UW Japan Studies Newsletters

Autumn 2020 Newsletter

Table of Contents

I. From the Chair

II. Student Privacy, Learning Security, and Academic Freedom in 2020

III. Spaces of Creative Resistance in East Asia

IV. Griffith and Patricia Way Lecture 2020

V. Japanese Library Collection News

VI. Faculty Highilghts

VII. Alumni and Student Highlights

Fall in Kubota Garden in south Seattle. Image credit:Ellen Eskenazi

From the Chair

Ken Tadashi Oshima, Chair of UW Japan Studies

Prof. Ken Tadashi Oshima

At the beginning of 2020, we looked to the Tokyo Olympics and celebration of Japan on the global stage. Yet of course 20/20 hindsight illustrates the difficulties of the year, with the global pandemic and necessity to postpone the event at least until 2021. UW Japan Studies has certainly been impacted: faculty teaching on-line since March, limited library access, and travel restrictions between Japan and the U.S. Nonetheless, the UW was relatively well prepared to make the transition to virtual classes and lectures, thanks to its robust on-line infrastructure allowing students and faculty to connect from around the world. Without access to our physical spaces on the Seattle campus to keep safe in the age of COVID-19, our website is our virtual center to keep in touch and up to date about the latest news and events, and we come to you with this electronic newsletter.

Through all of our challenges this year, the personal linkages among the broader UW Japan Studies constellation of alumni, friends, and colleagues around the world have become even more vital than ever before. With new leadership in both the United States and Japan, we look to the possibilities of the future and building further on these collective ties. We hope this newsletter will keep you connected to our UW Japan Studies community, as we continue our work and look forward to meeting in person once it is safe.

–Ken Tadashi Oshima, UW Japan Studies Chair

Student Privacy, Learning Security, and Academic Freedom in 2020

Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺, literally “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”), officially named Rokuon-ji (鹿苑寺, literally “Deer Garden Temple”), is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. Image credit: first year graduate student in JSIS Japan StudiesAbigail Williams

Since March of this year, the majority of the UW community and our Japan Studies family have been studying and working remotely, with many students leaving Washington and returning to their home states or countries. This move to remote operations and the differences in learning environments from student to student have raised a variety of equity and accessibility issues.

One of the most prominent concerns is academic freedom and privacy when conducting courses using on-line platforms — especially for those logging in from countries that censor or monitor use of the internet. Many courses, particularly those with a global scope within JSIS and Japan Studies, address topics that may be considered sensitive or restricted in certain countries. The People’s Republic of China is most often used as the example for where these risks lie, but this is a problem in other countries and regions as well.

Such concerns are increasing among faculty who frequently have non-U.S. based students in their classrooms, work internationally, or cover sensitive topics, as well as departments that have a high volume of international students. On the national level, the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) has taken a leading position on protecting freedom, issuing guidance in July on how faculty should handle the transition to remote teaching and on-line scholarship. Although AAS recommends that all faculty remain aware of specific legal and accessibility issues affecting their students when planning and running their courses, even greater responsibility is given to universities and their administrators. The statement urges universities to enact new top-level policies in conversation with their faculty and community to affirm the protection of academic freedom wherever in the world their community operates and to actively audit the privacy of software tools used for sponsored activities.

Here at the UW, an issue with learning security in China occurred before the pandemic, specifically surrounding the arrest and detention in China of former student Vera Zhou in late 2017, which was covered by The Daily in January 2020. Zhou, a Chinese citizen and U.S. permanent resident, was arrested during a visit to her home in Xinjiang Province for using the UW’s virtual private network (VPN) to turn in her homework. According to The Daily, the UW and the State Department claimed to be unable to help Zhou because she is a Chinese citizen. However, the University was criticized by Zhou’s supporters for failing to take a more protective position for Zhou out of fear of jeopardizing ongoing partnerships with the Chinese government.

Since Zhou went public with her story, UW faculty have continually raised their concerns with UW leadership about Zhou’s situation as well as the greater implications for all students studying in China and other countries that control and monitor internet traffic. More than 40 concerned faculty across campus signed a letter sent to UW President Ana Mari Cauce, Provost Mark Richards, and other high ranking officials in March to raise the issue, and a second letter from the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies (GWSS) was sent in August to recommend following the AAS guidance for university administrators. The letters, provided to us by Professor Sasha Su-Ling Welland of GWSS, urged UW academic and internet technology (UW-IT) administrators to begin creating policies to protect academic freedom for community members and to develop a responsible computing standard for its software learning tools. According to Welland, none of these parties have officially responded to either of these letters.

At the start of the new academic year, the UW Registrar released this optional guidance for inclusion in course syllabi, and UW-IT released its own information on which UW learning tools are accessible from China specifically and discouraging the use of the UW VPN in China. Faculty have commented that such guidance was not sufficient nor high-profile enough to effectively warn at-risk students about the situation.

Professor James Lin of the UW Taiwan Studies Program, who is heading up a JSIS faculty committee on academic freedom for international students, commented: “Due to the complicated nature of the issue that involves not just university-wide technology platforms, but also potentially questions of law and risk, there should be clear and high-profile guidance and standard policies for students and faculty to follow. Both faculty and students need to understand what kinds of risks are posed by remote learning in certain parts of the world and what can and should be done to mitigate those risks. This also extends beyond technology to understanding how an expectation of academic freedom we are used to in the U.S. might entail risks for international students in different jurisdictions, and what sorts of accommodations preserve academic integrity without putting students at risk.”

Within the Japan Studies Program, Professors Justin Jesty and Amy Snyder Ohta of Asian Languages & Literature have been vocal in faculty discussions on this issue and continue to advocate for change in overall university policy. Professor Robert Pekkanen of JSIS sits on the previously mentioned faculty committee on academic freedom, alongside Professors James Lin and Kathie Friedman.

As this turbulent year comes to a close, our program, UW leadership, and the greater academic world as a whole have much to think about in order to ensure safety, academic freedom, accessibility, and equity for all our community members in a virtual environment. We hope that those who are connected to the Japan Studies Program can continue their work in a free and safe environment, no matter where they may currently be in the world.

Spaces of Creative Resistance in East Asia

Photo of Andrea Arai

Dr. Andrea Gevurtz Arai

In April 2020, Professor Jeff Hou, UW College of Built Environments, and Dr. Andrea Gevurtz Arai, UW Jackson School of International Studies and Anthropology, convened scholars and activists from across East Asia for a project titled “Spaces of Creative Resistance in East Asia.” Initially intended to be a workshop conducted in-person in Seattle, the project was moved on-line due to the pandemic. Participants are located in Seattle (UW), Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, and they work on topics ranging from built environments and environmental design to cultural geography, anthropology, population studies, gender studies, and social welfare.

Participants in this interdisciplinary collaboration are examining, and in some cases actively taking part in, spaces of creative resistance in East Asia. These spatial projects address issues of income and gender inequality, precarious and irregular labor, the center-periphery divide, and population declining societies (人口減少社会).“We are all interested in hands-on, bottom-up, change collectives, rebuilding vacant spaces, social connections and focused on environmental sustainability,” states Arai.

The workshop will reconvene in spring 2021 and will engage East Asia faculty from across the UW as well as graduate students who are enrolled in Arai’s spring seminar. Papers written for this project will be included in an edited volume, the third in a series of collaborative works initiated by Arai. Previous volumes were Global Futures in East Asia (Anagnost and Arai eds., 2013) and Spaces of Possibility (Sorensen and Arai eds., 2016).

The project is funded and supported by many UW sources, including the Global Innovation Fund, East Asia Center, Japan Studies Program, Center for Korea Studies, and Global Studies. Participants in addition to Arai and Hou include:

Shuyun Cao, a scholar and activist in Shanghai, focuses on her participation in a free-space community in Shanghai. Its use of the idea of “manuke” from Matsumoto Hajime’s Shiroto no Ran is one of the inspirations for this project.

Hyein Chae, a UW College of Built Environments PhD student, offers comparative analysis of resistance work in the cities Seoul and Mokp’o in new collaborative communities in low-income areas. Her focus is on young designers and landscape architects devoting themselves to the sustainable community model. She engages with the specific histories and built environments of these parts of South Korea, which differ greatly economically, politically, and socio-culturally, and looks at how they are now connected with each other and with other parts of East Asia.

June Ku, an activist teaching in Taipei, is working on a project in the Taiwanese peripheries called “5 Way House” whose goal is to provide an improved and alternative educational experience outside Taipei. She considers whether this case has inspired other efforts in Taiwan and whether it is replicable as a model. She engages with neoliberal changes of the last two decades that have led to increased income inequality, competition, and falling birth rates.

Yumi Matsubara, a professor at Waseda University, focuses on aging and low birth issues in Japan from the standpoint of business and population studies and explores top-down and bottom-up responses based on her work with the Japanese government and local creative projects. She highlights the position of Japanese women as “shadow labor” following the work of sociologist Ueno Chizuko as the taken-for-granted caregivers of young and old and how these norms of gendered division of labor are changing.

Keisuke Sugano, a professor at Kanazawa University, is involved in three Wajima City revitalization projects, and his discussion will situate the projects in the background of “machizukuri” (town making in the 20th and 21st centuries). As a landscape architect, he examines the role of the “designer” in the arenas of sustainability, community revitalization, and ongoing relationships between top-down and bottom-up change.

Sampson Wong, a scholar and activist from Hong Kong, is a scholar of cultural geography and an active participant in on-the-ground protests. His workshop involvement focuses on the specific and creative action technologies that protesters have developed which are in use now around the world.

Griffith and Patricia Way Lecture 2020

Prof. Richard J. Samuels, MIT

Prof. Richard J. Samuels

On Wednesday, October 28, the Japan Studies Program welcomed leading Japan scholar Professor Richard J. Samuels of MIT for the 2020 Griffith and Patricia Way Lecture. Professor Samuels gave a 45-minute presentation on his 2019 book, Special Duty: A History of the Japanese Intelligence Community. He then took written questions from the audience, moderated by Professor Saadia Pekkanen. The book, a comprehensive account of the evolution of Japan’s intelligence community, is a must-read for students of Japan’s history, politics, and security.

The Griffith and Patricia Way Lecture series is an annual program of the UW Japan Studies Program. Since its establishment in 2006 in honor of the Ways, this series has featured scholars in the field of Japan Studies in areas which include history, literature, political science, economics, and art. Learn more about the Griffith and Patricia Way Lecture Series.

Japanese Library Collection News

The Tateuchi East Asia Library (TEAL) has responded to the need for remote learning with many creative options for students and faculty alike to ensure safe access to materials. Izumi Matsuda moved her Spring Quarter course “Tadoku” on-line with the help of UW Japanese Studies Librarian Dr. Azusa Tanaka, who quickly made many of the 400+ books normally available to students for the course available as eBooks. With the eBooks and other on-line materials gathered, Matsuda was able to offer the course remotely for the first time. Earlier this fall, UW Libraries began allowing the circulation of materials on an appointment basis after putting safety measures in place in response to the pandemic. And in October TEAL began allowing reference materials to be checked out of the building for 7-day periods.

Keiko Hill joined TEAL as Japanese Cataloger, Serials, and E-Resource Librarian on February 1, 2020. She is responsible for cataloging Japanese language materials in all formats, and manages TEAL serials and electronic resources in the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages. Prior to coming to UW, Hill served as Japanese and Special Format Cataloger at the Ohio State University Libraries for three years. She received her BA from Waseda University and her MLS from Kent State University.

“Gaihozu, Maps of Areas Outside the Japanese Territories by the Former Japanese Army, in U.S. Libraries: Discovery and Processing” is a chapter co-authored by Azusa Tanaka and Shigeru Kobayashi, Professor Emeritus, Osaka University, in Jidong Yang, ed., Beyond the Book: Unique and Rare Primary Sources for East Asian Studies Collected in North America (Association for Asian Studies, 2020).

Faculty Highlights

Paul Atkins completed his five-year term as chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Literature this spring. This past year he gave three lectures: “The Souvenirs of Zekkai Chūshin” at an international symposium entitled “The Many Shapes of Meaning: Object and Performance in Asia,” at Kyushu University; “Reading China and Japan in the Works of Zekkai Chūshin” at the Modern Language Association Annual Convention in Seattle; and “Zen Master Zekkai: The Life of a Medieval Japanese Monk” for Washin Kai (Friends of Classical Japanese Literature) at UW.

Izumi Matsuda developed a new fourth-year language course and offered it for the first time in Autumn Quarter 2019. “Practical Communication Through Japanese TV Dramas” aimed to give students opportunities to learn practical communication skills and to discuss societal issues in Japan through watching popular Japanese TV dramas. She also taught a “Tadoku” course (Japanese extensive reading) remotely in Spring Quarter.

Ken Tadashi Oshima’s latest publication is “Frampton and Japan,” in Karla Britton and Robert McCarter, eds., Modern Architecture and the Lifeworld: Essays in Honor of Kenneth Frampton (Thames and Hudson, 2020). He curated the exhibition Beyond Japan for the Yoshiro and Yoshio Taniguchi Museum of Architecture, Kanazawa, on display until November 29, 2020, and published the exhibition works in「日本を超えた日本建築」(Beyond Japan) (Yoshiro and Yoshio Taniguchi Museum of Architecture, Kanazawa, 2020).

Robert Pekkanen will publish with Oxford University Press a coauthored monograph and his twelfth published book. The work is titled Party Personnel Strategies: Electoral Systems and Parliamentary Committee Assignments and is expected to appear in print in 2022.

Saadia Pekkanen was a featured contributor to a roundtable on the Future of Japanese Security and Defense, and her article Thank You for Your Service: The Security Implications of Japan’s Counterspace Capabilities” was published in the Texas National Security Review (October 1, 2020). Her article “China, Japan and the Governance of Space: Prospects for Competition and Cooperation,” appeared in International Relations of the Asia-Pacific (September 2, 2020).

Kenneth Pyle retired in June after 56 years of teaching at the UW. His recent book, Japan in the American Century (Harvard Belknap Press, 2018), was published in Japanese in September 2020 (Misuzu Shobo). He discussed his book in August at the Woodrow Wilson Center on the 75th anniversary of the end of the war. His article “The Making of Postwar Japan: A Speculative Essay,” appeared in the Journal of Japanese Studies (winter 2020). He is at work on a book tentatively titled Hiroshima and the Historian’s Craft which draws on his experience of teaching an honors seminar on the Hiroshima decision for more than two decades.

Alumni and Student Highlights

Grave site of the 47 ronin at Sengaku-ji (泉岳寺) Sōtō Zen Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Japan. Image Credit: graduate student in Asian Languages & LiteratureAmanda Schiano Di Cola

Erin L. Brightwell (BA Japanese Linguistics 2004, MA Chinese 2007) has just published her new book, Reflecting the Past: Place, Language, and Principle in Japan’s Medieval Mirror Genre (Harvard University Asia Center, 2020). She is assistant professor of premodern Japanese literature at the University of Michigan.

Benjamin Burton (MA Japanese Applied Linguistics 2020) is teaching Japanese courses at Seattle University and at the Seattle Japanese Language School.

Ross Henderson received a Fulbright scholarship for study in Japan. Twenty-two UW students and alumni were awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships for the 2020-21 academic year. For the past several years, the UW has been named a top producer of Fulbright students and scholars, ranked by The Chronicle of Higher Education each February.

Nobuko Horikawa received the Washin Kai Fellowship for graduate study in Classical Japanese 2020-21.

Harumi Maeda (MA Japanese Applied Linguistics 2020) is currently a second year PhD student in Japanese Linguistics at Stanford University.

At least three graduates are employed at Amazon headquarters in Seattle: Genevieve Hill (MA Japanese Literature 2020) is a language specialist; Aaron Steel (MA Japanese Literature 2020) is a Japanese merchandise localization specialist working with merchandise designed by content creators around the world; and Kisaki Takeuchi (MA Japanese Literature 2020) is a Language Quality Specialist. Takeuchi and Hill are also language instructors at the Seattle Japanese Language School.

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