Journals: European Journal Of East Asian Studies Vol 6 No 2

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 9:39 am

Below is the table of contents of the new issue of this journal:

European Journal Of East Asian Studies
2007 ; VOL 6 ; PART 2   (2007/12/01) 
EALA Wiki Entry for this journal

Article Title: N . F . S . Grundtvig , Niels Bukh and Other ‘Japanese’ Heroes . The Educators Obara Kuniyoshi and Matsumae Shigeyoshi and Their Lessons from the Past of a Foreign Country
Author(s): Margaret Meh
Page: 155 – 184

Article Title: When the Medium Is the Message : The Ideological Role of Yoshino Sakuzô ; Yoshino’s Minponshugi in Mobilising the Japanese Public
Author(s): Brett McCormic
Page: 185 – 215

Article Title: Regional Integration and Business Interests : A Comparative Study of Europe and Southeast Asia
Author(s): Hidetaka Yoshimatsu
Page: 217 – 243

Article Title: Constructing Relations with Hong Kong under ‘One Country , Two Systems’ . Prospects for the European Union
Author(s): Kenneth Ka – Lok Cha
Page: 245 – 273

Article Title: China Through Western Eyes . A Case Study of the BBC Television Documentary Roads to Xanadu
Author(s): Qing Ca
Page: 275 – 297

Fortune Cookie History

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 1:46 am

A grad student from Kanagawa University may have cracked the great riddle of Asian cuisine: the origin of the Fortune Cookie! As the NY Times reports, the original fortune cookies may have been produced by Kyoto-area confectioners in the late 1800s.1 The practice — and the distinctive iron grills used to make the sembei crackers, which are part of the historical puzzle — spread to Japanese-owned Chop Suey houses in San Francisco.2 From there, Chinese-owned restaurants began to offer them, and Chinese-owned bakeries supplied them.

Then came WWII, which changed everything.

Ms. Nakamachi is still unsure how exactly fortune cookies made the jump to Chinese restaurants. But during the 1920s and 1930s, many Japanese immigrants in California owned chop suey restaurants, which served Americanized Chinese cuisine. The Umeya bakery distributed fortune cookies to well over 100 such restaurants in southern and central California.

Early on, Chinese-owned restaurants discovered the cookies, too. Ms. Nakamachi speculates that Chinese-owned manufacturers began to take over fortune cookie production during World War II, when Japanese bakeries all over the West Coast closed as Japanese-Americans were rounded up and sent to internment camps.

Mr. Wong pointed out: “The Japanese may have invented the fortune cookie. But the Chinese people really explored the potential of the fortune cookie. It’s Chinese-American culture. It only happens here, not in China.”

The war also served to popularize the fortune cookie

they were encountered by military personnel on the way back from the Pacific Theater. When these veterans returned home, they would ask their local Chinese restaurants why they didn’t serve fortune cookies as the San Francisco restaurants did.

The cookies rapidly spread across the country. By the late 1950s, an estimated 250 million fortune cookies were being produced each year by dozens of small Chinese bakeries and fortune cookie companies. One of the larger outfits was Lotus Fortune in San Francisco, whose founder, Edward Louie, invented an automatic fortune cookie machine. By 1960, fortune cookies had become such a mainstay of American culture that they were used in two presidential campaigns: Adlai Stevenson’s and Stuart Symington’s.

It’s such an American tale. It’s all there: entrepreneurship, food, racism, migration, war, marketing, invention, industrialization and orientalism.3 I can’t wait to tell my students.

(Crossposted, of course)

  1. I’m immediately reminded of the rickshaw, which everyone associates with China but which was actually invented as the jinrikisha in Japan at the opening of the Meiji era. There is evidence in the Times article going back to the early 1800s, though. []
  2. Japanese in North America were much more likely to be from Kansai than Japanese in Hawai’i []
  3. Also the obsession with national origins, Japanese-Chinese competition, the value of open archives, the historiography of food culture and the power of media to shape a historical finding. []


Event: Tokyo DIJ Presentation

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 1:20 am

Passing on this announcement of the February DIJ presentation:

DIJ History & Humanities Study Group 
Wednesday, 6 February 2008, 18:30 
at the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ), Tokyo 

This month’s speaker will be
Chris Winkler (University of Munich)
who will give a presentation on 

“Japan’s Conservatives and the Quest for Constitutional Reform”

Everybody is welcome to attend, but registration at backhaus at dijtokyo.org would be helpful. 


Constitutional Reform had been in the news for more than a decade since the early  1990s. Many thought the discourse about the issue would eventually culminate in the  realization of Constitutional Reform under the government of Shinzo Abe. With Abe  resigning as PM in summer 2007 after a mere year in office, his pet project quickly  vanished from magazine front pages and talk shows, though. 

Instead of focusing on these recent events, my paper examines the issue of  Constitutional Reform as a symbol for Japan’s conservatives since the early 1980s.  After looking at conservatism and how it has manifested itself in postwar Japan, I  would like to try and explain what a revised Constitution stands for in the eyes of  Japanese conservatives. Therefore, this research is not limited to the analysis of  constitutional reform drafts, but also connects these drafts to a wider framework of  conservative criticism targeting postwar Japan as well as conservative visions of a  future Japan. 

Chris Winkler is a doctoral candidate at the University of Munich’s Department of  Japanese Studies. He is currently a visiting research fellow at Keio University.

German Institute for Japanese Studies
Jochi Kioizaka Bldg, 7-1 Kioicho
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0094 
Tel. +81-(0)3-3222-5077
Fax. +81-(0)3-3222-5420



Journals: East Asia – An International Quarterly Vol 24 No 4

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 9:07 am

Below is the table of contents of the new issue of this journal:

East Asia – An International Quarterly
2008; Vol 24; PART 4 (2008-January)
EALA Wiki Entry for this journal

Article Title: Japan’s Quest for “Soft Power” : Attraction and Limitation
Author(s): Peng Lam
Page: 349 – 363

Article Title: Policy Response to Declining Birth Rate in Japan : Formation of a “Gender – Equal” Society
Author(s): Yuki Huen
Page: 365 – 379

Article Title: Is Taipei an Innovative City ? An Institutionalist Analysis
Author(s): Chia – Huang Wang
Page: 381 – 398

Article Title: China’s Oil Venture in Africa
Author(s): Hong Zhao
Page: 399 – 415

Article Title: Edmund Terence Gomez ( ed ) , Politics in Malaysia : The Malay Dimension
Author(s): Clive Kessler
Page: 417 – 419

Article Title: David Scott , China Stands Up : The PRC and the International System
Author(s): Justin Orenstein
Page: 421 – 424

Article Title: Steve Chan , China , the U . S . , and the Power – Transition Theory : A Critique
Author(s): Robert Sutter
Page: 425 – 427


Eighth Route Army POW Policy

Filed under: — guest @ 10:37 pm

Frog in a Well welcomes a guest posting from Sayaka Chatani, who is a PhD student in the History Department of Columbia University. Her research interests are in the transnational history of early to mid-twentieth century East Asia, mainly focusing on the colonization and decolonization of Korea and Taiwan.

For those who missed the August 2007 issue of Sekai, a journal widely read by (mainly left-leaning) Japanese intellectuals, I would like to introduce an article by Marukawa Tetsushi in the volume, who I think shows an interesting way of addressing multiple postwar contexts through a single historical issue.

The main part of the August 2007 issue of Sekai is dedicated to the 70th Anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, with the subtitle of “how we face the memory of the Sino-Japanese War.” A number of historians devoted articles on issues related to the war. Unlike conventional debates on the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, none of them discusses “who started firing first.” It starts with a series of interviews with Chinese people who survived the experience of forced labor under the Japanese occupation; scholars discuss the decision-making of the navy to carpet-bomb Chinese cities after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident; and it also includes comments by activists on the future of Japan’s war responsibility. Among these articles is Marukawa Tetsushi’s discussion on the 八路軍 (the Communist Eighth Route Army during the resistance war against Japan).

Marukawa’s short article, 「改造」と「認罪」−その起源と展開, focuses on the policy of the Eighth Route Army toward Japanese POWs and war criminals, which constituted an integral part of the Chinese Communists’ strategy towards international society during and immediately after WWII. Marukawa argues that the Eighth Route Army, not being recognized as a legitimate actor or army by foreign powers, had no incentive to abide with the Hague Convention on the treatment of the POWs. Nevertheless, the Eighth Route Army adopted a very lenient policy towards the Japanese POWs as a tactic of psychological warfare. Marukawa introduces “the Yan-an (延安) Report,” which American intelligence compiled to learn from the Chinese Communist strategy in fighting Japanese forces. According to this report, the Communists treated the Japanese POWs with medical care, provided them with education and released them as they desired in order to provide a contrast with the indoctrination of the Japanese military. This lenient POW policy was so effective that, the report argues, many Japanese soldiers deserted and defected during the war. Marukawa identifies the nature of the politics of Chinese Communism in this policy of converting enemies into friends, reminding the reader of Mao Zedong’s comment, “Who is our enemy? Who is our friend? This is the most important problem to our revolution.”

Marukawa continues by discussing how Japanese society remembered – or did not remember – the Eighth Route Army POW policy since the war ended. He argues that the Cold War situation distorted the image of the Eighth Route Army. The setting of Tamura Taijirō’s famous novel, “春婦伝 (A Story of a Prostitute)” (1946), was changed under pressure when it was made into a movie, “暁の脱走” (the main character was played by Yamaguchi Yoshiko) in 1950. In the original novel, a Japanese soldier was captured by the Eighth Route Army and released, but the Eighth Route Army was replaced with the Nationalist (KMT) Army in the movie owing to the GHQ censorship. This was a result of the American fear of “brain-washing,” which had just become an established concept during the Korean War, Marukawa argues.

At the same time, Communist China was wholeheartedly promoting the 整風 (zhengfeng) movement to ideologically convert former KMT supporters. It was in this context that the continuous 思想改造 (thought conversion) and the 認罪 (admitting guilt) movement of Japanese POWs and war criminals was posited. In other words, Marukawa recognizes two contexts – the consolidation of the Communist victory of the Civil War, and the continuation of the Eighth Route Army tactic of psychological warfare as operating at the same time as the 戦犯管理 (management of war criminals) policy. It was also a means for the Chinese to engage with international society. Stalin transported about 1000 Japanese POWs to China in the 1950s so that China could demonstrate its ability to adequately manage them to international society. Marukawa argues (somewhat ambiguously) that, dissatisfied with the result of San Francisco Treaty, Communist China further intensified the 認罪 (admitting guilt) program towards the Japanese POWs/war criminals.

Marukawa’s article concludes by reflecting on the stunning leniency seen in the rules of the Shenyang war crime tribunal, as well as the fact that many Japanese soldiers felt responsible and guilty of the crimes that they were only indirectly related to. A round-talk with some Japanese survivors who had experienced Eighth Route Army POW policy and became anti-war activists follows his article in the same volume.

Marukawa Tetsushi, “Kaizō to Ninzai, Sono Kigen to Tenkai,” in Sekai, Iwanami Shoten, August 2007, no.768, pp. 243-252

Powered by WordPress