Fun Link Friday: Breakdancing Monks

How do you bring your hobbies and skills into your everyday life? This past week Tricycle reported on some fun news in the world of Buddhism: two monks from different Buddhist practices who have formed a breakdancing duo. Hoping to convey Buddhist philosophy through movement, the Tendai Buddhist monk Jojitsu Asukai and Pure Land monk Koki Kawahara are now a team (known as Kaiten Bozu, or Spinning Monks) doing performances in Japan. You can check out a video interview with them here:

Will this attract more people to Buddhist practice and change popular images of it? I’m interested to find out!

To read more about these two monks, check out the Tricycle article here.

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Job Opening: University Lectureship in History of Japan through the 19th Century, Leiden

Position: University Lectureship in History of Japan through the 19th Century
Institution: Faculty of Humanities, Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), Universiteit Leiden
Location: Leiden, the Netherlands

From official job posting on the Universiteit Leiden website:

The Faculty of Humanities, Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), is looking for a University Lectureship in History of Japan through the 19th Century

Project description
The Faculty of Humanities at Leiden University invites applications for a fulltime lectureship in the ‘History of Japan Until 1868’. As part of the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), the Japan Studies program is committed to the integration of disciplinary and regional-historical perspectives, on a solid foundation of excellent language skills. Priorities include cooperation across the full width of (East) Asian Studies. The local research environment includes an excellent library, and is further enhanced by research networks and the International Institute for Asian Studies, and Leiden Asia Centre.

Key responsibilities

Original research involving primary sources and fieldwork as appropriate;
Teaching at undergraduate and graduate levels, in lecture and seminar formats, including the supervision of BA and MA theses;
Teaching in various teaching programmes of the faculty, including BA International Studies;
Supervision of PhD research;
Acquisition of research funding from outside sources;
Administrative duties, commensurate with career stage;
Representation of the field to external audiences and media.

Selection criteria

*A PhD degree in a relevant field. Candidates near completion of the degree will be considered.
*Specialist expertise in the history of Japan, with proven affinity with pre-Meiji sources.
*A research and publication record that is commensurate with career stage;
*The ability to teach and to supervise written work on Japanese history at the BA, MA, and PhD levels;
*the ability to teach and supervise written work on modern and contemporary topics at the BA level;
*The ability, certainly in teaching and preferably in research, to engage with wider East Asian and Asian contexts, and to position the study of Japanese history in transnational and global configurations (keyword: Sinosphere);
*Research experience in Japan, and familiarity with modern and contemporary cultural developments in the region;
*Commitment to high-quality teaching practice, wide teaching scope in terms of content and audiences (e.g. students majoring in Japanese Studies, Asian Studies, and International Studies; students in other fields taking cross-listed electives; etc.);
*Affinity with area studies, and the ability to work from interdisciplinary, transnational, and comparative perspectives;
*A willingness to help develop research and teaching involving Leiden University’s Japan-related collections;
*An excellent command of classical Japanese and of modern Japanese. Proficiency in other East Asian languages is an advantage;
*Commitment to the acquisition of research funding from national and international funding bodies;
*Administrative abilities, as measured against career stage;
*An excellent command of English. The majority of the MA programs at Leiden University are taught in English, and staff members who have a better command of English than of Dutch may teach in English in BA programs as well. If the lecturer is not Dutch-speaking, she or he is expected to acquire a good command of Dutch within two years from taking up duty. LIAS will make resources available to this end.

Our organisation
The Faculty of Humanities is rich in expertise in fields such as philosophy, religious studies, history, art history, literature, linguistics and area studies covering nearly every region of the world. With its staff of 995, the faculty provides 27 master’s and 25 bachelor’s programmes for over 7,000 students based at locations in Leiden and in The Hague. For more information, see Faculty of Humanities.

Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) is comprised of a School of Asian Studies and a School of Middle-Eastern Studies, with international staff and student populations. The institute is committed to a present-day vision of area studies, integrating disciplinary and regional-historical perspectives on a solid foundation of excellent language skills. Current staff in LIAS has expertise in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, art studies, Buddhist studies, film studies, history, international relations, language pedagogy, law, linguistics, literary studies, material culture studies, performance studies, philology, philosophy, political economy, religious studies, sociology, and visual culture studies.

Terms and conditions
We offer a fulltime fixed-term position, from August 2020 through July 2022, with the possibility of a permanent position thereafter, depending on need, funding and good performance. Subject to experience and teaching skills certifications, salary range from €3,637.- to €5,656.- gross per month on full-time base (pay scale 11 or 12 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at Job application procedure and employment conditions.

Leiden University requires teaching staff to obtain the University Teaching Qualification (UTQ). If the successful applicant does not already possess this qualification or its equivalent, he/ she must be willing to obtain this Qualification within two years.

Queries can be directed to Ivo Smits, Professor Arts and Cultures of Japan, email:

Please submit online your application no later than 10 January 2020 via the blue button in our application system. Applicants should submit online. Please ensure that you include in one single PDF document named ‘FAMILY NAME – Given Name – Vacancy Number’ and in this order:

A letter of motivation including a personal vision of Japan Studies;
A CV including education and employment history, publications and courses taught;
A statement of teaching philosophy;
Sample course descriptions;
Teaching evaluations;
Names, positions and email addresses of three referees (no reference letters).

The interviews with shortlisted candidates are tentative scheduled for late February- March 2020.

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Fun Link Friday: Newspaper Sculptures by Atsushi Adachi

The holidays are upon us, so it’s a quick Fun Link Friday this week! This article by Spoon & Tamago caught my eye a couple weeks ago– a report about an upcoming exhibit by artist Atsushi Adachi, who plays with the theme of “collective memory” by creating miniature replicas of historical objects using newspaper articles and paper media from the same historical moment. The results are really cool!

Back in 2017 we had a Fun Link Friday on the artist Chie Hitotsuyama, who was also working with newspaper as her central medium, but to create life-like animal sculptures instead of still objects. It’s great to see the diverse ways newspaper can be transformed and reconstructed for different artists’ visions. To see more of Atsushi Adachi’s work you can visit his website, a to return to Chie Hitotsuyama’s work you can visit hers. Happy clicking!

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Resource: North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources (NCC)

Today we are introducing a site and organization that offers a variety of resources useful to academics, writers, researchers, and various other professionals: the North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources (NCC).

From their website:

Founded in 1991, NCC works closely with librarians, faculty, and funding agencies to strengthen Japanese language collections and to promote access to information in all forms and formats. NCC works in partnership with Japanese institutions, leading organizations in North America, and globally throughout the fields of Japanese studies to create and disseminate services.

NCC serves as a vocal advocate for broader access to Japanese information for all users and stands ready to work with librarians, faculty, students, and others to develop new initiatives to meet emerging library and information resource needs to advance Japanese studies scholarship and to benefit understanding internationally.

NCC collaborates with the National Museum of Japanese History, National Institute of Japanese Literature, National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, and National Museum of Ethnology, and is supported by The Japan-US Friendship Commission and The Toshiba International Foundation—its resources therefore have a very wide reach, and NCC resources seek to support all kinds of folks who work with Japanese and within Japanese Studies.

With this in mind, the main navigation of the site is divided into four sections for Researchers, Teachers, Librarians, and JETs, although there is substantial overlap within each category and each section’s subsections have subsections (!). Below I’ll highlight a couple of resources that are particularly useful.

For researchers, educators, and other Japan enthusiasts there is information on museums, libraries, and archives in Japan, North America, and Europe, with the institutions listed alphabetically under each location. Once you click on a particular institution, you can find guides on general information (such as its origins, founding date, and location) as well as specifics on collections held therein, databases available through the organization, and even access information for visitors traveling to use their services:

In addition to site-specific information, the research access section also contains a tab on affiliating with Japanese institutions that includes templates for letters of introduction and library materials request forms, which anyone who has been through the bureaucratic procedures of a library or archive will know is immensely useful. For those unfamiliar with the common terms one might encounter in research settings, there is a glossary with English and Japanese.

NCC’s inclusion of a full curriculum aimed at undergraduates on Japanese research and bibliographic methods is also a significant contribution to online resources related to Japan. Given that few colleges and universities offer this type of instruction anymore and this guide can double as a general introduction for people interested in Japanese language materials regardless of professional track, this is an incredibly helpful portfolio of information. It offers a syllabus, the basics of topics like word processing and dictionaries, classwork and exams, supplemental readings, and much more!

The site also provides information on Japanese institutions that participate in interlibrary loan and document delivery; information on how to conduct searches for Japanese language materials in different databases; a subject guide portal for a wide variety of disciplines (art, literature, history, social sciences, business, and more); protocols for image use for Japanese sources (along with explanations of copyright, templates for making requests in Japanese are included!); a guide to resources for digital scholarship such as online databases and newspapers; information on projects to develop overseas multi-volume set collections in Japanese; and surveys to support their outreach working groups for smaller institutions in need of library resources.

It would be difficult to try to cover in this brief introduction the sheer volume of information available on NCC’s site. Each of the subsections are filled with numerous tabs leading to further resources, guides, and templates that respond to many of the anxieties experienced by people interacting with Japanese scholars, institutions, and businesses. It is a truly amazing volume of information and tools that are exceedingly practical. The one downside of the site is that because there is substantial overlap between the targeted sections and each subsection contains a plethora of information, it can be easy to get lost or, alternatively, discover a gem of information or tools buried somewhere that you wished you had found much more easily. Nevertheless, NCC’s teams have created a truly marvelous collection of guides and resources for the public to use.

In addition to their website, NCC Japan also has a Youtube channel with videos from presentations at various conferences and maintains an active Facebook group (and slightly less active Twitter account). Be sure to spend some time perusing their site and seeing what goodies might be helpful for your own work!

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Fun Link Friday: Move over, gingerbread house, here’s a sweets sailboat

While many of us may be honing our skills for seasonal gingerbread house competitions, none of us can hold a candle to the students of the recently opened Noda Kamada Gakuen vocational high school in Yokohama, who created a MASSIVE ship made out of sweets last month to celebrate the 80th anniversary of their parent organization.

Doesn’t seem that big? Maybe you need another picture for scale…

That’s right, kneeling next to the boat, it is in fact almost twice as tall as the students! According to the Japan Today report on the boat, it was created from 600 cookies (cut to half the size of a sheet of paper), 40 muffins, 600 bread slices, 200 cream puffs, 420 leaf shaped pies (!!), 250 tarts, 108 waffles, 200 bagels, 600 dice-cut cookies, 1,000 marzipan sweets, and 2,000 chocolate roses. Uhhh. I’m not sure about those bagels, but it does sound like this boat would send me with those chocolate sails straight into a sugar coma.

What I really want, though, is pictures of them eating this thing! Check out the original article for more pictures of this incredible thing. Best of luck with all your own architectural cookie endeavors this month! 🍪


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Funding: Library Travel Grant, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Japan Collection

The Japan Collection of the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library is pleased to announce its first Library Travel Grant Program.

Please visit the website for further information:


The UHM Japan Collection travel grant is made possible by anonymous donors and matching funds from the UHM Center for Japanese Studies. The UHM Library will award a grant on a competitive basis to defray travel expenses for faculty and graduate-level students of Japanese studies/East Asia studies at U.S. institutions outside of Hawaii, who will use materials onsite at the UHM Library’s Japan Collection

After travel is completed, a grant recipient will be reimbursed for authorized travel expenses in accordance with UHM University travel policies, not to exceed the maximum amount of the grant ($1,000).

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Call for Applicants: Funded MA research, University of Alberta

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to draw your attention to opportunities for students to pursue a funded MA degree in East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta (in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada):

In particular for H-Japan members, students can specialize in diverse areas of Japan Studies under Drs. Anne Commons (Japanese literature), David Quinter (Japanese religions and East Asian Buddhism), Walter Davis (Chinese and Japanese art history), Yoshi Ono (Japanese linguistics and pedagogy), and Jeffrey Roberts (East Asian music). Comparative topics working with our colleagues in China and Korea Studies are also encouraged.

Graduates of our program have been admitted into PhD programs at Cambridge, Columbia, McMaster, Stanford, Toronto, UBC, Illinois, USC, UCLA, and Alberta, among others. Former students are working in diverse academic institutions, including the University of Alberta; University of Calgary; universities in China, Japan, Singapore, and the United States; and the Japan Foundation.

Tuition costs at the University of Alberta are very reasonable compared to those at other North American universities. In addition, we have been able to provide financial support, including teaching assistantships, to a high percentage of our MA students, in contrast to many programs, which only fund PhD students.

Students can focus on any of the following areas:

  • Chinese Linguistics/Pedagogy
  • Chinese Literature
  • Chinese Art History
  • Japanese Linguistics/Pedagogy
  • Japanese Literature
  • Japanese Art History
  • Japanese Religions
  • East Asian Buddhism
  • East Asian Music
  • Korean Literature
  • Taiwanese Film

Our full list of faculty, their areas of specialization, and their contact information can be found here:

Students interested in any of these areas should feel free to contact the relevant professor directly.

For further information, please visit the graduate pages on our website:

or contact:

Dr. Yoshi Ono, Associate Chair, Graduate

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