New Kuroda Title on Women and Buddhism in Premodern Japan

HokkejiHokkeji, an ancient Nara temple that once stood at the apex of a state convent network established by Queen-Consort Komyo (701–760), possesses a history that in some ways is bigger than itself. Its development is emblematic of larger patterns in the history of female monasticism in Japan. In Hokkeji and the Reemergence of Female Monastic Orders in Premodern Japan, Lori Meeks explores the revival of Japan’s most famous convent, an institution that had endured some four hundred years of decline following its establishment. With the help of the Ritsu (Vinaya)-revivalist priest Eison (1201–1290), privately professed women who had taken up residence at Hokkeji succeeded in reestablishing a nuns’ ordination lineage in Japan. Meeks considers a broad range of issues surrounding women’s engagement with Buddhism during a time when their status within the tradition was undergoing significant change. The thirteenth century brought women greater opportunities for ordination and institutional leadership, but it also saw the spread of increasingly androcentric Buddhist doctrine. Hokkeji explores these contradictions.

“This book makes major contributions to at least three key topics: women and Buddhism, mainstream Buddhism in premodern Japan, and religious institutions as settings for cultural and religious life. It is the first study to provide readers with a detailed and comprehensive overview of a single specific religious site and the women who lived there. Although the number of works that deal with women and Buddhism continues to grow (testifying to the on-going interest in this topic), none to my knowledge have yet attempted such a sustained analysis of a female religious order. While the so-called new Buddhism of the Kamakura period attracts the most attention from scholars, this study demonstrates the importance of the mainstream religious centers of Nara (and Kyoto) for our understanding of religions in premodern Japan.” —William M. Bodiford, University of California, Los Angeles

April 2010 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3394-7 / $50.00 (CLOTH)
Studies in East Asian Buddhism, No. 23
Published in association with the Kuroda Institute

Gender and Body in Japanese Women’s Fiction

The Other Women's LibThe Other Women’s Lib: Gender and Body in Japanese Women’s Fiction, by Julia C. Bullock, provides the first systematic analysis of Japanese literary feminist discourse of the 1960s—a full decade before the “women’s lib” movement emerged in Japan. It highlights the work of three well-known female fiction writers of this generation (Kono Taeko, Takahashi Takako, and Kurahashi Yumiko) for their avant-garde literary challenges to dominant models of femininity. Focusing on four tropes persistently employed by these writers to protest oppressive gender stereotypes—the disciplinary masculine gaze, feminist misogyny, “odd bodies,” and female homoeroticism—Julia Bullock brings to the fore their previously unrecognized theoretical contributions to second-wave radical feminist discourse.

“Julia Bullock’s lively study fills a significant lacuna in our understanding of feminist theoretical development prior to the women’s lib movement of the 1970s. Dealing with three of the most fascinating and challenging authors of the era, Bullock’s sustained literary analyses are adroit, illuminating, and informative. Her study is lucid enough to open itself to bright undergraduates, but provocative enough to engage seasoned scholars of modern literature.” —Rebecca Copeland, author of Lost Leaves: Women Writers of Meiji Japan

April 2010 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3453-1 / $25.00 (PAPER)

Cultural Internationalism and Race Politics in the Women’s Pan-Pacific

Since its inception in 1928, the Pan-Pacific Women’s Association (PPWA) has witnessed and contributed to enormous changes in world and Pacific history. Operating out of Honolulu, this women’s network established a series of conferences that promoted social reform and an internationalist outlook through cultural exchange. For the many women attracted to the project—from China, Japan, the Pacific Islands, and the major settler colonies of the region—the association’s vision was enormously attractive, despite the fact that as individuals and national representatives they remained deeply divided by colonial histories. Glamour in the Pacific: Cultural Internationalism and Race Politics in the Women’s Pan-Pacific, by Fiona Paisley, tells this multifaceted story by bringing together critical scholarship from across a wide range of fields, including cultural history, international relations and globalization, gender and empire, postcolonial studies, population and world health studies, world history, and transnational history.

“This book places at center stage an organization that embodies many of the crises of colonial modernity that scholars have been grappling with and refracts it through a set of actors and geographical locations that deserve to be better understood and taught widely. Paisley lays out her story in accessible yet analytically sophisticated ways that in turn make manifest the complex unfolding of cultural politics in the Pan-Pacific. The scholarship is extraordinarily impressive and represents the best kind of transnational research there is.” —Antoinette Burton, Bastian Professor of Transnational and Global Studies, University of Illinois

Perspectives on the Global Past
July 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3342-8 / $55.00 (CLOTH)