Job Opening: Lecturer in Japanese Literature, University of East Anglia

The University of East Anglia is looking to appoint a new Lecturer / Senior Lecturer in Japanese Literature, with a specialistion in modern and/or contemporary Japanese literature and the ability to teach and research other aspects of Japanese literature. This is a new position created with the support of the Japan Foundation. The post is based in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and the post-holder will be expected to contribute to our new MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies, hosted in the Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities in the Faculty, and to work with the Centre for Japanese Studies to further develop our Japanese Studies programmes initiated in 2011.

Norwich is a UNESCO City of Literature and is home to the renowned National Centre for Writing (located in the historic city centre) and the British Centre for Literary Translation (within the School). Full details at .

Deadline for applications 19 September 2019.

For more information see the following PDF.

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Book Announcement: Beauty in the Age of Empire: Japan, Egypt, and the Global History of Aesthetic Education

Beauty in the Age of Empire: Japan, Egypt, and the Global History of Aesthetic Education

Raja Adal

When modern primary schools were first founded in Japan and Egypt in the 1870s, they did not teach art. Yet by the middle of the twentieth century, art education was a permanent part of Japanese and Egyptian primary schooling. Both countries taught music and drawing, and wartime Japan also taught calligraphy. Why did art education become a core feature of schooling in societies as distant as Japan and Egypt, and how is aesthetics entangled with nationalism, colonialism, and empire?

Beauty in the Age of Empire is a global history of aesthetic education focused on how Western practices were adopted, transformed, and repurposed in Egypt and Japan. I uncover the emergence of aesthetic education in modern schools and its role in making a broad spectrum of ideologies from fascism to humanism attractive. With aesthetics, educators sought to enchant children with sounds and sights, using their ears and eyes to make ideologies into objects of desire. Spanning multiple languages and continents, and engaging with the histories of nationalism, art, education, and transnational exchanges, Beauty in the Age of Empire offers a strikingly original account of the rise of aesthetics in modern schools and the modern world. It shows that, while aesthetics is important to all societies, it was all the more important for those countries on the receiving end of Western expansion, which could not claim to be wealthier or more powerful than Western empires, only more beautiful.

For more information:

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Fun Link Friday: 2019 Rice Field art at Inakadate

As long-time readers know, each year we showcase the rice paddy art of Inakadate, Aomori Prefecture, which has a long standing tradition of growing multicolored rice to great gigantic rice paddy art!

This year the theme is  Oshin「おしん」, a television drama (image below), and Okaasan to Issho, 「おかあさんといっしょ」a morning children’s show from NHK.

Here’s a couple links to some wide photos of the two fields, and below is a video showing the rice from overhead:

You can also check out the live feed at Inakadate’s official website! Just remember the time difference so you’re not checking at night! 🙂

For last year’s art, see this page.


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Book Announcement: The Making of Japanese Settler Colonialism: Malthusianism and Trans-Pacific Migration, 1868-1961

The Making of Japanese Settler Colonialism: Malthusianism and Trans-Pacific Migration, 1868-1961

Sidney Xu Lu

This innovative study demonstrates how Japanese empire-builders invented and appropriated the discourse of overpopulation to justify Japanese settler colonialism across the Pacific. Lu defines this overpopulation discourse as ‘Malthusian expansionism’. This was a set of ideas that demanded additional land abroad to accommodate the supposed surplus people in domestic society on the one hand and emphasized the necessity of national population growth on the other. Lu delineates ideological ties, human connections and institutional continuities between Japanese colonial migration in Asia and Japanese migration to Hawaii and North and South America from 1868 to 1961. He further places Malthusian expansionism at the center of the logic of modern settler colonialism, challenging the conceptual division between migration and settler colonialism in global history. This title is also available as Open Access.

For more information:

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Fun Link Friday: Cooking Edo Period Food 🍚

When in Japan, food is everything. What’s the local specialty? What’s the best omiyage? But have you stopped and wondered “What were people eating 200 years ago?” Well the Center for Open Data in the Humanities might be able to help you with that. They’ve been working on a dataset of 100+ recipes from an Edo period (1603-1868) collection from 1785.

Starting with egg recipes, they’ve been releasing the information from the dataset on CookPad, Japan’s most popular cooking site.

Combined with some professional photos of modern attempts at the recipes, you can get a sense of what some early modern Japanese might have had on their tables! The main page of the Edo period recipes can be found here, and Sora News 24 also translated a couple into English.

Happy weekend cooking!

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Book Announcement: That Distant Country Next Door: Popular Japanese Perceptions of Mao’s China

Erik Esselstrom

Japan’s road to war in China in the 1930s–1940s is well known, as are the legacies of that conflict in the diplomatic disputes, territorial rows, and educational policy battles between Japan and China since the 1980s. Less understood is the nature of Japan-China relations in the intervening decades. How did a popular Japanese perception of China that facilitated imperial aggression become one that embraced restoring friendly diplomatic ties and cultivating mutually beneficial economic and cultural interactions? Exploring everyday Japanese impressions of the People’s Republic of China from the end of the U.S. Occupation in 1952 to normalization of Japan-China relations in 1972, this book analyzes representations of the PRC in Japanese print media and visual culture in connection with four topics: the 1954 visit to Japan by Minister of Health Li Dequan, China’s atomic weapons testing in 1964–1967, the Red Guard movement of the early Cultural Revolution years, and the culture of continental “rediscovery” in 1971–1972.

Japanese views of China under Mao were infused with elements of thematic and conceptual continuity linking the prewar, wartime, and postwar eras. In sketching out a portrait of these elements, Erik Esselstrom explains how the reconstruction of Japan’s relationship with China included more than just the trials and tribulations of Cold War diplomacy. In so doing, he reintegrates postwar Japan-China relations within the longer history of East Asian cultural interaction and engagement.

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Fun Link Friday: Throw out your garbage!

Some of you may have already seen this instagram account going viral, but it’s too funny to miss out on. An anonymous woman has created, in her own words, “an account uploading things my husband has left around.”

Entitled “Throw out your garbage!” the account is a series of very relatable commentaries on things the woman has found in her home. Take for example:

”You’re f*cking kidding me.” to wasteful aluminum foil use.

Or this precarious drink placement: “Is this the Leaning Tower of Pisa?”

Though my personal favorite is “THIS IS A TOILET. It’s like a horror movie.”


To check out these and other hilarious posts, visit her site at:

Happy Friday!

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