Funding: Blakemore Foundation

money [150-2]Deadline: December 30, 2017.

Blakemore Freeman Fellowships are awarded for one academic year of full-time, intensive language study at the advanced level in East or Southeast Asia in approved language programs. For grants to be awarded in spring 2017, study must start between June 2017 and May 2018. Grants are highly competitive. In recent years we have been able to fund less than 10% of applicants.

Selection Criteria

  • A focused, well-defined career objective involving Asia in which regular use of the language is an important aspect
  • The potential to make a significant contribution to a field of study or area of professional or business activity in an Asian country
  • Prior experience in the Asian country or involvement or participation in activities related to the country
  • Good academic, professional or business background, appropriate to the career program

For more information:

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Funding: 2017 Asia Studies Fellowship at the East-West Center (Washington DC)

money [150-2]This fellowship supports scholars and analysts who wish to undertake research and writing on topics of relevance to contemporary US-Asia policy; in particular, key challenges in U.S.-Asia relations and possible responses and approaches to addressing those challenges.

The fellowship finances residencies for a period of three months in Washington, D.C. at the East-West Center in Washington. Residency may begin as early as March 2017 and extend through September 2017.

Fellows will complete articles or a monograph and must give a seminar on their topic. The fellowship includes a monthly stipend, round trip economy airfare to Washington, D.C., and reimbursement of any applicable visa fees.

The application period for the 2017 Asia Studies Fellowship is NOW OPEN.

The deadline for applications is January 2, 2017.

For detailed information and how to APPLY, please click HERE to visit our Visiting Fellowships web page.

Contact Info:

Grace Ruch Clegg
Projects and Outreach Coordinator, East-West Center in Washington
Contact Email:

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Book Announcement: Accounts and Images of Six Kannon in Japan

Via University of Hawai’i Press.

9780824856229Accounts and Images of Six Kannon in Japan
Author: Fowler, Sherry D.;

384pp. November 2016
Cloth – Price: $70.00
ISBN: 978-0-8248-5622-9

Buddhists around the world celebrate the benefits of worshipping Kannon (Avalokiteśvara), a compassionate savior who is one of the most beloved in the Buddhist pantheon. When Kannon appears in multiple manifestations, the deity’s powers are believed to increase to even greater heights. This concept generated several cults throughout history: among the most significant is the cult of the Six Kannon, which began in Japan in the tenth century and remained prominent through the sixteenth century. In this ambitious work, Sherry Fowler examines the development of the Japanese Six Kannon cult, its sculptures and paintings, and its transition to the Thirty-three Kannon cult, which remains active to this day.

An exemplar of Six Kannon imagery is the complete set of life-size wooden sculptures made in 1224 and housed at the Kyoto temple Daihōonji. This set, along with others, is analyzed to demonstrate how Six Kannon worship impacted Buddhist practice. Employing a diachronic approach, Fowler presents case studies beginning in the eleventh century to reinstate a context for sets of Six Kannon, the majority of which have been lost or scattered, and thus illuminates the vibrancy, magnitude, and distribution of the cult and enhances our knowledge of religious image-making in Japan.

Kannon’s role in assisting beings trapped in the six paths of transmigration is a well-documented catalyst for the selection of the number six, but there are other significant themes at work. Six Kannon worship includes significant foci on worldly concerns such as childbirth and animal husbandry, ties between text and image, and numerous correlations with Shinto kami groups of six. While making groups of Kannon visible, Fowler explores the fluidity of numerical deity categorizations and the attempts to quantify the invisible. Moreover, her investigation reveals Kyushu as an especially active site in the history of the Six Kannon cult. Much as Kannon images once functioned to attract worshippers, their presentation in this book will entice contemporary readers to revisit their assumptions about East Asia’s most popular Buddhist deity.

27 color, 136 b&w illustrations

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Fun Link Friday: Roman Coins Found in Ryukyu Castle

For our archeology and history enthusiasts: Okinawa was a historical trade hub, and recently ten ancient coins, including several from the Roman and Ottoman empires, were excavated in Katsuren Castle, Uruma, Okinawa.


Image of a 4th century coin with an outline of a portrait. Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images

“We don’t think that there is a direct link between the Roman empire and Katsuren castle, but the discovery confirms how this region had trade relations with the rest of Asia,” Yokou, told CNN.

Read more on CNN (the most detailed), NPR, and The Japan Times.

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Resource: A-to-Z Dictionary of Japanese Buddhist Statuary and Religious Art

azChances are that if you have tried to google something about Buddhist deities, particularly some of the rarer ones, you’ve come across the A-to-Z Dictionary of Japanese Buddhist Statuary and Religious Art. Run by Mark Schumacher, an independent researcher with a passion for Buddhist statues, symbolism, and history in general, this site offers some of the most comprehensive information on Buddhist (and to a lesser extent Shintō) figures in Japanese tradition. Schumacher was challenged by the inability to find concrete information on the background and meaning of deities and their representations, so he began photographing and investigating them on his own, leading to a truly expansive repository of information.

az2His website includes both basic introductory information as well as more complex backgrounds on these deities, including a quickstart guide for Buddhist Teachings and their history and chronological development, a guide to the basics of Buddhism aimed at students and teachers, deity guides (with photographs) to help you understand who’s who and how Buddhist deities are classified, and even guides to broader topics that have an impact on Buddhist practices such as celestial worship and information as it occurred in China and Japan.

The actual A-to-Z index of deities (found on the bottom left-hand side of the page) lists a great variety of figures, and in addition to providing useful summary explanations of each one, there are also diverse images from different types of media (statues, paintings, etc.) to help you recognize these figures in actual art. Schumacher also includes explanations of the deities gleaned from other authoritative sources around the internet, such as JAANUS, and compiles them into one convenient place for the reader’s comparison. There are helpful lists included with each entry, such as alternate names for deities and their kanji, which allows visitors to see what different areas with Buddhist call the same figure.


In all, there are hundreds of deities included, over 4,000 images, and over 1,000 pages of information, making this an invaluable source for amateur or professional interests alike. The extensive combination of textual and visual sources is especially helpful, and though there is an overwhelming amount of materials to navigate, there is also an embedded search bar to get at more specific information. It is easy to get lost in the maze of deities, so be sure to block off some time to tackle it!

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Job Opening: Staff Assistant II, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

job opening - 5Institution: Harvard University
Department: East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Location: Cambridge, MA
Posted: 11/14/2016
Type: Full Time
Education: BA preferred
Auto req ID: 41013BR

Duties & Responsibilities:
The EALC Program Assistant supports the administrative operations and communication initiatives in three offices of the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations (EALC): the language program (EALP), the undergraduate program (EAS), and the main EALC office. Operational support duties vary by location but may include answering in-person, emailed, and telephone inquiries; distributing mail; photocopying; maintaining office files; managing printers and supplies; assisting with AV/media needs and triaging computer issues; data entry; preparation of mailings; addressing building and classroom issues; and supporting program event planning and logistics.

Working as part of a team and under the supervision of the initiating office, the Program Assistant also assists with preparation and dissemination of departmental content via program newsletters, social media, and program websites; and proofreading or editing occasional correspondence or reports. The position provides the opportunity to develop skills in the production of short videos promoting the program. Additional tasks as required.

Basic Qualifications:
College background, one to two years’ office work experience, and proficiency with MS Office (MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), Twitter, and Facebook (pages and groups) required.

Additional Qualifications:
Bachelor’s degree preferred. The successful candidate must be proactive, detail-oriented, and highly organized, with the ability to prioritize work in order to manage a variety of time-sensitive activities simultaneously. The position requires working both independently and as part of a team, and thus flexibility, accountability, and follow-through are all essential. Strong interpersonal skills are important, as the candidate must be able to communicate effectively and professionally with faculty, students, and department visitors. Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Knowledge of advanced MS Office skills and PhotoShop and/or graphic design applications strongly preferred. Background and/or an interest in East Asian languages and civilizations, and experience in or willingness to learn video production (shooting and editing) are plusses.

Additional Information:
This is a full-time academic-year (10-month) position, running from mid-August to mid-June.
The position schedule is Monday – Friday, 8:30AM to 4:30PM but the candidate must be able to work early/late hours on occasion as required by the EALC schedules and other events.

Full listing on

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Book Announcement: Return Migration Decisions: A Study on Highly Skilled Chinese in Japan

returnmigrationReturn Migration Decisions: A Study on Highly Skilled Chinese in Japan
by Ruth Achenbach
Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Ruth Achenbach develops a model of individual return migration decision making, which examines both the process and the decisive factors in return migration decision making of Chinese highly skilled workers and students in Japan. She proposes to answer a question yet insufficiently explained by migration research: why do migrants deviate from their migration intentions and return sooner or later than planned, or not at all? Her study integrates factors from the spheres of career, family and lifestyle, and redefines stages in long-term decision-making processes, thereby contributing to decision and migration theory. She analyzes migrants’ shifting priorities over the course of migration, including a perspective on life course and on the impact of the triple catastrophe of March 11, 2011.

Ruth Achenbach is Academic Coordinator at the Interdisciplinary Centre for East Asian Studies (IZO) at Goethe University Frankfurt. Her research focuses on migration in East Asia with a focus on Japan.

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