Book Announcement: Seismic Japan: The Long History and Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo Earthquake

9780824838171Via University of Hawai’i Press.

Seismic Japan: The Long History and Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo Earthquake
Author: Gregory Smits
256pp. December 2013
Cloth - Price: $54.00ISBN: 978-0-8248-3817-1

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

The Ansei Edo earthquake shook the shogun’s capital during a year of special religious significance and at a time of particularly vigorous seismic activity. It was also a turning point because, according to the prevailing understanding of earthquakes at the time, it should never have happened. Many Japanese, therefore, became receptive to new ideas about the causes of earthquakes as well as to the notion that by observing some phenomena—for example, the behavior of catfish—one might determine when an earthquake would strike. All subsequent major earthquakes in Japan resulted in claims, always made after the fact, that certain phenomena had been signs of the impending catastrophe. Indeed, earthquake prediction in Japan from 1855 to the present has largely consisted of amassing collections of alleged or possible precursor phenomena. In addition, the Ansei Edo earthquake served as a catalyst accelerating socio-political trends already underway. It revealed bakufu military weaknesses and enhanced the prestige of the imperial deity Amaterasu at the expense of the bakufu deity Kashima.

Anyone interested in Japan, earthquakes, and natural disasters will benefit from Seismic Japan. The work also serves as essential background for understanding the peculiar history of earthquake prediction in modern and contemporary Japan.

5 illus.

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Fun Link Friday: Kanazawa in Spring

This Friday, brush up on your floral vocabulary with this tour of Kanazawa’s early-spring flowers over on かなざわ風便り.

There’s dogtooth violet (片栗の花), camellias (椿), and more. Plus a stunning cityscape! Happy spring (and warm wishes for spring to come to colder places soon)!

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Call for Papers: Contemporary Asian Craft Worlds

call for papers [150-2]We welcome submissions across disciplines and addressing any region in Asia for the panel below, which will be part of the annual College Art Association conference held in New York city, February 11-14,


Contemporary Asian Craft Worlds
Rebecca M. Brown, Johns Hopkins University; and Jennifer Way,
University of North Texas. Email: and

Crafts–aesthetically engaged objects made by hand, often balancing function with attention to sensory qualities–anchored debates over authenticity, national identity, industrialization, neoimperial relations, and globalization during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This session considers how craft has transformed in the face of new economic and political contexts impacting the production and movement of existing and new aesthetic regimes in Asia. What role does craft play in regional Asian cultural capitals, in industries such as fashion and design, or in museums, fairs, and biennials deploying craft in the name of cultural diplomacy and in the context of high art? Contributors might examine the collaborative, appropriative, or exploitative relations with craft in Asia and across the world, unpack factory techniques used to make ?handmade? objects for markets outside of Asia, examine narratives of aid and salvage in migrant communities, or engage with workers’ movements. We welcome proposals that address craft, writ large, in any Asian region.

The full call for papers can be found on the College Art Association website here:

Proposals for papers (see instructions on the CAA website for what that entails) are due via email to session chairs by May 9, 2014.

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Job Opening: Tenure-track position in Japanese


The Department of World Languages and Literatures at Western Michigan University seeks applications for a tenure-track position in Japanese, pending budgetary approval.  The position is at the rank of assistant professor and will begin in August 2014.  Ph.D. in Japanese or evidence of imminent award required.  Preferred specialization in Japanese linguistics, applied linguistics, pedagogy, or related field.  Applicants should have a genuine commitment to teaching at all levels.  Research in field is expected and will be necessary for tenure and advancement.  Responsibilities will include supervising part-time instructors, contributing to the development of the Japanese program, and participating in events and shared governance of WMU’s interdisciplinary Soga Japan Center.  This position requires native or near-native fluency in Japanese and English, college teaching experience and evidence of scholarship, and demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.  Curriculum development, experience with study abroad, and publications desirable.  Successful experience in grant-writing a plus.

Western Michigan University is a Carnegie Classification Research Extensive Institution of 25,000 students located in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has placed WMU among the 76 public institutions in the nation designated as research universities with high research activity.  WMU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from underrepresented groups.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until position is filled.

Applicants should visit to learn more about the Department of World Languages and Literatures, and to apply for the position.

Online applications should include:

a) letter of application that addresses fulfillment of qualifications;

b) vita;

c) list of references;

d) pdf of graduate transcripts;

e) summary printout of statistical data of two most recent semesters of teaching evaluations; and

f) statement of teaching philosophy.

In addition, applicants should provide up to three publications or dissertation chapters and three letters of recommendation.  The publications or dissertation chapters and letters of recommendation should be sent to Ms. Jenaba D. Waggy at


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Job Opening: Lecturer in Japanese

job opening - 5PURDUE UNIVERSITY


The School of Languages and Cultures at Purdue University invites applications for a continuing lecturer position in Japanese beginning August, 2014. Continuing Lectureships are non-tenure-track teaching positions, with medical and retirement benefits.

We seek qualified applicants with the following qualifications:

  • An MA or higher degree in Japanese language, literature, or a closely related field
  • A native/near native proficiency in Japanese and English
  • Minimum of three years of teaching experiences at the college level
  • Ability to teach Japanese language courses
  • Ability to teach survey courses on Japanese culture

Desired qualifications include: 1) ability to teach and coordinate upper level Japanese language courses; 2) ability to teach courses on Japanese culture (including literature, film, and/or pop culture).

To apply, submit electronically to a letter of application addressed to Dr. Madeleine Henry, Head of SLC, curriculum vitae, transcripts, copies of syllabi of courses taught, summary of student evaluations, and three confidential letters of recommendation.

Review of applications will begin on April 7, 2014 and continue until the position is filled. A background check is required for employment in this position. Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce.


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Job Opening: Assistant Director-Center for the Pacific Rim

job opening - 5Institution:   University of San Francisco
Location:   California, United States
Position:   Administrator; Assistant Director-Center for the Pacific Rim

Assistant Director-Center for the Pacific Rim

University of San Francisco
Department: Arts & Sciences
Job Type: Full-Time

Job Summary:
Reporting directly to the Executive Director, the Assistant Director provides key operational and administrative support for the Executive Director and the Center. The successful applicant will be responsible for and work closely with the Executive Director in the areas of grant writing and administration, communications and marketing, and event management and public programs. The Assistant Directors main responsibilities include: public program coordination, grant writing and administration, creation of the Centers e-newsletter, conference planning and organization, and events management.

Job Responsibilities:
First point of contact for communications and visitors to the Center related to public programs, visiting scholars, fellowship programs and conferences/events.  Prepare Center communications and marketing
materials for approval by the Executive Director.  Assist Executive Director with strategic planning for public programs, conferences, and events.  Research and identify grant opportunities and write grants to
fund conferences and projects for approval by the Executive Director and Director for Research.  Coordinate the publication of the Centers e-newsletter; solicit articles from Center faculty and staff, write additional articles and edit the final draft of the publication. Responsible for the daily administrative work of the Center for the Pacific Rim to include coordinating and running public programs,
administering grant awards, and managing conferences and special events for the Center.  Assist with website administration for Center and its academic journal.  Responsible for additional duties/projects
as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:
Bachelors Degree in field relevant to Asia Pacific Studies; Masters Degree desirable  At least four years of experience working in higher education, with preference for areas related to international programs or student services  Excellent communication skills  Fluency in written and spoken English  Demonstrated academic knowledge of East Asia and/or the Asia Pacific  2-3 years of proven grant writing experience that have resulted in grant awards

Other Responsibilities:
Experience working with people of diverse/multicultural backgrounds, or in student services with a diverse graduate population is preferred.  Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications and computer programs to manage data and information is required. Proficiency with graphic design software such as InDesign preferred. Experience in customer service and web-editing software preferred. Qualified candidates must have proven prioritization/time management, verbal and written communication and project management skills.  The ability to identify resources, solve problems and take initiative is critical.  Candidates must have excellent attention to detail and creativity.  Ability to build strong relationships and effective partnerships/collaborations is key.

To be considered for this position please visit our web site and apply on line at the following link:

EEO Policy
The University of San Francisco is an equal opportunity institution of higher education. As a matter of policy, the University does not discriminate in employment, educational services and academic programs on the basis of an individuals race, color, religion, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, age (except minors), sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, medical condition (cancer-related and genetic-related) and disability, and the other bases prohibited by law. The University reasonably accommodates qualified individuals with disabilities under the law.


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Call for Papers: Harvard Asia Quarterly

call for papers [150-2]The *Harvard Asia Quarterly (HAQ) *is a professional academic journal of Asian studies affiliated with the Harvard University Asia Center. We publish four times per annum on multidisciplinary topics related to issues in East, South, Central, and Southeast Asia. *HAQ* is indexed by EBSCO Publishing and the Bibliography of Asian Studies.

We are currently seeking submissions for our upcoming issue. The theme is “*Crossroads in Asia*,” focusing on intersections and interactions relevant to modern Asian society.

Submissions are to be between roughly 4000 and 7000 words, and guidelines for submissions can be downloaded at Articles must be submitted by *April 28, 2014* in order to be reviewed.

Our Winter 2012 issue is accessible at!recent-issues and contains interviews of Prof. Arthur Kleinman and former ASEAN Secretary-General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan.

Kindly email questions and submissions to

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