Harvard East Asian Monographs

2013
A Continuous Revolution: Making Sense of the Cultural Revolution
B. Mittler, A Continuous Revolution: Making Sense of the Cultural Revolution. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2013. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

Cultural Revolution Culture, often denigrated as nothing but propaganda, not only was liked in its heyday but continues to be enjoyed today. A Continuous Revolution sets out to explain its legacy. By considering Cultural Revolution propaganda art—music, stage works, prints and posters, comics, and literature—from the point of view of its longue durée, Barbara Mittler suggests that Cultural Revolution propaganda art was able to build on a tradition of earlier art works, and this allowed for its sedimentation in cultural memory and its proliferation in contemporary China.

Taking the aesthetic experience of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) as her base, Mittler juxtaposes close readings and analyses of cultural products from the period with impressions given in a series of personal interviews conducted in the early 2000s with Chinese from diverse class and generational backgrounds. By including much testimony from these original voices, Mittler illustrates the extremely multifaceted and contradictory nature of the Cultural Revolution, both in terms of artistic production and of its cultural experience.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Online Resources

Introduction

Index

Supplementary Database

Empire of the Dharma: Korean and Japanese Buddhism, 1877-1912
H. I. Kim, Empire of the Dharma: Korean and Japanese Buddhism, 1877-1912. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2013. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

Empire of the Dharma explores the dynamic relationship between Korean and Japanese Buddhists in the years leading up to the Japanese annexation of Korea. Conventional narratives cast this relationship in politicized terms, with Korean Buddhists portrayed as complicit in the “religious annexation” of the peninsula. However, this view fails to account for the diverse visions, interests, and strategies that drove both sides.

Hwansoo Ilmee Kim complicates this politicized account of religious interchange by reexamining the “alliance” forged in 1910 between the Japanese Soto sect and the Korean Wonjong order. The author argues that their ties involved not so much political ideology as mutual benefit. Both wished to strengthen Buddhism’s precarious position within Korean society and curb Christianity’s growing influence. Korean Buddhist monastics sought to leverage Japanese resources as a way of advancing themselves and their temples, and missionaries of Japanese Buddhist sects competed with one another to dominate Buddhism on the peninsula. This strategic alliance pushed both sides to confront new ideas about the place of religion in modern society and framed the way that many Korean and Japanese Buddhists came to think about the future of their shared religion.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Maps, Tables, and Figures

Introduction

Index

An Imperial Path to Modernity: Yoshino Sakuzō and a New Liberal Order in East Asia, 1905–1937
J. - S. N. Han, An Imperial Path to Modernity: Yoshino Sakuzō and a New Liberal Order in East Asia, 1905–1937. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2013. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

An Imperial Path to Modernity examines the role of liberal intellectuals in reshaping transnational ideas and internationalist aspirations into national values and imperial ambitions in early twentieth-century Japan. Perceiving the relationship between liberalism and the international world order, a cohort of Japanese thinkers conformed to liberal ideas and institutions to direct Japan’s transformation into a liberal empire in Asia. To sustain and rationalize the imperial enterprise, these Japanese liberals sought to make the domestic political stage less hostile to liberalism. Facilitating the creation of print-mediated public opinion, liberal intellectuals attempted to enlist the new middle class as a social ally in circulating liberal ideas and practices within Japan and throughout the empire.

In tracing the interconnections between liberalism and the imperial project, Jung-Sun N. Han focuses on the ideas and activities of Yoshino Sakuzo (1878–1933), who was and is remembered as a champion of prewar Japanese liberalism and Taisho democracy. Drawing insights from intellectual history, cultural studies, and international relations, this study argues that prewar Japanese liberalism grew out of the efforts of intellectuals such as Yoshino who worked to devise a transnational institution to govern the Japanese empire.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction

Index

2012
From Miracle to Maturity: The Growth of the Korean Economy
B. Eichengreen, D. H. Perkins, and K. Shin, From Miracle to Maturity: The Growth of the Korean Economy. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2012. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

The economic growth of South Korea has been a remarkable success story. After the Korean War, the country was one of the poorest economies on the planet; by the twenty-first century, it had become a middle-income country, a member of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (the club of advanced economies), and home to some of the world’s leading industrial corporations. And yet, many Koreans are less than satisfied with their country’s economic performance, given the continuing financial volatility and sluggish growth since the Korean economic crisis of 1997–1998.

From Miracle to Maturity offers a comprehensive qualitative and quantitative analysis of the growth of the Korean economy, starting with the aggregate sources of growth (growth of the labor force, the stock of capital, and productivity) and then delving deeper into the roles played by structural change, exports, foreign investment, and financial development. The authors provide a detailed examination of the question of whether the Korean economy is now underperforming and ask, if so, what can be done to solve the problem.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures

Introduction

Index

Two-Timing Modernity: Homosocial Narrative in Modern Japanese Fiction
J. K. Vincent, Two-Timing Modernity: Homosocial Narrative in Modern Japanese Fiction. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2012. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

Until the late nineteenth century, Japan could boast of an elaborate cultural tradition surrounding the love and desire that men felt for other men. By the first years of the twentieth century, however, as heterosexuality became associated with an enlightened modernity, love between men was increasingly branded as “feudal” or immature. The resulting rupture in what has been called the “male homosocial continuum” constitutes one of the most significant markers of Japan’s entrance into modernity. And yet, just as early Japanese modernity often seemed haunted by remnants of the premodern past, the nation’s newly heteronormative culture was unable and perhaps unwilling to expunge completely the recent memory of a male homosocial past now read as perverse.

Two-Timing Modernity integrates queer, feminist, and narratological approaches to show how key works by Japanese male authors—Mori Ōgai, Natsume Sōseki, Hamao Shirō, and Mishima Yukio—encompassed both a straight future and a queer past by employing new narrative techniques to stage tensions between two forms of temporality: the forward-looking time of modernization and normative development, and the “perverse” time of nostalgia, recursion, and repetition.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

Introduction

Index

Detective Fiction and the Rise of the Japanese Novel, 1880–1930
S. Saito, Detective Fiction and the Rise of the Japanese Novel, 1880–1930. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2012. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

In Detective Fiction and the Rise of the Japanese Novel, Satoru Saito sheds light on the deep structural and conceptual similarities between detective fiction and the novel in prewar Japan. Arguing that the interactions between the two genres were not marginal occurrences but instead critical moments of literary engagement, Saito demonstrates how detective fiction provided Japanese authors with the necessary frameworks through which to examine and critique the nature and implications of Japan’s literary formations and its modernizing society.

Through a series of close readings of literary texts by canonical writers of Japanese literature and detective fiction, including Tsubouchi Shoyo, Natsume Soseki, Shimazaki Toson, Sato Haruo, Kuroiwa Ruiko, and Edogawa Ranpo, Saito explores how the detective story functioned to mediate the tenuous relationships between literature and society as well as between subject and authority that made literary texts significant as political acts. By foregrounding the often implicit and contradictory strategies of literary texts—choice of narrative forms, symbolic mappings, and intertextual evocations among others—this study examines in detail the intricate interactions between detective fiction and the novel that shaped the development of modern Japanese literature.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

Introduction

Index

Reading North Korea: An Ethnological Inquiry
S. Ryang, Reading North Korea: An Ethnological Inquiry. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2012. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

Often depicted as one of the world’s most strictly isolationist and relentlessly authoritarian regimes, North Korea has remained terra incognita to foreign researchers as a site for anthropological fieldwork. Given the difficulty of gaining access to the country and its people, is it possible to examine the cultural logic and social dynamics of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea?

In this innovative book, Sonia Ryang casts new light onto the study of North Korean culture and society by reading literary texts as sources of ethnographic data. Analyzing and interpreting the rituals and language embodied in a range of literary works published in the 1970s and 1980s, Ryang focuses critical attention on three central themes—love, war, and self—that reflect the nearly complete overlap of the personal, social, and political realms in North Korean society. The ideology embedded in these propagandistic works laid the cultural foundation for the nation as a “perpetual ritual state,” where social structures and personal relations are suspended in tribute to Kim Il Sung, the political and spiritual leader who died in 1994 but lives eternally in the hearts of his people and still weaves the social fabric of present-day North Korea.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Figures

Introduction

Index

The Money Doctors from Japan: Finance, Imperialism, and the Building of the Yen Bloc, 1895–1937
M. Schiltz, The Money Doctors from Japan: Finance, Imperialism, and the Building of the Yen Bloc, 1895–1937. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2012. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

Money and finance have been among the most potent tools of colonial power. This study investigates the Japanese experiment with financial imperialism—or “yen diplomacy”—at several key moments between the acquisition of Taiwan in 1895 and the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937. Through authoritarian monetary reforms and lending schemes, government officials and financial middlemen served as “money doctors” who steered capital and expertise to Japanese official and semi-official colonies in Taiwan, Korea, China, and Manchuria.

Michael Schiltz points to the paradox of acute capital shortages within the Japan’s domestic economy and aggressive capital exports to its colonial possessions as the inevitable but ultimately disastrous outcome of the Japanese government’s goal to exercise macroeconomic control over greater East Asia and establish a self-sufficient “yen bloc.” Through their efforts to implement their policies and contribute to the expansion of the Japanese empire, the “money doctors” brought to the colonies a series of banking institutions and a corollary capitalist ethos, which would all have a formidable impact on the development of the receiving countries, eventually affecting their geopolitical position in the postcolonial world.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Maps, Tables, and Figures

Preface

Introduction

Index

The People's Post Office: The History and Politics of the Japanese Postal System, 1871-2010
P. L. Maclachlan, The People's Post Office: The History and Politics of the Japanese Postal System, 1871-2010. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2012. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

In 2001, Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichirō launched a crusade to privatize Japan’s postal services. The plan was hailed as a necessary structural reform, but many bemoaned the loss of traditional institutions and the conservative values they represented. Few expected the plan to succeed, given the staunch opposition of diverse parties, but four years later it appeared that Koizumi had transformed not only the post office but also the very institutional and ideological foundations of Japanese finance and politics. By all accounts, it was one of the most astonishing political achievements in postwar Japanese history.

Patricia L. Maclachlan analyzes the interplay among the institutions, interest groups, and leaders involved in the system’s evolution from the early Meiji period until 2010. Exploring the postal system’s remarkable range of economic, social, and cultural functions and its institutional relationship to the Japanese state, this study shows how the post office came to play a leading role in the country’s political development. It also looks into the future to assess the resilience of Koizumi’s reforms and consider the significance of lingering opposition to the privatization of one of Japan’s most enduring social and political sanctuaries.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures

Preface

Introduction

Index

Toward a History Beyond Borders: Contentious Issues in Sino-Japanese Relations
D. Yang, J. Liu, H. Mitani, and A. Gordon, Ed., Toward a History Beyond Borders: Contentious Issues in Sino-Japanese Relations. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2012. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

This volume brings to English-language readers the results of an important long-term project of historians from China and Japan addressing contentious issues in their shared modern histories. Originally published simultaneously in Chinese and Japanese in 2006, the thirteen essays in this collection focus renewed attention on a set of political and historiographical controversies that have steered and stymied Sino-Japanese relations from the mid-nineteenth century through World War II to the present.

These in-depth contributions explore a range of themes, from prewar diplomatic relations and conflicts, to wartime collaboration and atrocity, to postwar commemorations and textbook debates—all while grappling with the core issue of how history has been researched, written, taught, and understood in both countries. In the context of a wider trend toward cross-national dialogues over historical issues, this volume can be read as both a progress report and a case study of the effort to overcome contentious problems of history in East Asia.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Chronologies, Documents, Tables, and Figures

Introduction

Index

Traversing the Frontier: The Man'yōshū Account of a Japanese Mission to Silla in 736–737
H. M. Horton, Traversing the Frontier: The Man'yōshū Account of a Japanese Mission to Silla in 736–737. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2012. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

In the sixth month of 736, a Japanese diplomatic mission set out for the kingdom of Silla, on the Korean peninsula. The envoys undertook the mission during a period of strained relations with the country of their destination, met with adverse winds and disease during the voyage, and returned empty-handed. The futile journey proved fruitful in one respect: its literary representation—a collection of 145 Japanese poems and their Sino-Japanese (kanbun) headnotes and footnotes—made its way into the eighth-century poetic anthology Man’yōshū, becoming the longest poetic sequence in the collection and one of the earliest Japanese literary travel narratives.

Featuring deft translations and incisive analysis, this study investigates the poetics and thematics of the Silla sequence, uncovering what is known about the actual historical event and the assumptions and concerns that guided its re-creation as a literary artifact and then helped shape its reception among contemporary readers. H. Mack Horton provides an opportunity for literary archaeology of some of the most exciting dialectics in early Japanese literary history.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Tables

Introduction

Index

2011
Coins, Trade, and the State: Economic Growth in Early Medieval Japan
E. I. Segal, Coins, Trade, and the State: Economic Growth in Early Medieval Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2011. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

Framed by the decline of the Heian aristocracy in the late 1100s and the rise of the Tokugawa shogunate in the early 1600s, Japan’s medieval era was a chaotic period of diffuse political power and frequent military strife. This instability prevented central authorities from regulating trade, issuing currency, enforcing contracts, or guaranteeing property rights. But the lack of a strong central government did not inhibit economic growth. Rather, it created opportunities for a wider spectrum of society to participate in trade, markets, and monetization.

Peripheral elites—including merchants, warriors, rural estate managers, and religious leaders—devised new ways to circumvent older forms of exchange by importing Chinese currency, trading in local markets, and building an effective system of long-distance money remittance. Over time, the central government recognized the futility of trying to stifle these developments, and by the sixteenth century it asserted greater control over monetary matters throughout the realm.

Drawing upon diaries, tax ledgers, temple records, and government decrees, Ethan Isaac Segal chronicles how the circulation of copper currency and the expansion of trade led to the start of a market-centered economy and laid the groundwork for Japan’s transformation into an early modern society.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Figures

Introduction

Index

Picturing Heaven in Early China
L. L. -ying Tseng, Picturing Heaven in Early China. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2011. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

Tian, or Heaven, had multiple meanings in early China. It had been used since the Western Zhou to indicate both the sky and the highest god, and later came to be regarded as a force driving the movement of the cosmos and as a home to deities and imaginary animals. By the Han dynasty, which saw an outpouring of visual materials depicting Heaven, the concept of Heaven encompassed an immortal realm to which humans could ascend after death.

Using excavated materials, Lillian Tseng shows how Han artisans transformed various notions of Heaven—as the mandate, the fantasy, and the sky—into pictorial entities. The Han Heaven was not indicated by what the artisans looked at, but rather was suggested by what they looked into. Artisans attained the visibility of Heaven by appropriating and modifying related knowledge of cosmology, mythology, astronomy. Thus the depiction of Heaven in Han China reflected an interface of image and knowledge.

By examining Heaven as depicted in ritual buildings, on household utensils, and in the embellishments of funerary settings, Tseng maintains that visibility can hold up a mirror to visuality; Heaven was culturally constructed and should be culturally reconstructed.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures

Introduction

Index

A Place in Public: Women's Rights in Meiji Japan
M. S. Anderson, A Place in Public: Women's Rights in Meiji Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2011. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

 This book addresses how gender became a defining category in the political and social modernization of Japan. During the early decades of the Meiji period (1868–1912), the Japanese encountered an idea with great currency in the West: that the social position of women reflected a country’s level of civilization. Although elites initiated dialogue out of concern for their country’s reputation internationally, the conversation soon moved to a new public sphere where individuals engaged in a wide-ranging debate about women’s roles and rights.

By examining these debates throughout the 1870s and 1880s, Marnie S. Anderson argues that shifts in the gender system led to contradictory consequences for women. On the one hand, as gender displaced status as the primary system of social and legal classification, women gained access to the language of rights and the chance to represent themselves in public and play a limited political role; on the other, the modern Japanese state permitted women’s political participation only as an expression of their “citizenship through the household” and codified their formal exclusion from the political process through a series of laws enacted in 1890. This book shows how “a woman’s place” in late-nineteenth-century Japan was characterized by contradictions and unexpected consequences, by new opportunities and new constraints.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

Introduction

Index

Realms of Literacy: Early Japan and the History of Writing
D. B. Lurie, Realms of Literacy: Early Japan and the History of Writing. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2011. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

In the world history of writing, Japan presents an unusually detailed record of transition to literacy. Extant materials attest to the social, cultural, and political contexts and consequences of the advent of writing and reading, from the earliest appearance of imported artifacts with Chinese inscriptions in the first century BCE, through the production of texts within the Japanese archipelago in the fifth century, to the widespread literacies and the simultaneous rise of a full-fledged state in the late seventh and eighth centuries.

David B. Lurie explores the complex processes of adaptation and invention that defined the early Japanese transition from orality to textuality. Drawing on archaeological and archival sources varying in content, style, and medium, this book highlights the diverse modes and uses of writing that coexisted in a variety of configurations among different social groups. It offers new perspectives on the pragmatic contexts and varied natures of multiple simultaneous literacies, the relations between languages and systems of inscription, and the aesthetic dimensions of writing. Lurie’s investigation into the textual practices of early Japan illuminates not only the cultural history of East Asia but also the broader comparative history of writing and literacy in the ancient world.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Maps, Tables, and Figures

Introduction

Index

Sailor Diplomat: Nomura Kichisaburo and the Japanese-American War
P. Mauch, Sailor Diplomat: Nomura Kichisaburo and the Japanese-American War. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2011. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

As Japan’s pre–Pearl Harbor ambassador to the United States, Admiral Nomura Kichisaburo (1877–1964) played a significant role in a tense and turbulent period in Japanese–U.S. relations. Scholars tend to view his actions and missteps as ambassador as representing the failure of diplomacy to avert the outbreak of hostilities between the two paramount Pacific powers.

This extensively researched biography casts new light on the life and career of this important figure. Connecting his experiences as a naval officer to his service as foreign minister and ambassador, and later as “father” of Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Forces and proponent of the U.S.–Japanese alliance, this study reassesses Nomura’s contributions as a hard-nosed realist whose grasp of the underlying realities of Japanese–U.S. relations went largely unappreciated by the Japanese political and military establishment.

In highlighting the complexities and conundrums of Nomura’s position, as well as the role of the Imperial Navy in the formulation of Japan’s foreign policy, Peter Mauch draws upon rarely accessed materials from naval and diplomatic archives in Japan as well as various collections of personal papers, including Nomura’s, which Mauch discovered in 2005 and which are now housed in the National Diet Library.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Figures

Preface

Index

Seeing Stars: Sports Celebrity, Identity, and Body Culture in Modern Japan
D. J. Frost, Seeing Stars: Sports Celebrity, Identity, and Body Culture in Modern Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2011. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

In Seeing Stars, Dennis J. Frost traces the emergence and evolution of sports celebrity in Japan from the seventeenth through the twenty-first centuries. Frost explores how various constituencies have repeatedly molded and deployed representations of individual athletes, revealing that sports stars are socially constructed phenomena, the products of both particular historical moments and broader discourses of celebrity.

Drawing from media coverage, biographies, literary works, athletes’ memoirs, bureaucratic memoranda, interviews, and films, Frost argues that the largely unquestioned mass of information about sports stars not only reflects, but also shapes society and body culture. He examines the lives and times of star athletes—including sumo grand champion Hitachiyama, female Olympic medalist Hitomi Kinue, legendary pitcher Sawamura Eiji, and world champion boxer Gushiken Yokoō—demonstrating how representations of such sports stars mediated Japan’s emergence into the putatively universal realm of sports, unsettled orthodox notions of gender, facilitated wartime mobilization of physically fit men and women, and masked lingering inequalities in postwar Japanese society.

As the first critical examination of the history of sports celebrity outside a Euro-American context, this book also sheds new light on the transnational forces at play in the production and impact of celebrity images and dispels misconceptions that sports stars in the non-West are mere imitations of their Western counterparts.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Figures

Introduction

Index

2010
Gender Struggles: Wage-Earning Women and Male-Dominated Unions in Postwar Japan
C. Gerteis, Gender Struggles: Wage-Earning Women and Male-Dominated Unions in Postwar Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2010. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

In the formative years of the Japanese labor movement after World War II, the socialist unions affiliated with the General Council of Trade Unions (the labor federation known colloquially as Sohyo) formally endorsed the principles of women’s equality in the workforce and put in place measures to promote women’s active participation in union activities. However, union leaders did not embrace the legal framework for gender equality mandated by their American occupiers; rather, they pressured thousands of women labor activists to assume supportive roles that privileged a male-centered social agenda. By the late 1950s, even Japan’s radical socialist unions had reestablished the primacy of conservative gender norms, channeling women’s labor activism to support political campaigns that advantaged a male-headed household and that relegated women’s wage-earning value to the periphery of the household economy.

By showing how unions raised the wages of male workers in part by transforming working-class women into middle-class housewives, Christopher Gerteis demonstrates that organized labor’s discourse on womanhood not only undermined women’s status within the labor movement but also prevented unions from linking with the emerging woman-led, neighborhood-centered organizations that typified social movements in the 1960s—a misstep that contributed to the decline of the socialist labor movement in subsequent decades.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables

Introduction

Index

Negotiating Urban Space: Urbanization and Late Ming Nanjing
S. -yen Fei, Negotiating Urban Space: Urbanization and Late Ming Nanjing. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2010. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

Urbanization was central to development in late imperial China. Yet its impact is heatedly debated, although scholars agree that it triggered neither Weberian urban autonomy nor Habermasian civil society. This book argues that this conceptual impasse derives from the fact that the seemingly continuous urban expansion was in fact punctuated by a wide variety of “dynastic urbanisms.” Historians should, the author contends, view urbanization not as an automatic by-product of commercial forces but as a process shaped by institutional frameworks and cultural trends in each dynasty.

This characteristic is particularly evident in the Ming. As the empire grew increasingly urbanized, the gap between the early Ming valorization of the rural and late Ming reality infringed upon the livelihood and identity of urban residents. This contradiction went almost unremarked in court forums and discussions among elites, leaving its resolution to local initiatives and negotiations. Using Nanjing—a metropolis along the Yangzi River and onetime capital of the Ming—as a central case, the author demonstrates that, prompted by this unique form of urban–rural contradiction, the actions and creations of urban residents transformed the city on multiple levels: as an urban community, as a metropolitan region, as an imagined space, and, finally, as a discursive subject.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Figures, Maps, and Table

Introduction

Index

Spectacle and Sacrifice: The Ritual Foundations of Village Life in North China
D. Johnson, Spectacle and Sacrifice: The Ritual Foundations of Village Life in North China. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2010. Buy this book from Harvard University PressAbstract

This book is about the ritual world of a group of rural settlements in Shanxi province in pre-1949 North China. Temple festivals, with their giant processions, elaborate rituals, and operas, were the most important influence on the symbolic universe of ordinary villagers and demonstrate their remarkable capacity for religious and artistic creation. The great festivals described in this book were their supreme collective achievements and were carried out virtually without assistance from local officials or educated elites, clerical or lay.

Chinese culture was a performance culture, and ritual was the highest form of performance. Village ritual life everywhere in pre-revolutionary China was complex, conservative, and extraordinarily diverse. Festivals and their associated rituals and operas provided the emotional and intellectual materials out of which ordinary people constructed their ideas about the world of men and the realm of the gods. It is, David Johnson argues, impossible to form an adequate idea of traditional Chinese society without a thorough understanding of village ritual. Newly discovered liturgical manuscripts allow him to reconstruct North Chinese temple festivals in unprecedented detail and prove that they are sharply different from the Daoist- and Buddhist-based communal rituals of South China.

Available PDF downloads for this publication

Table of Contents

List of Maps, Figures, and Table

Introduction

Index

Pages