Job Opening: Pre-modern Japanese Literature and Culture

Institution: University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, EALC
Location: Illinois, United States
Position: Lecturer

The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign invites applications for a one-academic year Lecturer/Instructor in pre-modern Japanese literature and culture. Reappointment may be possible based on departmental need, funding, and satisfactory performance review.  The appointment will be a full-time, nine-month position with a teaching load of three courses in Fall semester and three courses in Spring semester.  These will include a general education course in East Asian literature, a survey of pre-modern Japanese literature, and courses in the hire’s field of research or interest.  The target start date of the appointment is August 16, 2016.  Salary is commensurate with experience.

Qualifications at any level:  Research area is open, but training in the study of pre-modern Japanese literature and culture is required.

Candidates with a PhD in hand, evidence of successful teaching and minimal research experience will be considered as a Lecturer.

Candidates who are ABD or hold a Master’s degree and present evidence of successful teaching will be considered as an Instructor.

To apply, create your candidate profile through the University of Illinois application login page at and upload your application materials: letter of application; CV, including contact information (or Interfolio ID) for three professional references; graduate transcripts; one representative writing sample; statement of teaching interests; and teaching evaluations. References will be contacted electronically within a few days after submission of the application. Only applications submitted through the University of Illinois Job Board will be considered.

Full consideration will be given to complete applications received by June 3, 2016. Letters of recommendation must be received no later than June 9, 2016.  Applicants may be interviewed before the closing date, although no hiring decision will be made until after that date.

For more information contact or visit  The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

Illinois is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or criminal conviction history. Illinois welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. (

Contact:  Robert Tierney, Associate Professor, EALC, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

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Book Announcement: Cartographic Japan

Kären Wigen, Sugimoto Fumiko, and Cary Karacas (eds.), Cartographic Japan: A History in Maps, University of Chicago Press, 2016.

From the publisher:

Miles of shelf space in contemporary Japanese bookstores and libraries are devoted to travel guides, walking maps, and topical atlases. Young Japanese children are taught how to properly map their classrooms and schoolgrounds. Elderly retirees pore over old castle plans and village cadasters. Pioneering surveyors are featured in popular television shows, and avid collectors covet exquisite scrolls depicting sea and land routes. Today, Japanese people are zealous producers and consumers of cartography, and maps are an integral part of daily life.

But this was not always the case: a thousand years ago, maps were solely a privilege of the ruling elite in Japan. Only in the past four hundred years has Japanese cartography truly taken off, and between the dawn of Japan’s cartographic explosion and today, the nation’s society and landscape have undergone major transformations. At every point, maps have documented those monumental changes. Cartographic Japan offers a rich introduction to the resulting treasure trove, with close analysis of one hundred maps from the late 1500s to the present day, each one treated as a distinctive window onto Japan’s tumultuous history.

Forty-seven distinguished contributors—hailing from Japan, North America, Europe, and Australia—uncover the meanings behind a key selection of these maps, situating them in historical context and explaining how they were made, read, and used at the time. With more than one hundred gorgeous full-color illustrations, Cartographic Japan offers an enlightening tour of Japan’s magnificent cartographic archive.


Introduction – Kären Wigen

I. Visualizing the Realm: Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries

Introduction to Part I – Sugimoto Fumiko

Japan in the World
1. Japan in a New-Found World – Joseph Loh
2. The World from the Waterline – Peter D. Shapinsky
3. Elusive Islands of Silver: Japan in the Early European Geographic Imagination – Oka Mihoko
4. Mapping the Margins of Japan – Ronald P. Toby
5. The Creators and Historical Context of the Oldest Maps of the Ryukyu Kingdom – Watanabe Miki
6. The Introduction of Dutch Surveying Instruments in Japan – Satoh Ken’ichi
7. The European Career of Ishikawa Ryusen’s Map of Japan – Marcia Yonemoto
8. A New Map of Japan and Its Acceptance in Europe – Matsui Yoko

Domestic Space
9. The Arms and Legs of the Realm – Constantine N. Vaporis
10. Visualizing the Political World through Provincial Maps – Sugimoto Fumiko
11. Fixing Sacred Borders: Villagers, Monks, and Their Two Sovereign Masters – Sugimoto Fumiko
12. Self-Portrait of a Village – Komeie Taisaku

II. Mapping for the Market

Introduction to Part II – Kären Wigen

Mapping the City
13. Characteristics of Premodern Urban Space – Tamai Tetsuo
14. Evolving Cartography of an Ancient Capital – Uesugi Kazuhiro
15. Historical Landscapes of Osaka – Uesugi Kazuhiro
16. The Urban Landscape of Early Edo in an East Asian Context – Tamai Tetsuo
17. Spatial Visions of Status – Ronald P. Toby
18. The Social Landscape of Edo – Paul Waley
19. What Is a Street? – Mary Elizabeth Berry

Sacred Sites and Cosmic Visions
20. Locating Japan in a Buddhist World – D. Max Moerman
21. Picturing Maps: The “Rare and Wondrous” Bird’s-Eye Views of Kuwagata Keisai – Henry D. Smith II
22. An Artist’s Rendering of the Divine Mount Fuji – Miyazaki Fumiko
23. Rock of Ages: Traces of the Gods in Akita – Anne Walthall
24. Cosmology and Science in Japan’s Last Buddhist World Map – Sayoko Sakakibara

25. Fun with Moral Mapping in the Mid-Nineteenth Century – Robert Goree
26. A Travel Map Adjusted to Urgent Circumstances – Kären Wigen and Sayoko Sakakibara
27. Legendary Landscape at the Kitayama Palace – Nicolas Fiévé
28. New Routes through Old Japan – Roderick Wilson

III. Modern Maps for Imperial Japan

Introduction to Part III – Cary Karacas

Defining the Borders
29. Seeking Accuracy: The First Modern Survey of Japan’s Coast – Suzuki Junko
30. No Foreigners Allowed: The Shogunate’s Hydrographic Chart of the “Holy” Ise Bay – Suzuki Junko
31. Indigenous Knowledge in the Mapping of the Northern Frontier Regions – Tessa Morris-Suzuki
32. Mamiya Rinzo and the Cartography of Empire – Brett L. Walker
33. Outcastes and Peasants on the Edge of Modernity – Daniel Botsman

Transforming the Cityscape
34. Converging Lines: Yamakawa Kenjiro’s Fire Map of Tokyo – Steven Wills
35. Mapping Death and Destruction in 1923 – J. Charles Schencking
36. Rebuilding Tokyo after the Great Kanto Earthquake – André Sorensen
37. Shinjuku 1931: A New Type of Urban Space – Henry D. Smith II

Managing an Empire
38. Mapping the Hojo Colliery Explosion of 1914 – Brett L. Walker
39. Cultivating Progress in Colonial Taiwan – Philip C. Brown
40. Showcase Thoroughfares, Wretched Alleys: The Uneven Development of Colonial Seoul (Keijo) – Todd A. Henry
41. Imperial Expansion and City Planning: Visions for Datong in the 1930s – Carola Hein
42. A Two-Timing Map – Catherine L. Phipps
43. Visions of a New Order in the Asia-Pacific – David Fedman

IV. Still under Construction: Cartography and Technology since 1945

Introduction to Part IV – Kären Wigen

Up from the Ashes
44. Blackened Cities, Blackened Maps – Cary Karacas and David Fedman
45. The Occupied City – Cary Karacas
46. Sacred Space on Postwar Fuji – Andrew Bernstein
47. Tange Kenzo’s Proposal for Rebuilding Hiroshima – Carola Hein
48. Visions of the Good City in the Rapid Growth Period – André Sorensen

Growing Pains in a Global Metropolis
49. On the Road in Olympic-Era Tokyo – Bruce Suttmeier
50. Traversing Tokyo by Subway – Alisa Freedman
51. The Uses of a Free Paper Map in the Internet Age – Susan Paige Taylor
52. Tsukiji at the End of an Era – Theodore C. Bestor

New Directions in the Digital Age
53. Probabilistic Earthquake Hazard Maps – Gregory Smits
54. Citizens’ Radiation Maps after the Tsunami – Jilly Traganou
55. Run and Escape! – Satoh Ken’ichi
56. Postmortem Cartography: “Stillbirths” and the Meiji State – Fabian Drixler
57. Reconstructing Provincial Maps – Nakamura Yusuke
58. The Art of Making Oversize Graphic Maps – Arai Kei

Epilogue – Sugimoto Fumiko

See More at UChicago Press

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Call for Papers: Intimate Connections: EVERYDAY EXPERIENCES OF INTER-ASIAN TIES

Call for Papers


A Workshop sponsored and organized by the Japan Institute, and the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australia National University

DATES: 11 August – 13 August 2016
LOCATION: The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Deadline for Abstracts: 10 JUNE 2016

Keynote speakers:
Professor Koichi Iwabuchi, Monash University
Associate Professor Thang Leng Leng, National University of Singapore
Dr Chika Watanabe, University of Manchester
Dr Dredge Byung’chu Kang, University of California San Diego


In recent years Asia has experienced an unprecedented flow of people, media representations, and capital as many countries have undergone vast economic and political transformations. In considering these tectonic shifts, analysts have often focused on macroeconomic and political questions, studying shifting market forces or politics at a national level. Such questions have tended to promote top-down research focusing on one nation or one sub-region at a time. In contrast, there is an emerging field of research on inter-Asian connections which views contemporary Asian nations as interlinked and interrelated at the most intimate of levels. Building on this approach, this workshop offers a space for rigorous discussion on how shifting political-economic realities are fostering new intimate connections among people throughout the region.

Specifically, the workshop will examine the effects of inter-Asian connections in the realm of the intimate. It will highlight how the intimate lives of those moving within Asia — for marriage, work, care, development, activism, education and so on— are shaped by and in turn influence these broader changes. We thus invite scholars interested in asking how people’s intimate lives are transformed in the context of economic and political shifts throughout Asia. How do economies of desire travel from one nation to another? How are people’s relationships with others created and transformed in such journeys? And what do people’s affective attachments, in turn, reveal about emergent transformations underway within the Asian region?

By linking economic and political transformations to the everyday concerns of intimacy on the ground, this workshop will offer innovative approaches to comprehending the dynamics driving the region. The workshop is comprised of keynote addresses, panels and master classes. It will bring together distinguished international scholars, early career academics and postgraduate students to develop innovative methodological approaches and new theoretical/conceptual possibilities which transcend nation-states and cultural boundaries. The workshop will also be a networking opportunity for scholars employing empirical approaches to the study of intimacy in inter-Asia contexts. The organizers will aim to publish select papers from the workshop in a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal.

We invite applications from researchers interested in intimate connections relating the following themes:

· Media Flows/ Popular Culture
· Love, Gender, and Sexuality
· Economics, Development, Activism
· Kinship, Relatedness, Care

We invite applications from PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and early career academics whose work intersects with the themes of the workshop, and who are based in disciplines including but not limited to anthropology, sociology, geography, cultural studies, gender, queer and transgender studies, postcolonial studies, and history. Participants will have the opportunity to present their research and receive feedback from high-profile specialists in the field.

We are particularly interested in research employing innovative empirical methodologies, especially in relation to Japan-Southeast Asia connections. However, all researchers working on relevant aspects of inter-Asian ties and intimacies throughout Asia are strongly encouraged to apply.

Accommodation at the ANU in Canberra will be provided for the duration of the workshop. In addition, participants from outside Canberra will receive a travel subsidy of up to AUD$500. Catering will be provided throughout the workshop.

Application Procedure

Please send a short abstract on your research (300 words) to both Ben Hegarty ( and Shiori Shakuto (, no later than 10 June 2016.

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Resource: Learning classical Japanese through Taketori Monogatari


The scholars of the East Asian Languages and Literatures Department at Ohio State University have produced a wonderful website for studying and practicing classical Japanese: Taketori Monogatari. The website dissects passages from this classic tenth-century tale (known in English as The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) and breaks down the grammar and vocabulary within.

taketori3To begin, the “Learning Tools” area of the site offers an introduction to basic grammatical elements and terminology, divided into “Key to Word and Phrase notes,” “Tense, Modality, Evidentiality,” and “ari “be” as auxillary” sections. These can be opened in a scrolling embedded window on the page itself OR downloaded as a PDF. This is really useful if you intend to study these foundational elements offline first or want to have a hardcopy to follow along with while you work with the actual text.

When you click on “Table of Contents,” you move into the actual text, divided into passages. There are two options for browsing, based on your needs. If you want to work with a side-by-side readings of the classical Japanese and the English translation, click on the “Passage” links of the titles. Included at the bottom of the English translation is an audio recording of the original classical text being read by a native speaker, which is wonderful to familiarize yourself with the structure and rhythm of classic Japanese.

The second option is to click the grammatical lesson point emphasized in that passage. This method opens up a parallel window with the original text on the right and the window on the left divided between two collapsible sections, “Dictionary” and “Grammar.” As you read the text, you can use your mouse to click through each word while toggling its meaning and grammatical parsing. In some cases, there will be a “read more” option along with the grammar that opens up a much more detailed grammatical explanation. There is also a “hear” option so that you can listen to the pronunciation of each word.


The layout overall is easy on the eyes, simple to use, and offers convenient shortcuts for clipping pages and moving between passages. There are only a few passages presently uploaded, but hopefully more will come soon. Personally, I first learned classical Japanese through Professor Charles Quinn’s classes at OSU, and I assure you that this resource matches the level of detail and explanation found there. There are probably few other sites that will be able to meet the level of detail for learning classical Japanese found here. Definitely check out this extremely valuable resource if you’re just starting or even brushing up on your classical Japanese!

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Book Announcement: Suicide in Twentieth-Century Japan

suicideJapan’s suicide phenomenon has fascinated both the media and academics, although many questions and paradoxes embedded in the debate on suicide have remained unaddressed in the existing literature, including the assumption that Japan is a “Suicide Nation”. This tendency causes common misconceptions about the suicide phenomenon and its features.

Aiming to redress the situation, this book explores how the idea of suicide in Japan was shaped, reinterpreted and reinvented from the 1900s to the 1980s. Providing a timely contribution to the underexplored history of suicide, it also adds to the current heated debates on the contemporary way we organize our thoughts on life and death, health and wealth, on the value of the individual, and on gender. The book explores the genealogy and development of modern suicide in Japan by examining the ways in which beliefs about the nation’s character, historical views of suicide, and the cultural legitimation of voluntary death acted to influence even the scientific conceptualization of suicide in Japan. It thus unveils the way in which the language on suicide was transformed throughout the century according to the fluctuating relationship between suicide and the discourse on national identity, and pathological and cultural narratives. In doing so, it proposes a new path to understanding the norms and mechanisms of the process of the conceptualization of suicide itself.

Filling in a critical gap in three particular fields of historical study: the history of suicide, the history of death, and the cultural history of twentieth century Japan, it will be of great interest to students and scholars of Japanese Studies and Japanese History.

Table of Contents


Part I
1. Biologizing the Meaning of Suicide (1880s-1930s)
2. Culturalizing the Meaning of Suicide (1930s-1945)

Part II
3. Humanizing the Meaning of Suicide (1945-1960)
4. The Triumph of the ‘Suicide Nation’ (1960-1985)


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Call for Papers: Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies conference

call for papers [150-2]DEADLINE FOR PAPER SUBMISSIONS: MAY 30, 2016

The College of Liberal Arts of Towson University and the Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies announce the call for papers for the 45th annual conference.  The conference theme Pivot to Asia: Poetics, Progress, and the Popular” follows the revival of interest in Asia in the United States and encourages fresh examinations of the region in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Specific areas of inquiry may include but are not limited to: politics, territorial issues, natural resources, the environment, migration, history, philosophy, gender, popular culture, sexualities, and religious practices.

We encourage proposals from any discipline, and welcome participation from faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, independent scholars, and professionals. We especially encourage panels with innovative combinations of individuals and fields.

Katherine Bowie, incoming AAS President and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will deliver a keynote address.

To propose a panel, individual paper, or poster presentation, please create an account on our website ( and follow the instructions for proposal submission. Proposal deadline is May 30, 2016. Please send any other inquiries to the Conference Co-Chair Erik Ropers (

Acceptance notices will be sent by June 15, 2016. Travel assistance for graduate students and international scholars up to $100 is available on a competitive basis. Include your request for travel funding with your proposal. Further information on the conference is available on (click on “Conferences”).

Contact Info:

Conference Co-Chair:  Erik Ropers

Department of History
Towson University

8000 York Road
Towson, MD 21252
410-704-3709 (O) | 410-704-5595 (Fax)

Questions may also be directed to Rachael Hutchinson, (Vice-President of MAR/AAS)

Contact Email:
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Fun Link Friday: Photographs of Japan from 1908

I love early photographs of Japan, as one can probably tell from many of our previous Fun Link Fridays. Here’s some shots from 1908, from the Library of Congress’ collection by Arnold Genthe (1869-1942). As My Modern Met describes:

These rare shots of vintage Japan during 1908 are thanks to the acute artistic eye of Arnold Genthe. The German-born American scholar honed his photographic talent on the streets, spending his off-time roaming through his city with a partially hidden camera in attempts of recording memorable moments. This intriguing series was collected during a 6-month visit to Japan, during which Genthe managed to share his perspective of the vivid daily experiences of its local citizens.


See more at the original article here and the LoC archive site here!

Happy Friday!

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