Memory Politics and Memory Drama

Jordan Sand’s A Year of Memory Politics in East Asia: Looking Back on the “Open Letter in Support of Historians in Japan” is immensely timely: I spent a few hours just yesterday arguing with people on twitter about the Comfort Women issue. I had tweeted about a new documentary, testimony from some surviving women, and […]

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Yes, I watched it.

As Jamie Noguchi said, I see these movies so you don’t have to: my review of 47 Ronin is up at HNN. As expected, it’s a blazing failure, with few details of either the original incident or famous dramatizations left intact. A subtitled video of the 1748 Bunraku play would have been better, artistically and […]

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Modern Japan in Anglophone Historical Fiction

ASPAC 2013 Jonathan Dresner Pittsburg State University “But writers of fiction do not stumble onto locales or times: they choose them and they use them to serve their narrative and aesthetic ends.” — Jonathan Dresner “…flaws typical of the genre: a carefully set but very selective milieu; characters cobbled together from cultural and psychosocial fragments; […]

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Red Chapel Ironies

I recently got around to watching the Red Chapel, the unusual guerrilla documentary by the Danish journalist Mads Brügger.1 The basic premise is a visit to North Korea by Mads Brügger and two Danish-Korean comedians for the purpose of cultural exchange. Brügger’s main ploy is the use of the speaking disability of one of the […]

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Turnbull Book on Ako

Stephen Turnbull, one of the most prolific and controversial writers on Japanese military history, has written a book on the 47 Samurai incident. The Samurai Archives review is quite positive, though Turnbull’s involvement as historical consultant on the upcoming Keanu Reeves version does raise concerns. It’s nice to see Turnbull stepping up his game a […]

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Cultural Consumption and Comprehension

There’s an interesting article up at Japan Focus this week, “Disarming Japan’s Cannons with Hollywood’s Cameras: Cinema in Korea Under U.S. Occupation, 1945-1948” by Brian Yecies and Ae-Gyung Shim. For the most part, it’s a pretty conventional occupation history, done with official USAMGIK sources, Korean newspapers, plus some secondary sources on the early occupation period, […]

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Film Festival

Just received this from friends at the Japanese American National Museum: The Japanese American National Museum is accepting film & video submissions for their Second annual ID Film Festival, a series of films that challenge and celebrate what it means to be Asian. To take place from October 1-3, ID Film Fest will showcase both […]

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St Sebastian Redux

At Danwei, a blog you must follow to keep up with China, “Donnie Yen Meditates on Violence” shows the Hong Kong movie star posed as the martyred Saint, looking like a pin cushion. This is an homage to the classic Esquire cover showing Mohamed Ali in the same pose. But of course, Yukio Mishima earlier […]

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BAKS 2008

     I just returned to SG this past weekend from BAKS (British Association Korean Studies) 2008, and wanted to post as the film panel in particular intersects nicely with something posted earlier this summer.  For those interested in a brief summary of the conference as a whole, please see Philip Gowman’s take at: http://londonkoreanlinks.net/2008/09/12/baks-conference-report-looking-forward-looking-back/.      To return […]

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1949 Banning Japanese Subtitles

On the second page of the June 25th issue of The Korean Free Press (자유신문 自由新聞) there is a very small article which shows how long the process of eliminating the most outwardly visible elements of “Japanese remnants” (일제잔재) could take. While newspaper articles today continue to point to long lasting legacies of the Japanese […]

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Worth Noting

John Dower kicks off the American Historical Association’s Perspectives newsletter’s new “Masters at the Movies” series with a review and commentary of the two Eastwood Iwo Jima movies. It is, as you’d expect from John Dower, well sourced, psychologically sensitive, clear-headed and even-handed. Nothing very new there, but a good survey of the end-of-war issues […]

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