Seismic Japan Explores the Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo Earthquake

Seismic Japan: The Long History and Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo EarthquakeWhat are we to make of contemporary newspapers in Japan speculating about the possible connection between aquatic creatures and earthquakes? Of a city council deciding to issue evacuation advice based on observed animal behavior? Why, between 1977 and 1993, did Japan’s government spend taxpayer money to observe catfish in aquariums as part of its mandate to fund earthquake prediction research? All of these actions are direct legacies of the 1855 Ansei Edo earthquake, one of the major natural disasters of the period. In Seismic Japan:The Long History and Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo Earthquake, Gregory Smits investigates the science, politics, and lore of seismic events in Japan as he examines this earthquake in a broad historical context.

The Ansei Edo earthquake shook the shogun’s capital during a year of special religious significance and at a time of particularly vigorous seismic activity. It was also a turning point because, according to the prevailing understanding of earthquakes at the time, it should never have happened. Many Japanese, therefore, became receptive to new ideas about the causes of earthquakes as well as to the notion that by observing some phenomena—for example, the behavior of catfish—one might determine when an earthquake would strike.

December 2013 | 256 pages, 5 illus. | ISBN: 978-0-8248-3817-1 | Cloth $54.00

Experimental Buddhism: Innovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan

Experimental Buddhism

Experimental Buddhism highlights the complex and often wrenching interactions between long-established religious traditions and rapid social, cultural, and economic change. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, it is one of the first studies to give readers a sense of what is happening on the front lines as progressive Buddhist priests try to reboot their roles and traditions to gain greater significance in Japanese society. The book profiles innovative as well as controversial responses to the challenges facing Buddhist priests.

The work’s central theme of experimental Buddhism provides a fresh perspective to understand how priests and other individuals employ Buddhist traditions in selective and pragmatic ways, frequently risking criticism from their peers, constituents, and high-ranking religious authorities. Using these inventive approaches during a time of crisis and transition for Japanese temple Buddhism, priests and practitioners from all denominations seek solutions that not only can transform their religious traditions but also influence society and their fellow citizens in positive ways.

November 2013, 11 illustrations
$60.00 ISBN: 978-0-8248-3833-1, Cloth
$32.00 ISBN: 978-0-8248-3898-0, Paper
Topics in Contemporary Buddhism

Dilemmas of Adulthood: Japanese Women and the Nuances of Long-Term Resistance

Dilemmas of AdulthoodIn Dilemmas of Adulthood, Nancy Rosenberger investigates the nature of long-term resistance in a longitudinal study of more than fifty Japanese women over two decades. Between 25 and 35 years of age when first interviewed in 1993, the women represent a generation straddling the stable roles of post-war modernity and the risky but exciting possibilities of late modernity.

Rosenberger’s analysis establishes long-term resistance as a vital type of social change in late modernity where the sway of media, global ideas, and friends vies strongly with the influence of family, school, and work. Women are at the nexus of these contradictions, dissatisfied with post-war normative roles in family, work, and leisure and yet—in Japan as elsewhere—committed to a search for self that shifts uneasily between self-actualization and selfishness. The women’s rich narratives and conversations recount their ambivalent defiance of social norms and attempts to live diverse lives as acceptable adults. Dilemmas of Adulthood is essential for anyone wishing to understand how Japanese women have maneuvered their lives in the economic decline and pushed for individuation in the 1990s and 2000s.

November 2013, 224 pages, 2 illustrations
$24.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3696-2, Cloth
$50.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3887-4, Paper

Regionalizing Culture: The Political Economy of Japanese Popular Culture in Asia

Regionalizing CultureThis ambitious work provides a comprehensive, empirically grounded study of the production, circulation, and reception of Japanese popular culture in Asia. While many studies typically employ an interactive approach that focuses on the “meaning” of popular culture from an anthropological or cultural studies point of view, Regionalizing Culture emphasizes that the consumption side and contextual meaning of popular culture are not the only salient factors in accounting for its proliferation. The production side and organizational aspects are also important. In addition to presenting individual case studies, the book offers a big-picture view of the dramatic changes that have taken place in popular culture production and circulation in Asia over the past two decades.

“This highly informative book provides a comprehensive examination of the successful deployment of Japanese popular culture throughout East Asia. Surveying a broad spectrum of cultural products, including games, animation, and TV drama, it argues both that there is a Japanese model to popular cultural production and that that model of cultural commodification has contributed to the regionalization of East Asia. The use of extensive interviews with diverse stakeholders, including both industry personnel and audience, provides a fresh approach to the subject that will satisfy a growing interest in Japanese popular culture in university curriculum.” —Lisa Leung, Lingnan University, Hong Kong

October 2013, 256 pages, 13 illustrations
$42.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3694-8, Cloth

The Aesthetics of Strangeness: Eccentricity and Madness in Early Modern Japan

The Aesthetics of Strangeness: Eccentricity and Madness in Early Modern JapanEccentric artists are “the vagaries of humanity” that inhabit the deviant underside of Japanese society: This was the conclusion drawn by pre–World War II commentators on most early modern Japanese artists. Postwar scholarship, as it searched for evidence of Japan’s modern roots, concluded the opposite: The eccentric, mad, and strange are moral exemplars, paragons of virtue, and shining hallmarks of modern consciousness. In recent years, the pendulum has swung again, this time in favor of viewing these oddballs as failures and dropouts without lasting cultural significance.

This work corrects the disciplinary (and exclusionary) nature of such interpretations by reconsidering the sudden and dramatic emergence of aesthetic eccentricity during the Edo period (1600–1868). A study of impressive historical and disciplinary breadth, The Aesthetics of Strangeness also makes extensive use of primary sources, many previously overlooked in existing English scholarship. Its coverage of the entire Edo period and engagement with both Chinese and native Japanese traditions reinterprets Edo-period tastes and perceptions of normalcy. By wedding art history to intellectual history, literature, aesthetics, and cultural practice, W. Puck Brecher strives for a broadly interdisciplinary perspective on this topic. The Aesthetics of Strangeness demystifies this emergent paradigm by illuminating the conditions and tensions under which certain rubrics of strangeness— ki and kyō particularly—were appointed as aesthetic criteria. Its revision of early modern Japanese culture constitutes an important contribution to the field.

2013, 272 pages, 26 illustrations; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3666-5, Cloth $42.00

The Environmental Context of a Global Power

Japan at Nature's EdgeJapan at Nature’s Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power, edited by Ian Jared Miller, Julia Adeney Thomas, and Brett L. Walker, is a timely collection of essays that explores the relationship between Japan’s history, culture, and physical environment. It greatly expands the focus of previous work on Japanese modernization by examining Japan’s role in global environmental transformation and how Japanese ideas have shaped bodies and landscapes over the centuries.

“At last, a multi-faceted environmental history of Japan! Ranging from a Tokugawa national biological survey to the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, this fascinating volume is now the place to start for anyone interested in the subject.” —J. R. McNeill, Georgetown University

July 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3876-8 / $30.00 (PAPER)

New in the Nanzan Library of Asian Religion and Culture

Nothingness and DesireThe six lectures that make up this book were delivered in March 2011 at London University’s School of Oriental and Asian Studies as the Jordan Lectures on Comparative Religion. They revolve around the intersection of two ideas, nothingness and desire, as they apply to a re-examination of the questions of self, God, morality, property, and the East-West philosophical divide.

“Many readers already know Jim Heisig through his ground-breaking critical studies and translations of Japanese philosophy. Others admire him for his efforts at interreligious dialogue and his personal activities related to global justice, education for the disenfranchised, and ecological sustainability. In this book, Heisig engages his extraordinary grasp of philosophical resources, eastern and western, Buddhist and Christian, to address the global crises we face today.” —Thomas P. Kasulis, The Ohio State University

Nanzan Library of Asian Religion and Culture
July 2013
ISBN 978-0-8248-3885-0 / $49.00 (CLOTH)
ISBN 978-0-8248-3886-7 / $25.00 (PAPER)

Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932

Three-Dimensional ReadingA 29th-century dystopian society seen through the eyes of a mutant-cum-romantic poet; a post-impressionist landscape of orbs and cubes experienced by a wandering underdog; an imaginary sick room generated entirely from sounds reaching the ears of an invalid: These and other haunting re-presentations of time and space constitute the Japanese modernist landscape depicted in Three-Dimensional Reading: Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu.

“This book makes an important contribution to our understanding of Japanese modernism. The translations, each with a helpful and thought-provoking introduction, have been skillfully chosen to offer fresh insights on canonical writers or contribute to our understanding of lesser-known authors. All of the stories are interesting, and several are truly remarkable. I highly recommend the volume for both Asian and comparative literature programs.” —William Gardner, Swarthmore College

July 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3801-0 / $25.00 (PAPER)

April 2013 Author Events

Whether you’re in or near New York, Carlsbad, D.C., or Kaunakakai, please join UHP authors at their events!

Thursday, April 11
6:30 to 8 p.m.
Bianca Bosker will be at the China Institute, NYC, to speak on her intriguing new book, Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China, and the phenomenon of “duplitecture.” Click here for event details and to purchase tickets ($10 member / $15 non-member).

For more on this fascinating topic:
Read the Atlantic article Duplitectural Marvels: Exploring China’s Replica Western Cities
Listen to an interview of Bianca Bosker by Chris Gondek of Heronandcrane on Portland State’s KPSU.

Saturday, April 13
2:00 p.m.
Head over to the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, California for “Sincerely, Ukulele,” featuring Jim Tranquada’s book talk on The ‘Ukulele: A History, followed by a performance by ‘ukulele artist Brittni Paiva. For details and to purchase tickets, click here.

Sunday, April 14
In a mash-up of sorts, two UH Press authors will present short lectures as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festivals two-day anime marathon, which will feature all 26 episodes of Shinichiro Watanabe’s Samurai Champloo. Both talks are free and will be held in the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art.

11:00 a.m.
“Ukiyo-e Pictures and the World of the Pleasure Quarters”
Julie Nelson Davis, associate professor in the Department of the History of Art, University of Pennsylvania, and author of Utamaro and the Spectacle of Beauty.

3:00 p.m.
“Picaresque Tales, Travelers and Lawbreakers”
Constantine Vaporis, professor and director of Asian studies, University of Maryland Baltimore Campus; author of Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo, and the Culture of Early Modern Japan.

Wednesday, April 24
5:30 p.m.
Anwei Law will sign her monumental work, Kalaupapa: A Collective Memory, at Kalele Bookstore & Divine Expressions in the heart of Kaunakakai, Moloka‘i. Currently a resident of Seneca Falls, NY, where she works as the international coordinator of IDEA, she will be visiting Hawai‘i during most of May–watch for a post on next month’s events.

UH Press at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, March 21-24, San Diego

AAS Annual ConferenceUniversity of Hawai‘i Press will be exhibiting at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, March 21-24, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.

Editors Patricia Crosby and Pamela Kelley will be attending, together with marketing director Colins Kawai and Asia studies product manager Steve Hirashima. Please visit us at booths 307, 309, and 311, where we will be offering a 20% discount and free shipping in the U.S. (Free shipping applies only to orders received or placed at the conference.)

Our publishing partners will be exhibiting nearby: Ateneo de Manila University Press/University of the Philippines Press (booth 313), Cornell University East Asia Program (booth 308), MerwinAsia/Seoul Selection/Shanghai Press and Publishing Development (booth 314), NIAS Press-Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (booth 312), and NUS Press-Singapore (booth 310). See you in San Diego!

New Catalog Available: Asian Studies 2013

Asian Studies 2013
The UH Press Asian Studies 2013 catalog is now available! The catalog has been redesigned to showcase our new and forthcoming Asian studies titles. (All books published prior to late 2012 and currently in print can be found at our website.) To view the PDF, click on the catalog cover image to the left.

Highlights include:

* An illustrated anthology of well-known masterpieces and unusual writing from 18th-century Edo’s counterculture — An Edo Anthology: Literature from Japan’s Mega-City, 1750–1850

*Four new titles in the Spatial Habitus series — The Hermit’s Hut: Asceticism and Architecutre in India, China’s Contested Capital: Architecture, Ritual, and Response in Nanjing, Architecture and Urbanism in Modern Korea, and Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China

* Short fiction from Japan’s foremost Marxist writer, Kobayashi Takiji, including a new translation of an anticapitalist classic that became a runaway bestseller in Japan in 2008, nearly eight decades after its publication — The Crab Cannery Ship and Other Novels of Struggle

* A timely collection of essays exploring Japan’s role in global environmental transformation and how Japanese ideas have shaped bodies and landscapes over the centuries — Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power

* An expansive new study on the varied roles Southeast Asia’s monumental remains (Angkor, Pagan, Borobudur, and Ayutthaya, among others) have played in the histories of its modern nations — A Heritage of Ruins: The Ancient Sites of Southeast Asia and Their Conservation

* Close description and analysis of the history, geographical whereabouts, and doctrinal positions of early schools of Buddhism by André Bareau, one of the foremost scholars of Buddhism of his generation — The Buddhist Schools of the Small Vehicle

* Two volumes in the new series Korean Classics Library — Salvation through Dissent: Tonghak Heterodoxy and Early Modern Korea and Imperatives of Culture: Selected Essays on Korean History, Literature, and Society