Podcast interview: Dean Brink, “Japanese Poetry and its Publics”

Podcasts
Is classical Japanese poetry something to be enjoyed in private, an object of study for scholars, or an item of public life teeming with hints about how to understand and deal with our past and our future? In Japanese Poetry and its Publics: From Colonial Taiwan to Fukushima (Routledge, 2018), Dean Anthony Brink, Associate Professor at the National Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu, Taiwan, argues that certain forms of Japanese classical poetry (especially tanka and senryū) have remained central to public life in both Japan and its former colony of Taiwan. Brink analyzes poems published in regular newspaper columns and various blogs, examining the way in which they reflect specific historical moments and exploring how they can be used for (and in) politics. Brink’s conclusion is that poetry has an ambivalent function, as it can serve…
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Podcast interview: Ronald P. Loftus, “The Turn Against the Modern”

Podcasts
Taoka Reiun (1870-1912) was a literary critic and thinker who was active from the early 1890s in Meiji period Japan. Not satisfied with the meaning of bunmei kaika (“civilization and enlightenment”), the trajectory that the government had mapped out for the modernization of the country, he called on his readers to question its premises and promises. He found himself drawn to the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, but at the same time he turned to ancient Indian and Chinese thought, from the Upanishads to Zhuangzi’s essays. In The Turn Against the Modern: The Critical Essays of Taoka Reiun (1870-1912) (Association for Asian Studies, 2017), Ronald Loftus, professor of Japanese language and East Asian History at Willamette University, retraces Taoka Reiun’s personal and professional life from the point of view of the…
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Podcast interview: Kaori Okano and Yoshio Sugimoto (eds.), “Rethinking Japanese Studies”

Podcasts
Rethinking Japanese Studies. Eurocentrism and the Asia-Pacific Region (Routledge, 2018) is co-edited by Kaori Okano and Yoshio Sugimoto. The book tries to look at the discipline of Japanese Studies from a variety of perspectives and in a variety of contexts, starting from the premise that – as the authors put it – Japanese Studies is not the exclusive property of the anglophone world. In the volume, the authors try to answer several key questions:   What variations are there among the academic communities of Japanese Studies in Asia? Is there a local intellectual approach that displays a degree of autonomy from the global scholarship in the English-using world? In what ways have some academic disciplines or approaches been affected by Anglo-Western scholarship to a greater extent than others? Why? What…
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