November 2012 Author Events

Thursday, November 8, 12 noon to 1:15 p.m.
Wendy S. Arbeit shares her experiences in researching Hawaiian cultural and utilitarian objects, her techniques used in revealing their patterns, and how she documented them with detailed line drawings in her award-winning book, Links to the Past: The Work of Early Hawaiian Artisans.

Some of the questions that will be addressed:
What went into tracking down those artifacts now scattered across the globe?
What do the 1,400 illustrations tell you about pre- and early contact Hawaiian culture and the ways it changed in response to Westerners?
What sort of questions are raised by the grouping of so many objects?

The talk is part of the Brown Bag Biography series at the Center for Biographical Research, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Henke Hall 325, 1800 East-West Road. For more information, see the UH event calendar or call 808-956-3774 or email: biograph@hawaii.edu.

Isaiah Walker

Thursday, November 8, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
BYU-Hawaii professor and former competitive surfer Isaiah Walker will  give a lecture at Arizona State University on his thought-provoking book, Waves of Resistance: Surfing and History in Twentieth-Century Hawai‘i. Walker explains how Hawaiian surfers have successfully resisted colonial encroachment in the po‘ina nalu (surf zone). In making his case, he also explores empowerment and masculinity, media representation of islanders, identity struggles, and other topics. The talk is open to the public and will be held in West Hall, Room 135, at ASU in Tempe. For more information, see the ASU calendar posting.

Tuesday, November 13, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
See below listing under November 18 for George and Willa Tanabe’s Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawai‘i.

Saturday, November 17, 3:00 p.m.
San Diego resident Leilani Holmes will visit Basically Books in Hilo, Hawai‘i to discuss and sign copies of her recent work, Ancestry of Experience: A Journey Into Hawaiian Ways of Knowing. Born in Honolulu in 1952 to a Hawaiian mother, Holmes was adopted as an infant by a haole (Caucasian) couple who moved to Ohio when she was four years old. The book recounts, explores, and analyzes the author’s quest to reclaim her origins and come to terms with the duality inherent in being an indigenous adoptee. The two-column format of the book mirrors this dichotomy, with a personal, conversational style of narrative on one side, and academic explanatory text on the other.

Saturday, November 17, 4:00 p.m.
Seattle author/poet/artist Alan Chong Lau will be at the Wing Luke Museum’s Tateuchi Story Theatre to join his sister, food writer Linda Lau Anusasananan, as she reads from The Hakka Cookbook, published by University of California Press. (Read a related post on the UC Press blog here.) Alan Lau provided the artwork for the book, done in a similarly whimsical, sumi-e style that illustrates his UH Press-published book of poetry, Blues and Greens: A Produce Worker’s Journal.

Sunday, November 18, 2:00 p.m.
George J. Tanabe and Willa Jane Tanabe will appear at Barnes & Noble, Ala Moana Center, for a signing of their just-released guidebook, Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawai‘i: An Illustrated Guide. The Tanabes personally visited each of the ninety temples still in existence, and took photographs not only the buildings’ exteriors but of the ornate altars and interior details. Over 360 of these color photos are contained in the book. Descriptions of each temple and explanations of the symbolism of objects and design elements will help temple visitors decipher the meaning behind these physical expressions. Also at this event, information will be distributed on the related exhibit due to open December 1 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i.

Last-minute update: On Tuesday, November 13, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., George and Willa Tanabe will give a PowerPoint lecture at the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin Annex Temple (makai of the main temple), 1727 Pali Highway. Open to the public, with a $10 fee. For more information, click here for a link to the Dharma Light Project brochure and map, or call 808-536-7044.

Self and Image Creation in a Himalayan Valley

Making FacesTaberam Soni, Labh Singh, Amar Singh, and other artists live and work in the hill-villages of the lower Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, India. There they fashion face-images of deities (mohras) out of thin sheets of precious metal. Commissioned by upper-caste patrons, the objects are cultural embodiments of divine and earthly kinship. As the artists make the images, they also cross caste boundaries in a part of India where such differences still determine rules of contact and correspondence, proximity and association. Once a mohra has been completed and consecrated, its maker is not permitted to touch it or enter the temple in which it is housed; yet during its creation the artist is sovereign, treated deferentially as he shares living quarters with the high-caste patrons. Making Faces: Self and Image Creation in a Himalayan Valley, by Alka Hingorani, tells the story of these god-makers, the gods they make, and the communities that participate in the creative process and its accompanying rituals.

“With its close-up and theoretically sophisticated treatment of Indian artisans at work, this stimulating book raises important issues concerning the making of art in a religious setting. The author includes wonderful vignettes, such as a description of how to make a Kullu royal umbrella, and an artist’s charming story of the Sun and the Divine Architect. With its excellent and compelling color photographs, this well documented book deserves to attract a broad audience of readers interested in South Asian studies and in art history.” —Richard Davis, Bard College

September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3525-5 / $45.00 (CLOTH)

Shotoku Cults and the Mapping of Medieval Japanese Buddhism

Plotting the Prince
Plotting the Prince: Shotoku Cults and the Mapping of Medieval Japanese Buddhism, by Kevin Gray Carr, traces the development of conceptual maps of the world created through the telling of stories about Prince Shōtoku (573?–622?), an eminent statesman who is credited with founding Buddhism in Japan. It analyzes his place in the sacred landscape and the material relics of the cult of personality dedicated to him, focusing on the art created from the tenth to fourteenth centuries. The book asks not only who Shōtoku was, but also how images of his life served the needs of devotees in early medieval Japan.

“In this remarkable study Kevin Carr shows how Prince Shōtoku became one of the most widely revered among the many nobles and priests who implanted the Buddhist faith in the hearts of the Japanese people. A crown prince who served as regent under his aunt, Empress Suiko, he directed the resources of the state to support the religion at a crucial moment in its arrival from the Asian mainland. At his country villa near Nara he built the famous Hōryū-ji monastery, whose Eastern Precinct became a shrine to his memory after his death. Carr introduces exciting new pictorial evidence of the growth of the Shōtoku cult in Japan’s Middle Ages, and he brilliantly analyzes the intriguing eleventh-century panoramic paintings of Shōtoku’s life that covered three walls of the E-den (Picture Hall) in the Eastern Precinct.” —John M. Rosenfield, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of East Asian Art, Emeritus, Harvard University

September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3463-0 / $40.00 (CLOTH)

Tracing Obscenity Trials in Postwar Japan

The Art of Censorship in Postwar JapanIn 2002 a manga (comic book) was for the first time successfully charged with the crime of obscenity in the Japanese courts. In The Art of Censorship in Postwar Japan, Kirsten Cather traces how this case represents the most recent in a long line of sensational landmark obscenity trials that have dotted the history of postwar Japan. The objects of these trials range from a highbrow literary translation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and modern adaptations and reprintings of Edo-period pornographic literary “classics” by authors such as Nagai Kafu to soft core and hard core pornographic films, including a collection of still photographs and the script from Oshima Nagisa’s In the Realm of the Senses, as well as adult manga. At stake in each case was the establishment of a new hierarchy for law and culture, determining, in other words, to what extent the constitutional guarantee of free expression would extend to art, artist, and audience.

The Art of Censorship in Postwar Japan is among the most lucid and engaging cross-disciplinary projects to emerge from Japan studies in recent years. It will appeal to a broad readership both inside and outside Japan studies, in particular scholars of literature, visual culture, law, and the emerging field of affect studies. Kirsten Cather accomplishes this remarkable feat by combining close readings of aesthetic, literary, and visual texts; careful exegesis of court cases and juridical documents; and detailed rendering of cultural, historical, and political contexts. The Art of Censorship demonstrates once and for all, without ever forcing the issue, that culture and politics are inexorably intertwined. I can think of no other study in the Japanese case that does it so well.” —Gregory M. Pflugfelder, Columbia University

Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute
July 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3587-3 / $45.00 (CLOTH)

Song Culture in the Yingzao Fashi Building Manual

Chinese Architecture and MetaphorChinese Architecture and Metaphor: Song Culture in the Yingzao Fashi Building Manual, by Jiren Feng, reveals significant and fascinating social and cultural phenomena in the most important primary text for the study of the Chinese building tradition. Unlike previous scholarship, which has reviewed this imperially commissioned architectural manual largely as a technical work, this volume considers the Yingzao Fashi’s unique literary value and explores the rich cultural implications in and behind its technical content.

“This fascinating and erudite study takes a fresh and original approach to the most significant document in Chinese architectural history. Taking the terminology and textual strategies of the Yingzao fashi as his starting point, and drawing both on literature and on the structures and aesthetics of surviving buildings, Jiren Feng develops a complex and sophisticated cultural analysis of the text and of Chinese historical traditions of architectural writing more broadly, demonstrating that matter and metaphor cannot be disentangled in Chinese architectural thinking and practice. As well as being an argument about architecture, this is a study of poetics and of sensibilities, and a history of the meaning of grand buildings in Chinese cosmology and politics.” —Francesca Bray, University of Edinburgh

June 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3363-3 / $53.00 (CLOTH)
Spatial Habitus: Making and Meaning in Asia’s Architecture
Published in association with Hong Kong University Press

Fully Illustrated Look at the Plaited Arts in Everyday Life

Plaited ArtsPlaited Arts from the Borneo Rainforest, edited by Bernard Sellato, is the first comprehensive work of its kind and size. It promotes a “contextual” approach, combining not just botanical and technical, but also economic, social, and ritual elements. The twenty-one contributors are the world’s leading experts on the subject, scholars and artisans who live in Borneo or have spent many years there and have become deeply involved, on a personal and emotional level, with the people of the island and their cultures. They hail from ten different nations, including Malaysia and Indonesia, and from Borneo itself: Sarawak, Sabah, and Kalimantan. This beautifully illustrated, oversize volume includes more than 1,000 photographs, 930 in color.

May 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3619-1 / $70.00 (CLOTH)

Hyperallergic on The Painted King and the Aim of Public Art

The Painted KingThe Painted King: Art, Activism, and Authenticity in Hawai‘i is Glenn Wharton’s account of his efforts to conserve the Big Island’s Kamehameha statue, but it is also the story of his journey to understand the statue’s meaning for the residents of Kapa‘au. The book was the subject of a panel discussion at NYU last March, which was covered by Ben Valentine of the art blog Hyperallergic.

Wharton spoke briefly at the event, followed by invited experts of whom Valentine notes: “One speaker I especially enjoyed was Harriet Senie [professor of art history at CUNY Graduate Center]. Senie reminded the audience that the Lincoln Memorial was made to celebrate Lincoln uniting the union, but now has become a memorial for the end of slavery. A work’s meaning changes with context, and she celebrated Wharton for recognizing this in his conservation of the statue.”

In his book, Wharton sums up the experience: “[It] offered an opportunity for people who had never participated in public dialogue to express their opinions. Some suggested that this gave them experience and confidence to take civic action on issues such as unplanned development.” Valentine concludes: “I think this gets at the core of what much of public art aims to do—to remind us of history, to become a place for community to gather, remember the past and inspire the onlookers of today.”

Read the Hyperallergic post here: http://hyperallergic.com/48103/glenn-wharton-re-painting-a-king/

Japanese Cinema in the Digital Age

Japanese CinemaDigital technology has transformed cinema’s production, distribution, and consumption patterns and pushed contemporary cinema toward increasingly global markets. In the case of Japanese cinema, a once moribund industry has been revitalized as regional genres such as anime and Japanese horror now challenge Hollywood’s preeminence in global cinema. In Japanese Cinema in the Digital Age, a rigorous investigation of J-horror, personal documentary, anime, and ethnic cinema, Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano deliberates on the role of the transnational in bringing to the mainstream what were formerly marginal B-movie genres. She argues persuasively that convergence culture, which these films represent, constitutes Japan’s response to the variegated flows of global economics and culture.

May 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3594-1 / $47.00 (CLOTH)

The Painted King Wins Historic Hawaii Preservation Award

The Painted KingThe Painted King: Art, Activism, and Authenticity in Hawai‘i, by Glenn Wharton, will be among the books receiving this year’s Historic Hawai‘i Foundation Preservation Media Award.

The award ceremony will be held on Friday, May 11, 2012, at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu in the Pīkake Room at 4:00 pm. A reception will follow the presentation program. Tickets to the awards ceremony may be purchased for $45 each (HHF members) or $60 (general admission). Visit http://www.historichawaii.org/ for more information.

Evil and the Rhetoric of Legitimacy in Medieval Japanese Buddhism

The Seven Tengu ScrollsThe Seven Tengu Scrolls: Evil and the Rhetoric of Legitimacy in Medieval Japanese Buddhism, by Haruko Wakabayashi, is a study of visual and textual images of the mythical creature tengu from the late Heian (897–1185) to the late Kamakura (1185–1333) periods. Popularly depicted as half-bird, half-human creatures with beaks or long noses, wings, and human bodies, tengu today are commonly seen as guardian spirits associated with the mountain ascetics known as yamabushi. In the medieval period, however, the character of tengu most often had a darker, more malevolent aspect. Wakabashi focuses in this study particularly on tengu as manifestations of the Buddhist concept of Māra (or ma), the personification of evil in the form of the passions and desires that are obstacles to enlightenment. Her larger aim is to investigate the use of evil in the rhetoric of Buddhist institutions of medieval Japan. Through a close examination of tengu that appear in various forms and contexts, Wakabayashi considers the functions of a discourse on evil as defined by the Buddhist clergy to justify their position and marginalize others.

“Haruko Wakabayashi gives us a meticulously researched, entertaining, and thought-provoking study of the image of the tengu. Using a wealth of written and visual sources, she is able to show that this odd long-nosed or bird-like figure, often avoided in scholarship as a sort of hobgoblin of marginal folk belief, was in fact an important figure, absolutely essential to the polemics and self-conception of central institutions and actors in medieval Japanese Buddhism.” —Hank Glassman, Haverford College

April 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3416-6 / $50.00 (CLOTH)

Art, Production, and Display in Edo Japan

Obtaining ImagesThe Edo period (1603–1868) witnessed one of the great flowerings of Japanese art. Towards the mid-seventeenth century, the Japanese states were largely at peace, and rapid urbanization, a rise in literacy and an increase in international contact ensued. The number of those able to purchase luxury goods, or who felt their social position necessitated owning them, soared. Painters and artists flourished and the late seventeenth century also saw a rise in the importance of printmaking. Obtaining Images: Art, Production, and Display in Edo Japan, by Timon Screech, introduces the reader to important artists and their work, but also to the intellectual issues and concepts surrounding the production, consumption and display of art in Japan in the Edo period.

April 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3613-9 / $50.00 (CLOTH)

More March Author Events

Sunday, March 18, 2-3:30 pm, Native Books/Nā Mea Hawai‘i: Wendy Arbeit, author of Links to the Past: The Work of Early Hawaiian Artisans, will give a free talk on how she researched Links, what she discovered, and why drawings can offer more information than photographs. The discussion will be preceded by live demonstrations by cultural practitioners and followed by a book-signing by the author and light refreshments. Books will be available for purchase at the shop, located at the ‘ewa end of Ward Warehouse, 1050 Ala Moana Blvd. (phone: 596-8885).

Monday, March 19, 6:30-7:30 pm, Thinking Out Loud: Talking Issues, Taking Action (KZOO-AM 1210): Don Hibbard, coauthor of Hart Wood: Architectural Regionalism in Hawai‘i and other books on architecture, will be interviewed by radio host Willa Tanabe. The program is sponsored by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i.