Book Announcement: An Encyclopedia of Japan’s Cultured Warriors

Samurai
An Encyclopedia of Japan’s Cultured Warriors
by Constantine Nomikos Vaporis

Alphabetically arranged entries along with primary source documents provide a comprehensive examination of the lives of Japan’s samurai during the Tokugawa or Edo period, 1603–1868, a time when Japan transitioned from civil war to extended peace.

The samurai were an aristocratic class of warriors who imposed and maintained peace in Japan for more than two centuries during the Tokugawa or Edo period, 1603–1868. While they maintained a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, as a result of the peace the samurai themselves were transformed over time into an educated, cultured elite—one that remained fiercely proud of its military legacy and hyper-sensitive in defending their individual honor.

This book provides detailed information about the samurai, beginning with a timeline and narrative historical overview of the samurai. This is followed by more than 100 alphabetically arranged entries on topics related to the samurai, such as ritual suicide, castles, weapons, housing, clothing, samurai women, and more. The entries cite works for further reading and often include sidebars linking the samurai to popular culture, tourist sites, and other information. A selection of primary source documents offers firsthand accounts from the era, and the volume closes with a selected, general bibliography.

Features

  • Highlights important events related to the samurai and overviews the background of the samurai
  • Offers more than 100 alphabetically arranged reference entries for authoritative information about the samurai and their world
  • Includes sidebars of interesting facts, notes the role of the samurai in popular culture, and mentions various tourist sites for readers to visit
  • Provides suggestions for further reading, and an end-of-work bibliography directing users to other important works about the samurai
  • Features more than 50 photos related to the samurai and their world

https://www.abc-clio.com/ABC-CLIOCorporate/product.aspx?pc=A4999C

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Book Announcement: A New History of Medieval Japanese Theatre: Noh and Kyōgen from 1300 to 1600

A New History of Medieval Japanese Theatre: Noh and Kyōgen from 1300 to 1600
Authors: Pinnington, Noel J.

This book traces the history of noh and kyōgen, the first major Japanese theatrical arts. Going beyond P. G. O’Neill’s Early Nō Drama of 1958, it covers the full period of noh’s medieval development and includes a chapter dedicated to the comic art of kyōgen, which has often been left in noh’s shadow. It is based on contemporary research in Japan, Asia, Europe and America, and embraces current ideas of theatre history, providing a richly contextualized account which looks closely at theatrical forms and genres as they arose.

The masked drama of noh, with its ghosts, chanting and music, and its use in Japanese films, has been the object of modern international interest. However, audiences are often confused as to what noh actually is. This book attempts to answer where noh came from, what it was like in its day, and what it was for. To that end, it contains sections which discuss a number of prominent noh plays in their period and challenges established approaches. It also contains the first detailed study in English of the kyōgen repertoire of the sixteenth-century.

https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9783030061395

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2019 Summer Kuzushiji Workshop

The Center for East Asian Studies Committee on Japanese Studies at the University of Chicago is pleased to announce the 2019 Early Modern Japan Summer Workshop: Reading Kuzushiji. The workshop will meet from June 17th-21st. The year’s workshop will feature two tracks: Professor Fujikata Hiroyuki of Tohoku University’s Northeast Asia Center will instruct the intermediate group in the reading of manuscript materials from the Tokugawa and early Meiji periods, and Dr. Nobuko Toyosawa (PhD, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), will lead a three-day introductory workshop focusing on print materials. Participants in Dr. Toyosawa’s group will be prepared to join the intermediate group from day 4 of the workshop. The workshop will conclude with an informal symposium on the morning of Saturday, June 22nd. We invite participants to present on their current research.

The workshop is open to faculty, graduate students, advanced undergraduates, librarians, curators, and independent scholars who are interested in reading print and manuscript materials from the Tokugawa and early Meiji periods.  Please note that the workshop will be conducted in Japanese and participants should have a working knowledge of classical grammar and some familiarity with hentaigana.  There is a $100 program fee that covers copy costs and lunch each day.

The workshop venue is in the John Hope Franklin Room 224, Social Sciences Building, 1126 E. 59th Street

Applications can be submitted online at https://japanatchicago.wufoo.com/forms/reading-kuzushiji-summer-2019

Modest funds are available to assist faculty and graduate students coming from institutions unable to offer support.

Additional inquiries can be directed to the workshop organizer, Professor Susan Burns (slburns@uchicago.edu).  The application deadline is May 1, 2019.

Participants are responsible for making their own housing arrangements.  In the past, participants have used airbnb to identify inexpensive lodging options.  In addition, housing is available in guest houses in Hyde Park with a listing available here.

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Book Announcement: American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War

American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War
by Duncan Ryūken Williams

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674986534&content=reviews

This groundbreaking history tells the little-known story of how, in one of our country’s darkest hours, Japanese Americans fought to defend their faith and preserve religious freedom.

The mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II is not only a tale of injustice; it is a moving story of faith. In this pathbreaking account, Duncan Ryūken Williams reveals how, even as they were stripped of their homes and imprisoned in camps, Japanese American Buddhists launched one of the most inspiring defenses of religious freedom in our nation’s history, insisting that they could be both Buddhist and American.

Nearly all Americans of Japanese descent were subject to bigotry and accusations of disloyalty, but Buddhists aroused particular suspicion. Government officials, from the White House to small-town mayors, believed that Buddhism was incompatible with American values. Intelligence agencies targeted the Buddhist community for surveillance, and Buddhist priests were deemed a threat to national security. On December 7, 1941, as the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, Attorney General Francis Biddle issued a warrant to “take into custody all Japanese” classified as potential national security threats. The first person detained was Bishop Gikyō Kuchiba, leader of the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist sect in Hawai‘i.

In the face of discrimination, dislocation, dispossession, and confinement, Japanese Americans turned to their faith to sustain them, whether they were behind barbed wire in camps or serving in one of the most decorated combat units in the European theater. Using newly translated sources and extensive interviews with survivors of the camps and veterans of the war, American Sutra reveals how the Japanese American community broadened our country’s conception of religious freedom and forged a new American Buddhism.

“American Sutra tells the story of how Japanese American Buddhist families like mine survived the wartime incarceration. Their loyalty was questioned, their freedom taken away, but their spirit could never be broken. A must-read for anyone interested in the implacable quest for civil liberties, social and racial justice, religious freedom, and American belonging.”—George Takei, actor, director, and activist

“In his revealing new history of Japanese American internment, Williams foregrounds the Buddhist dimension of the Japanese American experience. His moving account shows how Japanese Americans transformed Buddhism into an American religion, and, through that struggle, changed the United States for the better.”—Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Sympathizer

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Book Announcement: The Haiku of Basho

The Haiku of Basho, by John White and Kemmyo Taira Sato

The Buddhist Society, London: 2019

See: https://www.thebuddhistsociety.org/page/5-7-5-the-haiku-of-basho-1

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) is widely acknowledged as the greatest of all the Japanese haiku poets. In the original Japanese, the two defining features of the haiku form are its 5-7-5 sound unit format (the syllable being the corresponding unit in English) and its rhythm. This selection of three hundred of Basho’s finest haiku represents the first successful strict translation into English haiku of what was actually written, some 350 years ago, by a genius of the form. The renditions are beautiful; the crucial cadences are retained.

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Funding: Japan-US Friendship Commission Fellowships

The Fellowship Program for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan is a joint activity of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Awards support research on modern Japanese society and political economy, Japan’s international relations, and U.S.-Japan relations. The program encourages innovative research that puts these subjects in wider regional and global contexts and is comparative and contemporary in nature. Research should contribute to scholarly knowledge or to the general public’s understanding of issues of concern to Japan and the United States. Appropriate disciplines for the research include anthropology, economics, geography, history, international relations, linguistics, political science, psychology, and sociology. Awards usually result in articles, monographs, books, digital materials, translations, editions, or other scholarly resources.

In keeping with the JUSFC’s commitment to foster the next generation of leaders in developing and maintaining the Japan-U.S. relationship, NEH encourages applications to this program from junior scholars (that is, scholars who have earned their terminal degree within the last seven years).  Scholars at any career stage are, however, eligible to apply.

The fellowships are designed for researchers with advanced Japanese language skills whose research will require use of data, sources, documents, onsite interviews, or other direct contact in Japanese. Fellows may undertake their projects in Japan, the United States, or both, and may include work in other countries for comparative purposes. Projects may be at any stage of development. The fellowships provide $5000 per month, for 6-12 months of full-time work. Eligibility is limited to a) U.S. citizens and b) non-citizens who have lived in the U.S. for at least the three-year period immediately preceding the application deadline.

Application Deadline: April 24, 2019 (for projects beginning between 2/1/20 and 9/1/21)

Additional information and materials (including samples of successful applications) are available at: http://www.neh.gov/grants/research/fellowships-advanced-social-science-research-japan

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Call for Applications: Japanese Summer School at SOAS

DURATION:    2 weeks or 4 weeks

TUITION FEE:  £1,150 (10% discount if you apply by 31 March)

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

  • A university student or a graduate at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.

FEATURED EVENTS

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Apply

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: Summer 2019

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Programme Description

Learning a language enables you to communicate; it gives direct access to foreign-language sources. Learning a language opens up a world of possibilities for dialogue, understanding, personal development and careers: languages set you free.

Choose to learn Chinese Mandarin at level 1a (Beginner) or level 1b (Advanced Beginner), or combine both levels over 4 weeks.

Japanese Level 1a (Beginner)
1 – 12 July 2019

This is a basic introductory language course in the written and spoken language for absolute beginners and is equivalent to the first term of Japanese language study at university. Students are not assumed to have any previous knowledge of the language or its script.

The course covers several basic constructions of the language, enabling students to acquire basic skills in reading, writing, comprehension and speaking. Successful students will gain the ability to read and write short simple texts, and communicate on simple everyday topics. Emphasis will be placed on good pronunciation and on the social and linguistic conventions of everyday conversation.

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Gain knowledge and understanding of basic grammar
  • Gain knowledge and understanding of essential vocabulary
  • Gain knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of basic structures and expressions in a given context
  • Demonstrate the ability to understand sentences and short passages in written language on certain everyday topics
  • Demonstrate the ability to produce sentences in written language on certain everyday topics
  • Demonstrate the ability to produce sentences in spoken language on certain everyday topics
  • Demonstrate the ability to understand spoken sentences on certain everyday topics
Japanese Level 1b (Advanced Beginner)
15 – 26 July 2019

This is a basic language acquisition course for students who want to build on the essential skills acquired in Level 1a, or who have equivalent existing knowledge and want to develop their skills. This course is equivalent to the second term of Japanese language study at university and students are therefore assumed to have some basic knowledge of the language or its script.

Students will develop their knowledge of some of the several basic constructions of the language, enabling them to advance their skills in reading, writing, comprehension and speaking. Successful students will gain the ability to read and write simple texts, and communicate on everyday topics. Emphasis will be placed on good pronunciation and on the social and linguistic conventions of everyday conversation.

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Gain knowledge and understanding of commonly used grammar.
  • Gain knowledge and understanding of vocabulary related to a range of everyday topics.
  • Gain greater knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of basic structures and expressions in a given context.
  • Demonstrate the ability to understand passages in written language on everyday topics.
  • Demonstrate the ability to produce short passages in written language on everyday topics.
  • Demonstrate the ability to understand spoken sentences and short passages on everyday topics.
  • Demonstrate the ability to engage in short spoken discourse on everyday topics.

Assessment

Assessment for each course will be a test at the end of the first week of 40 minutes duration (30%) and at the end of the second week of 60 minutes duration (70%)

15 SOAS credits

These are level 4 courses (equivelent to first year undergraduate). Each two-week language module is worth 15 credits in the UK system. 15 credits is normally equivalent to 4 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system.

If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to transfer credit rests with your home institution.

Enquiries

For more information, please fill out our enquiries form.

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