SPAS Graduate Student Conference Program

2016 Graduate Student Conference Program (Download PDF)

School of Pacific and Asian Studies

2016 Graduate Student Conference


Center for Korean Studies

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi

March 16-18, 2016


Wednesday, March 16, 2016


3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Opening Ceremony and Keynote Address

4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Center for Korean Studies Auditorium

Salaw Saw Sueng (Northern Thai Ensemble)

Aaron Singer, Megan DeKievit, Kirk Sullivan, Sangah Lee, & Ben Fairfield


Adam Coldren & Mark Ferguson

Co-Directors of 2016 SPAS Graduate Student Conference

Pansori Performance

Sangah Lee & Haein Lee

Opening Remarks

Dr. R. Anderson Sutton

Dean, School of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Hawaii at Mānoa

Keynote Address

“What in the World is Washoku?”

Dr. Theodore C. Bestor

Reischauer Institute Professor of Social Anthropology; Director, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies Harvard University

Keynote Address Flyer


6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Panel Session 1

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

1.1      Migrants, Minority Groups, & Social Movements

David Hein – U. of San Fran.; Phianphachong Intarat – UH Mānoa; Toni Pasion – UH Mānoa; Yuki Asahina – UH Mānoa

Moderator: Professor Theodore C. Bestor

            Center for Korean Studies Auditorium

1.2      Problems on the Peninsula: North & South Korea

Robert York – UH Mānoa; Hayeun Jeung – Ewha Womans Univ.; Hyunjoo Yang – Brown Univ.

Moderator: Professor Young-a Park

            Center for Korean Studies Conference Room


11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Panel Session 2

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

2.1      East Asian Literature: Analysis & Contemplation

Elizabeth Smith Rosser – Univ. of Oxford; Chengyuan Li – Univ. of Arizona; Eunyeong Kim – Stanford Univ.; Jinsu Kim – Univ. of Oregon

Moderator: Professor Robert Huey 

            Center for Korean Studies Auditorium

2.2      Policy, Perception, & Impact

Yifei Wu – Stanford Univ.; Weiqiong Sun – Yale Univ.; Leopold Eisenlohr – Univ. of Penn.

Moderator: Professor Michael Aung-Thwin

            Center for Korean Studies Conference Room


2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Panel Session 3

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

3.1      Public Policy & Economic Trends in Asia

Ed Hoogland – UH Mānoa; Emily Wright – UH Mānoa; Dylan Beatty – UH Mānoa; Seung Yeol Kim – Stanford Univ.

Moderator: Professor Sang-Hyop Lee

            Center for Korean Studies Auditorium

3.2      Discussions of the Soul: Religion & Ideology

Edward Massie Eisner – UH Mānoa; Joyce Chiong – Stanford Univ.; Don Trieu – UH Mānoa; Joanna Kim – UH Mānoa

Moderator: Professor Young-a Park

Center for Korean Studies Conference Room

Korean Studies Forum  – Korea Focus Graduate Students Only

(This event is supported by the Core University Grant, funded by Academy of Korean Studies)

Center for Korean Studies Conference Room

5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Friday, March 18, 2016


9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Panel Session 4

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

4.1      Shifting Landscapes: Globalization & Regionalism In Asia

Dira Fabrian – Yale Univ.; Yuka Hasegawa – UH Mānoa; Craig Asberry III – Univ. of San Fran.

Moderator: Professor Theodore C. Bestor

            Center for Korean Studies Auditorium

4.2      Women & Representation

Maura Stephens – UH Mānoa; Wakako Suzuki – UCLA; Ji Yeon Noh – Ewha Womans Univ.

Moderator: Professor Cathryn Clayton

            Center for Korean Studies Conference Room


11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Panel Session 5

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

5.1      Conflict & Memory in East Asia

Hilson Reidpath – UH Mānoa; Keita Moore – UH Mānoa; Joyce Dong – Columbia Univ.

Moderator: Professor Lonny Carlile

            Center for Korean Studies Auditorium

5.2      Art & Performance

Caroline Baicy – UH Mānoa; Reed Riggs – UH Mānoa; Xiaolin Zhao – Stanford Univ.

Moderator: Professor Anna Stirr

            Center for Korean Studies Conference Room

 Best Paper Awards & Closing Remarks

Cathryn Clayton, Acting Chair , UH Mānoa Asian Studies

Center for Korean Studies Auditorium

2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Paper Prizes

            Best Japan Paper (Awarded by Center by Japanese Studies)

Best Korea Paper (Awarded by Center for Korean Studies)

Best Southeast Asia Paper (Awards by Center for Southeast Asian Studies)


Panel Session 1: Thursday – 10:00 – 11:30 A.M.

Panel 1.1 – Migrants, Minority Groups, & Social Movements

Moderator: Professor Theodore C. Bestor

  • David Hein – University of San Francisco

“The Ainu Quest to Gain Cultural Sovereignty in a Japanese Cultural Image”

The importance of this research is to highlight and problematize the long relationship between the Ainu people and the Japanese State. By examining laws passed by the Japanese government from the late 19th century to current times, it is clear the Japanese state has forced the Ainu to assimilate into Japanese culture and society. Laws (such as the Hokkaido Former Aborigines Act in 1899, Based on American legislature towards Native Americans) empowered the Japanese government to absorb Ainu history and language as a way of creating a homogeneous cultural image of Japan. Laws and resolutions such as the “Law for the Promotion of the Ainu Culture” and “the Dissemination and Advocacy for the Traditions of the Ainu and the Ainu Culture” in 1999 and a Resolution calling for the recognition of the Ainu people as an indigenous people of Japan in 2008, have done little to reduce discrimination. Using the framework of “exclusionary inclusion” from Masaki Masao (2013), we gain a better understanding of the relationship of the Japanese government and the Ainu. Masao argues that the Japanese government and the Ainu have a relationship needing one another. However the government needs the Ainu more in showing the superiority of the state.

This research adds to the knowledge of how ethnic identity is suppressed or absorbed into the cultural image of the nation. Not only the West but also Japan, which modeled its first laws after American laws were aimed at controlling Native American Tribes.

  • Phianphachong Intarat – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“Rethinking Migrant Workers’ Precarious Lives Along the Thai-Burmese Border”

An ethnographic study of undocumented Burmese migrant workers’ lives in the Thai-Burmese borderlands. This research proposes an alternative narrative about ‘precarious life’ of migrant workers and the labor exploitation complex. It recounts how undocumented migrant workers perceive their life and livelihood situations; what they do to cope with their lack of legal status; and how their struggle shapes social dynamics in the Thai-Burmese border community.

  • Toni Pasion – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“Filipina American Identity Formation Through Pole Dance and Performance”

Situated in Southern California and Hawai‘i metropolitan-centered contexts, this paper investigates how Filipina American cultural identity is continuously reconstructed through transnational lineages as represented in the discipline of pole dance. The conceptions of Filipino cultural values in my upbringing and experience as a hula dancer are explored to observe how these values manifest through a pole dance discipline. Drawing from from various works and experiences of Eisa Jocson and Salvie Lou Makiling in their utilizations of pole in performance, Jocson provides an unsettling of urban indoor and outdoor places and gendered behavior constructs and Salvie provides a Filipino decolonial perspective that re-presents an indigenous Filipina woman residing in Long Beach, California. By bringing these perspectives together, I attempt to unsettle Filipina American cultural identity to consciously trans-form identity that enables drawing from Filipina cultural values.

  • Yuki Asahina – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“Japan’s New Right-Wing Movement as Alternative Politics: Why Did They Achieve Success?”

This paper looks at the new right-wing movement that calls itself Activist-Conservative as a form of alternative politics in contemporary Japan. The question to which I propose an answer here is; why did the new right-wing achieve a degree of success today? Drawing on the analysis of the original and secondary interview data with 46 activists, I examine the reasons the movement has achieved a degree of success. Borrowing ideas from the theory of reactionary mobilization, the classical theories of class analysis and the framing perspective, this paper argues that among other factors, the rise of China and South Korea as powerful political and economic powers in East Asia created the perception of economic, political, and symbolic threats among Japanese, which provided the right-wing movement opportunities to mobilize in response to those threats. The new right-wing movement, as alternative politics, achieved a degree of success because there were new grievances, but existing political activities had failed to address those grievances and they were able to reframe them to channel their activity into aggressive street demonstrations.

Panel 1.2 – Problems on the Peninsula: North & South Korea

Moderator: Professor Young-a Park

  • Robert York – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“Public Executions and North Korea’s Right of Death”

International observers have been startled by a recent spate of high-profile executions of officials in North Korea. Some of these have come following very public denunciations, and credible information suggests that some have suffered grisly fates such as execution via anti-aircraft weaponry at close range. Based on the diplomatic archives of the North’s Cold War allies, human rights reports, and interviews with refugees, this paper argues that the North’s compressed modernization process and the ruling Kim family’s adaptation of the pageantry befitting an absolute monarch mean that it never fully adopted modern standards of punishment, especially for potential political dissidents. Furthermore, it argues that, unable to suppress black market activities following the Great Famine of the 1990s, it has recently resorted to flamboyant punishment of officials, thus emphasizing the leadership’s “right of death” rather than a modern state’s more subtle power over life.

  • Hayeun Jeung – Ewha Womans University

“Just Put on the Cyber, Not on the Negotiation Table: The North Korean Coercion via Cyberattack”

South Korea has been attacked approximately a million times a day in cyberspace. Among those tries, especially in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014 attacks on South were conducted by North Korea. Meanwhile, the wirepuller of another cyberattack in 2014 concerning The Interview, the movie that material was assassination of Jung-Un Kim, was also pointed at North Korea. Under these situations, what is the meaning of cyber attacks, and what is the purpose of them?

This research starts from questions about the strategic advantages of cyberattacks and the purpose of its usage. In this paper, three findings are suggested. First, cyberattacks can be used for a new kind of coercive means in international conflicts. Although the scope of the cyberattacks is comprehensive from simple crimes to terrorisms and war, the ‘attack’ can be applied as a means of ‘coercion.’ That is, cyberattack is a sort of coercion as an expression of discontents in current situations. Additionally, it is possible to say that the conventional coercive mechanisms can be similarly discovered in cyber aggressions.

Second, the traditional main actors of coercion are usually the strong nations. Unlike these common sense, due to the characters of cyber area such as asymmetries, anonymous, vulnerabilities, and unbalance of offense-defense, North Korea can be a coercer.

Last, North Korea remarkably practices the cyberattacks strategically. These can be discovered in the situations such as the worsen South-North relations, the isolation of country, or the assault on the ‘highest dignity’ of the system shown in the Interview case.

  • Hyunjoo Yang – Brown University

“The Effect of War on Local Collective Action: Evidence from the Korean War”

Does war have important long-term economic consequences? Existing literature suggests a lack of long-term effects related to the short-term destruction of physical capital and population reduction. Increased ideological and social division as a result of war, on the other hand, may produce persistent economic and social outcomes. I investigate the effect of the 1950-1953 Korean War on cooperation within rural communities in South Korea. Combining census data and unique data on village level collective action, I find that residents of townships that experienced more intense conflicts due to the prolonged presence of the North Korean Army and communist influences during the War were less likely to cooperate 20 years after the war ended. Further, I provide evidence that the reductions in township populations due to the conflict persisted over 40 years. The empirical results suggest that the impacts of the war persisted in the form of increased ideological and social division.

Panel Session 2: Thursday – 1:00 – 2:30 P.M.

Panel 2.1 – East Asian Literature: Analysis & Contemplation

Moderator: Professor Robert Huey

  • Elizabeth Smith Rosser – University of Oxford

“The Literary Portrayal of Wang Anshi from the Southern Song to Ming Dynasty”

The “New Policies” of the Song scholar-official Wang Anshi have been controversial for centuries, to the extent of being indirectly to blame for the fall of the Northern Song. But what of the image of the man himself? Using drama, joke compilations and vernacular literature as primary sources, this paper attempts to examine the trajectory of the ‘imagined’ Wang Anshi after his death. Such primary sources yield an unexpected array of comic Wangs, such as a Wang who invites Su Shi to a banquet only to have him flirt outrageously with his wife, a Wang for whom Yan Hui, Mencius and Confucius give up their seats, a Wang who has a flea jumping around his beard during an audience with Emperor Shenzong.

Indeed, the persona of Wang Anshi portrayed in these writings is very distinct from writings with the purpose of a ‘factual’, historical depiction. The paper compares examples of such sources, arguing that the concepts of Wang as a person and his politics have been very clearly separated in the pre-modern imagination. Using depictions of Wang Anshi as a case study also allows us to critically re-examine the interface between perceived fact and fiction within the Chinese tradition as a whole. Examination of the differing versions of the same anecdotes throughout history also gives us clear insight into the transmission of stories from Song to Ming and reveals many examples of censorship and authorial adaptations, which is a reflection on the times in which they were written.

  • Chengyuan Li – University of Arizona

“Murakami Haruki and the Transition of Asia”

As a famous contemporary writer Murakami Haruki has a wide-reaching influence in the world, especially in East Asia.  In this article, I intend to analyze his novels and short stories from 1979 ~2014, which reveal the transition of East Asian (especially in Japan and China) public culture. Through an analysis of his early novels Wild Sheep Chase (1982), Norwegian Wood (1987), moving to The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (1995), and finishing with Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Year Of Pilgrimage (2013), he makes it clear that Japanese society has been transformed after the World War II from a capitalism to cosmopolitanism. Murakami’s literature has been highly praised as able to, “reveal the true meaning of life from daily necessity, let people find their stories from the very novel”. I will use examples in Norwegian Wood, and Hard Boiled Wonder Land And The End Of The World to explain the universal nostalgia among the people in 1960’s~1980’s. I will also discuss how it is associated with this period of transition. In a short, this article will focus on the transition of Japan from an industrial society to a consumer society, and how they begin to interact with the “highly developed capitalism” which is Murakami abhors. Stepping into the new era, I will analyze the change that takes place in his novels, which highlights an era of greater self-control, this in turn leads to a suppression of personal emotions that has sometimes disastrous consequences for the “self”.

  • Eunyeong Kim – Stanford University

“The Last Afterlife of Lu Xun: A Hundred-year Quest for An Alternative

Modernity in East Asia”

This paper, which will form a part of my dissertation, traces the history of the reception of Lu Xun’s writings by East Asian intellectuals since 1920s. Arguably the most eminent modern Chinese writer, Lu Xun wrote thirty-three short stories including A Madman’s Diary, regarded as the first example of modern Chinese fiction, and countless critical essays concerning Chinese society. Due to the nationalistic origins of most modern Chinese literature, Lu Xun’s works have long been analyzed from the perspective of anti-feudal and anti-imperialist nation-building.

In the late 1930s, however, Lu Xun’s writings were appropriated by Takeuchi Yoshimi into the discourse of “overcoming modernity” which calls for Japan’s self-reflection on its unquestioning emulation of the West. Forty years later, “Lu Xun Spirit” was again reinterpreted, this time by the dissident South Korean journalist Lee Younghee, who had great influence on leading student activists and intellectuals of the democracy movement against the developmental dictatorship of Park Chunghee, “the father of South Korea’s modernization.” Since the twenty-first century, “Lu Xun Thought” has been serving as a key reference point for Chinese intellectuals including Wang Hui, who are critical of the neoliberal modernity, to map out China’s new path.

Through a close reading of those intellectuals’ writings, this paper reconstructs the transnational “afterlife” of Lu Xun as a “spiritual warrior” grappling with modernity. By so doing, I offer a new way to understand the ongoing quest for an alternative modernity in East Asia, demonstrating the possibilities for a true East Asian solidarity.

  • Jinsu Kim – University of Oregon

“A Micro-Empire: a Biographical Inscription of Japanese Imperial History in The Emperor’s Cook

The Emperor’s Cook (Tennō no Ryōriban) which was broadcasted in 2015 by TBS reiterates the genre grammar of the contemporary Japanese TV drama. As a bildungsroman narrative, it spotlights a protagonist who grows to be the chef de cuisine of the imperial palace. Despite this archetypical narrative structure, The Emperor’s Cook is unique in its presentation of Japanese Empire through the life of an individual. In fact, the imperial period from 1904 to 1945, the time-frame of this drama, is closely intertwined with the protagonist’s life; the tide of the war is represented in the protagonist’s progress (episode 1-8); after the end of the Pacific war, the protagonist is described to be as a hero who defends the Emperor from the criticism by the US military government (episode 9-12).

The main interest of this paper is, therefore, to examine how the micro-level of an individual life in modern Japan is related with the macro-history of the imperial enterprise. For this, I will first observe how the drama narrativizes the protagonist’s growth and success in its implication of imperial expansion. To be specific, I will focus on the sacrifices of family/woman and the “ganbaru” ethics, which are presented as pivotal moments in the protagonist’s growth and success. Second, I will pay attention to how the drama depicts through the protagonist’s eyes imperial signifiers such as the emperor and the palace. The visual representation of those imperial symbols is problematic, since it reflects the pathos that the contemporary Japanese have about the empire.

Panel 2.2 – Policy, Perception, & Impact

Moderator: Professor Michael Aung-Thwin

  • Yifei Wu – Stanford University

“Birth Control in Philosophical and Ethical Contemplation: China’s One Child Policy Reconsidered”

China’s birth control campaign is widely upheld by its defenders on utilitarian grounds that positive consequences such as poverty relief, economic growth, and women’s empowerment yielded from the enforcement of the One Child Policy outweighed the cost of suffering of a certain proportion in the whole population. This essay aims to examine the validity of the utilitarian arguments supporting the One Child Policy by applying John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianism and John Rawls’s theory of justice to historical and demographical facts. In the essay the subject to be considered is Chinese women affected by the Policy, who were deprived of fertility decision by means of IUD insertion, sterilization, and abortion strictly enforced by the government. The analysis incorporates sociological methodology with political philosophy framework that addresses two ethical problems in the birth control campaign: first, the Policy may well be rejected on utilitarian grounds for its distorted sense of impartiality and inexhaustible nature of possible consequences. Second, by introducing Rawls’s model it suggests that if the social arrangements are to promote justice as fairness, utility should not be the only important value in measuring the birth control outcome. The enforcement of the Policy in the highly gender-structured Chinese society leads to a disproportionate trade-off between women plagued by its repercussions and social goods benefited from it. The essay hopes to shed lights on future policymaking in birth control Asia wide and encourages rethinking of utilitarian grounds to produce social good as well as gender justice.

  • Weiqiong Sun – Yale University

“An Unfit Propaganda Mechanism of Progressive Narrative”

From Chairman Mao’s famous “nine-finger-positive-one-finger-negative analogy” to President Xi’s “Chinese Dream”, the Communist Party has displayed a clear obsession with progressive narratives in public discourse. Among the historical events used as cultural instruments for propaganda purposes, the December 9th Singing Competition perfectly exemplifies the ruling party’s tight ideological control and deliberate yet ineffective attempt to construct collective memory. This annual college event is organized to commemorate a confrontational protest led by students in the capital on December 9, 1935 to demand that the Chinese government actively resist Japanese invasion, a highly symbolic event applauded by the Party. However, since this historical event is rarely mentioned in the present epoch, the memorial competition is accordingly trivialized as a void bureaucratic ceremony from the perspective of the younger generation. It seems that the government simply cannot tolerate negativity of any kind and would rather risk overstating national capabilities in the time of crisis in order to wipe out potential indicators of a defective system. In this sense, the Party has been overly eager but fail to wash off itself humiliations and restore its tarnished image after the China-Japan War. This paper therefore argues that the contemporary China is in desperate need of post-socialist sensibilities that actually correspond with China’s neo-liberal and market-oriented economic reality. Incompatible narratives of revolutionary origins have gradually lost their persuasiveness. Formalist memorial rituals like the December 9th Singing Competition can only aggravate China’s current stalemate of moral crisis.

  • Leopold Eisenlohr – University of Pennsylvania

“Creating Mecca and Saints in the Southeastern Chinese Imagination”

Quanzhou, also known internationally as Khanfu and Zaytun, was of dramatic importance in its role as a city within the framework currently under development for understanding religious transregionalism in the greater Indian Ocean area.  The focus of this paper is the inscriptions in Chinese, Persian, and Arabic located on and around the Lingshan cemetery and nearby mosques of Quanzhou, and specifically the inscriptions used to commemorate the several renovations of the tombs of the so-called Third and Fourth Saints associated with the early decades of Islam and displaying translocal features of Indian Ocean Islam such as ziyārah (srhine visitation), barakah (blessing), and karamāt (miraculous intercession). By surveying the inscriptions in a broad spectrum of time, this paper will demonstrate how the status and function of the saints evolved in accordance with the changes in Quanzhou’s integration in to an international Islamic world, as well as how the shrine complex persisted as a feature of maintenance of the diverse Muslim population of Quanzhou. Additionally, the imagined world of Mecca and Arabia as it was written about in sacred histories inscribed at Quanzhou mosques will be synthesized in a way that shows the maintenance of a longing for Heimat within the Muslim community that was important in preserving their identity as a distinct community.

Panel Session 3: Thursday – 3:00 – 4:30 P.M.

Panel 3.1 – Public Policy & Economic Trends in Asia

Moderator: Professor Sang-Hyop Lee

  • Ed Hoogland – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“Re-examining Fernand Braudel’s Rule of Three Using British American Tobacco Company’s Monopoly in China “

I seek to explain how the British-American Tobacco Company (B.A.T.) achieved a monopoly of the local Chinese cigarette market by the 1920s. B.A.T. was a monopoly in the sense that it had the largest share of the market, produced and sold the most cigarettes, had the most profits, and could withstand the longest strikes and boycotts without failing. By applying Fernand Braudel’s “Rule of Three” to B.A.T. as a case-study, I hope to deepen our understanding of capitalism in China in the early 20th century. Braudel’s Rule of Three states that company monopolies emerge under three conditions: the presence of the state, the existence of a “world of trade,” and that there is a “trading zone to be exploited in some distant land.” In addition to these contextual conditions, Braudel’s “threefold division” relating to different sectors of the economy deserves reevaluation based on the differing levels of coercion inherent in B.A.T.’s business model. B.A.T. is an appropriate case-study to test his hypothesis because of China’s political and economic situation during the early Republican period (1911-1927). A certain degree of informal colonial enterprise co-existed with local and national government in China’s treaty port cities. One of these treaty ports, Shanghai, had become a city of immigrants that had a world of trade where it was both hub and spoke depending on one’s perspective. That B.A.T. was a foreign, publicly traded company producing and selling in a distant China meant that the risks and rewards for investors were equally high, if the company could exploit conditions effectively. Granting that B.A.T. was indeed successful begs the questions: how did it exploit conditions on the ground, what were those conditions, and how were privileges distributed and guaranteed in this semi-colonial city?

  • Emily Wright – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“Opening Markets, Closing Doors?: Developing Seaweed Production in Indonesia’s Blue Economy Era”

Indonesia launched its ‘blue economy’ program in 2013, illustrating a recent global trend in development policy to sustainably harness the productive capacity of oceans for economic growth, food security, and poverty alleviation. Central to the blue economy platform is the expansion of seafood processing sectors to increase the value of export products, a strategy being taken in the case of seaweed, Indonesia’s largest aquaculture export by volume. Turning raw seaweed into value-added products (e.g., carrageenan) holds potential for attracting private investment while creating scaling-up opportunities for the rural smallholder farmers that supply nearly all of Indonesia’s seaweed. Yet the intensification of production that would accompany this market growth threatens to compromise the stability of environmental and social conditions supporting rural production systems. An examination of the discourse in Indonesia’s blue economy policies and secondary literature reveals that rural seaweed farmers are integral to these policies, as both producers and beneficiaries, but their livelihoods are also at risk of being undermined. As seen in other iterations of sustainable development, the blue economy reinforces institutions that destabilize the sustainability of the very social and ecological systems upon which it relies.

  • Dylan Beatty – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“Fishing the “Last Frontier”: Overlapping Maritime Geographies in Southern Palawan, the Coral Triangle and Southeast Asia”

The Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) and the Live Reef Fish (LRF) trade in southern Palawan provide a case to explore dynamics intrinsic to place-based fishing operations and distant consumer markets. In particular, Balabac and Quezon—communities in southern Palawan with several similarities and dissimilarities—allow for theoretical ruminations on spatial connectivity, community identity and even conceptions of nationalism and sovereignty. While the LRF trade in Balabac has been written about, this trade has not been explored through the lenses of sovereignty and nationalism. The delineation of CTI is premised on coral species diversity and ecoregions in maritime Southeast Asia. The exclusion of the territorially disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea (SCS) is premised on seemingly clear coral species thresholds. However, there is an egregious lack of data on species diversity in SCS, problematizing the decision for excluding this space from CTI. This exclusion could have direct political, environmental and social ramifications, particularly for fishers in the Philippines. Fishers in southern Palawan traverse multiple, overlapping geographies. This paper puts a human face to these multiple geographic imaginaries.

  • Seung Yeol Kim – Stanford University

“Implications of Judicial Review on Democracy: Through the Scope of Comparative Study on South Korea and Japan”

Korea and Japan are known to be strong East Asian democracies which share a number of commonalities. They uphold the principle of Constitutionalism and possess written Constitution which declares the supremacy of the Constitution over all other laws. Both countries benchmarked the German model for their legal systems, which, naturally, led them to share subsequent structures, traditions, and culture in the civil law system. Reinforced by geographical proximity, these features contributed to further commonalities ranging from similar court structure to methods of reasoning in rulings. Although the aforementioned commonalities bear further similarities, there is a distinctive area in which Korea and Japan display great divergence: Judicial Review – the constitutional doctrine which gives the court the power to annul legislative or executive acts which the judges declare to be unconstitutional. Judicial review is one of the core functions of the judiciary in the democratic principle of checks and balances and serves one of the most fundamental duties for democracy.

As of January 2016, the number of “unconstitutional” ruling by the Japanese judiciary remains at 8 cases, whereas the Korean judiciary has struck down 810 laws. Focusing on this noteworthy disproportion, this paper explores why and how the two countries with common features came to have such disparity in judicial review. In pursuit of finding fundamental explanations, the paper will categorize and critically analyze the following dependent variables: i) Historical, ii) Cultural, iii) Political, and iv) Institutional explanations. The study will conclude by analyzing what implications these explanations carry on Democracy.

Panel 3.2 – Discussions of the Soul: Religion & Ideology

Moderator: Professor Young-a Park

  • Edward Massie Eisner – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“The Buddha Nature of Dogs in Sōtō Zen”

Is your dog a bodhisattva? The Sōtō Zen sect, founded by Dōgen (1200-1253 C.E.) holds that all things have Buddha Nature: humans, rocks, trees, dogs, etc.  Only sentient beings, though, are capable of realizing one’s Buddha Nature in order to achieve enlightenment (satori).  Despite this potential, the very idea of animal enlightenment might seem frivolous to most Zen scholars.

This paper uses animality (specifically canines) as a means to explore sentience, Buddha Nature and satori as presented in the Shōbōgenzō, Dōgen’s foundational text of Sōtō Zen.  Arguing that dogs can indeed achieve satori, the paper goes on to assert that such an enlightened canine could even meet the criteria for being a bodhisattva according to Sōtō Zen doctrine.  We learn that achieving enlightenment and guiding others on this path are neither as rare nor otherworldly as we might have thought.  In keeping with the SPAS Graduate Conference theme, we see how Buddhist philosophy provides relevant and progressive ideas for the globally engaged.

  • Joyce Chiong – Stanford University

“Is Singapore a Confucian Society? The Spread of Confucianism to Singapore and How it Has Developed Since Then”

Singapore has often been labelled as part of Greater China and has been a major recipient of Chinese immigrants and Chinese socio-economic and cultural influences since the 18th century. In particular, Confucianism is often seen as a major influence in the country since it spread to Singapore along with the flow of Chinese migrants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since then, it has been said to permeate the Singaporean culture and has been frequently invoked in social debates and policy-making processes, such as in the 1991 “Shared Values” White Paper, in the Asian Values Debate in the 1990s, to explain the success of Singapore as one of the four “Asian tigers”, in Singapore’s paternalistic style of governance, and also in recent talk on homosexuality in Singapore. Notably, Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew was a strong advocate for Confucianism in the region. However, given that Singapore has a multi-racial society and its population lacks formal Confucian education, questions arise as to whether this debate gained any traction among its citizens or was predominantly a state-level rhetoric. Indeed, existing literature extensively analyses the presence of Confucian thinking in policy-making, but less attention has been given to the investigation of Confucian thinking among the population. This paper examines this question by focusing on the social values in Singapore and analyses them with reference to Confucian values, to understand if Confucianism still is, or has ever been, a guiding ideology in Singapore society.

  • Don Trieu – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“Vietnamese Zen: A Perfect Unification of Mahayana Zen and Theravada Zen”

This paper will explore the roots of Vietnamese Buddhism by examining the historical and cultural influences, beginning with Vietnam’s first contact of Buddhism during 3rd century B.C.E., and up until modern period.  During Buddhism’s 2,000 years influence in Vietnam, there were many Zen schools including Khuong Tang Hoi Zen School (Mahayana-Theraveda school), Ty ni da luu chi Zen school, Vo Ngon Thong, Truc Lam Zen school, and Plum Village Zen School. Each school has its philosophy and practices; however, they all represented a unique blend of Mahayana and Theraveda Buddhism that is distinctively unique to Vietnam and not seen in other Buddhist countries. In fact, Buddhism of Vietnam is the unification of Buddhist traditions, and the Vietnamese identify this unification with their culture in a very unique way.

  • Joanna Kim – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“Battling for the Soul of Korea: Missionaries and Monastics, 1876-1905”

In the years leading up to, and during, the Annexation of Korea by Japan, Japanese Buddhist clergy would come to Korea not only to minister to the Japanese community there, but to transmit Japanese-style Buddhism to Koreans. On one hand, the Japanese missionaries acknowledged and sought to repay the debt owed to Korea for introducing Buddhism to Japan many centuries earlier. On the other hand, these same missionaries imposed Japanese Imperialism through the office of Buddhism by spreading their teachings using paternalistic techniques. While the ultimate goal of the clergy was to return Buddhism to its former glory in Korea, Japanese sects vied for supremacy. If successful in establishing a firm hold on Korean religious life, the dominant Japanese Buddhist sect’s would experience an increase in prestige at home, throughout Asia, and abroad.

The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the reaction of Korean Buddhist monastics who, when confronted with the options of collaboration or potential destruction of practices that were uniquely Korean, chose to create partnerships with powerful Japanese sects.  The majority of monastics that we know about today chose to endure via adaptation, hiding Korean teachings among Japanese instructions. This method of adaptation would help reshape modern Korean, and would be the cornerstone for the creation of the forms of Buddhism which are practiced today throughout South Korea.

Panel Session 4: Friday – 10:00 – 11:30 A.M.

Panel 4.1 – Shifting Landscapes: Globalization & Regionalism In Asia

Moderator: Professor Theodore C. Bestor

  • Dira Fabrian – Yale University

“The Forging of a Southeast Asian Identity in the Light of the ASEAN Community”

On December 31, 2015, the ASEAN Community was officially established. ASEAN envisions itself to be more than just a top-down organization or a free trade area. As stated in article 4 of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint, “The primary goal of the ASCC is to contribute to realising an ASEAN Community that is people-centred and socially responsible with a view to achieving enduring solidarity and unity among the nations and peoples of ASEAN by forging a common identity and building a caring and sharing society…”

However, “forging a common identity” is not easy in a region as diverse as Southeast Asia. In order to become a member of ASEAN, there is no political or economic prerequisite. This paper seeks to highlight and analyze this gap between ASEAN’s envisionment of an ASEAN identity and the relatively low level of ASEAN awareness at the grassroot level by discussing the concept of ASEAN identity, elaborating the difficulties in forging the ASEAN identity, and providing a comparison of how regional identity is fostered and the degree of success in the European Union. In the end, the writer is of the view that it is important to create a common narrative among the people of Southeast Asia, and to let the grassroot level feel the benefit of being in the ASEAN Community in order to forge a Southeast Asian identity. Besides educational institutions, the mass media and culture industry could also be instrumentalized to serve this goal, for example by encouraging collaborations in movie productions.

  • Yuka Hasegawa – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“Puissance: Civic Coproduction of Yokohama as a Global City-Region”

The development of global cities has sparked theoretical debates on the driving force behind its dynamic momentum. Scholars who study the impact of globalization on cities attribute its development to the neoliberal economic policies that position cities as nodes from which to command and control the global market. These scholars study cities as a place-bound economy in which financial resources are accumulated to structure cities in a class hierarchy. However, others have critiqued this theory by arguing that it neglects how cultural and historical particularities of nation-states contribute to the rise of global city-regions. These scholars focus on the social democratic forces of developmental states to study how cities create interlinked networks and flows to form city-regions. This debate raises the question of whether these two competing theories of global city as a place-bound economy and a placeless space of flows might be compatible, and if so how. To address this question, this paper studies government-affiliated nonprofit art organizations from Yokohama city that coordinate the civic coproduction of public events under its Creative City policy. It argues that civic coproduction generates puissance, or the collective energy of the masses that flows through the empty public spaces during citywide events and activities. Moreover, the City of Yokohama produces a place-bound cultural economy by constituting civic coproduction into its urban design and using a hegemonic discourse of “the city” (machi) to arbitrage coproduced events and artifacts with global capital.

  • Craig Asberry III – University of San Francisco

“Osmotic Exchange and Education: Globalization’s Effects on South Korea”

How is globalization changing local processes? For one perspective, we turn to South Korean education. Students in Korea score very well on solving problems, almost better than any other country in world, yet the problems they consistently seem to fail at are finding a way to sleep, performing physical activity, and being happy overall. International competition as well as domestic competition has enhanced Korean education, but the costs are beginning to outweigh the advantages. To its credit, Korea has seen enormous growth since the Korean War, but now that it has become such an advanced nation, it faces problems similar to those in every other advanced nation. The problems of equity and equality are constant. Thus, the same problem that creates vast amounts of income inequality recreates this inequality within subsystems like education. This is shown in who has access to quality shadow education like after-school tutoring, which is especially prevalent in Asia. Globalization feeds the burden of the education system through anxiety and competition, and in South Korea this extra burden falls to the children and mothers to bear. With this in mind, changes in countries thousands of miles away that affect the finances of the parents will inevitably affect the education and well-being of the children. In sum, Korean education is changing quickly because the world is becoming more integrated. Globalization creates osmotic exchange in education and redefines what it means to be Korean. In the future, this presents many challenges for policymakers that need to be addressed.

Panel 4.2  – Women & Representation

Moderator: Professor Cathryn Clayton

  • Maura Stephens – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Smell No Evil?: Concealment of Menstruation in Japan”

This paper addresses the beliefs and practices surrounding menstruation in modern-day Japan and the ways in which menstruation is concealed in menstrual product advertisements.  Menstruation is abject – disgusting, repellant, and dangerous – and must be avoided or covered up.  In menstrual product advertisements from television and product websites, this is accomplished in three ways.  First, menstruation is concealed visually by erasing any actual presence of it in advertisements and by emphasizing the absorption and leak-protection abilities of the products.  Second, menstruation is concealed linguistically in advertisements with the use of verbal euphemisms, thus avoiding any direct reference to it.  Lastly, abject menstruation is concealed from the olfactory senses by way of various scented products and products with odor-locking capabilities.  Since menstruation is concealed within menstrual product advertisements themselves, the message is clear that women should conceal menstruation in their own lives – by using the products whose powers of concealment are so heavily showcased on TV and online.

  • Wakako Suzuki – University of California, Los Angeles

“Contested Image of Femininity in Translation: Examining the Role of Female Translators in Modern Japan”

This paper examines the role that female translators and translations of their works have played in the development of Japanese vernacular literature. I analyze how translation practices in modern Japan opened up a new avenue for women to exercise their literary creativity and writing skills. In the late Meiji period, well-known scholars and intellectuals often contended that translating is a feminine act, and that writing constitutes a masculine act. Kunikida Doppo, for example, encouraged women to engage with translation, rather than literary production, because translating is a more suitable occupation for women, who have to take care of their family and household. This chauvinistic statement might reveal how Japanese male intellectuals embraced such a sexist view. Doppo, nonetheless, intended to encourage educated women to learn foreign languages and translate foreign texts to meet the demand for enlightenment—from his progressive view—which was meant to be far from sexist. Whether or not we agree with the claim that translation is a feminine activity, these discussions led by well-known writers illuminate evolving gender ideologies and the position of translators. By looking at Jogaku zasshi, I will demonstrate how the acts of translation allowed female writers, such as Wakamatsu Shizuko and Nogami Yaeko, to use their agency and independence, thereby cultivating their intellectual dialogue. This examination will be based on a critical analysis of growing print capitalism in conjunction with Japan’s process of nation-state building and dissemination of national subject imagery.

  • Ji Yeon Noh – Ewha Womans University

“Do the Systems Matter?: Women in the Economic Crisis”

Do different political economic systems cause the different results to gender? This study investigates to how two Korean governments’ policies have affected to gender gap in the labor market and for what was the fundamental reason. Since policies are easily blatant at the critical situation, this study compares South and North Korean labor policies at the stages of economic crises — ‘the financial crisis IMF’ and ‘the July 1 measures’, respectively. In the light of different political systems, ‘three faces of power’ by Steven Lukes is adopted as a research framework.

After revising a line of economic policy, there are two common results despite of different political economic system. First, women were being excluded from the labor market. Second, ‘the responsibilities of work and family life reconciliation’ became more burden to women compared to men. Even though the results were the same on the individual level, the way and process to drive women out of the job had showed a broad distinction. South Korea, a liberal democratic country, performed gender-neutral policies, but inadvertently ended up in a sexist manner with ‘non-decision-making power.’ On the other hand, North Korea based on the Juche ideology manipulated the labor market itself with ‘ideological power’.

From the findings, this paper suggests that on the Korean Peninsula, an enduring accumulation of both paternalism and (Korean)Confucianism has kept maintaining the sexual discrimination, irrespective of political economic systems. Especially in national crisis those ideas are closely combined with militarism, then used as a tool of justifying governmental policies.

Panel Session 5: Friday – 12:45 – 2:15 P.M.

Panel 5.1 – Conflict & Memory in East Asia

Moderator: Professor Lonny Carlile

  • Hilson Reidpath – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“Subversive Magic: The false reconciliation of memory in Medoruma Shun’s “Droplets”

In recent years Okinawa has received increased interest in scholarship in the literature that has been born out of the experiences of survivors of the Battle of Okinawa and the generations that have followed them.

In particular, one Okinawan author, Medoruma Shun, has received attention for his treatment of the Battle of Okinawa in his fiction that explores the role memory has played in his stories. Scholars such as Kyle Ikeda have discussed this issue of war memory in Medoruma’s work, arguing that it is something that exists both in the public and the private realm.

Through a critical reading of Medoruma’s novella “Droplets”, this essay will examine Medoruma’s concern with the ongoing emotional and psychological effects the Battle of Okinawa has had not only on the firsthand survivors of the war, but also second generation survivors such as himself.

Furthermore it will discuss an element of Medoruma’s work that has not received enough attention – how the use of magical realist tropes and techniques effectively illustrate the complicated memories and experiences these survivors still carry with them. The paper will then illustrate how the unique combination of war memory and magical realism in Medoruma’s fiction displays a contemporary Okinawa still at odds with itself over how to remember, and to what degree to venerate the experiences of the battle now more than half a century in the past.

  • Keita Moore – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“No Island Unto Itself: Revisiting the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Dispute”

This paper discusses the current conflict surrounding the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands as arising from the way in which Japan incorporated the islands into the polity in 1895. As the Meiji government fulfilled only two of the requisite conditions for acquiring terra nullius (unoccupied and unclaimed) land, this act has been taken as proof of Japan’s imperial intent. However, an examination of Meiji era Home and Foreign Ministry documents highlights personnel changes in the bureaucracy that resulted in a significant gap between the original architects of the incorporation in 1885 and those who succeeded in 1895. This change is characterized largely by indifference and haphazardness, and is directly responsible for the murky legal status of the islands today—a status that renders the territories “pawns” in a geopolitical game between Tokyo, Beijing, and Washington. Through situating the islands in the trend of post-Cold War mercantile realist foreign policy, I demonstrate how Japan is not a passive actor in the face of Chinese brinksmanship, but rather a wily player who has used the islands to reaffirm and strengthen its relationship with the United States. While these gains in security are substantial, the situation grows more fraught every day. Thus, I conclude with a few comments on the role of international law as it defines the rules in order to finish the game for good.

  • Joyce Dong – Columbia University

“Japan’s Involvement in the South China Sea: New Military Dimension”

Japan’s growing involvement in the South China Sea (SCS) in the military dimension adds complexity to the SCS crisis. On the one hand, Japan’s increasing involvement complements the U.S. “rebalance” to Asia strategy and helps to counter China’s increasing assertiveness in the SCS; on the other hand, its involvement is provocative to China and escalates tensions. While Japan is not a claimant state, Japan has played an active role in the SCS since the late 2000s. Its recent efforts to enhance its defense relationships with the ASEAN claimant states and possibility of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) participating in joint patrols alongside the United States in the SCS marks a significant change in Japan’s foreign policy towards the SCS. As Jeff Smith, director of Asian Security Programs at the American Foreign Policy Council says, Japan’s moves in the South China Sea issue in recent months are “very bold and very significant changes to a Japanese foreign policy that appears to be going all-in on a hedging strategy toward China”.[1] In my paper, I will highlight Japan’s interest in the SCS, the evolution of Japan’s approaches from diplomatic and economic to military overtures, the reasons for Japan’s relatively success in its new policy direction and what this new development means for the future stability of the region.

Panel 5.2 – Art & Performance

Moderator: Professor Anna Stirr

  • Caroline Baicy – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“The Other’s “Other”: Primtivism in Modern Philippine Art”

The term “primitivism” is inextricably linked to the discourse of Modernism. n contrast to the nostalgic notions found within Primitivism in European art, Primitivism in the Philippines during the mid-twentieth century was used as a means of celebrating Modernism, inscribing the Philippine body within a Modernist language. Within this context of Philippine art history, Modernism and Modernity become associated with an imperialising metropolitan centre that creates an encompassing view of history and society that attests to its legitimacy and hierarchy. Philippine modernism, and its use of primitivism, is reflective of this transitory movement to modernity. It has accepted a nationalist rhetoric that celebrates localisation of art forms originating from Euramerica, thereby transforming European modernism into a local, “Filipinised” visual language. Philippine Primitivism appropriated the formalist language of Western Primitivism as a means of creating a visual language connected to pre-existing colonial discourses on the representation of the “Other” in a Philippine context. The visualisation of a “native” essence, as seen in the works of Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, and Paul Gauguin, becomes appropriated within the discourse of Philippine Modernism as a means of representing both modernity, as defined by the West, and the Philippine “Other,” as a means of outlining the peripheries of the nation. The purpose of the this paper is to reflect on multiple viewpoints that culminate in the representation of the modern, primitive Philippine “Other.” It will analyse the influences of colonial, Philippine academic, and European primitivist discourse in Philippine Primitivism.

  • Reed Riggs – University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“A Stage-Performance Metaphor in the Chinese Language and Mind”

How might performance culture relate directly to language and thought? In the current study, a cognitive linguistics (CL) approach was used to investigate a modern spoken corpus of Mandarin Chinese for a collection of events which all co-occurred with the classifier ‘chang’. Noun definitions of ‘chang’ include: (1) a performance stage or competition arena; (2) the complete process of a performance or competition. These noun meanings proved useful in better understanding the several classifier uses of ‘chang’, which appear to extend from these non-metaphorical “stage performance” meanings. The same dictionary defines the classifier meanings of ‘chang’ as: (1) used with cultural, entertainment and athletic activities; (2) used with short segments of theatrical performances. But the events found in the current corpus search included further, unexplained events, with phrases like “one chang (of) luck,” “one chang (of a) lawsuit,” and “one chang (of) war,” where luck, lawsuits and war do not, at first sight, appear to fit into cultural, entertainment or athletic activity categories. Grouping and identifying features in each of these events, there emerged a series of metaphorical extensions, which is the focus of the current investigation, demonstrating how a wide variety of events, when classified by ‘chang’, can be conceptualized as metaphorical extensions of a “stage performance.”

  • Xiaolin Zhao – Stanford University

“The First Chinese Art Troupe — China Song and Dance Troupe: A Re-evaluation”

In 1928, China’s first commercial art troupe, The China Song and Dance Troupe (Zhonghua gewutuan), embarked on a tour of Southeast Asian countries. This marked the first time a Chinese ensemble had toured overseas. In spite of its pioneering role, this troupe was a financial failure and its value has been downplayed by scholars and their contribution has been neglected. It was not until the 1990s, when people realized the preeminent role played by the troupe’s founder Li Jinhui, that they began research. To re-evaluate this troupe, I have organized my paper into five sections. In the first section, I provide a historical background of the troupe, its founder Li Jinhui, and the establishment of this troupe. In the second section, I analyze its accomplishments in terms of its contributions during the tour and the aesthetic, commercial, and cultural legacy of the troupe. After this, in the third section, I probe into the elements of its success, namely the elaborately planned routes, the target audience and the properly selected performances for the audience, and its cultural mobility. In the fourth section, I analyze the political reasons this troupe was ignored in academia. My conclusion offers a review and potential research questions that other academic scholars can pursue.

Conference Information

Organizer:    School of Pacific and Asian Studies 

Directors:     Adam Coldren, Graduate Teaching Assistant, SPAS

Mark Ferguson, Graduate Teaching Assistant, SPAS

The 2016 SPAS Graduate Student Conference would not have been possible without the generous support of:

Student Activity and Program Fee Board

School of Pacific and Asian Studies

Asian Studies Program

SPAS Office of the Dean

UH Department of Anthropology

Center for Japanese Studies

Center for Korean Studies

Center for Okinawan Studies

Center for Philippine Studies

Center for Southeast Asian Studies

The Core University Grant, funded by Academy of Korean Studies

Dr. R. Anderson Sutton

Dr. Cathryn Clayton

Dr. Young-a Park

Joyce Morikuni

Theresa Constantino

Marissa Robinson

Julie Fujimoto

Thank you to all of our moderators and volunteers who made this conference possible. Mahalo nui loa!