Book Announcement: Comfort Women: A Movement for Justice and Women’s Rights in the United States

Comfort Women: A Movement for Justice and Women’s Rights in the United States

Edited by Jung-Sil Lee and Dennis P. Halpin.

This new edited volume archives nearly thirty years of activism, records the achievements of the “comfort women” redress movement on American soil, and highlights the significant historical moments by members of the non-profit Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues (WCCW), its elected officers, congressional staff members, non-profit  organizations, scholars, and artists. Together with its many pages of primary resources and historical photographs, the volume also offers useful links to resources for future generations who wish to pursue the impact and legacies of the Korean “comfort women”.


During World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army forced young women and girls in occupied territories into sexual slavery. The purpose was to prevent rapes, sexually transmitted diseases, leaking of confidential information, and to provide “comfort ” to Japanese soldiers. This sexual servitude gave rise to the euphemistic label “comfort women. ” It is estimated there were between 50,000 to as many as 400,000 “comfort women ” throughout more than ten occupied countries including Korea, China, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, the Dutch East Indies, Taiwan, Burma, and Vietnam. This dark period of Asian history remains hotly debated between the right-wing Japanese government and sympathetic groups of activists and feminists. Interestingly, this conflict found a new and unexpected battlefield on American soil and has become part of the discourse on human rights. “Comfort women ” represent something universally troubling: the endemic assault on the rights and ownership of a woman s body and the patriarchal systems that leave such transgressions unpunished. “Comfort women ” issues reflect the atrocities that continue to plague modern society today: rape, violations of human rights, sexual assault, sex trafficking, and more broadly, war-time traumas. What has made many sympathetic to this cause is not just the horrific experiences of these women, but also the realization that women’s rights and justice have not greatly improved since World War II. This book is dedicated to compiling and recording the tremendous efforts of diverse groups of people for the cause of the “comfort women ” in the United States for the last 28 years in hopes that readers can use and learn from these archived materials to prevent such atrocities in the future and to fight those battles today, where the voices of women in the past could not.

All orders from within the United States as well as from other countries should be directed to the Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues (WCCW) website:


Orders may also be sent to  and to Hollym International Corporation in Carlsbad, California.

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Job Opening: International Student Advisor, Washington State University

Via AWISA’s Job Postings.

  • Institution: Washington State University
  • Location: Pullman, WA
  • Education: BA required, MA preferred (plus 1-2 years of experience)
  • Type: Full time
  • Other: must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to become a Designated School Official
  • Deadline: September 7, 2020


Summary of Duties

The Student Services Coordinator/Advisor 1 provides essential and critical student immigration counseling and holistic support to continuing international students to ensure maintenance of immigration records and appropriate lawful status. This position often intersects between immigration regulations, academic regulations and holistic counseling/support to help students meet their educational and academic goals, with a primary focus on F, and to a lesser extent, J visa programs. The position is responsible for providing specialized immigration advice for international students and campus offices across the WSU system at all study plan levels. This position must stay up-to-date on complex, and, currently, ever-changing, immigration regulations and directly apply them to extremely complex student and scholar cases with a high level of focus on legality and record maintenance.

In addition, the position must be familiar with University academic and other policies and procedures related to international students as well as their dependents. Responsibilities include monitoring compliance with federal immigration regulations in alignment with applicable university policies, reviewing and assisting with the development of unit procedures and methodologies; explaining applicable policies, state and federal laws and regulations to international students, monitoring and updating the office case management system (SUNAPSIS) (this is a paperless office), tracking immigration status for students; training students and University colleagues on immigration matters, educating students on their visa status, how to maintain lawful status, and the consequences for falling out of status, presenting and assisting with cultural programming efforts for international students and the WSU international community.

This position must serve as a Designated School Official (DSO), for F visas, and may serve as an Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO), for J visas. As DSO and ARO, has legal responsibility and signature authority for institutional compliance with immigration requirements under federal law. This position works as a liaison with government agencies, organizations and various stakeholders, maintains compliance with federal immigration reporting requirements in SEVIS and elsewhere. This position requires knowledge of federal regulations governing F and J visa status.


Required Qualifications

Positions require a Bachelor’s degree and two (2) years of professional work experience in student services or related education/experience. A Master’s degree in a related field may substitute for one (1) year of professional work experience. Any combination of relevant education and professional experience may be substituted for the educational requirement on a year‐for‐year basis.

Additional Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in international studies, political science, counseling, education or a related field.
  • Ability to work nights and/or weekends as needed.
  • A Designated School Official (DSO) for SEVIS must be either a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.
  • At least three years of relevant professional work experience.
  • Experience with common office software programs (Microsoft Office).
  • Strong ability and skills in managing challenging or stressful circumstances meeting deadlines when handling multiple cases.
  • High level of attention to detail and strong organizational skills.
  • Strong interpersonal, cross-cultural, written and verbal communication skills, ability to establish professional relationships with international population and campus offices, and to speak in front of large groups.
  • Excellent customer service skills and interpersonal skills; ability to interact with others in a warm, friendly and supportive manner, creating a climate of trust, consideration and mutual respect.
  • Ability to work as a team as well as working independently.
  • Demonstrated cultural sensitivity.
  • Understanding of how immigration and academics intersect.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop relationships and solve complex problems to ensure immigration regulations are met.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in international studies, college student personnel, or a related field.
  • Experience in a university international office.
  • Experience working and/or living abroad.
  • Experience working on SUNAPSIS case management system.
  • Knowledge or proficiency of a foreign language.

Full job listing and application on WSU’s website

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Resource: Denshō

How do we preserve peoples’ experiences and stories while placing them in historical context? How can these narratives help us to promote equity and justice? These are some of the driving questions behind Densho, a nonprofit organization begun in 1996 that now hosts an extensive digital archive on the lives of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II. 

As their website states:

We offer these irreplaceable firsthand accounts, coupled with historical images and teacher resources, to explore principles of democracy, and promote equal justice for all.

Densho is a Japanese term meaning “to pass on to the next generation,” or to leave a legacy. The legacy we offer is an American story with ongoing relevance: during World War II, the United States government incarcerated innocent people solely because of their ancestry.

The site offers a wide variety of ways to explore the historical material they’ve curated, beginning with a Core Story section that integrates relevant media into short essays about the history of the racist acts against Japanese and Japanese Americans during WWII, ranging from the first growth of diasporic communities to a “Why Does this Matter Now?” commentary on how the historical past directly reflects present concerns about civil liberties.

Their Encyclopedia section includes over 650 articles on people, places, terminology, events, and more, all of which feature citations for the sources used to write each short piece. They also have search options to explore alphabetically, by categories (Arts, Chroniclers, People, Resettlement, etc.), or by a standard search bar function. The articles vary in length, but all are well-sourced and provide critical details for more fully understanding the historical context and actors of this time.

Densho’s Digital Archives section is divided into four parts: Digital Repository, Visual History Program, Share Your Collections, and Create Family Archives. The Digital Repository comprises a wide variety of archival materials, including photographs, newspaper clippings, letters, oral histories, and more, all of which have invaluable and extensive metadata. These can be browsed by subsections: narrators, collections, topics, facilities (e.g. by incarceration camp), or searched by keywords. Many of the digitized materials can be freely used for educational purposes. The subsections and individual collections contain hundreds of archival items. Notably, there is also a “Names” area that includes downloadable and searchable datasets from name registries, which offers information about those held in the ten War Relocation Authority camps during WWII.

The Visual History Program area provides instructions and resources for conducting the oral interviews that help populate their repository and preserve the histories of living individuals connected to Densho’s themes. Similarly, their Share Your Collections page provides an easy way to learn more about how you can contribute to the repository by sharing any relevant materials. The Create Family Archives also instructs community members on how they can best preserve (both physically and digitally) these artefacts, a crucial first step to ensuring they are not lost over time.

There is also a Learning Center that features multidisciplinary lessons related to the site’s content. These units contain even more extensive multimedia resources, such as maps and timelines, and focus on particular themes like examining racism and discrimination through oral histories, usings newspapers as primary sources, geographic examinations of camps, and more. Handy curriculum guides help teachers consider how they can implement these materials in the classroom, from learning objectives and suggested prompts to resources on further developing one’s pedagogy on particular subjects. The volume of materials and coverage is incredibly rich.

Densho also maintains a newsletter so that you can keep up to date with what they’ve been doing and new additions to the site’s collection, as well as a donation page to help support the project’s ongoing development. Densho is an incredible resource for the history of AAPI communities in the US, and an excellent tool for personal learning as well as classroom instruction. You can follow their work on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.


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Book Announcement: Marriage and Marriageability: The Practices of Matchmaking between Men from Japan and Women from Northeast China

Marriage and Marriageability:
The Practices of Matchmaking between Men from Japan and Women from Northeast China


How do the Japanese men and Chinese women who participate in cross-border matchmaking—individuals whose only interaction is often just one brief meeting—come to see one another as potential marriage partners? Motivated by this question, Chigusa Yamaura traces the practices of Sino-Japanese matchmaking from transnational marriage agencies in Tokyo to branch offices and language schools in China, from initial meetings to marriage, the visa application processes, and beyond to marital life in Japan.

Engaging issues of colonial history, local norms, and the very ability to conceive of another or oneself as marriageable, Marriage and Marriageability rethinks cross-border marriage not only as a form of gendered migration, but also as a set of practices that constructs marriageable partners and imaginable marriages. Yamaura shows that instead of desiring different others, these transnational marital relations are based on the tactical deployment of socially and historically created conceptions of proximity between Japan and northeast China. Far from seeking to escape local practices, participants in these marriages actively seek to avoid transgressing local norms. By doing so on a transnational scale, they paradoxically reaffirm and attempt to remain within the boundaries of local marital ideologies.

For more information:

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Happy 10th Anniversary, Shinpai Deshou~! 🎂

Oh my goodness! Amid the vortex that is this pandemic, July 30 rolled right by and I completely forgot that this year What can I do with a B.A. in Japanese Studies celebrates TEN YEARS of activity! Wow!!

A million thanks to all of you who have been reading over the years, growing with the blog as I traveled down my own path in Japanese Studies, and who have been SO generous in writing for Shinpai Deshou or reaching out to express your appreciation for the labor of love that is this blog. Every day I think about how I might take the blog into the future and improve its content and interface for you all, and I hope to be able to make that a serious commitment in the near future. Thanks for sticking it out with me over the years. 🙂

Stay safe, be well, and, well, 心配しないでね。✨

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Book Announcement: Flowers Blooming on a Withered Tree: Giun’s Verse Comments on Dōgen’s Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Flowers Blooming on a Withered Tree: Giun’s Verse Comments on Dōgen’s Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Steven Heine


This book provides a translation and critical bilingual edition on the Verse Comments on the Treasury of the True Dharma Eye. The Verse Comments by Giun (1253-1333), the fifth abbot of Eiheiji temple, is an important early medieval Japanese commentary on the 60-chapter edition of the Treasury of the True Dharma Eye (Shōbōgenzō), one of the main versions of the masterwork written by Eihei Dōgen (1200-1253), the founder of the Soto Zen sect in Japan who established Eiheiji in the mid-1240s.

Giun’s Verse Comments was one of only two commentaries of the Treasury written during the Kamakura era, with the other being a prose analysis of the 75-chapter edition, called Prose Comments on the Treasury of the True Dharma Eye, often abbreviated to Distinguished Comments (Gōshō). While the Prose Comments fell into disuse rather quickly and was only revived nearly three hundred years later, the Verse Comments was circulated widely from the time of its composition and read by many Soto monks over the next couple of centuries. Offering poems and cryptic expressions that seek to capture the spiritual flavor and essential meaning of Dōgen’s thought as suggested in each chapter, the Verse Comments is crucial for understanding how Dōgen’s Treasury was received and appropriated in the religious and literary context of medieval Japan.

In this book, Steven Heine’s careful interpretations, historical investigations, and theoretical reflections demonstrate the significance of Giun’s writings in light of the history of pre-modern and modern commentaries on Dōgen’s masterwork, the Treasury of the True Dharma Eye.

For more information: link

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Fun Link Friday: Masterful kiri-e designs by Masayo Fukuda

In past Fun Link Fridays we’ve featured some cool paper artistry, from pop-up designs and intricate cranes to moving paper sculptures. Today’s feature is next-level kiri-e (paper cutting) by Masayo Fukuda, who has over 25 years of experience making cut-outs that look laser-sharp in their precision. Her use of delicate lines and negative space is truly stunning, bringing to life eerily translucent figures of animals, in particular. You can check out an article from last year by Hi-Fructose on some of her work and also follow her on Instagram for videos and photos of her art. Happy Friday!

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Open Access Special Journal Issue: Narratological Perspectives on Premodern Japanese Literature

Narratological Perspectives on Premodern Japanese Literature

Edited by Sebastian Balmes

With articles by Sonja Arntzen, Jinno Hidenori, Midorikawa Machiko, Simone Müller, Takeuchi Akiko, Michael Watson, Robert F. Wittkamp, and myself.

This special issue comprises eight studies that deal with Japanese narratives from the tenth to the fifteenth century, including theater and painting, from a narratological point of view, revolving around discourse, character, and time. While narratology provides useful tools for analysis, some theories need to be revised in order to apply to Japanese texts. The papers in this volume contain several such proposals, but their focus lies first and foremost on examining characteristics of premodern Japanese narrative, which—compared to Western (medieval) literature—stands out through its elusive qualities. The special issue is equally aimed at an audience with a background in Japanese Studies and at scholars who take an interest in diachronic and intercultural narratology.

All articles, or the entire volume in one PDF, can be downloaded from the following website:

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Funding: Tanaka & Green Academic Scholarships

The Japan-America Society of Washington DC is pleased to announce the opening of the Tanaka and Green Academic Scholarship for the 2020-2021 school year.

Applicants should fill out the online application form and submit the following documents with the application form before the deadline of August 21, 2020. All documents should be included as attachments to the application and include the applicant’s full name.

JASWDC will not follow up if an application is incomplete. Failure to submit all required documents, or to fully complete the application, will render the applicant ineligible.

complete application includes the following documents:

  1. (A) Proof of acceptance at a college or university in Japan and (B) certification that the proposed academic study is an official student exchange program of the college or university in the US. This can be a letter or notice from either the US home college or university or the Japanese college or university.
  2. School transcripts for the past academic year

In addition to these attachments, a recommendation form must be filled out by a professor or advisor at a student’s college or university in the US. The recommendation form will be sent to the recommender’s email address the applicant provides in the application once the completed application has been submitted.

Requirements for Applicants

  • Must be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate or graduate school in the United States
  • Must give proof of acceptance at a college or university in Japan as a full-time foreign exchange student for either one semester or one academic year
  • Must give proof that the program in Japan is an approved student exchange program of the applicant’s home college or university in the US
  • Must intend to return to the college or university in the United States
  • May be majors in any subject, but must demonstrate that they have taken or plan to take academic courses related to Japan, whether in the US or at the Japan college or university
  • Must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States

Deadline: August 21, 2020

For more information:

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Book Announcement: Seeds of Control: Japan’s Empire of Forestry in Colonial Korea

Seeds of Control: Japan’s Empire of Forestry in Colonial Korea

by David Fedman

Japanese colonial rule in Korea (1905–1945) ushered in natural resource management programs that profoundly altered access to and ownership of the peninsula’s extensive mountains and forests. Under the banner of “forest love,” the colonial government set out to restructure the rhythms and routines of agrarian life, targeting everything from home heating to food preparation. Timber industrialists, meanwhile, channeled Korea’s forest resources into supply chains that grew in tandem with Japan’s imperial sphere. These mechanisms of resource control were only fortified after 1937, when the peninsula and its forests were mobilized for total war.

In this wide-ranging study David Fedman explores Japanese imperialism through the lens of forest conservation in colonial Korea—a project of environmental rule that outlived the empire itself. Holding up for scrutiny the notion of conservation, Seeds of Control examines the roots of Japanese ideas about the Korean landscape, as well as the consequences and aftermath of Japanese approaches to Korea’s “greenification.” Drawing from sources in Japanese and Korean, Fedman writes colonized lands into Japanese environmental history, revealing a largely untold story of green imperialism in Asia.

For more information:

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