Late Medieval Publishing Culture in Japan during the 14th and 16th centuries

Books printed in Japanese Zen monasteries during the medieval period are known as Gozan-ban or “Five Mountains” editions. Originally, Gozan-ban were printed for the self-education of Gozan monks who were expected to imitate the latest Chinese scholarship and act out another culture in Japan. At this time, in the 13th to 14th centuries, Chinese Zen masters visited Japan very often, while Japanese monks also went back and forth between Hakata of western Japan and Ningpo of southeastern China onboard commercial ships that frequently also carried printed Chinese books.

The Significance of Plowing in Early Chinese Texts

When Wan Zhang asked Mencius about how Yi Yin sought an introduction to Tang, Mencius replied that he had done so by “plowing the wilderness of the Youxin Clan, delighting in the principles of Yao and Shun.” Mencius also responded to Zhou Xiao’s question, “Did superior men of old take office?” by quoting a passage on plowing from the Book of Rites: “A prince plows himself, and is assisted by the people, to supply the millet for sacrifice.

Textual Practices of Literary Training in Medieval China: Evidence from Dunhuang

Literature was not only a means of aesthetic expression in medieval China; it was a crucial aspect of social and political life as well. For every seemingly timeless poem by Du Fu pondering the fate of the dynasty, there were countless (now long-forgotten) verses written to impress superiors, pass the civil service exam, or simply entertain friends at a party.

Noh Play Performance and Lecture

Okura Genjiro, sixteenth Grand Master of the Okra School, with SHIMIZU Yoshinari and KIZUKI Nobuyukim will perform an important scene from Aoi no Ue (“Lady Aoi”), an important late-fourteenth century play based on an episode from the Tale of Genji. The specific section is called makura no dan (枕の段)and it is the high point of the first act of the play, where the disembodied spirit of Lady Rokujo, enraged by jealously, takes flight and attacks Lady Aoi as she is near term to give birth. Translation will be provided at the performance.




Transpacific Aspiration towards Modern Domesticity in Japanese Colonial-era Korea (1910-45)

Modern domesticity in colonial-era Korea (1910-1945) has generally been understood using the twin parameters of nationalism and colonialism. Much less attention has been paid to the impact of a transpacific network, mainly between the US and Korea through the Christian missionary societies, on the formation of modern domesticity before, during and after Japanese colonial rule.

Human Rights, Biological Citizenship, and Reproductive Policy in Japan’s Leprosy Sanitaria

Beginning in the 1990s, Japan’s policy of “leprosy prevention” was transformed into a human rights issue, a process that culminated in 2001 with the Kumamoto District Court’s order that the government pay reparations to some of those confined in Japan’s extensive system of national leprosy sanitaria.  No issue has received more attention than the use of reproductive controls, such as sterilization and abortion, which has been portrayed as evidence of the Japanese state’s concern for eugenics and racial purity.

The Twelfth Annual Marius Jansen Memorial Lecture: The Politics of the Japanese Emperor’s Abdication

This presentation addresses the debate on constitutional monarchy that has arisen as a consequence of the emperor of Japan announcing his wish to retire. Although over half of all past emperors have abdicated, two hundred years have elapsed since the last abdication. While public opinion is overwhelmingly positive, the postwar Imperial Household Code governing the monarchy contains no provision on abdication. Thus, a legal determination on the permissibility of abdication was required.

The Twelfth Annual F. W. Mote Memorial Lecture: Politics and introspection in the late Ming: the career and struggles of Xu Rijiu (1574-1631)

Though he enjoyed some reputation in his later years, Xu Rijiu (1574-1631) is hardly mentioned in the historical record. What makes his career and life exceptional in many ways is the little-known but truly fascinating autobiography he completed a few days before his death, the Zhenshuai xiansheng xuepu 真率先生學譜, which may be described as an extreme example of the “ego-documents” produced in abundance during the late Ming.

"Farewell My Concubine" Chinese Opera Performance and Q & A

Farewell My Concubine is a famous play of the Peking opera-style. The play tells the story of Xiang Yu, the self-styled "Hegemon-King of Western Chu" who battled for the unification of China with Liu Bang, the eventual founder of the Han Dynasty.

A segment of the opera will be performed by Shang Changrong and Shi Yihong in Alexander Hall (a 45 minute performance), followed by Q & A.

Director: Sherwood Hu

The Shanghai Jingju Theatre Company was established in March 1955 as the Shanghai Peking Opera Company (SPOC).


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