Book Announcement: Spectacular Accumulation: Material Culture, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Samurai Sociability

saSpectacular Accumulation: Material Culture, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Samurai Sociability was published by the University of Hawaii Press in January of 2016.

The book is based on a decade of research into the documentary and material evidence from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Japan, focusing on the ways in which elite samurai used art, swords, and other forms of material culture in politics and social relations.

The book examines:

  • The acquisition and exchange of material objects and the acquisition and exchange of hostages
  • The display of material culture at social and cultural rituals such as tea ceremonies, banquets, and celebrations of battlefield victories
  • The exchange of gifts as a means of maintaining warrior social relations
  • The practice of falconry, including the exchange of live falcons and acquisition of land for hunting
  • Social rituals and war, such as head examination ceremonies
  • The deification of Tokugawa Ieyasu using material culture
  • The modern afterlife of Tokugawa Ieyasu and his material culture in museums

The book has a website, to which I will be adding more resources and essays in the months ahead:

Posted in announcements, culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Call for Papers: 27th annual conference EAJRS

call for papers [150-2]The 27th annual conference of the European Association of Japanese Resource Specialists (EAJRS) will be held this year in Bucharest, Romania, 14 – 17 September 2016, organized by the Japanese Language and Literature Department, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures of the University of Bucharest.

This year special attention will be given to “International Cooperation Between Japanese Studies Libraries”, a theme which should elicit multiple views and proposals. As always, we welcome all subjects pertaining to the various activities of the members of the EAJRS.

We are now accepting registrations and proposals for presentations. Proposals for presentations should be returned by 15 May 2016.

Download the registration form here.

More information is available at:
or at:

Posted in announcements, conferences, graduate school | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fun Link Friday: Osaka River kaitenzushi

A group called The Osaka Cavas put on a delicious-looking art show recently in Osaka that featured giant plates of sushi floating on down Osaka’s Dōtonbori Canal like it was any old conveyor-belt sushi restaurant. Is your stomach rumbling yet?


Naturally, this led to a lot of great perspective photos of people trying to grab the giant bites.  The Osaka Cavas promote Osaka culture and arts though public shows and popup art exhibits, and this one was especially fitting since the conveyor-belt sushi concept was created by an Osaka native, Yoshiaki Shiraishi (1914–2001), who was seeking to bolster his sushi business. You can see more photos of the event on the “Rolling Sushi” Facebook page for the project here!

Happy Friday!




Posted in culture, fun links | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Workshop: 2016 Reading Kuzushiji Workshop

call for papers [150-2]The Japan Committee of the University of Chicago is pleased to announce the 2016 Early Modern Japan Summer Workshop: Reading Kuzushiji. The workshop will meet from June 13th-17th and will be led by Professor Ken’ichiro Aratake of Tohoku University’s Northeast Asia Center.  We invite applicants who are interested in reading print and manuscript materials from the Tokugawa and early Meiji periods.  The workshop is open to faculty, graduate students, librarians, and curators.  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.

Applications can be submitted online at (

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 (  The application deadline is May 1, 2016.

A block of rooms have been designated for visiting participants at the McCormick Theological Seminary’s Guest Housing Facilities.  Please call 773.947.6275 to make your reservation directly.

Posted in announcements, conferences, graduate school, study tools, summer program | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Call for Papers: Lanes and Neighbourhoods in Cities in Asia

*Deadline: 30 April 2016
*Conference dates: 30 June 2016 – 01 July 2016
*Venue: National University of Singapore

The purpose of this conference is to focus attention on the concept and social meanings of one of the smallest social spheres of the city, the neighbourhood. The immediacy of this topic can be found in recent urban research positing that the neighbourhood is at substantial risk of fading into history as global mega-projects with vast footprints, master plans, and large-scale privatization of urban space are “kill[ing] much of the urban tissue” of smaller urban spaces. These are the place-based geographies of the city that have long provided for cosmopolitan diversity and in which marginalized populations are able to assert their agency in city-making (Sassen, 2016:1). Pursuing the “art of being global” (Roy and Ong, 2011), cities in Asia fall more and more within what can be called an “urbanism of projects” (Goldblum, 2015: 374), leading to a rupture with their historic organic urban growth. In that context, urban figures are given priority over urban texture: “While the pieces of cities are occasionally spectacular, the parts do not add up to anything larger nor do they contribute to the extended setting” (Chow, 2015: 4). The urbanism of projects also acknowledges the primacy of a “super urban network” over local urban territories, opening the way for a “splintering urbanism” (Graham and Marvin, 2001). Once low rise and organic, cities in Asia have engaged into a verticalization process in a functionalist perspective, especially in new urbanized areas flourishing at its edge. These steady transformations affect social cohesion and lead to re-compositions of the historical and structuring forms of lanes and neighbourhoods.

The richness of the highly polysemous notion of “neighbourhood” is linked with its reference both to built and social environments. It corresponds to the smallest social unit for urban place-making, a dimension that John Friedmann synthesizes as “a small urban space that is cherished by the people who inhabit it (2009: 5). This universal definition focuses on three main criteria: its small scale, its inhabited dimension and its local attachment and appropriations by local communities. It can be seen both as an intimate place of social encounters and a field of expression of social forces, which is practiced – and thus performed – on a daily basis (Lefebvre, 1991). As such, appropriated lanes and neighbourhoods generate local centralities in the city they belong to.

The conference seeks to reflect on the specificity of the socio-spatial production – and its current evolutions – of neighbourhoods in the Asian context. Theoretically, the objective is to question the everyday nature of the urbanisation process, from the specific perspective of cities in Asia, historically characterized by the “smallness” of their plots division and the richness of lanes’ appropriations, both of them leading to a specific sense of local territoriality. Beyond this theoretical frame, the conference seeks to broaden the debate from a civil society perspective and to engage the discussion with locally rooted activism experiences, working on “reclaiming [the] cities neighbourhood by neighbourhoods” (Friedmann, 2009). In doing so, we are eager to revalue the productions of everyday urbanism and to decipher the richness of local urban and social fabrics from historical as well as contemporary perspectives.

Focusing on an in-depth exploration of neighbourhood formations in city-making, the conference will address the following three lines of inquiry. We encourage papers and narratives that engage with one or several of the following themes.

1. Questioning Neighbourhood “production of space” (Lefebvre, 1991) in cities in Asia

*In historicising the notions of neighbourhoods in Asia and contextualizing palimpsest games in the “neighbourhood-making” process, how can we identify and decipher the meanings of various morphological patterns of neighbourhoods in Asia?
*How can we report and theorize the interactions between urban networks (e.g., lanes) and neighbourhoods as territories in cities in Asia?
*What can we learn from comparative reflections on the various “back-alley neighbourhoods” in cities in Asia through history?
*How does the concept of neighbourhood relate to such terms as slum, squatter settlement, kampung, informal settlement?

2. Everyday Urbanism

*Does the formation of neighbourhoods offer possibilities for radical citizenships? How can the dwellers potentially “reclaim their city, neighbourhood by neighbourhood” (Friedmann, 2009)?
*Can we conceptualize local forms of resilience to ecological, political and economical challenges at the scale of the neighbourhood?
*How are neighbourhoods managed and governed within themselves and in the context of higher levels of government?
*How are neighbourhood identities formed, contested, and projected beyond the neighbourhood through media, literature, art, theatre or other practices?

3. Neighbourhoods as sites of resistance and alternative city-making

*What happens to the idea of “neighbourhood” in super-scale urban projects such as gated housing enclaves, smart cities, eco-cities or similar corporate production of urban space (Tedong and al, 2014)?
*How can threatened neighbourhoods effectively respond to processes of gentrification and/or corporatization of urban space?
*In an era in which tourism and cultural economy are put forth as ways to boost urban economies, can heritage or historical preservation be used as an effective platform for countering the dissolution of neighbourhoods as life-spaces (Friedmann, 1988)?
*What are the tools for action that neighbourhoods under siege innovate to create alternatives to the emergent super-scale functional city of consumption?

Paper submission
Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract (250 words maximum) and a brief personal biography of 150 words for submission by 30 April 2016. Please send all proposals as Word document to Successful applicants will be notified by 15 May 2016 and will be required to send in a completed draft paper (5,000-8,000 words) by 20 June 2016.

Download here the paper proposal form:

Dr Marie Gibert
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
E |

Prof Mike Douglass
Asia Research Institute, and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
E |

Dr Philippe Peycam
International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS), The Netherlands
E |

Ms Sharon Ong
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
E |

Posted in announcements, conferences | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Job Opening: East Asian Collections Project Archivist, Stanford University

job opening - 5Institution: Stanford University
Location: Stanford, CA
Posted: 03/18/2016
Type: Full Time
Education: MLS or MA

Job Number: 70369
Job: Library
Primary Location: Hoover Institution
Schedule: Full-time

This position is double posted at the Librarian 1 or 2 level dependent on experience.

(Two-year fixed term)

The Hoover Institution Archives is seeking a Project Archivist with language skills in Chinese and/or Japanese to work on the arrangement and description of rare and unique materials related to twentieth century East Asian history. The full-time position is a non-career track position, for a two-year fixed term.


The Project Archivist is responsible for creating intellectual access to collections of archival materials and rare published materials in Chinese and/or Japanese languages. Working independently and as an expert and coordinator of a project team, the Project Archivist will appraise, organize, arrange, describe, and provide access to a variety of materials related to twentieth century East Asian history. Additionally, the Project Archivist will provide reference assistance to researchers and assist with events and other outreach activities.


  • Coordinate the arrangement, appraisal, and description of large, complex archival collections according to professional standards and current archival procedures.
  • Analyze problems and recommend solutions, displaying a high degree of initiative, originality, and judgment in applying archival principles and procedures to complex and unique collections.
  • Participate in the formulation and implementation of project planning and work flows. Manage project goals and schedules, hire and supervise student assistants, and coordinate work with other departments.
  • Assist with the development of procedures, workflows, and surveys to address a backlog of undescribed material in Chinese and/or Japanese.
  • Search local and national databases for background information on individuals, archival and printed materials in Chinese and/or Japanese.
  • Conduct preservation assessments to determine appropriate preservation treatments and archival storage decisions.
  • Provide high-level, in-depth reference and research assistance in multiple languages during daily shifts at the Archives public service desk and remotely by phone, email, or social media.
  •  Collect and maintain statistics, reports, and other metrics to improve processing, preservation, and reference functions.



Education & Experience:

M.L.S. from an A.L.A.-accredited library school, a M.A. with an archival concentration, archival management certificate, or related subject specialty, or an equivalent degree
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Ability to read, write, and transliterate Chinese and/or Japanese language materials by following standard Library of Congress (LC) Romanization schemes
    Evidence of strong verbal and written communication skills in English as well as Chinese and/or Japanese and the ability to read traditional Chinese characters
  • Demonstrated ability to organize and prioritize work, acting with initiative, good judgment, and problem solving skills
  • Established understanding of archival collections, principles of arrangement and description, rare books, and primary source research
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, flexibility, and the ability to work in a team as well as independently, as well as a demonstrated high level of productivity
  • Advanced subject knowledge of the history of East Asia and a comprehensive understanding of the research use of primary sources
  • Strong project management skills with the ability to use considerable judgment and initiative
  • Experience applying professional standards such as DACS, Library of Congress subject headings, EAD, and MARC, as well as technical skills with databases, spreadsheets, office software and other applications


Posted in announcements, job openings, jobs | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Job Opening: Teacher, Japanese Culture and Language

job opening - 5Employer: Youth for Understanding (YFU)
Location: Berkeley, CA
Employment Type: Independent Contractor
Posted March 11, 2016
Deadline: rolling admissions

Mission: Youth for Understanding (YFU) advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families and communities. Through the exchange experience, YFU students gain intercultural understanding, learn mutual respect, and develop a sense of social responsibility. Their experience abroad gives them leadership competencies necessary to meet the challenges and benefit from the opportunities of a fast-changing global community.

Purpose of Position: The Culture and Language Teacher is a paid contract position with YFU, and reports directly to the Site Director and indirectly to the Education Coordinator. Youth for Understanding is committed to providing high school students with comprehensive educational programming, which helps to prepare them for their unique exchange experience. Culture and Language Teachers play a key role in achieving this goal. The quality of orientation teachers’ efforts has a significant and direct impact on the students’ experience. This orientation program is designed to prepare and educate American high school students as they embark on a six-week home stay experience in Japan. Major areas of responsibility include the following:


  • Effectively teach YFU curriculum to groups of 10-15 students, and team-teach group sessions of up to 30 students.
  • Create and maintain a classroom atmosphere that encourages student participation, is well organized and is consistent with the program schedule.
  • Work to foster cohesion within your group (known as Kumi).
  • Assist students with any difficulties they may encounter, and communicate these issues to the Site Director.


  • Work with the Alumni Assistants (teaching assistants) to keep students informed regarding schedules and session locations, and to emphasize the importance of punctuality.
  • Serve as a liaison between program staff and students by relaying important information regarding policies, procedures, and administrative matters.
  • Communicate and share students’ issues with program staff in an appropriate manner.
  • Assist in maintaining program integrity by working with students to uphold YFU’s policies and procedures.


  • Assist with non-classroom responsibilities such as registration, special sessions, and social activities.
  • Participate actively in all aspects of program implementation.
  • Collaborate with teaching assistants (YFU alumni) and other teachers to plan and present sessions.
  • Work to create effective working relationships with all program staff members.


  • Arrive at training having thoroughly read the lesson plans and student workbook.
  • Attend and fully participate in all training sessions.
  • Strive to understand and achieve the established goals and objectives of the orientation program.
  • Adhere to program policies and to YFU’s policies and procedures.
  • Be prepared to work long days in a full-time, total involvement, residential program.
  • Be thoroughly familiar and comfortable with lesson plan concept, format, and content.


Culture and Language Teachers:

  • Must have a teaching background, preferably with high school students.
  • Must have recent living experience in Japan.
  • Must have a minimum of a basic level Japanese language proficiency.
  • Must have excellent interpersonal skills and be able to team teach and function with a large and diverse staff.
  • Should possess the following characteristics: patience, understanding, sense of humor, adaptability, enthusiasm, awareness, sensitivity, creativity, responsibility, and commitment.
  • Should be dedicated to creating and maintaining a team atmosphere.
  • Must have no criminal record. A background check will be conducted for all staff.


  • Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible.
  • Site: University of California, Berkeley, California.
  • Dates:
    On site staff training: June 10-11 and June 16
    Student Orientations: June 12-15 and June 17-18
    Compensation: $100/day on site; YFU USA will also cover all transportation (up to $500), room and board expenses. Exception: Staff are required to cover meals on their day off (lunch June 15 through lunch June 16).

Via Original posting.

Posted in announcements, job openings, jobs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment