All posts by hg824

Dr. Kristi Govella gives commentary on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s political challenges at home & abroad

Dr. Kristi Govella, Assistant Professor in the Asian Studies Program, recently commented in The New York Times and USA Today about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s political challenges at home and abroad.

Domestically, Abe is facing the fallout of a scandal involving the highly discounted sale of land by the government to a school associated with his wife. “There has been a lot of new evidence that has come to light that there has been some kind of cover-up,” Kristi Govella, assistant professor of Asian studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said of the inquiry surrounding Mr. Abe. “As time goes on, the disjuncture between what he’s saying and the facts that are coming to light with the scandals just really increases public distrust and feelings that his leadership is no longer what the country needs.”

Abe is also facing challenges abroad, as Japan seeks assurance that the US will consider its interests in the upcoming meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Japan also wishes to be exempted from US tariffs on steel and aluminum, as a number of other countries have already been. Dr. Govella said that Abe arrives at Mar-a-Lago “hoping to combat perceptions that Japan has been sidelined in recent weeks and reestablish his country as an important partner of the United States.”

Read the full articles here:

USA Today, “Trump backs North-South Korea Peace Talks in Summit with Japan’s Leader at Mar-a-Lago,” April 17, 2018, by David Jackson.

The New York Times, “As Scandal-Tarred Abe Meets Trump, ‘the Situation is Getting Dangerous’,” April 16, 2018, by Motoko Rich.

Dr. Kristi Govella comments in New York Times & Australian Financial Review

Assistant Professor of Asian Studies Kristi Govella commented in two news articles this weekend on the impact of the Trump administration’s recent announcements about tariffs and North Korea:

The New York Times, “Trump’s Unpredictability on Trade and North Korea Opens a Door for China,” March 10, 2018.

Australian Financial Review, “Donald Trump’s Snap Decision to Meet With Kim Jong-un,” March 11, 2018.

Dr. Kristi Govella at PAAC Global Vision Summit

Kristi Govella and PAAC participants

On Saturday, March 3, the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council brought
together 189 students from 27 high schools on 5 islands for their
Global Vision Summit on Climate Change hosted at UH West Oahu. Dr. Kristi Govella, Assistant Professor in the Asian Studies Program at UH Manoa, participated as the Community Expert for the US negotiating team.

Students played the roles of delegates representing specific
nations (US, EU, China, India), negotiating blocs (other developed
nations, other developing nations), and interest groups (fossil fuel
lobbyists, climate change activists, and US cities/states). The goal
was to reach a global agreement that keeps global temperature rise
below 2 degrees Celcius. Other experts advising the nine student teams were drawn from the United Nations Development Programme, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the East-West Center, the Hawaii Institute for Human Rights, the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Tsuchiyama & Associates, and the Australian Consulate-General in Honolulu.

Visit the ASP table on October 27!

The Asian Studies Program (ASP) will be part of  the “What’s Next at Manoa?” graduate fair, hosted by the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii (ASUH).  The goal of the event is to introduce undergraduate students to graduate program opportunities at the university.

ASP will be tabling on Friday, October 27 from 11:00AM – 2:00PM in the Campus Center Courtyard.

Dr. Young-a Park, Graduate Chair of ASP, and other members of the department will be present to meet students and to share information about courses, scholarships, and more!

Recently Released! Singing Across Divides by Dr. Anna Stirr

Dr. Anna Stirr’s book, Singing Across Divides: Music and Intimate Politics in Nepal, was recently released from Oxford University Press.

An ethnographic study of music, performance, migration, and circulation, Singing Across Divides examines how forms of love and intimacy are linked to changing conceptions of political solidarity and forms of belonging, through the lens of Nepali dohori song.

The book describes dohori: improvised, dialogic singing, in which a witty repartee of exchanges is based on poetic couplets with a fixed rhyme scheme, often backed by instrumental music and accompanying dance, performed between men and women, with a primary focus on romantic love. The book tells the story of dohori’s relationship with changing ideas of Nepal as a nation-state, and how different nationalist concepts of unity have incorporated marginality, in the intersectional arenas of caste, indigeneity, class, gender, and regional identity. Dohori gets at the heart of tensions around ethnic, caste, and gender difference, as it promotes potentially destabilizing musical and poetic interactions, love, sex, and marriage across these social divides.

In the aftermath of Nepal’s ten-year civil war, changing political realities, increased migration, and circulation of people, media and practices are redefining concepts of appropriate intimate relationships and their associated systems of exchange. Through multi-sited ethnography of performances, media production, circulation, reception, and the daily lives of performers and fans in Nepal and the UK, Singing Across Divides examines how people use dohori to challenge (and uphold) social categories, while also creating affective solidarities.

Dr. Anna Marie Stirr is a performer and scholar of Nepali folk music, and is Associate Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Solid review for book “Embedded Racism” by the Social Science Japan Journal

Adjunct Faculty Debito Arudou’s book “Embedded Racism:  Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination” (Lexington Books / Rowman & Littlefield 2015) was recently reviewed by the Social Science Japan Journal (SSJJ).  

The reviewer concluded:

“In an anti-globalist era of Trump and ‘Brexit’ there will be many who argue that Japan is right to severely restrict immigration and preserve as much as possible that is unique about its national character. If those who do not ‘look Japanese’ have to suffer some discrimination, then that is just the price that has to be paid. There are also many who believe that the best antidote to racism is to have a nation state where as few people as possible look out of place. Arudou’s reply to this point of view, which acts simultaneously as a challenge to Japan’s leaders, is that if this national narrative is allowed to prevail, it will not only condemn Japan’s aging population to an ever-worsening demographic crisis, it will also have a ‘suffocating and self-strangulating’ effect on society (p. 303).

“There are important academic contributions to the study of racism in Japan in this book, but it is as a must-read text on the crisis facing the shrinking Japanese population and its leaders that it really leaves its mark. Embedded Racism is highly recommended reading to anyone—whether they self-identify as Japanese or foreign or both—who is interested in Japan’s future.”

The entire review is available at https://academic.oup.com/ssjj/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/ssjj/jyx012

“Embedded Racism” is available at Hamilton Library and the Richardson Law Library.

Center for Pacific Islands Studies: Annual Student Conference

The Center for Pacific Islands Studies held its annual student conference on March 23 and 24, 2017 at the Campus Center Ballroom. The conference, Expressing Oceania: Pacific Islands Scholarship on the Page, on the Stage, and Beyond, drew approximately 300 people and featured noted Maori scholar Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Master Navigator Larry Reigetal of Yap.

The Center was honored by a visit from Dr. Robert Underwood, President of Unibetsedat Guahan (University of Guam) and remarks by UHM President Dr. David Lassner.

30 students contributed papers, posters, visual arts, and performing arts during the two-day conference, representing UHM, Unibetsedat Guahan, City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University.

The Center for Pacific Islands Studies sent a heartfelt mahalo to their sponsors: School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Center for Pacific Islands Studies, Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center, and the Student Activities and Program Fee Board.

IN PRINT! Dr. Aung-Thwin and Dr. Arudou have publications this spring

The School of Pacific and Asian Studies is proud to announce that two of its faculty have publications available to the public this spring!

In May, Dr. Michael Aung-Thwin’s book Myanmar in the Fifteenth Century: A Tale of Two Kingdoms will be released via University of Hawai’i Press.

About the Book: When the great kingdom of Pagan declined politically in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, its territory devolved into three centers of power and a period of transition occurred. Then two new kingdoms arose: the First Ava Dynasty in Upper Myanmar and the First Pegu Dynasty in Lower Myanmar. Both originated around the second half of the fourteenth century, reached their pinnacles in the fifteenth, and declined before the first half of the sixteenth century was over. Their story is the only missing piece in Myanmar’s mainstream historiography, a gap this book is designed to fill.

Original in conception and impressive in scope, this well written book not only fills in the history of early modern Myanmar but places it in a broad interpretive context based on years of familiarity with a wealth of primary sources. Full of arresting anecdotes and colorful personalities, it represents an important contribution to Myanmar studies that will not easily be superseded.

Dr. Debito Arudou has just had a chapter published in Jeff Kingston, Ed., “Press Freedom in Contemporary Japan” (Routledge, 2017). Entitled “Media Marginalization and Vilification of Minorities in Japan”, the chapter talks about the disempowering effects of Japan’s foreign residents being shut out from mainstream media, leaving them not only unable to counter stereotyping and hate speech, but also vulnerable to public denigration by Japan’s police forces as the latter fabricates “foreign crime waves”.

The chapter was adapted from his book “Embedded Racism” (Lexington Books, 2015). Both books are available at Hamilton Library, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and online.