Aaron Reich | University of Wisconsin-Madison
“Speaking in Images: The Visual Language of Daoist Iconography”
Since the earliest commentaries to classical texts, Daoist authors from China have conceptualized their gods in visual form. By the Song period (960–1279), the Daoist tradition had shaped a more or less standard pantheon, complete with many categories of deities, including supreme gods, rulers, saviors, officials, guardians, masters, saints, tutelary gods, kings of hell, and underworld functionaries. These categories have helped both traditional audiences and modern scholars alike make sense of Daoist pictorial art, especially in instances when groups of deities appear without identifying inscriptions. One such example is a 30-foot handscroll currently housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Dating from the final years of the Ming period (1641), the painting includes over 40 unlabeled Daoist gods. Without identifying inscriptions, how do viewers recognize these deities? And once identified, how does this information enable viewers to discern the meaning of the composition? By comparing deities from the Ming handscroll painting with contemporaneous painted images and textual descriptions, I show how consistent iconographical details allow viewers to identify Daoist deities with certainty. Because of the capacity for these religious images to convey meaning by means of iconographic details, I argue that Daoist iconography operates as an expression of a visual language. In the context of ritual space and sacred scriptures, this visual language not only communicates meaning, but in many cases it also performs liturgical functions. In discussing both textual and visual materials from the Daoist tradition, aside from elucidating the visual language of Daoist iconography, I also hope this presentation highlights the value of interdisciplinary approaches to Chinese religious art.
Kainat Bashir | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“Bridging the Interreligious Gaps through Collective Devotion”
The Marian Shrine in Mariamabad, Pakistan is a Catholic Church and pilgrimage site famous for its unique ambiance, and its yearly festival commemorating the Virgin Mary’s birth. Visitors and pilgrims include Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs. The focus of this paper is on the different confluences of Catholicism, the influence of the traditional religions of Pakistan on Catholic practices and vice versa. The belief system diverges from Western forms of Catholicism, while simultaneously providing a kind of worship that transcends the boundaries of distinct religious communities. The primary purpose is to examine the trans-religious experience felt among pilgrims representing different religious groups during the three-day Mela (festival) in Mariamabad. Although devotees appear as a single large community, their individual belief systems play a critical role in perceptions of the National Shrine of Mary as a sacred site for multiple religions. The shared festival plays an imperative role in setting the shrine apart from the divisions that exist in the surrounding society. Mariamabad inspires devotional and religious feelings for all pilgrims, irrespective of religious background, and thus serves as a powerful common sacred site for more than one religious group in an area with deep and often bitter religious divisions. Hindu, Muslim, and Christian devotees all venerate Mary –who is considered a persuasive figure, and do so together, rather than as practitioners of opposing religions. Each venerates Mary according to the context of their religious perspectives. Thus, disparate groups peacefully co-exist and participate in institutional ritualistic and non-institutional practices in Mariamabad.
Laura Ritter | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“Confronting the Ritual Act: A Comparative Study of Mizuko kuyō in Japan and the United States”
Mizuko kuyō is a Japanese mourning ritual most commonly held for the parents of aborted fetuses. Although mizuko kuyō has taken on many forms since it first became prominent in Japan in the 1960s, it continually offers a ritualized space for parents to realize experientially their connection to an unborn child. In this paper, I examine mizuko kuyō within two distinct cultural contexts. I look at it in Japan where it originated out of the need to appease the spirit of a deceased child, and I examine it within American-convert Zen communities, where it was recreated at the request of students who were struggling to live with the grief they felt for a child that was never born. Because mizuko kuyō’s function depends on its cultural setting, several questions arise. In a globalized society, where exposure to cross-cultural religious practice is constantly being interpreted through individualized epistemologies, how does ritual transform? And how do ritual participants relate to culturally adapted rituals that may be embedded in ideological concepts outside of their normal experience? By comparing the development of mizuko kuyō in the United States and Japan, I show that in order to access mizuko kuyō’s meaning, it is more useful to approach the American version of the ritual as an entirely new rendition rather than a culturally imported ritual act. By illustrating its ground breaking role in responding to specific societal need across the globe, my hope is to present mizuko kuyō as a living ritual act.
Aaron Leonardi | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“Expanding Interdisciplinary First-Person Research on Asian Contemplative Practices”
It is widely known that mindfulness practice originated from South and Southeast Asian cultural and religious contexts. In recent years, this and several other imported and secularized contemplative practices have been marketed as self-help strategies, as therapeutic practices, or as physical exercise. Interest in the subject of mindfulness practice, for instance, has risen dramatically over the last decade. Only one or two scholarly articles were written on the subject in 1980, whereas over 400 were published on the subject in 2011. Even with the increased interest over the last decade, hardly any religious studies departments provide opportunities to critically study the original techniques. How can academics of religious studies start a process to integrate first-person methodologies? Outside of the religious studies, various disciplines in higher education already utilize first-person learning in public speaking, various arts, foreign languages, music, and practically all science laboratories. These courses are carried out similar to how a class on contemplative practices would be: integrating first and third-person research methods so that activities are infused with historical and theoretical understanding. Several universities have already created programs which incorporate teaching contemplative exercises in combination with their theoretical and philosophical origins. By combining theoretical and third-person methods with direct experience of the subject matter, a more personal and meaningful understanding of the cultural practices can emerge. Disciplines that could potentially work together in a program like this are Religious Studies, Anthropology, Psychology, Human Development, and South and Southeast Asian Studies.
Michael Corsi | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“Plagues and People: An Analysis of the Great Manchurian Plague and the Formation of Borderland Ethnic Identity”
One of the many outbreaks of the third plague pandemic struck the Russian-controlled city of Harbin in October 1910. In their attempt to control the epidemic and prevent it from spreading, doctors and other medical responders found it easy to make sense of the pneumonic plague through the many Oriental stereotypes which pervaded imperial discourse. This paper examines how the imperial understanding of, and prejudices towards, racial and ethnic minorities in Russian-controlled Manchuria led to the formation of ethnic identities of the Chinese and nomadic inhabitants of the Sino-Russian borderland. Had the outbreak been an isolated case, the Russian authorities would have been able to let it run its course and then move on. However, the Great Manchurian Plague caused so much loss of property and human suffering on such a large scale that the cross-cultural suspicions which it generated managed to survive the epidemic itself. Additionally, when they encountered local plague-stricken Manchu patients, Russian doctors often found themselves torn between the Eurocentric assumptions they had about Chinese primitiveness and the personal sympathies they developed with the plague victims whose suffering they witnessed first-hand. Crisis management in Manchuria was accordingly based on a variety of influences and interactions with local inhabitants which combined to determine how imperial doctors formed ethnic identifications of the Chinese in their official publications. The urgency of the situation also helped Chinese newspaper columnists and native doctors to create alternative representations of their own people which ultimately helped to balance the Russian view.
Leigh Lawrence | Yale University
“Avoiding Thucydides Trap: How Culture and Education Will Play a Crucial Role in Future Sino-US Relations”
The threat of Thucydides Trap grows parallel to China’s rapid rise as an Asian and potential global superpower, threatening US global dominance and influence over the continent. The international community is closely following the intricate game of political and economic chess between the two countries, with AIIB, TPP, THAAD, or the numerous South China Sea clashes serving as pieces. However, war is not inevitable; a potentially disastrous conflict can be avoided by an understanding of China’s motivations and objectives in the changing global perspective. I examine both Presidents Xi and Obama administrations’ diplomatic responses of aggression and appeasement and illustrate why the forthcoming Trump administration should base its policy decisions on an overall objective of alliance, not aggression. I assert that China does not want to overthrow the US as a global superpower, but rather seeks its previously denied recognition of authority and regional control. My paper addresses the importance of cultural knowledge in ameliorating diplomatic ties with China; the Achilles heel of Thucydides Trap is mutual understanding. Drawing from Kissinger and Zhou’s historic easing of rapprochement via trust and commitment to a joint objective, I argue that modern economic and political issues cannot be fully examined without understanding the historical or cultural mindset of China. In many ways the US has taken a stance of aggression, responding tit-for-tat and challenging China; the time is now for the future US administration to affirm China not as the enemy, but as the ally.
Yi Ma | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“Cross-border Gem Trade in Ruili, China-Myanmar Borderlands”
Exchange and trading networks have an undeniable importance in the process of social development in society. In China and Southeast Asia for example, archaeologists have identified several earlier trading networks dating back into prehistory, involving several prestigious goods including gems and beads. In contemporary society, gem trade has been intensified in the region, in particular, the borderlands between China and Myanmar have become one of the most active gem markets in the world. Examining the significance of this trade, this article illuminates the implications of gem trade in a contemporary borderland society. This article enriches the understanding of such economic activity in this region and highlights its contribution to sociality and development among a variety of actors. This article explores how gem traders play a role in constituting dynamic cross-border trading networks assembled by multiple agents and subjects in city of Ruili within China-Myanmar borderlands. Economic niches within Ruili’s gem markets and trading activities are identified and explored based upon ethnicity, especially Burmese and non-local Chinese. In following the stories of these networks and groups of traders and market actors, in particular international and non-local traders, I investigate how political, economic, cultural and social dimensions/contingencies have been intertwined in stimulating and configuring gem trade in this heterogeneous borderland city. This will also demonstrate how cooperation within Ruili and across the border in Myanmar among various groups of actors works to integrate the Ruili, formerly a periphery town, into an international center of gem trade.
Adrian Alarilla | University of Washington
“Limits of the Imagined Nation: Usmar Ismail’s Tamu Agung and the Incipient National Cinema of Postcolonial Indonesia”
The project of nation-building was crucial to a post-independent, postcolonial Indonesia that was enthusiastic for modernization yet steadfast in its preservation of tradition and identity. Nowhere was this struggle more exemplified than in its incipient national cinema, spearheaded by filmmaker Usmar Ismail. It was believed that the various cultures and ethnicities scattered across some seventeen thousand islands and had somewhat of a shared colonial past can somehow begin to imagine themselves as a unified nation through the modern mass medium of cinema. And yet, by the time Ismail released his film Tamu Agung (Exalted Guest) in 1955, it had become apparent that this was easier said than done. Although Ismail is now regarded as the pioneering indigenous Indonesian filmmaker, Tamu Agung itself is a political satire that critiques the policies of President Sukarno at the time. This paper exposes the fissures underlying the concept of “Nation” through a textual analysis of three musical numbers in Tamu Agung. This is paralleled by an industrial analysis of the socio-political institutions that shaped the film’s production, as well as a brief but multi-faceted review of Indonesia’s film history. The paper concludes by questioning the concept National Cinema and suggesting a more localized, indigenized formulation of cinema.
Nurrianti Jalli | Ohio University
“Citizen Journalism & Political Participation: Changing Malaysia Through New Media”
Malaysia, since her independence in 1957 has never had a free media environment. Media environment in the country is controlled by the state through two major means, which are through ownership hegemony and also through the implementation of various stringent laws. However, the diffusion of the Internet in the country in the late 1990s had provided ways for the people to overpass restrictions placed by the state on media. Plus, with the promise made by the then prime minister, Mahathir Mohammad in 1996, to allow a free Internet sphere had led to the increase use of Internet as the new media to share critical information and news on local politics. Today, with the ever developing communication technologies and the widespread of social media usage have enabled easier path to information sharing. For many years, journalism has been a practice reserved for a selected few with proper journalism training. But today, news content can be easily generated by everyday-people who never underwent proper journalism training. With minimal monitoring from the state, the people can easily provide the public with content that is highly critical of the ruling state or content containing sensitive information on local politics. A lot of studies have been done by scholars across the world to study the relationship between Internet and political participation but minimal studies were focusing on citizen journalism. This study however, focuses on citizen journalism content and its possible relationship with political literacy and political participation in Malaysian setting.
Emily Cardinali | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“Reexamining Poverty through Film”
My paper discusses how Chinese filmmaker Xie Lina thwarts traditional viewpoints of people living in poverty in China in her independent documentary, “Mother,” by providing an intimate look into her mother’s life using a digital video camera. The filmmaker accomplishes challenging a pitied view by filming her mother’s dynamic daily life that we are only granted access to through the closeness of their relationship. Xie Lina is the narrator, director, editor and herself in the documentary, but doesn’t overshadow her mother’s story in heavy conversations that act as interviews and silly moments on B-roll that acts as a daughter’s first-person perspective onto her mother. We meet the mom as a dancer, a landlord, a confidant. These peeks into the mother’s persona, defined by the freedom of individuality, are so specific to Xie Lina’s mom, yet the sentiment of her resilience can help the audience reassess their overall view of poverty. To elaborate on the how the uniqueness of film challenges the audience’s opinions, I look at Luke Robinson’s idea of independent versus contingent scenes in documentary film, and pair it with Alisa Lebow’s assertion that first person documentary cannot help but be political.
Alexandre Honey | Yale University
“The Imagined Past in Post-war Japan”
Conservatism, as it is normally understood, has been said to rely on a mobilisation of 'the past' as an explicit political resource. However, the notion of 'tradition' as an imagined organic whole paradoxically only arises under the conditions of modernity--a thesis best known as Hobsbawm and Ranger's 1983 study on 'the invention of tradition,' but not without its critics. I would like to analyse and compare the works of a number of cultural figures in 20th- century Japan to see the ways in which they each evoked a powerful vision of the imagined past. I am open to the inclusion of artists, writers, composers, dancers, etc. One such figure was Toshirō Mayuzumi (1929-1997), an award-winning composer who combined avant-garde Western instrumentation with traditional Japanese music. Classically trained, I would investigate the implications of Mayuzumi’s turn towards pan-Asianism in its post-war context. During this time he produced some of his most critically striking and original music, integrating Buddhist and Shinto elements into what some claim to be its inherently right-wing musicological structure. Using Mayuzumi and others' work as a point of departure, I would like to examine the complex meaning of 'conservatism' in the cultural production of modern Japan. It will also give us an opportunity to re-assess such critical concepts as 'proto-fascist aesthetic' (Tansman), 'imagined community' (Anderson), and the relationship between culture and politics more broadly.
Xiyue Zhang | Ohio State University
“Poets and their Children in East Asian Society: Sugawara no Michizane’s Kanshi of his Children in Chinese Context”
Michizane no Sugawara was a well-known Japanese poet and a master of kanshi – Chinese poetry. As scholars pay attentions to most of his kanshi works, his kanshi regarding his children lack relative researches. Similarly, his identity as father was eclipsed by other prominent positions such as scholar, politician, and the God of Learning. The analysis of Michizane’s kanshi about his children can facilitate us to know Michizane from a brand-new prospect - fatherhood – or a human-being full of vivid details. And “poets’ own children” as a conventional topic of kanshi has several masterpieces in China, and Michizane as a master of kanshi had a deep understanding of kanshi conventions. Hence, the traditions and poems by Chinese poets concerning their own children would be discussed to comprehend Michizane’s kanshi about this topic. Additionally, as emotions will change with times and experience, the paper would focus on the Michizane’s two kanshi collection, analyze most of kanshi of Michizane directly regarding his children in Chinese context, on the basis of his different life stages. . The main aim of this comparative study is to discover Michizane’s role as a father and possible Chinese references Michizane used to create his own kanshi of children, and the fatherhood in the ancient East Asian society.
Shota Iwasaki | University of British Columbia
“Fissured Voices and Bodies in Japanese Post-/Colonial Spaces: Kim Talse, Kawamitsu Shin’ichi, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha”
This paper will investigate how literature dealt with the concepts of ethnicity and nationhood in the context of Japanese imperialistic post-/colonialism and how its linguistic practices, including the unexpected use of them, stood in opposition to them with a special focus on the following works by writers of Korean and Okinawa origins: Trash by Kim Talse (1920-1997), Stop in A-sound by Stutter by Kawamitsu Shin’ichi (1932- ), and Dictée by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951-1982). Each work negotiated with, struggled with, and disturbed the discourses of racial, national, and linguistic identity in Japanese post-/colonial spaces through the linguistic practices. In particular, this paper will analyze the representation of voices and bodies in their texts and argue that Kim Talse utilized interjection and multilingual writing which create multiple interpretations in order to prevent us from reading it as a national/ethnic story by its interpretive undecidability, whereas Kawamitsu Shin’ichi and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha focused on stuttering not as mere deviance from normal speech, but as causing dysfunction in “national language” with corporeal resistance. In conclusion, this paper will examine these linguistic practices as disclosing the dynamics of historical, cultural and political regimes of knowledge which constituted racial, national, and linguistic identity, and as subverting these dispositions in the context of modern East Asia.
Jennifer Yoo | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“The Pursuit of Feminine Beauty in Mishima Yukio’s Modern Noh”
Mishima Yukio (三島由紀夫) admired the Noh theatre: its formal rigor, simplicity of plot, symbolism, and extremely condensed dramatic expression. Mishima’s use of the original Noh play material, however, varies from play to play in his “modern Noh” play adaptations. Upon analyzing Mishima Yukio’s “modern Noh” plays, namely Hanjo (班女), The Damask Drum (綾の鼓), and The Lady Aoi (葵の上), it becomes evident that instead what appealed to him in Noh theatre is the fantasy of an ancient feminine beauty, which is rooted in his preoccupation with sexual complex and his longing for a hyper-idealized, old Japan. This is an image that may not necessarily be unique to his “modern Noh” plays, as it also appears in his other works, such as Patriotism (憂國).
Clara Hur | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“Seung Mu (Monk's Dance)”
Seung Mu (Monk's Dance) is thought to have derived from Buddhist ritual and is now one of the most important folk dances in Korea today. The dancer manipulates long sleeves in graceful movements and expresses the agony of the secular world and the overcoming of worldly passions by beating the drum. This particular version of seung mu follows the style of Lee Mae Bang, which was taught by Kim Myo Sun in 1995 to Mary Jo Freshley, who is the director of Halla Huhm Korean Dance Studio.
Yining Lin | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“When Cultures Collide on the Jingju Stage: An Analysis of Fushide (Faust) and Woyicaike (Woyzeck)”
The last two decades of the 20th century and the first sixteen years of the 21st century has seen China explode, both politically and economically. The country’s progression from a reclusive state during the Cultural Revolution to international super power in the present day is reflected in its entertainment industry, including theatre. This paper analyzes two performances, Fushide (Goethe's Faust) and Woyicaike (Bruchner's Woyzeck) and their reflections of the duality of modern and traditional culture in contemporary China, while also exploring their places on Gilbert and Lo's Rotating Toy Model of Intercultural Theatre.
Kristina Tannenbaum | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“Tourism and The Arts: A Case Study of a Wayang Kulit Tourism Village in Wonogiri, Central Java, Indonesia”
Thanks to its diverse culture, stunning landscapes, and UNESCO World Heritage sites, tourism in Central Java, Indonesia has long played a major role both economically and culturally. With the continued rise of “cultural tourism” in the area, “tourism villages” that focus on the daily lives, history, religion, art and theatre forms have begun to develop in the area. These tourism villages in Central Java are facing a multitude of changes that have the potential to deeply affect the local communities for years to come. This paper focuses on an arts based tourism village in Wonogiri, Central Java, Indonesia. This study focuses on the steps taken to transform this community into a tourist village, the positive and negative impacts of commercialization on their craftsmanship and culture, as well as the future impacts of tourism on the community.
Seung Yeol Kim |Stanford University
“Implications of Judicial Review on Democracy: Through the Scope of Comparative Study on South Korea and Japan”
Hong Sung Hoon | Seoul National University
“Reciprocal Punch-Out: A Boxer's Body Born with Others in a Korean Boxing Gym”
This article explores the socialization process of a boxer's body in a Korean boxing gym. It is represented by three stages of education. At first, initiation into the gym as a novice. Next, training one's own body on the floor by shadowboxing. Finally, speculating one's own body directly with other bodies on the ring by sparring. Body-speculation is located especially in the center of this opentype process which a successful initiation and a reciprocal virtuous cycle are the prerequisite to. In a moment of the successful body-speculation actualized on the ring sometimes, each body is wide open to each other, and the nature of boxing, violence, is converted into the experience of pleasure. Consequently, the novice becomes not only a boxer who embodies specific body techniques and knowledges, but also a member of 's'kinship who has been born with others in the gym.
Nga Giang | University of San Francisco
“Dressing for Self-identity: How Vietnamese Wear Ao Dai as a National Rejection of Colonial Culture”
Although Ao Dai is the national costume of Vietnam, and Qipao is a cultural dress of China, they share a similar appearance at the first glance with long flaps and high collar. Due to a thousand years of being colonized, Vietnamese cultural dress suffered a stereotype of having "borrowing" traits from China and other neighbor countries. In particular, Ao Dai was considered a Chinese-derived costume, or the second version of Qipao. Additionally, Ao Dai was suspected of borrowing costume traits from Cham culture. Researchers claimed that concentrating on "borrowed traits" was no longer an unusual point to explain contemporary Vietnamese culture. However, in this paper, I will use the term of “rejecting”, instead of "borrowing", to prove how the indigenous traits have been preserved. The paper first will explain the controversial origin of Ao Dai by mainly using the Vietnamese historical records of rejecting colonial assimilation. Then, to update the suspended history of Ao Dai, several up-to-date Ao Dai's events will be added (such as Ao Dai is a high school uniform, flight attendants' uniform, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit’s uniform). In opposition to the notion of "borrowing", I expect this paper will approach a new perspective of Vietnamese Ao Dai as a long-lasting symbol of national "rejection". The paper will contribute to reaffirming the image of Ao Dai Vietnam as a national dressing heritage, which not only presents for a never-ended effort of national self-identity but also reflects the Vietnamese social perspective toward the influx of colonial culture.
Benjamin Fairfield | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“Pgaz k’ Nyau Bamboo: An Ethnographic Study of Karen Instruments, Nature, Identity, and Culture”
An 18-page booklet by Ronald Renard, claimed as the single largest contribution to Pgaz k’nyau (Karen) music, asserted that the Karen in Thailand were increasingly known more for their expertise with the guitar, piano, and violin than for their traditional music and instruments. Renard described a musical decline since Harry Marshall’s early twentieth-century seminal ethnography, another document pointing to a generalized abandonment of traditional instruments, particularly the tenaku, the iconic six-string curved neck harp of the Pgaz k’Nyau people once played by virtually every eligible bachelor. Dr. Suwichan Phattanaphraiwan has labored to bring the tenaku back into the public spotlight through performances, publications, and local, national, and global advocacy, but many other traditional bamboo instruments of the Pgaz k’Nyau remain little-known, not only in academia but increasingly within Pgaz k’Nyau communities themselves, due in part to national politics, modernization campaigns, and an increasingly restricted access to natural and cultural resources. This research sheds light on the various types and uses of bamboo among two Pgaz k’Nyau communities in Thailand, illustrating the importance of local eco-knowledge and the role of bamboo in shaping Pgaz k’Nyau music, ethics, aesthetics, beliefs, and social relations. We discuss the instruments’ legendary origins, values and meanings ascribed to the musical performances, and methods of manufacture. Informed by ethnography, the research demonstrates how bamboo musical instruments address multiple contemporary issues faced in Pgaz k’Nyau communities and theorizes a five-part Pgaz k'Nyau prescription for balanced relations of self-self, self-other, human-animal, human-forest, and between human society and the supernatural world.
Tokikake Ii | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
"Elusiveness of Social Connection in Contemporary Japan"
This paper examines re-evaluation and emphasis of social connection as ideological and cultural foundation of the post- 3.11-Disaster Japanese society. It focuses on Japanese use of the concept of the social connection through words that symbolize such rhetoric. Specifically, I analyzed social and cultural narrative that praise the concept of the word kizuna as well its synonyms - tsunagari – connection; fureai – touching one another (emotionally); kommyunitii (community). I applied social network theory proposed by Barnes as the theoretical framework of my analysis of the Japanese social connection. The main argument of the essay revolves around the following three components: pre-existent tendency of the Japanese government and public to uphold kizuna from the pre-3.11 Disaster years; the Japanese view of kizuna as the foundational ideal ideological and cultural narrative; the Japanese failure to render the ideal kizuna narrative into an actual improvement of social connection within communities in the post-3.11 period. As case studies to examine and develop my argument, I first analyzed Japanese clamor for kizuna ideal narrative within media within the post-3.11 Disaster period. Then, I examined fostering of the social connection within chou nai kai (“an in-town group meeting” or in a more generally used translation “neighborhood association”), danchis (housing complexes), and kazoku kouryu (familial interaction). Finally, I examined the gradual destruction of the social connection and continuous struggle to retain it through analyses of Murakami Haruki’s novels as well as within the communities of Shimo Kajiro Danchi and Saigai Kouei Jyuutakus (the 3.11 Disaster Public Housings).
Karina Salomatina | University of San Francisco
“Left Over or Moving Forward: Redefinition of Unmarried Urban Chinese Women over 27”
In China, where there are 33.76 million more men than women, highly educated, professional, and financially independent women became the target of serious discrimination from society that has labeled them “leftover.” In this research paper I analyze and examine ethnographic research articles, documentary videos, and statistical data in order to create an image of a contemporary leftover woman, who even though experiences great societal and parental pressure, fights for the rights to define marriage and happiness on her own terms. I also emphasize how advanced and progressive these women are based on their attitudes towards age, marriage, and leftover women concept in general. The aim of the paper is to redefine unmarried women over 27 by arguing that they are not left over but, on the contrary, moving forward. While looking at this phenomenon from the economic perspective, I claim that these women are the driving force of China’s economic growth and development. Examining Chinese women’s inclination to marry Westerners, I make predictions that if the pressure on these women continues, China will have to deal with an even bigger surplus of men. Therefore, in order to ensure social and economic stability the Chinese government has to encourage Chinese men to aspire for personal and professional development, and strive to achieve the level of so-called leftover women.
Melissa Chen | University of San Francisco
“Saving Grace: Viewing the Bodhisattva Guanyin as a Transgender Feminist Icon”
Through a cultural metamorphosis and sex transformation around the first-century, Avalokitesvara, a protector of Buddhist teachings, traveled from India to China. He became Guanyin, a white-robed Chinese woman, herald of compassion, and liberator of suffering. Because of her transformation, Guanyin’s history is inherently transgender and gender-variant. Because Guanyin, “a being with the ability to appear as a man or woman,” transgresses and shatters normative, essentialist understandings of gender as dichotomy or binary, she promotes nuanced understandings of gender [and] identity across cultures, moving away from essentialism, and away from ascribing gender identities to people simplistically - as man or as woman. While Guanyin is already a feminist icon for a variety of reasons, this presentation aims to comprehensively look at the ways in which she can be, and is already a multi-faceted trans-inclusive feminist and transgender symbol. Currently, while iconology of Guanyin is useful for reconciling "the conflicting values in women's lives," her symbolic power could and should be expanded through intellectual means to overtly and compassionately include the struggles and oppressions faced by a spectrum of gender-variant minorities from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. She is useful to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, and can liberate transgender people from being positioned in society as inferior or monstrous. In this presentation, I will highlight the ways in which Guanyin is a surviving, enduring, validating transgender icon to those who need a transcendent figure to help them cope with their traumas from rejection of, and hostility, to their gender identities.
Herlyn Alegre | Waseda University
“Reconciling Dualisms in Performing Gender: The Production and Consumption of Masculinity in a Japanese Pop Idol Concert”
This paper discusses how masculinity, as portrayed by the Japanese pop idol in a concert, is fabricated, staged and performed with the main purpose of evoking affect in the female fans. Idol-fan interactions in the concert bridge not only the spatial gap between idols and their fans but also the gap between the differences in gender portrayals in Japan and the fans’ home country, the perceptions of the real and the fantasy, and the experience of what is staged and spontaneous. Participant observation on the idol group KAT-TUN’s Chain Tour 2012 at the Tokyo Dome was conducted as well as interviews with Filipino female fans who traveled all the way to Japan to attend the concert. Du Guy et al.’s theory on the Circuit of Culture was used to achieve the following objectives: (1) Describe the representation of the idol’s image in a Japanese pop concert; (2) Trace the process of production and consumption of this image within the boundaries of the pop concert; and (3) Explain how this image affects the creation of fan identities as they reconcile the differences between Japanese masculinity and Filipino masculinity. Within the concert setting, idols form an image, which includes the following dualisms that propagate fan consumption: (1) possessing both feminine and masculine characteristics in appearance and behavior; (2) presenting themselves as both ordinary and unattainable that leave space for fans to fantasize about them; and giving off an illusion that their actions are spontaneous but in some instances are rehearsed.
Hieu Phung | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“The Red River Dikes: From Flood Control to Rice Security”
This paper examines the evolution of the Red River dike system in northern Vietnam from the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries. The focus of paper is not a history of technology but environmental issues. I am interested in how dike building, as a method of water management, signified the mutable perspective of the Vietnamese state towards its environment. The present analysis will first tackle some relevant questions that scholars have recently raised: Did dike building lend impetus for the shifting of the Red River course? How did the evolution of dikes fit in with the literature concerning the impact of the “Medieval Warm Period” in mainland Southeast Asia? As early-ripening and drought-resistant Champa rice had led to an agricultural boom in eleventh-century China, did that history repeat in the Vietnamese case if this species of rice was also spread in the aftermath of the Red River dike commission? As my research shows that these inquiries have not fully explained why dikes eventually became so critical to Vietnamese rulers, the later part of my paper seeks for another framework of interpretation. I will propose that the Vietnamese state’s commitment to the Red River dikes was virtually in tandem with its policy on the expansion of the rice farming. Between the 1200s and the 1400s, the perception of dike building in Vietnam shifted from a view that took it as a method of flood control to one that regarded it as a security technology for the rice harvests.
Halynne Shi | Yale University
“The necessity of the IMF-link in the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM)”
The origins and evolution of the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) were shaped by the financial crises of 1997 and 2008-9. East Asian frustration at the inappropriate International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies during the Asian Financial Crisis (AFC) and insufficient legitimacy of the nascent CMI during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) prompted the growth of the CMI, as well as the subsequent trend of defensive regionalism through a reduction in Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization’s (CMIM) IMF-linked portion. However, this paper argues that the IMF-linked portion is essential in alleviating the institutional moral hazard and credibility problems inherent in the CMIM. Moreover, a critical assessment of the interaction between ASEAN, its three large East Asian economies: Japan, China and Korea, and the United States are in support of continued IMF engagement in East Asia.
Asrizal Lufthi | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“The Efficacy of Decentralized Disaster Management Framework in Indonesia: Some Lessons from Lapindo Mudflow's Disaster (Lusi)”
Extensive decentralization since 1999 has fundamentally changed planning and development in Indonesia by transferring roles and responsibilities from the national to local governments (Miller 2013). Like decentralization, since 2007 disaster management (DM) responsibilities have also moved to local and provincial levels (Djalante et al. 2012). DM, which followed decentralization, and with its larger focus on building resilience (Cutter et al. 2008), though has not adequately articulated the role of the multiple stakeholders involved (Jabareen 2013; McEntire et al. 2002). Through a case of Sidoarjo Mudflow’s disaster (Lusi), this paper investigates the on-the-ground effectiveness in Indonesia of implementing local DM by analyzing its complementarity and incongruence with the institutional structures and frameworks of decentralization and the impacts of new DM framework to the local level government and communities. By using qualitative research methods, the findings show that although decentralization and DM frameworks are quite structurally similar, the former’s shortcomings yet in building the capacity of local institutions and attaining regional coordination constrain the latter; this leaves local DM institutions less proactive and more dependent on their provincial and national level counterparts. Also, the DM structure affords less transparency and accountability than what decentralized and democratic local governance has achieved. Decentralization has increased the participation of non-state actors, including NGOs, universities, and CBOs in local planning, but their contribution to DM is limited, sporadic, and uncoordinated. The paper concludes with suggestions for strengthening local DM capacity through greater collaboration between the state, civil society, communities, and the private sector.
Riddhi Shah | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“Terrorism and Piracy as Borderscapes”
The 20th and the 21st centuries have been witness to a qualitative shift in the processes of wealth accumulation. In my paper, I challenge traditional security studies approach to securitization by examining its processes that purport to prevent ‘piracy’ and ‘maritime terrorism’ in the maritime domain as a modern process of dispossession and wealth accumulation. Direct extraction and plunder were the popular tools of wealth accumulation during the era of colonialism. These processes of wealth accumulation underwent active transformation with growing popularity of neo-liberal economic policies. In our globalized world, wealth is often accumulated through practices of dispossession such as divestment of traditionally held lands, expropriation of natural resources, enclosures of genetic material, the use of credit systems as disciplinary tactics and so on. Securitization must be counted amongst these techniques of wealth accumulation. I analyze 20th and 21st century security developments in Mindanao, Philippines to understand the impact of securitization of the South China Sea on the Tausug community. I will demonstrate how conditions of possibility for wealth accumulation are generated by engendering processes of bordering – both spatial and temporal - within practices of securitization meant to prevent ‘piracy’ and ‘maritime terrorism’ in the region. These hidden practices of bordering contained in processes of maritime securitization produce tangible effects of bordering that are features of any border spaces such as ‘border interventions’, ritualized violence, and expulsions. These effects of bordering in securitization ultimately become the key to enacting policies of dispossession in the region.
Lance Ekelund | University of San Francisco
“The Boiling Sea: Origins of the South China Sea Dispute”
This research paper is a condensed history of the South China Sea disputes, starting with the earliest discoveries of the Spratly and Paracel Islands before ending at the turn of the second millennium. The goal of this paper is to give students and other professionals an easy-to-understand history when attempting to study the current South China Sea disputes and the basis of each nation’s claims. Traditional written material on the controversial South China Sea disputes contain a bias towards one particular side depending on who it was written by. In order to avoid any bias towards a particular side and focus more on the factual aspects, the paper uses a variety of sources from both the West and East Asia. The information about the historical events of the 20th century are written in academic journals and newspaper articles from the time period when describing past events and the event occurring at that moment in time, as well as providing visual aids such as maps and charts. From examining the escalation of disputes during the 20th century, it has become clear that only a diplomatic solution that all involved parties can abide by will cool tensions. By identifying the causes of these disputes and offering cooperative solutions from an Asian perspective, these diplomatic solutions can become easier to bring into reality.
Mary Louise Castillo | Ateneo De Manila University
“Japan's Contribution to the GPH-MILF Peace Process”
Japan is one of the international actors involved in the Mindanao peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). At present, Japan’s contributions consist of three (3) interdependent areas: (a) membership in the International Monitoring Team (IMT), a group of internationals that monitor the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement and development projects in conflict-affect areas; (b) membership in the International Contact Group (ICG), a group of States and INGOs providing mediation support and advise to the high-level peace panels; and (c) various capacity-building and peace building programs through the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) framework and partnerships with the MILF-led Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA). Japan’s comprehensive peace building policy in Mindanao, part of the “consolidation of peace approach”, is motivated by the promotion of liberal values and institutions (e.g. human rights, good governance, and economic development). As illustrated by its interventions, Japan has a significant and multi-level role in the peace process. Moreover, it has established partnerships with the MILF, allowing Japan to implement its various peace initiatives in conflict-affected and MILF-influenced communities. This paper has two objectives: (a) to examine Japan’s role and its relationship with the MILF; and (b) how this partnership illustrates the emergence of hybrid peace governance in the Bangsamoro where there is a coexistence of liberal and illiberal norms, institutions, and actors in the security, political, legal, economic and social subsystems of the State.
Ma. Christina Cañones | Ateneo De Manila University
“The Ghost of Bro Lou and the Lost Bells: Projections of the Japanese Image in Sites of Memory”
The image of the Japanese memorialized around the war often depict them with negative appropriations. The generation who lived through the wartime period had passed on these memorialized tales conjuring the horrors and devastating effects of war which coalesced a demonizing image of the Japanese. This finds support in the subject Bro Lou (a scholastic who belonged to the Jesuit order) whose lived experience epitomizes him as a casualty of war upon with which a community recalls their destruction in the past through his (Bro Lou’s) demise attributed to the Japanese. His supposed disturbed state that befell him as a result of World War II has proliferated into a ‘ghost’ narrative. The stimulus of such a sharing is triggered by the ruins of an old church: a nineteenth century parish found in the southern part of the Philippines. The reverberating emphasis on Bro Lou as a lone casualty of war in the locale and exactions of the Japanese’ role as contributory to his eventful loss, became a curious case of a collective memory account analysis. With a local history account as the end product of this study, it provisions a backdrop enabling the identification of which memories (knowingly or unknowingly) are subjected to elisions or highlighted, thus form a base for the exploration of the ‘politics of memory’ interlaced in the sites of memory. This study further probes into possible explications surrounding the projections of negative ascriptions to the Japanese image being reified in the sites of memory.
Seung Yang | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“English Immersion" and Shifting Paradigm of South Korean Nationalism”
I examine how the South Korean state’s consideration of “English Immersion”—proposed by President-elect Lee Myung-bak in 2008 to teach all public school subjects in English instead of in Korean— illuminates a paradigm shift in state-driven nationalism. In pursuing national competitiveness, the state originally positioned the Korean and English languages as “Korean body” and “Western utensil” respectively, delimiting Korean as an inherent and genealogical attribute of the nation while English was framed under the ideology of externalization, a necessary but external resource. However, qualitative and quantitative content analyses on Korean news articles reporting on the state discourse advocating for English Immersion show that the state unprecedentedly deviated from the previous iterations of state-driven nationalism. The state aligned itself with English, regarded English as congruent with Korean identity, and disregarded linguistic nationalism. In the state’s perspective, English was no longer merely a Western utensil, but an essential part of the Korean body, suggesting a paradigm shift in how the state foregrounds national competitiveness and demonstrating the salience of nationalism despite variable national identity.
Brittany Tinaliga | University of San Francisco
“Hanboks, Vampires, and Cross-Dressing Women: The Appeal of Korean Historical Dramas among American Viewers”
The goal of this study was to determine the appeal of historical Korean dramas among non-Korean Asians and non-Asians in the U.S and in turn what this implied for Korean production companies. This study incorporated a multi-methods approach, including CDA application, online corpus analysis, and quantitative data, to answer these research questions. The results revealed that both non-Korean Asian and non-Asian Americans found cast & acting ability and storyline, plot, dialogue, & characters to be the most appealing drama elements. Also, non-Korean membership did not hinder overall enjoyment mostly because viewers wanted to learn about Korean history and culture, enjoyed the storyline, and were able to relate to the characters and themes. After comparing and contrasting the results to past literature, the following ideas were reinforced: the viewer’s ability to relate to story themes affects reception and dramas are not analyzed in a “we vs. Korean” perspective. Furthermore, U.S. K-Drama fans consult a K-Drama “scorecard” where they examine shows according to factors such as cast acting ability, plot believability, and themes. Fans also partake in a K-Drama “expert” culture instead of taking a Korean culture expert/non-expert stance. Overall, these K-Drama “experts” are drawn to dramas with familiar/reliable actors and relatable storylines, characters, and themes—a promising prospect for Korean production companies.
Keita Moore | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“Going Backwards to Move Forwards: Popular Memory in Post-Authoritarian Korean War Films”
If the nation is an imagined community, then media are key to its nationhood(s). This paper considers two South Korean films as particular instances of this statement when viewed through the lens of popular memory dynamics. It examines Taegukgi: Brotherhood of War (2004) and Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005), both war films produced during the Sunshine Policy (1998-2007). Against this backdrop of eased tensions between the Northern and Southern regimes, each represented a (re)turn to the moment of national partition. In this, both films ask penetrating questions of wartime culpability: who or what was to blame? Taegukgi points to the Cold War ideology of anti-communism, as well as Koreans on both sides of the border. To this, Dongmakgol adds a particularly critical view of the United States—a denunciation of a neo-colonial hegemon. Both films build upon post-colonial minjung ideologies that see the Korean people as agents of their own history, rather than as pawns within greater geopolitical struggles. In this remembrance of agency—and the attendant pain of the war—the films see hope for a single nation through manipulations of cultural memory. They thus subscribe to a form of nationhood that seeks to reclaim not only the past, but the future as well.
Autumn Anderson | University of San Francisco
“The Making of a Modern Monarchy: The Kim Dynasty”
This research paper discusses the succession politics of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the debate surrounding whether or not it is based on bloodline. Currently, there is no consensus between scholars concerning the issue of whether or not the DPRK is a dynasty and follows monarchical succession. However, by examining the circumstances surrounding Kim Il-sung’s rule, it becomes clear that he created the position of supreme leader as one to be inherited by bloodline. By combining the Korean Peninsula’s history of neo-Confucian traditions and monarchical rule, his own family’s personality cult, and his own statements regarding his son and successor, Kim Jong-il, Kim Il-sung managed to create a dynasty, and express his desire for monarchical succession to his son and heir. Kim Jong-il understood his father’s wish for a hereditary monarchy, and complied both while Kim Il-sung was living, and after he died. After reviewing the immense amount of evidence that Kim Il-sung provides in both his words and actions, it is obvious that the DPRK is, and was intentionally created to be, a hereditary monarchy. By understanding this, the ability to predict succession, power struggles, and the workings of elite politics of the DPRK becomes easier and more accurate, as compared to the current situation in which predictions are often wrong and misinformed.
Hyun Jong Noh – Seoul National University
“Society of Superstition?: Mushrooming Superstition in North Korea after Arduous March”
The aim of this paper is to examine mushrooming superstition after North Korea’s famine. The previous studies on North Korea attempted to figure out the number of casualties and the possibility of the social movement but it paid relatively little attention to North Korean’s mind and their perspective. Thus, I interviewed eight North Korean defectors to explore their understanding of famine and tragedy. This study reveals that unlike outsider’s expectation, North Korean’s vengeance and sorrow was not headed toward the social revolution. Rather, North Koreans recalled the suppressed tradition ‘superstition’ or ‘folk religion’ to overcome their miserable circumstances. This study also enlists various forms of superstitious activity. This research argues two main reasons why people have such beliefs. First of all, North Korean government strategically used myth and supernatural propaganda in order to bolster their dictatorship. They depict their leader Kim-Il Sung as a god who can even use ‘warp’. This type of propaganda cannot be found in other socialist states. After the death of Kim Il-Sung, people seem to aware regime’s deception but religious and supernatural components were still strongly remained in their mind. In addition, many North Koreans were suffered from the ‘ghost’. During the massive famine era, they could not hold the funeral due to the lack of material resources. They often buried corpses without coffin and ritual. Such an insufficient ritual provoked ‘survivor’s morality’ and beliefs on the ghost is ultimately prevalent in North Korea.
Robert York | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
“‘Under Siege from Imperialists’: Rhetoric in North Korean State Media, 1998-2003”
North Korean official media speaks fondly of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung today, commemorating anniversaries of his passing and comparing his conservative successors unfavorably with his more conciliatory approach. However, a review of North Korean media during Kim’s presidency, starting in early 1998 and ending five years later, reveals an initially hostile response to Kim’s efforts at a diplomatic thaw, as their official press insisted that Kim was no different from his anti-communist predecessors. After numerous overtures by Kim’s administration and the arranging of an inter-Korean summit in 2000, the Northern media’s focus changed, though not it’s dire tone. References to the South Korean government diminished, and instead it claimed outside forces, namely the United States, were blocking the unification of the Korean people. As this media is presented in languages other than Korean, and therefore designed to be read by those outside the peninsula, this suggests that the North Korean state insists on depicting itself as a nation under siege, in need of conflict and ever-ready to defend against external threats.
Catherine Killough | Georgetown University
“Literary Autonomy in North Korea: Authority, Agency, and the Art of Control”
What explains the absence of a popular uprising in a country that, despite isolation, has experienced an infiltration of information over the years; despite lethargy, has felt the emergence of class divisions; and, despite oppression, has seen a high number of citizens risk their lives to escape every day? Given the existence of several conditions that raise the likelihood for civil unrest in North Korea, this paper highlights a shortcoming in prior theories on revolution. In particular, the North Korea case calls attention to an under-theorized constraint that citizens face when determining how to respond to oppression: literary autonomy. By this measure, the incidence of mass disobedience varies depending on 1) reader autonomy, the degree to which readers can gain access to literature, and 2) writer autonomy, the degree to which writers can disseminate written work. By underscoring the utility and significance of literary autonomy, the argument at present hopes to contribute to explanations for variation in civil discontent across authoritarian states. This paper not only complements and builds upon previous theories, but also promotes closer analysis of literary processes, which remain an understudied mechanism beyond the humanities.