In Anticipation of Mark Twain’s Autobiography

Letters from HawaiiNext month (November 15, to be exact), the much-anticipated first volume of The Autobiography of Mark Twain will be available from University of California Press.

What should you do in the meantime?

Read Mark Twain’s Letters from Hawaii! The 30-year-old Twain, who had not yet been outside the U.S., composed twenty-five travel letters for the Sacramento Union during his 4-month stay in the Sandwich Islands. A tireless sightseer, Twain went everywhere and wrote on whatever interested him: scenery and climate, politics, social conditions, Polynesian legends and lore, the monarcy, missionaries, business, and history. Letters and Twain’s Hawai‘i experiences opened the door to a new and lucrative profession for the writer—that of lecturer—and gave him material for a series of popular travel accounts that would culminate in his first important book, The Innocents Abroad.

Mark Twain’s Letters from Hawaii
Edited by A. Grove Day
ISBN 978-0-8248-0288-2 / $17.99 (PAPER)

Contemporary Polynesian Poetry in English

Mauri OlaMauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English, edited by Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri, and Robert Sullivan, is a follow-up volume to the highly acclaimed Whetu Moana, the first anthropology of Polynesian poems in English edited by Polynesians. The new book includes poetry written over the last twenty-five years by more than eighty writers from Aotearoa, Hawai‘i, Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, Tahiti, and Rotuma.

This anthology includes selections from poets including Tusiata Avia, Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, Rangi Faith, Sia Figiel, Imaikalani Kalahele, Brandy Nalani McDougall, Karlo Mila, J. C. Sturm, Robert Sullivan, Apirana Taylor, Konai Helu Thaman, Haunani-Kay Trask, Hone Tuwhare, Albert Wendt, and Wayne Kaumualii Westlake.

Albert Wendt’s most recent book, The Adventures of Vela, was awarded this year’s Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Southeast Asia/Pacific region).

October 2010 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3541-5 / $26.00 (PAPER)

On the Kiso Road with Toson

Kiso RoadThis month’s issue of Smithsonian magazine features an article by Thomas Swick on exploring Japan’s historic Kiso Road on foot. Swick is advised by his travel companion, Japan scholar Bill Wilson, to do some preliminary reading and he suggests Before the Dawn, Shimazaki Toson’s classic novel of life on the Kiso Road in the years following Perry’s arrival in 1853. Read the article and view the accompanying photos (including the one shown here) by Chiara Goia.

Before the DawnBefore the Dawn, translated by William Naff, was awarded the 1987 Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature. Through the life of the novel’s protagonist, Aoyama Hanzo (based on Toson’s father), a Kiso post official and rural intellectual, the novel depicts the political and social upheavals of mid-19th-century Japan.

“No other book known to me captures the feel of the Meiji period even nearly so well.” —Washington Post

“A vivid demonstration of the richness and ferment of Japan’s intellectual life.” —The New Yorker

“In Toson’s earnest and ambitious attempt to tell the story of one man’s tragedy set against the huge backdrop of the Meiji Restoration, there is an element of nobility and grandeur. And in Naff’s translation . . . this comes through.” —New York Times Book Review

“An impressive revelation of Japanese history and culture from a Japanese perspective.” —Asiaweek

UH Press will publish the definitive English-language biography of Toson, William Naff’s The Kiso Road: The Life and Times of Shimazaki Toson, in January 2011.

Anthology of Literature by Koreans in Japan

Into the LightInto the Light: An Anthology of Literature by Koreans in Japan, edited by Melissa L. Wender, is the first anthology to introduce the fiction of Japan’s Korean community (Zainichi Koreans) to the English-speaking world. The collection brings together works by many of the most important Zainichi Korean writers of the twentieth century, from the colonial-era “Into the Light” (1939) by Kim Sa-ryang to “Full House” (1997) by Yu Miri, one of contemporary Japan’s most acclaimed and popular authors.

“This groundbreaking anthology is urgently needed. It will be of particular interest to the growing numbers of English-language readers wanting to know about the experiences of migrants and minorities. The high-quality translations will also be useful in the classroom in a number of fields including Japanese literature and history, comparative literature, gender studies, and diaspora studies.” —Steve Rabson, professor emeritus, Brown University

October 2010 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3490-6 / $22.00 (PAPER)

Short Stories by Wakako Yamauchi

RosebudSecret desires, unfulfilled longing, and irrepressible humor flow through the stories of Wakako Yamauchi, writings that depict the lives of Nisei, second-generation Japanese Americans. Through the medium of Yamauchi’s storytelling, readers of Rosebud and Other Stories enter the world of desert farmers, factory workers, gamblers, housewives, con artists, and dreamers. Elegantly simple in words and complex in resonance, her stories reveal hidden strength, resilience, and the persistence of hope.

“Wakako Yamauchi is one of the foremothers of Asian American writing. Her prose is sharp, her voice strong, her dialogue true. Each story in Rosebud is a little gem that the reader turns slowly, sending glints of light off in unexpected directions. It is not often we get to hear the voice of an older Asian American woman in fiction, and that voice is richly present here in stories that celebrate change, memory, relationships, things that are lost . . . and kept.” —Paul Spickard, University of California, Santa Barbara

Intersections: Asian and Pacific American Intercultural Studies
October 2010 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3260-5 / $19.00 (PAPER)

The Adventures of Vela Wins Commonwealth Writers’ Prize

The Adventures of VelaThe Adventures of Vela, by Albert Wendt and published last fall by UH Press and Huia Publishers, was awarded the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the Southeast Asia/Pacific region.

At the award ceremony in April, Huia’s Robyn Bargh commented: “We were honored to . . . see Albert’s work recognized in this way. [The award] shows he is one of the worlds leading indigenous writers.” Among this year’s finalists were J. M. Coetzee, Peter Carey, and Thomas Keneally.

For more information, go to

Luo Guanzhong’s Comic Novel of the Ming Dynasty in Song Masquerade

The Three SuiThe twenty-chapter novel The Three Sui Quash the Demons’ Revolt, is traditionally attributed to Luo Guanzhong (d. after 1364?), the alleged author of two of China’s most famous and beloved works of fiction, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and The Water Margin. The Three Sui tells the story of the uprising of adherents of the Maitreya Buddha led by Wang Ze in 1047–1048. Wang Ze was eventually executed and all future heterodox activity outlawed. Paradoxically, The Three Sui treats the rebellion as an occasion for slapstick, baggy-pants humor in which facts are distorted and wildly mixed with fiction.

“Lois Fusek’s annotated translation of this neglected work of traditional Chinese vernacular fiction makes a significant contribution to our understanding and appreciation of that important body of work. Her work is of the very highest order and in draft form has invariably met with an enthusiastic response from students in my courses on Chinese literature at the University of Chicago. There is a wonderful lighthearted insouciance about this text that makes it virtually unique in the history of Chinese fiction, and it should attract not only students of the subject but anyone interested in narratology, the history of fiction, or a good read.” —David T. Roy, professor emeritus of Chinese literature at the University of Chicago and translator of the Chin P’ing Mei (titled The Plum in the Golden Vase)

August 2010 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3406-7 / $49.00 (CLOTH)

Victoria Kneubuhl Thinking Out Loud

Victoria KneubuhlVictoria Kneubuhl, author of Murder Casts a Shadow and Hawai‘i Nei: Island Plays, will be a guest on the Japanese Cultural Center’s Thinking Out Loud: Talking Issues, Taking Action (KZOO-AM 1210), Monday, July 26, 6:30-7:30 pm.

Kneubuhl is a winner of the Hawai‘i Literary Arts Council’s Award for Literature. Her plays have been performed in Hawai‘i and elsewhere in the Pacific, the continental U.S., Britain, and Asia. She is currently the writer and co-producer for the television series Biography Hawaii.

New Translation of Ise monogatari

The Ise StoriesIse monogatari is one of classical Japan’s most important texts. It influenced other literary court romances like The Tale of Genji and inspired artists, playwrights, and poets throughout Japanese history and to the present day. In a series of 125 loosely connected episodes, the Ise tells the story of a famous lover, Captain Ariwara no Narihira (825–880), and his romantic encounters with women throughout Japan. Each episode centers on an exchange of love poems designed to demonstrate wit, sensitivity, and “courtliness.”

In The Ise Stories, Joshua Mostow and Royall Tyler present a fresh, contemporary translation of this classic work, together with a substantial commentary for each episode.

July 2010 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3451-7 / $19.00 (PAPER)

New in the Hawaii Studies on Korea Series

Soldiers on the Cultural Front
Soldiers on the Cultural Front: Developments in the Early History of North Korean Literature and Literary Policy, by Tatiana Gabroussenko, presents the first consistent research on the early history of North Korea’s literature and literary policy in Western scholarship. It traces the introduction and development of Soviet-organized conventions in North Korean literary propaganda and investigates why the “romance with Moscow” was destined to be short lived. It reconstructs the biographies and worldviews of major personalities who shaped North Korean literature and teases these historical figures out of popular scholarly myth and misconception. The book also investigates the specific forms of control over intellectuals and literary matters in North Korea.

July 2010 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3396-1 / $49.00 (CLOTH)
Hawai‘i Studies on Korea
Published in association with the Center for Korean Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Readings from Andha Yug

Andha YugA readers theatre production of excerpts from Andha Yug, Dharamvir Bharati’s critically acclaimed play taken from the Indian epic Mahabharata, will be held on Saturday, June 26, at 7:30pm at Orvis Auditorium. For more information on this free event call 808-956-8246 or click here.

The reading will be accompanied by visual images from the Mahabharata and Gamelan music. Translator Alok Bhalla will introduce the performance and play a role as well. A question and answer session will follow the performance.

Scripting Modernity in Japanese Drama

A Beggar’s Art
In the opening decades of the twentieth century in Japan, practically every major author wrote plays that were published and performed. The plays were seen not simply as the emergence of a new literary form but as a manifestation of modernity itself, transforming the stage into a site for the exploration of new ideas and ways of being. A Beggar’s Art: Scripting Modernity in Japanese Drama, 1900-1930, is the first book in English to examine the full range of early twentieth-century Japanese drama. Accompanying his study, M. Cody Poulton provides his translations of representative one-act plays. Poulton looks at the emergence of drama as a modern literary and artistic form and chronicles the creation of modern Japanese drama as a reaction to both traditional (particularly kabuki) dramaturgy and European drama. Translations and productions of the latter became the model for the so-called New Theater (shingeki), where the question of how to be both modern and Japanese at the same time was hotly contested.

June 2010 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3452-4 / $29.00 (PAPER)