Book Announcement: Zen and Material Culture

Zen and Material Culture

Edited by Pamela D. Winfield and Steven Heine

Oxford University Press, 2017

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/zen-and-material-culture-9780190469306?lang=en&cc=us

The stereotype of Zen Buddhism as a minimalistic or even immaterial meditative tradition persists in the Euro-American cultural imagination. This volume calls attention to the vast range of “stuff” in Zen by highlighting the material abundance and iconic range of the Soto, Rinzai, and Obaku sects in Japan. Chapters on beads, bowls, buildings, staffs, statues, rags, robes, and even retail commodities in America all shed new light on overlooked items of lay and monastic practice in both historical and contemporary perspectives. Nine authors from the cognate fields of art history, religious studies, and the history of material culture analyze these “Zen matters” in all four senses of the phrase: the interdisciplinary study of Zen’s matters (objects and images) ultimately speaks to larger Zen matters (ideas, ideals) that matter (in the predicate sense) to both male and female practitioners, often because such matters (economic considerations) help to ensure the cultural and institutional survival of the tradition.

Zen and Material Culture expands the study of Japanese Zen Buddhism to include material inquiry as an important complement to mainly textual, institutional, or ritual studies. It also broadens the traditional purview of art history by incorporating the visual culture of everyday Zen objects and images into the canon of recognized masterpieces by elite artists. Finally, the volume extends Japanese material and visual cultural studies into new research territory by taking up Zen’s rich trove of materia liturgica and supplementing the largely secular approach to studying Japanese popular culture. This groundbreaking volume will be a resource for anyone whose interests lie at the intersection of Zen art, architecture, history, ritual, tea ceremony, women’s studies, and the fine line between Buddhist materiality and materialism.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Zen Matters – Pamela D. Winfield and Steven Heine

1. “Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Discomfort Me:” Zen Staffs As Implements of Instruction – Steven Heine
2. Materializing the Zen Monastery – Pamela D. Winfield

3. Form and Function: Tea Bowls and the Problem of Zen in Chanoyu – Morgan Pitelka

4. Prayer Beads in Sōtō Zen – Michaela Mross

5. The Importance of Imports: Ingen’s Material Culture at Manpukuji – Patricia J. Graham

6. Visual Culture in Japan’s Imperial Buddhist Convents: The Making of Devotional Objects as Expressions of Religious Devotion and Practice – Patricia Fister

7. Zen Buddhist Robes and Sectarian Identities in Early Modern Japan – Diane E. Riggs

8. The Zen of Rags – Paula Arai

9. Zen Sells Zen Things: Meditation Supply, Right Livelihood, and Buddhist Retail – Gregory P.A. Levine

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Fun Link Friday: From Mud to Kimono

How do some of the most beautiful and valuable kimono get made? The BBC Arts series Handmade in Japan recently traced this process from start to finish at the island of Amami Oshima, which is famous for producing a specific and highly valued type of silk, the Oshima Tsumugi.

The entire production from start to final cutting and sewing takes more than 500 people and over a year for a single kimono! Check out the photos and videos here for more on this stunning process.

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Job Opening: Project Assistant Professor/Associate Professor, Faculty Development, University of Tokyo

Institution: University of Tokyo
Location: Japan
Position: Project Assistant Professor/Associate Professor, Faculty Development

In 2015, the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Tokyo launched “Global Faculty Development (GFD),” a faculty development program focused primarily on courses offered in languages other than Japanese (mostly English). The College is seeking a qualified scholar/practitioner who can contribute to the improvement of our non-Japanese medium courses by developing and managing GFD.

The prime responsibilities of the position entail leading the day-to-day operation of GFD, including organizing conferences and various seminars, inviting scholars from abroad, developing and maintaining a website, liaising with stakeholders on campus, being involved in or conducting pedagogical research and teaching, and any other activities related to facilitating faculty development at the College.

[Qualification]

1) Advanced language skills, sufficient to conduct faculty development in English (and in any other additional languages, if possible). Japanese language competency is also required to carry out administrative duties and liaise with colleagues. Please indicate your language skills on the C.V.
2) Experience in research and teaching in an international context (with a focus on areas such as faculty development, intercultural communication and others).
3) Experience of study abroad in undergraduate and/or graduate schools for a minimum of one year.
4) Experience of having taught in languages other than Japanese in higher education.
5) Master’s degree or higher in a relevant field.

[Compensation]

The position is either for “tokunin jokyo” (project assistant professor) or “tokunin koshi” (project associate professor). The working condition are those prescribed by the University of Tokyo’s regulations (which fall within the remit of the Discretionary Labor System for Professional Work [senmongata sairyo rodosei] and include holidays, insurance, etc.)

[Employment Status]

Full-time(Nontenured)
Contingent on funding and job performance, renewable every new school year (in April) for twice (up to three years).

 

[Starting Date]

September 1, 2017, or later.

[Application method]
1) Cover letter
2) C.V. in the University of Tokyo format. (Downloadable from www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/per01/r01_j.html)
3) List of research accomplishments
4) Outline of faculty development-related experiences
5) Up to three publications (one copy of each)
6) Statement detailing faculty development projects in English (and/or other languages) you would wish to undertake at the University of Tokyo. Write in Japanese and English. Maximum two pages each on A-4 or letter-size paper.
7) Contact details for two academic referees
8) Self-addressed return envelope (no postage stamps necessary)

Enclose the above and write on the envelope in RED “Global Faculty Development Position.” Please send your application to the contact address by registered mail (e.g., FEDEX, DHL, EMS, Japanese kakitome, or others). The deadline for receipt is July 10, 2017 (Japan Time).  Walk-in (self-delivery) will not be accepted.

[Selection process]
After an initial document screening, selected candidates will be invited at the University of Tokyo Komaba campus for an interview. Travel and other expenses will be borne by the applicants. For those residing outside Japan, the interview will be conducted electronically (such as by video conference).

[Note]

Application materials will not be returned. However, should the candidate wish to have his/her monograph(s) or other book-length work(s) returned, he or she should include an appropriate self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage. The application materials will only be used for this hiring and will not be shared with another party unless the candidate consents otherwise.
Contact:

Yujin Yaguchi
Professor and Director
Center for International Exchange
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
The University of Tokyo
3-8-1 Komaba Meguro-ku
Tokyo Japan
email: goadmin[at]global.c.u-tokyo.ac.jp (at=@)

Website: http://www.gfd.c.u-tokyo.ac.jp

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Job Opening: Project Exhibitions Assistant for Fergus McCaffrey, a Post-War and Contemporary Chelsea gallery

Project Exhibitions Assistant for Fergus McCaffrey, a Post-War and Contemporary Chelsea gallery

Job description:

The Project Exhibitions Assistant will focus on an upcoming exhibition and function as the central point of contact between the guest curator and the various artists/estates/galleries in Japan and NY gallery staff.

Excellent Japanese and English skills are essential for this role.

Requirements:

-fluent in English and Japanese

-ability to translate correspondence with artists/estates/galleries and ommunicate information to NY gallery staff

-carry out artwork, exhibition and art market research

-assist in collating artwork information and database records

-proficiency in ArtBase or similar database

-undertake other assignments as they come up

Must be pro-active and have excellent attention to detail and be deadline-oriented.

Fall 2017 through June 2018 with possibility to extend the position.

To apply for the position please send a resume and cover letter to: geanna@fergusmccaffrey.com

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Book Announcement: Life course, Happiness and Well-being in Japan

Holthus, B. and Manzenreiter, W. eds. 2017.
Life course, Happiness and Well-being in Japan

London/New York. Routledge.

https://www.routledge.com/Life-Course-Happiness-and-Well-being-in-Japan/Holthus-Manzenreiter/p/book/9781138290594

https://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Well-being-Institute-Routledge-Japanese/dp/1138290599.

This book investigates the connections between sociostructural aspects, individual agency and happiness in contemporary Japan from a life course perspective. For the first time, anthropologists and sociologists jointly analyse the state of happiness and unhappiness in Japan among varying social groups in its physical, interpersonal, existential and structural dimensions, offering new insights into fundamental issues. The contributors examine quantitative and qualitative empirical data on the processes that impact how happiness and well-being are envisioned, crafted, and debated in Japan across the life-cycle. Therefore, the book discusses the shifting notions of happiness during people’s lives from birth to death, analysing the age group-specific experiences while taking into consideration people’s life trajectories and historical changes. It points out recent developments in regards to demographic change, late marriage, and the changing labor market and focuses on their significant impact on the well-being of Japanese people. In particular it highlights the interdependencies of lives within the family and how families are collaborating for the purpose of maintaining or enhancing the happiness of its members.

 

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Job Opening: Associate Program Officer , Arts & Cultural Exchange, JFNY


Position: Associate Program Officer, Arts & Cultural Exchange
Institution: Japan Foundation
Location: New York, NY

The Japan Foundation, New York seeks an Associate Program Officer for the Arts and Cultural Exchange program. This program promotes the introduction of Japanese arts and culture as well as exchanges between Japan and the United States through various fields of arts and culture. This position will report to the Program Director of Arts and Cultural Exchange.

Key Responsibilities:
*Assist in the implementation of the Japan Foundation’s programs, with a particular focus on, but not limited to, Performing Arts, Film and Literature.
*Manage the grant programs in Arts and Cultural Exchange by processing applications, maintaining program files and documents, and communicating with prospective applicants and grantees.
*Administer the Performing Arts Japan (PAJ) program by maintaining the application website, overseeing the application and screening process, responding to inquiries, and coordinating awards.
*Liaise with the Japan Foundation’s PAJ Advisory Committee, which consists of distinguished arts professionals from various institutions in the United States.
*Coordinate logistics for in-house meetings as well as public events by planning venues, catering, transportation, audio/visual equipment, materials, etc.
*Create program materials and publications (e.g. newsletters, fliers, and webpages) and assist in the proofreading of English documents.
*Conduct outreach activities and site visits throughout the U.S. as a representative of the Japan Foundation.
*Collaborate and correspond with program staff at the Japan Foundation Tokyo Headquarters.
*Perform other duties and additional responsibilities as directed.

Required Qualifications:
*Bachelor’s degree. Master’s degree or equivalent work experience preferred.
*Legal authorization to work in the United States.
*Fluency, in oral and written communication skills in both English and Japanese; translation ability preferred.
*Willingness and ability to travel and attend occasional weekend events (travel is approximately two weeks/year)

A strong candidate will also possess:
*Superior written and verbal communication skills
*Excellent analytical and organizational skills, strong attention to detail, and the ability to multi-task
*Experience with and/or interest in international cultural exchange
*Experience with grant management and/or familiarity with institutions of Japanese arts and culture
*Understanding of Japanese arts and culture, and experience of living in Japan
*Proficiency in Microsoft Office software and social media

Salary and Benefits:
*Salary commensurate with experience. Benefits include comprehensive medical, dental, vision, and life insurance coverage, paid vacation and sick leave, etc.

Job Commencement:
August 14 , 2017 (or as soon as possible thereafter)

To apply: Please email a cover letter, resume , and one-page writing sample to job-opening@jfny.org

Deadline: July 4 , 2017.
Qualified candidates will be invited for an interview (tentatively planned for July 24-25)

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Job Opening: International Program Coordinator: Japan and International Programs, NorthWest Student Exchange

job opening - 5Employer: NorthWest Student Exchange
Location: Seattle, WA
Education: BA/BS
Language: JLPT N2 or equivalent
Open until filled, hiring immediately

DESCRIPTION

Position: International Program Coordinator: Japan and International Programs

Type: Full-time, Location: Seattle, Salary: DOE

Start Date: Immediately

Join the NorthWest Student Exchange team in Seattle as International Program Coordinator. As a vital part of the NorthWest Student Exchange team, the International Program Coordinator will coordinate exchange programs of high school exchange students as well as other related duties.

Responsibilities include:

• Coordinate programs of Japanese students and students of other countries.

• Work with international partners, U.S. local coordinators, host families and students

• Coordinate program in compliance with CSIET and Department of State regulations

• Maintain excellent communication with local coordinators, students, host families, and partners

• Accurately collect, track, and record required programmatic documents and reports

• Prepare extensive student documentation for annual audit

• Screen students and host families and their applications

• Coordinate “inbound programs” of students to the U.S. as well as “outbound” American students abroad.

• Work with aspects of invoicing procedures for participants and partner organizations

• Work with aspects of the J-1 visa as well as student health insurance

• Collaborate with NWSE team members on team projects, e.g. orientations, presentations, events, outreach, etc.

Qualifications:

• Commitment to the mission of international student exchange, understanding and client satisfaction

• Four-year university degree

• Business-level Japanese language skills (JLPT N2 certification or equivalent, or JLPT N1 certification)

• Two+ years experience in related activities, MS office, OR equivalent combination of education and experience

• Strong problem solving, decision-making, and writing skills

• Relevant experience working, studying in Japan

• Excellent customer service/interpersonal communication skills both in Japanese and English

• Ability and desire to work in a dynamic, collaborative, open-office environment

• Strong planning and organizational skills; ability to complete projects to deadlines

• Self-motivated, upbeat/positive, cooperative, detail-orientated, multi-tasker and team player with initiative

• Experience working with diverse groups of people

Desired (but not required):

• Experience in program coordination in the educational field

• Other languages (besides English and Japanese)

HOW TO APPLY

jobs@nwse.com

E-mail resume, cover letter, references and two writing samples (one in English and one in Japanese showing business level writing proficiency) in Microsoft Word or PDF to jobs@nwse.com with subject line “Japan International Program Coordinator.” Preference is given to applicants who reside in the greater Seattle area.

BENEFITS

Health Insurance; Travel; Matching IRA Contribution

LEVEL OF LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY

English (fluency/native) and business-level Japanese (JLPT N2 certification or equivalent, or JLPT N1 certification)

PROFESSIONAL LEVEL

Professional

MINIMUM EDUCATION REQUIRED

4-year degree

Original posting on Idealist.org.

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