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#AsiaNow Speaks with Yoshikuni Igarashi

Yoshikuni Igarashi is Professor of History at Vanderbilt University and author of Homecomings: The Belated Return of Japan’s Lost Soldiers, published by Columbia University Press and winner of the honorable mention for the 2018 AAS John Whitney Hall Book Prize. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. Homecomings focuses on the former soldiers who belatedly returned to postwar Japan after the end of the Asia Pacific War. It pays particular attention to Japanese POWs detained in Siberian labor camps and soldiers who survived in the jungles of the South Pacific for more than a quarter century. Their returns at various points in postwar history, beginning in the late 1940s and continuing into the 1970s, caused tension between the returnees, who brought home memories of traumatic loss, and Japanese society, which had been separated from the war for a number of years. The book examines the returnees’ struggle to articulate their experiences as well as the ways in which their voices thr ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Jaeeun Kim

Jaeeun Kim is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Korea Foundation Assistant Professor of Korean Studies at the University of Michigan. She is author of Contested Embrace: Transborder Membership Politics in Twentieth-Century Korea, published by Stanford University Press and recipient of the 2018 AAS James B. Palais Book Prize Honorable Mention. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. My book analyzes transborder membership politics in and around the Korean peninsula, focusing on the complex relationships between the states in the Korean peninsula, colonial-era ethnic Korean migrants and their descen­dants, and the states in which they have resided. The book explores when, how, and why a state seeks to claim a certain transborder population as “its own,” and how transborder coethnics participate in this process as they seek long-distance membership on their own terms. The spatio-temporal scope of the book covers critical politico-legal and social transformations in northeast Asia ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Satoko Shimazaki

Satoko Shimazaki is Associate Professor of Japanese theater and literature at the University of Southern California and author of Edo Kabuki in Transition: From the Worlds of the Samurai to the Vengeful Female Ghost, published by Columbia University Press and winner of the 2018 AAS John Whitney Hall Book Prize. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. Edo Kabuki in Transition is a revisionist history of the all-male kabuki theater of Japan. It explores the crucial role kabuki played in early modern times (1600-1868) in building a historically grounded urban community in the young shogunal capital of Edo, specifically by allowing a broad public to participate in and rewrite history centered on the elites. The book also shows how this function begins to wane in the early nineteenth century by exploring the trope of the vengeful female ghost who is bent on getting revenge on the object of a personal grudge—in particular Oiwa in Tsuruya Nanboku’s canonical ghost play Tokaido Yotsuya ka ...

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Drinking Bomb & Shooting Meth: An Interview with “Asia Shorts” Author Jeffrey W. Alexander

Last July, Hendrix College President and AAS Editorial Board Chair Bill Tsutsui introduced #AsiaNow readers to a new AAS book series, Asia Shorts. In these “small volumes with a big message,” Tsutsui explained, readers would find “rigorous, timely, and accessible work in our field,” written in concise, readable prose. We are happy to announce that the first Asia Shorts book is now available: Drinking Bomb & Shooting Meth: Alcohol and Drug Use in Japan, written by Pueblo (CO) Community College Dean of Arts and Sciences Jeffrey W. Alexander. Drinking Bomb & Shooting Meth relates the history of drug and alcohol production and sale in Japan between the late 19th century and the present day, using these substances as an entry point into an examination of the country’s cultural, social, and economic evolution over the decades. Here, Tsutsui interviews Alexander about his research, the challenges he faced in writing the book, and what’s most likely to be filling his own ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Noriko Manabe

Noriko Manabe is associate professor at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music & Dance and author of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Protest Music After Fukushima, published by Oxford University Press and winner of the 2017 AAS John Whitney Hall Book Prize. What inspired you to research this topic? In 2011, I returned to Japan to finish my book on Japanese club musics (i.e., hip-hop, reggae, EDM), and I found that many of my contacts, like Rankin Taxi and ECD, had become involved in the post-3.11 antinuclear movement. (Both had recorded antinuclear songs previous to 3.11). I sensed their alarm, not only about the fallout from the nuclear accident itself, but from its implications for media coverage, collusion, freedom of information, and the future of Japanese democracy. Living in Japan on sabbatical in 2012, the urgency of this topic became evident to me. Therefore, I decided to complete a book on this topic first. What obstacles did you face in this project? What turned out better/eas ...

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