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  • Transpacific Correspondences: Dispatches from Japan’s Black Studies, an essay collection edited by Dr. Yuichiro Onishi and Dr Fumiko Sakashita, introduces a little-known, but critical history of Black Studies in Japan. Taking the Black Studies Association (Kokujin Kenkyu no Kai) as its focus, the collection charts the history of members of the Black Studies Association, and the ways in which Japanese scholars and writers studied, translated and disseminated the works of black radical thinkers, and were politically transformed by their engagement with this work. The collection is interdisciplinary in nature, covering important topics that would be of great interest to political theorists, black feminist theorists, historians, and scholars of music and literature. Transpacific Correspondence is an important contribution to the history of Afro-Asian encounters and the globalized field of Black Studies.
    Felicity Stone-Richards is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a comparative political theorist of Afro-diasporic and Japanese theory, and scholar of contemporary transnational political activism.
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  • In 1800, the Shogun’s chief minister wrote the following about the city of Edo:
    "Someone said that if Edo did not have frequent fires, then people would be more showy and flash. In the capital or in Osaka they do everything with lavish elegance: people hang up paintings in their homes or put out arrangements of flowers. But in Edo, even in the affluent areas, everything is restrained. People only display a single flower [in a bamboo tube or a simple pot]. The wealthy have fine chess sets, but the box will have paper fixed under the lid to double up as the board. Edo’s sense of conciseness comes from continual fires."
    According to Professor Timon Screech, author of Tokyo Before Tokyo: Power and Magic in the Shogun’s City of Edo (Reaktion Books, 2020), the city is the source of much of what we consider to be Japanese culture: sushi, Mt Fuji, cherry blossoms. Tokyo Before Tokyo is a rich illustrated volume that presents the vibrant visual history of Edo. The book is presented as a series of vignettes, dealing with key landmarks and districts from the old city, from the Shogun’s castle to the famous red-light Yoshiwara district.
    In this interview, Professor Screech and I talk about the different vignettes that make up Tokyo Before Tokyo, and the role that Edo played in old Japan. We also investigate his decision to focus on landmarks and districts, and whether any of old Edo can be seen in today’s Tokyo.
    Professor Timon Screech is Professor of the History of Art at SOAS University of London. He is the author of at least a dozen books on the visual culture of the Edo period, including perhaps his best-known work Sex and the Floating World: Erotic Images in Japan, 1700-1820 (University of Hawaii Press, 1999). In addition to Tokyo Before Tokyo, his other most recent book is The Shogun's Silver Telescope: God, Art, and Money in the English Quest for Japan, 1600-1625 (Oxford University Press, 2020). In 2019, Professor Screech was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy.
    You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Tokyo Before Tokyo. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia.
    Nicholas Gordon is a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He is also a print and broadcast commentator on local and regional politics. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.
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  • This episode features three interviews with organizers and scholars concerned with Asian migrant sex work: SWAN Vancouver (Alison Clancey and Kelly Go), Dr. Lily Wong, and Dr. Yuri Doolan.
    On March 16, 2021, Robert Aaron Long targeted three Atlanta-area spas and massage parlors and killed eight people: Delania Ashley Yuan González, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Paul Andre Michels, Hyun Jung Grant, Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue. Six of these victims were Asian women. Within the days following the shooting, many groups representing women, Asian Americans, sex workers, and migrants, have collectively mourned and sent strength and solidarity to the eight victims and their families.
    This podcast episode seeks to express solidarity with these groups by highlighting the work of scholars and organizers who have been studying the racially encoded figures and the broader histories of Asian migrant sex work. We hope to give space here to understand how the violence that occurred on March 16 was imbricated within a racial capitalist structure that views Asian and Asian American women as disposable objects, a view that has been historically continuous with the histories of Chinese exclusion (initiated by fears of Chinese sex workers and yellow peril), and with over one hundred and fifty years of US imperialism in Asia, from the colonial theft of Hawai’i and the Philippine-American War to Japanese Incarceration, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, and the growth of over eight-hundred military bases across the world.
    As the organizers and scholars interviewed here stress, it is crucial now to join groups local and international that stand for the decriminalization of migration and sex work, and to reject calls for hate-crime laws or anti-sex trafficking laws, or any legislation that would bring more policing, all of which would only make migrants and sex workers more vulnerable and stigmatized.
    Christopher B. Patterson is an Assistant Professor in the Social Justice Institute at the University of British Columbia.
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  • Anecdote, Network, Gossip, Performance: Essays on the Shishuo xinyu (Harvard UP, 2021) is a study of the Shishuo xinyu, the most important anecdotal collection of medieval China—and arguably of the entire traditional era. In a set of interconnected essays, Jack W. Chen offers new readings of the Shishuo xinyu that draw upon social network analysis, performance studies, theories of ritual and mourning, and concepts of gossip and reputation to illuminate how the anecdotes of the collection imagine and represent a political and cultural elite. Whereas most accounts of the Shishuo have taken a historical approach, Chen argues that the work should be understood in literary terms.
    At its center, Anecdote, Network, Gossip, Performance is an extended meditation on the very nature of the anecdote form, both what the anecdote affords in terms of representing a social community and how it provides a space for the rehearsal of certain longstanding philosophical and cultural arguments. Although each of the chapters may be read separately as an essay in its own right, when taken together, they present a comprehensive account of the Shishuo in all of its literary complexity.
    Victoria Oana Lupașcu is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies at University of Montréal. Her areas of interest include medical humanities, visual art, 20th and 21st Chinese, Brazilian and Romanian literature and Global South studies.
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  • The Art of Political Control in China (Cambridge University Press, 2019) shows how China's authoritarian state ensures political control by non-violent mechanisms. Daniel C. Mattingly demonstrates how coercive control is achieved through informal means to achieve goals such as land redistribution, the enforcement of family planning policies, and the suppression of protest. He draws on a broad combination of empirical evidence - from qualitative case studies, experiments and national surveys, to challenge conventional understandings of political control. Surprisingly, Mattingly shows that it is strong civil societies which strengthens the state's coercive capacities, while those that lack strong civil societies have the greatest potential to act collectively and spontaneously to resist the state. 
    The Art of Political Control in China was named one of Foreign Affairs Magazine as one of the best books in 2020. It is important reading for our times to understand how governments - and especially authoritarian governments - foster political compliance through coercive mechanisms.  
    Daniel Mattingly is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University. His work focuses on the political economy of development and authoritarian politics with a focus on China. Some of his current research focuses on the military, revolutions, elite politics, and technological innovation in China, both in the present in past.
    Jane Richards is a doctoral student at the University of Hong Kong. You can find her on twitter where she follows all things related to human rights and Hong Kong politics @JaneRichardsHK
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  • In this newly revised and updated 2nd edition of Voices of Early Modern Japan: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life During the Age of the Shoguns (Routledge, 2020), Constantine Nomikos Vaporis offers an accessible collection of annotated historical documents of an extraordinary period in Japanese history, ranging from the unification of warring states under Tokugawa Ieyasu in the early 17th century to the overthrow of the shogunate just after the opening of Japan by the West in the mid-19th century. Through close examination of primary sources from "The Great Peace", this fascinating textbook offers fresh insights into the Tokugawa era: its political institutions, rigid class hierarchy, artistic and material culture, religious life, and more, demonstrating what historians can uncover from the words of ordinary people. New features include: An expanded section on religion, morality and ethics A new selection of maps and visual documents Sources from government documents and household records to diaries and personal correspondence, translated and examined in light of the latest scholarship Updated references for student projects and research assignments The first edition of Voices of Early Modern Japan was the winner of the 2013 Franklin R. Buchanan Prize for Curricular Materials. This fully revised textbook will prove a comprehensive resource for teachers and students of East Asian studies, history, culture, and anthropology.
    Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing.
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  • In The Dutch Language in Japan (1600-1900): A Cultural and Sociolinguistic Study of Dutch as a Contact Language in Tokugawa and Meiji Japan (Brill, 2020), Christopher Joby offers the first book-length account of the knowledge and use of the Dutch language in Tokugawa and Meiji Japan. For most of this period, the Dutch were the only Europeans permitted to trade with Japan. Using the analytical tool of language process, this book explores the nature and consequences of contact between Dutch and Japanese and other language varieties. The processes analyzed include language learning, contact and competition, code-switching, translation, lexical, syntactic, and graphic interference, and language shift. The picture that emerges is that the multifarious uses of Dutch, especially the translation of Dutch books, would have a profound effect on the language, society, culture, and intellectual life of Japan.
    You can get The Dutch Language in Japan (1600-1900) at a discount at the Brill website by entering the code 72150 on check out. (Promo Code effective until May/31/2021)
    Jingyi Li is a Ph.D. Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing.
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  • How do we make sense of the “durability and gigantic scale” of China’s economic expansion alongside the reports of “rising” and “explosive” corruption? How has China moved from an “impoverished communist regime to a capitalist superpower rivaling the United States” despite a crisis of corruption that its own leadership describes as “gave” and “shocking”? Dr. Yuen Yuen Ang’s her new book China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Boom and Vast Corruption (Cambridge University Press, 2020) argues corruption comes in different forms and she “unbundles” different types of corruption to explain not only why China can boom but why political scientists need to “fundamentally revise our believes about the relationship between corruption and capitalism.” The book demystifies the Chinese paradox of growth with corruption by unbundling the four types of corruption and placing China in comparative-historical perspective. China is an outlier but not in the ways that most analysts assume. The closest parallel is the United States in the late 19th century, a gilded age characterized by both feverish growth and glaring inequality, conniving plutocrats and corrupt politicians. The book offers a four-part explanation for this paradox focused on the dominant type of corruption (access money which stimulates growth but generates distortions and risks), the relationship between the profit sharing model (where the rewards of leaders and bureaucrats are linked to economic performance) and access money, the role of capacity-building reforms in curtailing corruption involving theft and speed money, and the checking of predatory corruption by regional competition (spurring development and deal-making).
    Dr. Yuen Yuen Ang is an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan. She works at the intersection of business, governance, and innovation to better understand how governments and organizations respond to deep uncertainty and complex, novel problems and which institutions are able to adapt. She considers China’s Gilded Age to be a sequel to her award-winning book, How China Escaped the Poverty Trap (Cornell University Press, 2016) and you can hear her conversation with my NBN colleague here. Dr. Ang translates her ideas to wider audiences in Foreign Affairs, Project Syndicate, and the South China Morning Post.
    Susan Liebell is an associate professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Why Diehard Originalists Aren’t Really Originalists recently appeared in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage and “Retreat from the Rule of Law: Locke and the Perils of Stand Your Ground” was published in the Journal of Politics (July 2020). Email her comments at sliebell@sju.edu or tweet to @SusanLiebell.
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  • The study of religion in China has a long history across a number of interrelated disciplines. In recent years, scholars have been reassessing past scholarship and synthesizing it in new ways. The three-volume project “Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions” is one of the most exciting of these endeavors and establishes productive groundwork for future research. It includes three books: Stefania Travagnin, André Laliberté, Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions I: State of the Field and Disciplinary Approaches (De Gruyter, 2019); Stefania Travagnin, Gregory Scott, Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions II: Intellectual History of Key Concepts (De Gruyter, 2020); and Stefania Travagnin, Paul R. Katz, Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions III: Key Concepts in Practice (De Gruyter, 2019). The contributions evaluate the current state of scholarship, discusses a variety of analytical approaches and theories about methodology, epistemology, and the ontology of the field. The three books display an interdisciplinary approach and offer debates that transcend national traditions. It engages with a variety of methodologies for the study of East Asian religions and promotes dialogues with Western and Chinese voices. In my conversation with Stefania Travagnin, Professor at SOAS and co-editor of all 3 volumes, we discuss the catalyst for the project, co-editing and organizing of a large interdisciplinary effort, how one can define Chinese religions, representative disciplinary approaches and themes of previous scholarship, Chinese keywords and categories for studying religion, the importance of regional or local contexts, diaspora communities and global China, religious interaction and cross-tradition approaches, and future directions to advance the field of Chinese religions. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/east-asian-studies

  • Dennis Frost’s More than Medals: A History of the Paralympics and Disability Sports in Postwar Japan is a history of disability sports in modern Japan. The 1964, 1998, and upcoming Paralympics are important case studies, but Frost’s interests go far beyond this pinnacle of international, competitive disability sports. More than Medals explores the history and development of disability sports, highlighting Japan as an international actor, Oita prefecture as a domestic and international disability sports mecca, and most of all the ongoing tension between two visions of the purpose of disability sports: one which is primarily rehabilitative and the other which emphasizes elite athletic competition. This, as Frost shows, is fundamental to understanding the dynamics of accessibility and inclusivity in disabled sports. More than Medals will appeal to readers interested in the history of Japan, sports, and mega-events such as the Paralympics, as well as to those interested in disability studies.
    Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese and East Asian history in the Graduate School of Humanities, Nagoya University.
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  • In the seventeenth century, Japanese popular prose flourished as waves of newly literate readers gained access to the printed word. Commercial publishers released vast numbers of titles in response to readers’ hunger for books that promised them potent knowledge. However, traditional literary histories of this period position the writings of Ihara Saikaku at center stage, largely neglecting the breadth of popular prose. 
    In Pleasure in Profit: Popular Prose in Seventeenth-Century Japan (Cambridge UP, 2020), Laura Moretti investigates the vibrant world of vernacular popular literature. She marshals new data on the magnitude of the seventeenth-century publishing business and highlights the diversity and porosity of its publishing genres. Moretti explores how booksellers sparked interest among readers across the spectrum of literacies and demonstrates how they tantalized consumers with vital ethical, religious, societal, and interpersonal knowledge. She recasts books as tools for knowledge making, arguing that popular prose engaged its audience cognitively as well as aesthetically and emotionally to satisfy a burgeoning curiosity about the world. 
    Crucially, Moretti shows, readers experienced entertainment within the didactic, finding pleasure in the profit gained from acquiring knowledge by interacting with transformative literature. Drawing on a rich variety of archival materials to present a vivid portrait of seventeenth-century Japanese publishing, Pleasure in Profit also speaks to broader conversations about the category of the literary by offering a new view of popular prose that celebrates plurality.
    Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing.
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  • How does revolution literature help to engage Mongolia’s nomadic population with the utopia of a “new society” promised by the Mongolian People’s Revolution Party? In Politics and Literature in Mongolia 1921-1948 (Amsterdam University Press, 2020), Simon Wickhamsmith explores the relationship between literature and politics in the period between the 1921 socialist revolution and the first Writers’ Congress in 1948.
    He argues that the literature of this time “helped to frame the ideology of socialism and the practice of the revolution for those Mongolians who had little understanding of what it could offer them.” Through discussing the works of Mongolian writers such as D. Natsagdorg, S. Buyannemeh, Ts. Damdinsüren, and D. Namdag, who wrote on education, health care, religion, and labor, the book reveals how these writers represented the new Mongolia and the difficulties that accompanied with it.
    Wickhamsmith reminds us that although the period between 1921-1948 saw a sustained literary development in Mongolia assisted in part through the financial and moral sponsorship of the Soviet Union, many writers also suffered from censorship and even torture and death. Politics and Literature in Mongolia 1921-1948 is one of the first books of its kind to translate some of the works by these writers into English, including works of poetry, fiction, and drama.
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  • There are currently eleven million Uyghurs living in China, but more than one million are being held in so-called reeducation camps. A cultural genocide is taking place under the guise of counterterrorism. 
    In this profound and explosive book, Sean Roberts shows how China is using the US-led global war on terror to erase and replace Uyghur culture and persecute this ethnic minority in what has become the largest program of mass detention and surveillance in the world. In The War on the Uyghurs: China's Internal Campaign Against a Muslim Minority, Roberts contextualises these harms in the PRC's colonial legacy of the region. He demonstrates how the Chinese government was able to brand Uyghur dissent as a dangerous terrorist threat which had links with al-Qaeda. He argues that a nominal militant threat was a 'self-fulfilling prophecy'; the limited response to more than a decade of harsh repression and surveillance. 
    This is the humanitarian catastrophe that the world needs to know about now. Beyond the destruction of Uyghur identity and culture, there are profound implications for the global community by this cultural genocide. 
    Dr. Sean R. Roberts is an Associate Professor of the Practice of International Affairs; Director, International Development Studies Program at the Elliot School of International Affairs, George Washington University.
    He is is a cultural anthropologist with extensive applied experience in international development work. Roberts conducted ethnographic fieldwork among the Uyghur people of Central Asia and China during the 1990s, and has published extensively on this community in scholarly journals and collected volumes. In 1996 he produced a documentary film on the community entitled Waiting for Uighurstan. You can find him on twitter at @robertsreport 
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  • Sarah Kovner’s Prisoners of the Empire: Inside Japanese POW Camps (Harvard UP, 2020) is a nuanced look at the experiences, narratives―and the popular/historical memories of those experiences and narratives―of World War II-era Allied POWs in Japanese custody, especially in the English-language world. While never denying the horrors of war and the POW experience, Kovner finds less systemic and intentional cruelty by the Japanese camp commanders and guards than she does poor planning and preparation, and often outright neglect when it came to the fate of internees. 
    Simultaneously, the book is sensitive to how POWs’ experiences differed enormously due to their status in the eyes of the Japanese as well as the time and place of their captivity. In particular, Kovner contrasts the experience of white, mostly Anglophone POWs and Asians, who were more likely to be subjected to systematically poor treatment. In addition, Prisoners of the Empire also explores the ways that Japan “was present even when it was absent” in the twentieth-century history of international agreements on POW treatment and war crimes. Kovner has produced a significant and thought-provoking contribution to several different subfields of history. In addition to its obvious relevance to those interested in the history of modern Japan, World War II, and historical memory, because of its considerations of such issues as the Geneva conventions and war crimes trials, the book will also be of interest to readers interested in international law and relations.
    Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese and East Asian history in the Graduate School of Humanities, Nagoya University.
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  • Red Creative: Culture and Modernity in China (Intellect Books, 2020) is an exploration of China’s cultural economy over the last twenty years, particularly through the lens of its creative hub of Shanghai. The research presented here raises questions about the nature of contemporary ‘creative’ capitalism and the universal claims of Western modernity, offering new ways of thinking about cultural policy in China.
    Taking a long-term historical perspective, Justin O’Connor and Xin Gu analyze the ongoing development of China’s cultural industries, examining the institutions, regulations, interests, and markets that underpin the Chinese cultural economy and the strategic position of Shanghai within it. Further, the authors explore cultural policy reforms in post-colonial China and articulate Shanghai’s significance in paving China’s path to modernity and entry to global capitalism. In-depth and illuminating, Red Creative carefully situates China’s contemporary cultural economy in its larger global and historical context, revealing the limits of Western thought in understanding Chinese history, culture, and society.
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  • Nineteenth-century Japanese literary discourse and narrative developed a striking preoccupation with ninjō—literally “human emotion,” but often used in reference to amorous feeling and erotic desire. For many writers and critics, fiction’s capacity to foster both licentiousness and didactic values stood out as a crucial source of ambivalence. Simultaneously capable of inspiring exemplary behavior and a dangerous force transgressing social norms, ninjō became a focal point for debates about the role of the novel and a key motor propelling narrative plots.
    In Licentious Fictions: Ninjō and the Nineteenth-Century Japanese Novel (Columbia UP, 2019), Daniel Poch investigates the significance of ninjō in defining the literary modernity of nineteenth-century Japan. He explores how cultural anxieties about the power of literature in mediating emotions and desire shaped Japanese narrative from the late Edo through the Meiji period. Poch argues that the Meiji novel, instead of superseding earlier discourses and narrative practices surrounding ninjō, complicated them by integrating them into new cultural and literary concepts. He offers close readings of a broad array of late Edo- and Meiji-period narrative and critical sources, examining how they shed light on the great intensification of the concern surrounding ninjō. In addition to proposing a new theoretical outlook on emotion, Licentious Fictions challenges the divide between early modern and modern Japanese literary studies by conceptualizing the nineteenth century as a continuous literary-historical space.
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  • What were the stories of modern China-India relations in the age of empires? How did India and China engage with each other beyond pan-Asianist and anti-colonialist interactions?
    In Beyond Pan-Asianism: Connecting China and India, 1840s-1960s (Oxford UP, 2020), fifteen diverse scholars attempt to answer these questions through analyses on literature, religion, diplomacy, intelligence, political activism, nationalism, and more. Together, the chapters of the book argue for a need to understand China-India relations in the period between 1840s to 1960s beyond idealist perceptions of Asian unity. They question the use of fixed periodization and geographically constrained understandings of China-India interactions, at the same time reminding us of the complexities of political transitions and the various roles of mediators.
    This edited volume also actively engages with existing frameworks for understanding China-India relations, such as ‘Pan-Asianism’ and ‘China/India as method’ in different ways. Some contributors converge with these frameworks to show how thinkers from India and China tried to imagine alternatives to global imperialism and capitalism. Other contributors suggest that state-driven geopolitical designs and desires to overcome the nation-state system cannot be neatly demarcated.
    Prasenjit Duara, in the epilogue of the volume, points out that “India-China studies of the modern period have been largely confined either to the study of ancient civilizational exchanges or to contemporary realpolitik competitions.” He argues, “…what is not mentioned in these formulations is the extent to which these obscuring strategies are themselves an effect of postcolonial Asian societies participating in and even dominating the capitalist nation-state system for control of global resources.” Utilizing new and diverse archival materials in various languages, Beyond Pan-Asianism attempts to address these issues and highlights that modern China-India ties indeed went beyond, if not challenged, the capitalist nation-state system but also reinforced it.
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  • Compiled around 1235, the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, or Ogura's 100 Poems by 100 Poets, is one of the most important collections of poetry in Japan. Though the poets include emperors and empresses, courtiers and high priests, ladies-in-waiting and soldier-calligraphers, the collection is far more than a fascinating historical document. As the translators, James Hadley and Nell Regan, note in A Gap in the Clouds: A New Translation of Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (Dedalus Press, 2020), "these beautiful poems have endured because their themes are universal and readily understood by contemporary readers".
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  • The texts that are examined in this study move in and out of different languages or are multilingual in their origins. Texts and authors do not move randomly; rather, they follow routes shaped by the history of contact between different nations of the transpacific. As these texts move into and out of the Chinese language or become multilingual, they necessarily do not always remain Sinophone. The works of the authors discussed are refracted out of Chinese literature into American, Malaysian, and Japanese literatures and, in some cases, back into Chinese again. Following their paths through multiple languages makes visible the ways that these trajectories are informed by, are arrested by, and bend around historical and geopolitical barriers across the Pacific. To this end, examining the path that these texts from a transpacific perspective allows for the possibility of not only multilingual but multidirectional movement.
    The transpacific trajectories discussed in this book give rise to a number of different versions or interpretations of several texts. When put into conversation with one another, these texts often acquire new meaning as they move between different languages, countries, or time periods. In Rethinking the Modern Chinese Canon: Refractions Across the Transpacific (Cambria Press, 2020) author Clara Iwasaki reads four canonical Chinese writers in relation to their translations, interpellations, and interpretations in different languages, revealing them to be more worldly than previously supposed. Texts, writers, and characters appear in different languages, sometimes taking markedly different forms. Authors translate and translators become authors. When individual texts are read in the context of their language or country of origin, these valences of meaning become lost. It is in reading clusters of texts together that these hidden relationship to other writers, other languages, and other texts become visible. To this end, Iwasaki looks at four writers, Xiao Hong, Yu Dafu, Lao She, and Zhang Ailing, through what she calls refractive relations. Following transpacific circuits, these writers and texts move not simply from periphery to center, or from obscurity to canon, but back and forth between literary, linguistic, and national communities. Many literary encounters today have their origin in meetings of authors and texts decades earlier. Rather than focusing on a single text, this book focuses on the relationship between the different works and how these texts acquire meaning when read in relation to each other. 
    This book is in the Cambria Sinophone World Series headed by Victor H. Mair (University of Pennsylvania). 
    Clara Iwasaki is an assistant professor in the East Asian Studies Department at University of Alberta.
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  • The Russian cultural presence in Japan after the Meiji Revolution was immense. Indeed, Japanese cultural negotiations with Russian intellectuals and Russian literature, art, theology and political thought, formed an important basis for modern Japanese transnational intellectual, cultural, literary, and artistic production. And yet, despite the depth and range of “Japan’s Russia,” this historical phenomenon has been markedly neglected in our studies of modern Japanese intellectual life. This absence may be attributed to the fact that “Japan’s Russia” as idea and cultural expression developed outside the logic of Western modernity. There has been an interconnected logic behind this ignorance, a systematic lacuna in our historiography that tied method to historical actors, concept to theory.
    Olga V. Solovieva and Sho Konishi's Japan's Russia: Challenging the East-West Paradigm (Cambria, 2021) seeks to depart from this logic in order to identify thoughts and practices that helped produce a dynamic transnational cultural phenomenon that we identify as “Japan’s Russia.” It does so by orchestrating case studies from cutting-edge scholarship originating in multiple disciplines, each with its own methodological and theoretical implications.
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