Japanese Buddhist Temples Exhibit Opens at JCCH

An exhibition of Japanese Buddhist temple objects and furnishings will be on display at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i community gallery from December 1, 2012 through February 22, 2013. The show is curated by professors emeriti George and Willa Tanabe, based on their new book, Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawai‘i: An Illustrated Guide. The book serves a dual role as the exhibition catalog as well as a colorful visitors’ guidebook to the 90 extant temples in the islands.

The Tanabes will also be leading a series of Saturday tours to selected temples on December 8, January 19, January 26, and February 9. For more information, see the JCCH website for details, or call (808) 945-7633 ext. 28 or email info@jcch.com to make reservations. UPDATE: After each tour, the Tanabes will discuss their book and sign copies.

UH Press at American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, November 17-20

AAA logoUniversity of Hawai‘i Press is exhibiting at this year’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, which is being held at McCormick Place Convention Center, November 17-20.

Press acquisitions editor Patricia Crosby and Asian studies product manager Steven Hirashima are attending. Please visit us at Booth 219.

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.

October 2012 Author Events

Thursday, October 11, 12 noon to 1:15 p.m.
Author and filmmaker Tom Coffman will speak on his latest book, I Respectfully Dissent: A Biography of Edward H. Nakamura, as 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 call: 808-956-3774 or email: biograph@hawaii.edu.

Thursday, October 11, 5:00 p.m.
UH Hilo associate professor Mark Panek will be on O‘ahu to kickoff Windward Communitiy College’s Common Book program, which has selected his award-winning Big Happiness: The Life and Death of a Modern Hawaiian Warrior for the 2012-2013 academic year. His talk will be held at the newly opened Library Learning Commons, the first green library in the UH system. The goal of the Common Book Program is that everyone at the college—students, faculty, and staff, as well as people in the community—read and discuss the same book over an entire semester.

Friday, October 12, 2:30 p.m.
The Department of American Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa presents “THE LEAVES KEEP FALLING,” a film screening and panel discussion at the Center for Korean Studies Auditorium. Liam Kelley, associate professor and undergraduate coordinator for UHM Department of History, will be one of the discussants. His book, Beyond the Bronze Pillars: Envoy Poetry and the Sino-Vietnamese Relationship, examined the politico-cultural relationship between Vietnam and China in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. The event is co-sponsored with the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the Center for Pacific Islands Studies.

Sunday, October 21, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Barbara Amos will launch her new book, Bones of Contention: Animals and Religion in Contemporary Japan, on Sunday, October 21, 5-7 pm, at Linda Stein’s Gallery, New York City. For more information, see the previous post.

Saturday, October 27, 9:30-11:00 a.m.
As part of the “Saturday University—Myanmar and Its Many Peoples” lecture series, Arizona State University professor Juliane Schober will speak on “Buddhist Activism in Myanmar,” at the Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Stimson Auditorium. Tickets are $5 for SAM members, $10 for nonmembers. Professor Schober’s book, Modern Buddhist Conjunctures in Myanmar: Cultural Narratives, Colonial Legacies, and Civil Society, will be available for purchase from Elliott Bay Book Company.

Illustrated Guide to Hawaii’s Japanese Buddhist Temples

Japanese Buddhist Temples of Hawaii
Upon entering a Japanese Buddhist temple in Hawai‘i, most people—whether first-time visitors or lifelong members—are overwhelmed by the elaborate and complex display of golden ornaments, intricately carved altar tables and incense burners, and images of venerable masters and bodhisattvas. These objects, as well as the architectural elements of the temple itself, have meanings that are often hidden in ancient symbolisms. Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawai‘i: An Illustrated Giode, by George J. Tanabe and Willa Jane Tanabe, two local authorities on Japanese art and religion, provides a thorough yet accessible overview of Buddhism in Hawai‘i followed by a temple-by-temple guide to the remaining structures across the state.

October 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3663-4 / $45.00 (CLOTH)
ISBN 978-0-8248-3679-5 / $22.99 (PAPER)
A Latitude 20 Book

Zen and Swordsmanship

Sword of Zen
Takuan Sōho’s (1573–1645) two works on Zen and swordsmanship are among the most straightforward and lively presentations of Zen ever written and have enjoyed great popularity in both premodern and modern Japan. Although dealing ostensibly with the art of the sword, Record of Immovable Wisdom and On the Sword Taie are basic guides to Zen—“user’s manuals” for Zen mind that show one how to manifest it not only in sword play but from moment to moment in everyday life.

Along with translations of Record of Immovable Wisdom and On the Sword Taie (the former, composed in all likelihood for the shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu and his fencing master, Yagyū Munenori), Sword of Zen, by Peter Haskel, includes an introduction to Takuan’s distinctive approach to Zen, drawing on excerpts from the master’s other writings. It also offers an accessible overview of the actual role of the sword in Takuan’s day, a period that witnessed both a bloody age of civil warfare and Japan’s final unification under the Tokugawa shoguns. Takuan was arguably the most famous Zen priest of his time, and as a pivotal figure, bridging the Zen of the late medieval and early modern periods, his story (presented in the book’s biographical section) offers a rare picture of Japanese Zen in transition.

October 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3678-8 / $23.00 (PAPER)

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)

A Religious History of Pure Land Literature in Tibet

Luminous Bliss
Pure Land Buddhism as a whole has received comparatively little attention in Western studies on Buddhism despite the importance of “buddha-fields” (pure lands) for the growth and expression of Mahāyāna Buddhism. In Luminous Bliss: A Religious History of Pure Land Literature in Tibet, the first religious history of Tibetan Pure Land literature, Georgios Halkias delves into a rich collection of literary, historical, and archaeological sources to highlight important aspects of this neglected pan-Asian Buddhist tradition. He clarifies many of the misconceptions concerning the interpretation of “other-world” soteriology in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and provides translations of original Tibetan sources from the ninth century to the present that represent exoteric and esoteric doctrines that continue to be cherished by Tibetan Buddhists for their joyful descriptions of the Buddhist path. The book is informed by interviews with Tibetan scholars and Buddhist practitioners and by Halkias’ own participant-observation in Tibetan Pure Land rituals and teachings conducted in Europe and the Indian subcontinent.

“By providing both a sweeping historical overview of its development, and a detailed survey of its wide-ranging textual corpus, Luminous Bliss takes the study of the Tibetan Pure Land tradition to a whole new level. And in doing so Halkias reveals not only how the soteriology of Sukhavati shaped the practice of Buddhism in Tibet, but also how it informed Tibetan conceptualizations of the environment, society, and the state.” —Johan Elverskog, Southern Methodist University

Pure Land Buddhist Studies
September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3590-3 / $49.00 (CLOTH)

New in Dimensions of Asian Spirituality

Theravada Buddhism
Theravada Buddhism: The View of the Elders, by Asanga Tilakaratne, brings to life the age-old religious tradition of Theravada (literally, “view of the elders”) Buddhism as it is found in ancient texts and understood and practiced today in South and Southeast Asia. Following a brief introduction to the life of the historical Buddha and the beginning of his mission, the book examines the Triple Gem (the Buddha, his teachings, and the community of monastic followers) and the basic teachings of the Buddha in the earliest available Pali sources. Basic Buddhist concepts such as dependent co-origination, the four noble truths, the three trainings, and karma and its result are discussed in non-technical language, along with the Buddha’s message on social wellbeing. The author goes on to chronicle his own involvement as an observer-participant in “the Theravada world,” where he was born and raised.

Dimensions of Asian Spirituality
September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3673-3 / $17.00 (PAPER)

Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan

Drawing on Tradition
Manga and anime (illustrated serial novels and animated films) are highly influential Japanese entertainment media that boast tremendous domestic consumption as well as worldwide distribution and an international audience. Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan, by Jolyon Baraka Thomas, examines religious aspects of the culture of manga and anime production and consumption through a methodological synthesis of narrative and visual analysis, history, and ethnography.

“Studies of religion in popular culture often treat contemporary artifacts as if they are created ex nihilo, objects unmoored from any previous media or cultural conditions. Jolyon Baraka Thomas here charts a new course for engaging religion and the media of popular culture by demonstrating the myriad ways manga and anime matter. Such popular media matter to the creation of culture, to religion and the study thereof, as well as to the sometimes violent expressions of the extremities of faith. Thomas’ suggestive book ably proves that these comics are not the ‘funny papers,’ but deeply serious, just as they can be seriously playful.” —S. Brent Plate, author of Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the World, and managing editor of Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief

September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3654-2 / $25.00 (PAPER)

Animals and Religion in Contemporary Japan

Bones of Contention
Since the 1990s the Japanese pet industry has grown to a trillion-yen business and estimates place the number of pets above the number of children under the age of fifteen. There are between 6,000 to 8,000 businesses in the Japanese pet funeral industry, including more than 900 pet cemeteries. Of these about 120 are operated by Buddhist temples, and Buddhist mortuary rites for pets have become an institutionalized practice. In Bones of Contention: Animals and Religion in Contemporary Japan, Barbara Ambros investigates what religious and intellectual traditions constructed animals as subjects of religious rituals and how pets have been included or excluded in the necral landscapes of contemporary Japan.

“In this thoughtfully argued book, Barbara Ambros adroitly maneuvers through difficult terrain—rituals of death, changing cultural conceptions, and the relationships between humans and other animals. While many such studies of animals as pets have focused on North American and European cultures, Ambros’ work in East Asian studies is groundbreaking. Bones of Contention opens up a whole new area in the rapidly emerging field of animal studies and religion.” —Laura Hobgood-Oster, Southwestern University, author of The Friends We Keep: Unleashing Christianity’s Compassion for Animals and Holy Dogs and Asses: Animals in the Christian Tradition

September 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3674-0 / $29.00 (PAPER)

Gender, Power, and Buddhist Practice in Vietnam

The Buddha Side
The most common description of the supernatural landscape in Vietnam makes a distinction between Buddhist and non-Buddhist “sides.” The “Buddha side” (ben phat) is the focus of this investigation into the intersection of gender, power, and religious praxis. Employing an anthropological approach to Buddhist practice that takes into account modes of action that are not only socially constructed and contextual, but also negotiated by the actors, The Buddha Side: Gender, Power, and Buddhist Practice in Vietnam, by Alexander Soucy, uniquely explores how gender and age affect understandings of what it means to be a Buddhist.

The Buddha Side is an outstanding study. Embracing complexity and variation, Alexander Soucy deftly describes and analyzes the wide range of attitudes toward, engagements with, and meanings of Buddhism and Buddhist practice in contemporary northern Vietnam. It is a model anthropological study of religion, especially in its approach to gender, and will be of value to all scholars who seek a deeper understanding of religion as a lived human experience.” —Shaun Kingsley Malarney, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

Topics in Contemporary Buddhism
July 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3598-9 / $49.00 (CLOTH)