlight. Fujii pictures himself in usual perspective as he draws inside his barrack, as if to make the viewer a witness alongside him.

Watercolor on paper, 14 3/4 x 10 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Fujii, double portrait of himself and his wife, Fusano (on the left), ca. 1943-1945. This unique sculpted pair shows the strong, supportive union between Fujii and his wife. The dimensions suggest the wood was scavenged from fence posts when a portion of the hated barbed-wire fence was dismantled.

Carved wood, the taller, 9 x 4 x 3 1/4 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection. Photo: Richard Nicol.

Fujii, Diary entry, Minidoka, October 2, 1945. Fujii and his wife, having received eviction papers, await their departure from Minidoka to an unknown future. He describes the acute anxiety aroused by the announcement of the closure of the camps in 1945, particularly among the Issei, who had lost their homes, farms and businesses, possessions, and, for many of them, their health.  His diary is exceptional in recording his experience from the forced removal in 1942 to his leaving Minidoka as the camp closed.

Ink on paper, 8 x 5 1/2 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Fujii, abstraction, early 1960s. Moving to Chicago after the war, Fujii continued to paint and experimented with abstraction in a broad range of styles. His work culminated in a series of bold, dynamic black and white abstractions in the last years of his life.

Enamel on canvas, 24 x 36 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection. Photo: Richard Nicol.


Barbara Johns, PhD, is a Seattle-based art historian and curator. Her previous books include Signs of Home: The Paintings and Wartime Diary of Kamekichi Tokita, Paul Horiuchi: East and West, Jet Dreams: Art of the Fifties in the Northwest, and Anne Gould Hauberg: Fired by Beauty.

‘What makes work meaningful?’: Q&A with ‘The Social Life of Inkstones’ author Dorothy Ko

The following interview originally appeared at Barnard News and is adapted and used with permission. (Courtesy of N. Jamiyla Chisholm, Barnard College, New York City.)


To honor Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, Barnard College professor of history Dorothy Ko offers a peek into ancient and modern-day Eastern culture and politics.

According to the Library of Congress, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month takes place in May for two reasons: May 7, 1843, marked the immigration of the first Japanese citizen to the U.S.; and on May 10, 1869, the transcontinental railroad was completed, mostly by Chinese immigrant workers.

Credit: Marvin Trachetenberg

Dorothy Ko explores the subjects of gender and body in early modern China. In her books, Ko unravels the complex worlds of Chinese footbinding (Cinderella’s Sisters: A Revisionist History of Footbinding), fashion (Every Step a Lotus: Shoes for Bound Feet), and feminism (Teachers of the Inner Chambers: Women and Culture in Seventeenth-Century China). Her latest, The Social Life of Inkstones: Artisans and Scholars in Early Qing China, introduces the West to the world of ancient Asian stones and includes close to 100 images (see slideshow below). Ko explains the significance of this highly specialized art form.

What exactly is an inkstone and what is its significance in East Asian culture?

An inkstone is a piece of polished stone about the size of an outstretched palm. Before the invention of fountain pens, let alone laptops and iPads, every student, writer, or painter in East Asia had to grind a fresh supply of ink at the desk by dipping an ink-stick in water and rubbing it on the surface of the stone. This process was as instinctive to them as recharging our iPhones is to us. Day in and day out, the writers and painters developed deep attachments to their implements. More than an instrument for writing, the inkstone was a collectible object of art, a father’s gift to his school-bound son, a token of friendship, and even a diplomatic gift between states.

Why is this tool so unfamiliar to Western civilizations when it has represented so much for the East for more than a millennium?

Europeans drew ink from an inkpot so they had no use for an ink-grinding stone. Nor did the early European collectors appreciate its subtle beauty as the Chinese connoisseurs did. The color of the inkstone tended to be deep purple or black; it is small and does not display well in a stately home or fancy apartment. So it is no wonder that there is no notable collection of inkstones in Europe or America.

Your book shines a light on craftswoman Gu Erniang who became famous for her inkstone-making skills, which were refined between the 1680s and 1730s. What made her such a standout?

Her extraordinary skills. Gu Erniang was a remarkable woman who thrived in a field dominated by men; she became more famous than her male colleagues. Her name was associated with technical and artistic innovations as well as refined taste. It is also interesting to mention that she enjoyed more gender freedom than her genteel sisters in that she could receive male patrons in her studio to discuss commissioned projects face-to-face.

How has the significance of inkstone artisans changed over time?

Gu Erniang was one of the first inkstone makers in China to attach her signature mark on her work, suggesting a heightened respect that exceptional artisans like her enjoyed. Today, because the inkstone is no longer a functional object, all inkstone artisans have to present themselves as creative artists.

What interests you most in this topic area and what are some of the biggest “ah ha!” moments you had conducting research for the book?

I love all the modern conveniences we enjoy but increasingly feel the need to look back and reassess the heavy price we pay for such “industrial development” or “progress.” I became interested in the craftsmen because theirs was a sustainable livelihood that was environmentally responsible. Through their eyes, I arrive at tentative answers to my big question at the moment: What makes work meaningful? The craftsman’s answer: Making one-of-a-kind objects with attention and skill in a collaborative environment. Craft makes us more human by inspiring us to strive for perfection.

How does the research conducted for this book connect to research from your previous publications on footbinding and Chinese feminism?

As a historian of gender, I’m sensitive to power inequalities and trained to analyze the operations of power. In the same way that I had retrieved women in Chinese history in my earlier books, I set out to retrieve the artisans from erasure in the hands of male scholars. Little did I know that the latter turned out to be a far more difficult project.

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April 2017 News, Reviews, and Events

News

Seattle Magazine features director Nicole Mitchell and the University of Washington Press in a Spotlight piece: “The University of Washington Press is making a big noise in publishing circles. . . . Whether you’re an academic looking to wow undergrads with a reading list or a general reader aiming to wow yourself, the century-old press has a must-read book for you and an undeniable dynamism.”—Florangela Davila

Indian Blood by Andrew J. Jolivette is a finalist for the 2017 Lambda Literary Award (“Lammy”) in LGBTQ Studies. The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on June 12, 2017 in New York City. Congratulations to the author and all involved!

Reviews and Interviews

KOMO Radio “Midday News” interviews David B. Williams about Seattle WalksThe National Association of Science Writers (NASW) news and features includes an interview with the author.


Alaska Dispatch News/We Alaskans reviews Menadelook edited by Eileen Norbert: “The story of Menadelook’s life is fascinating and well told and would be a worthy book even without the photographs, but to have the pictures as well makes this volume a treasure. . . . Much like the Menadelook we meet in these pages, this book is modest on the surface, but its contribution to Alaska is profound. It presents a world that would be completely vanished but for the presence of one man and his camera.”—David A. James

NBC Asian America picks Troubling Borders edited by Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Lan Duong, Miriam B. Lam, and Kathy L. Nguyen as one of its “Six Asian-American Memoirs to Read for Women’s History Month”: “The wide variety of stories told dispel stereotypes and take on the complex challenges of colonialism, militarization, love, resistance, family, migration, and more. They reveal the intersectional and multilayered experiences of Southeast Asian women in the diaspora.”


Seattle Weekly/Seattle Review of Books reviews Kevin Craft’s Vagrants & Accidentals: “The University of Washington Press’ Pacific Northwest Poetry Series has shepherded a gorgeous new collection of Craft’s poetry into being: Vagrants & Accidentals, which feels like a book that’s been bottled up for a decade, just waiting to be introduced to an unsuspecting world. The poetry in Vagrants is eager and obsessed with big ideas like evolution and the act of becoming. . . . Craft argues that without the eyes to see and the lips to speak and the fingers to write, the world may as well not have existed at all. On that same wavelength, a Seattle without Craft’s poetry in it would be a forgettable dot on a map. He breathes life into our world, as an editor, a publisher, and most definitely as a poet.”—Paul Constant

NPR.org’s The Salt blog interviews Puer Tea author Jinghong Zhang in a post about the sought-after fermented tea.


Pacific NW Magazine features an excerpt from Ice Bear by Michael Engelhard.


Outdoor Research’s Verticulture blog features Reclaimers by Ana Maria Spagna in a round-up of OR’s favorite women’s adventure books: “The most influential book I’ve read recently. . . . It’s not a typical story of adventure, but I found it absolutely motivating to get out and learn about our wild places, cherish them, and listen to the stories of people who call them home. It also makes very clear that adventure is not just found high up on a rock face or in a deep snowy couloir – the world is full of places to take risks and dive deep into, to be curious and ambitious and wild and bold.”—Jenny Abegg

“Interfaith Voices” interviews Sanctuary and Asylum author Linda Rabben in an episode about “Welcoming the Stranger.”


KEXP’s “Mind Over Matters Sustainability Segment” interviews Native Seattle author Coll Thrush.


A KUOW interview with Dismembered coauthor David E. Wilkins about the NookSack Tribe aired on “All Things Considered.”


Anchorage Press reviews The Tao of Raven by Ernestine Hayes: “In a lyrically intoxicating style, Ernestine Hayes crafts a . . . mesmerizing story-telling, an alternative world, that reveals as much, if not more, about how our society works, or does not work, for today’s Alaskan Native citizen. . . . Her bold study marries the tragedies of her life with the greater horrors perpetrated upon Alaskan Natives. . . . Hayes manages to wrangle a promising, optimistic tinged message as she closes out her autopsy of what has gone awry. In her inimitable, metaphorical style she voices cause for hope – a prayer that all is not forsaken.”—David Fox


KUOW’s “Speakers Forum” aired a talk by Looking for Betty MacDonald author Paula Becker in celebration of Betty MacDonald’s 110th birthday on March 26.

New Books

A Year Right Here: Adventures with Food and Family in the Great Nearby
By Jess Thomson

Armed with “The Here List” and a Type-A personality, Seattle-based writer and cookbook author Jess Thomson sets out to spend a year exploring the food of the Pacific Northwest with her family. Planning to revel in the culinary riches of the region and hoping to break her son, Graham, of his childhood pickiness, the adventures into the great nearby include building a backyard chicken coop, truffle hunting in Oregon, and razor clamming on the Washington coast. With touching, funny, sometimes devastating stories that we all can relate to, Jess pulls the reader in as she abandons “The Here List” and learns that letting go can be just as important as holding on.

Join us for these author events:

March 30 at 7 p.m., University Book Store, Seattle, WA

April 17 at 7 p.m., Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

April 20 at 7 p.m., Village Books, Bellingham, WA

April 22 at 7 p.m., Phinney Books, Seattle, WA

April 23 at 7 p.m., Powell’s City of Books in conversation with Diane Morgan, Portland, OR

May 8 at 6:30 p.m., Book Larder, Seattle, WA

The Propeller under the Bed: A Personal History of Homebuilt Aircraft
By Eileen A. Bjorkman

On July 25, 2010, Arnold Ebneter (82) flew across the country in a plane he designed and built himself, setting an aviation world record for aircraft of its class. Pilot and aeronautical engineer Bjorkman frames her father’s journey from teen plane enthusiast to Air Force pilot and Boeing engineer in the context of the rise, near extermination, and ongoing interest in homebuilt aircraft in the United States, and gives us a glimpse into life growing up in a “flying family.”

Idle Talk under the Bean Arbor: A Seventeenth-Century Chinese Story Collection
By Aina the Layman
With Ziran the Eccentric Wanderer
Edited by Robert E. Hegel

This landmark collection of twelve short stories from the early Qing (Doupeng xianhua) uses the seemingly innocuous setting of neighbors swapping yarns on hot summer days to create a series of stories that embody deep disillusionment with traditional values. The tales, ostensibly told by different narrators, parody heroic legends and explore issues that contributed to the fall of the Ming dynasty a couple of decades before. These stories speak to all troubled times, demanding that readers confront the pretense that may lurk behind moralistic stances. This collection presents all twelve stories in English translation along with notes from the original commentator, as well as a helpful introduction and analysis of individual stories.

The Nature of Whiteness: Race, Animals, and Nation in Zimbabwe
By Yuka Suzuki

This vivid ethnography explores the intertwining of race and nature in postindependence Zimbabwe. Nature and environment have played prominent roles in white Zimbabwean identity, and when the political tide turned against white farmers after independence, nature was the most powerful resource they had at their disposal. Suzuki provides a balanced study of whiteness, the conservation of nature, and contested belonging in twenty-first century southern Africa. The Nature of Whiteness is a fascinating account of human-animal relations and the interplay among categories of race and nature in this embattled landscape.

Book of the Month Giveaways

Enter to win one of this month’s picks! (Open to US residents only.)

  1. A Year Right Here by Jess Thomson (Entry form)
  2. Birds of the Pacific Northwest by Tom Aversa, Richard Cannings, and Hal Opperman (Entry form)

The giveaways will close on on Friday, April 7, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. PT. The giveaway winners will be notified by Monday, April 10, 2017.

Events

APRIL

April 5 at 6:30 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Omnivore Books, San Francisco, CA

April 5 at 7 p.m., David B. Williams, Seattle Walks, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

April 6 at 6 p.m., Lorraine McConaghy and Judy Bentley, Free Boy, Performance of Free Boy, the musical, MOHAI Free First Thursday, Free performance of Free Boy, the musical, by 5th Avenue Theatre’s Adventure Musical Theater Touring Company, Seattle, WA

April 6 at 7 p.m., Deborah Elizabeth Whaley, Black Women in Sequence, African American Museum of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA

April 7 at 5 p.m., Judy Bentley, Hiking Washington’s History, Words, Writers, and West Seattle, Westwood Village Barnes & Noble, Seattle, WA

April 8 at 11 a.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

April 15 at 2 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Neverending Bookshop, Bothell, WA

April 17 at 7 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

April 22 at 6:30 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Island Books, Mercer Island, WA

April 20 at 7 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Village Books, Bellingham, WA

April 22-23, 2017, Darren Speece, Defending Giants, Nonfiction: Nature & Politics, Conversation 1095, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (University of Southern California), Los Angeles, CA

April 22 at 10:30 a.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Tacoma Public Library, Kobetich branch, with King’s Books

April 22 at 2 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Tacoma Public Library, Wheelock branch, with King’s Books

April 22 at 7 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA

April 23 at 2 p.m., Judy Bentley, Walking Washington’s History, Everett Public Library, Everett, WA

April 23 at 7 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Powell’s City of Books, Portland, OR; in conversation with Diane Morgan

April 27 at 7 p.m., Linda Rabben, Sanctuary and Asylum, Annapolis Bookstore, Annapolis, MD (Monthly Book Club selection)

April 29 at 11 a.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Book Larder, signing for Independent Bookstore Day, Seattle, WA

April 30 at 4 p.m., David B. Williams, Seattle Walks, Eagle Harbor Books, Bainbridge Island, WA

MAY

May 2 at 7:30 p.m., Carolyne Wright, Kathya Alexander, Laura Da’, Jana Harris, and Holly J. Hughes, Raising Lilly Ledbetter (Lost Horse Press), Town Hall Seattle, Seattle, WA (Tickets $5)

May 3, 2017 at 6 p.m., 12th Annual Literary Voices, Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots; Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald; Eileen Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed; Moon-ho Jung, The Rising Tide of Color; Tom Reese & Eric Wagner, Once and Future River; Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here; Thaisa Way, The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag; Margaret Willson, Seawomen of Iceland; North Ballroom at the HUB. Tickets: $150 per person; $1,500 per table, register online

May 5 – 6, Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots, with Dani Cornejo and Nicole Yanes on Opata language and culture revival, “The Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ“ Indigenous Foods and Ecological Knowledge Symposium, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

May 6 at 11 a.m., Eileen Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, Book signing and fly-in at Harvey Field, Snohomish, WA

May 7 at 7 p.m., Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

May 8 at 6:30 p.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Book Larder, Seattle, WA

May 11 at 6 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Darvill’s Bookstore, Orcas Island, WA

May 12 – 13, Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan, translated by Stephen Durrant, Wai-Yee Li, and David Schaberg, UCLA International Institute Asia Pacific Center, Taiwan Studies Lectureship Annual Conference, Los Angeles, CA

Association for Asian Studies Conference Preview

From March 16-19, we will be attending the 2017 Association for Asian Studies (AAS) annual conference in Toronto, Canada.

Executive editor Lorri Hagman and advancement and grants manager Beth Fuget will be representing the press at the meeting. Come see us in the exhibit hall at booth 409 and follow along with the meeting on social media at #AAS2017.

We are thrilled to celebrate the debut of a number of new and recent titles across the range of our Asian Studies titles including offerings in our Classics of Chinese Thought translation series, the Global South Asia series, the Critical Dialogues in Southeast Asian Studies series, books in the Mellon-funded collaborative Modern Language Initiative (MLI), and these recent book prize winners:

The Emotions of Justice by Jisoo M. Kim is winner of the 2017 James B. Palais Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies.


Letters and Epistolary Culture in Early Medieval China
by Antje Richter was awarded an honorable mention for the 2016 Kayden Book Award in literary studies.

New and Recent Books

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Read an excerpt from Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan: Commentary on the “Spring and Autumn Annals”

Forthcoming from the Global South Asia series

Banaras Reconstructed: Architecture and Sacred Space in a Hindu Holy City
By Madhuri Desai
Forthcoming May 2017

Desai examines the confluences, as well as the tensions, that have shaped this complex and remarkable city. In so doing, she raises issues central to historical as well as contemporary
Indian identity and delves into larger questions about religious urban environments in South Asia.


Displaying Time: The Many Temporalities of the Festival of India

By Rebecca M. Brown
Forthcoming June 2017

Using extensive archival research and interviews with artists, curators, diplomats, and visitors, Brown analyzes a selection of museum shows that were part of the Festival of India to unfurl new exhibitionary modes: the time of transformation, of interruption, of potential and the future, as well as the contemporary and the now.

Now Available in Paperback

March 2017 News, Reviews, and Events

News

Our job posting for the 2017-2018 Mellon Diversity Fellow is now live and we are accepting applications through March 15. If you know of excellent candidates, please send them our way!

Reviews and Interviews


The New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog features No-No Boy by John Okada: “Reading No-No Boy, this week, it no longer seemed bound to its past; it felt like a prophecy, a cosmic tragedy, a message in a bottle that arrives a half century later.”—Hua Hsu


A collaborative piece with PRI’s Global Nation Education and Densho mentions Miné Okubo’s Citizen 13660 in an article about activists working to keep the story of Executive Order 9066 alive today. Bustle also features the book in a round-up of “10 Graphic Novels Written by Activists That You Need to Read Now More Than Ever”: “Heartbreaking, candid. . . . Okubo recounts her experience with poignancy and a surprising amount of humor.”—Charlotte Ahlin

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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.