Asian History Carnival #11

Ando Momofuku Memorial: PhD Comics
Dave at Peking Duck has more.

There was one, and only one, usable submission through

The Bizarre Jokester presents The Niihau Incident posted at Amazingly Bizarre

The rest of it was Kung-fu, vitamin spam and Feng-shui. I’m partially to blame, of course: Having failed to twist enough arms to produce a host, I put off announcing and begging for posts too long. As a result, I’m forced to do this more or less myself, with the stuff that I would have forwarded to whoever volunteered…. Needless to say, if I miss anything interesting, by all means nominate them. And, of course, if you’re interested in hosting, even in the distant future (which, in blogging terms, is six months or more), let me know. NOW, please.

This section is based on stuff I submitted to the last History Carnival, with significant supplements from the previous six weeks and some things I missed:

I did a little bad history takedown on some Mongol/Iraq analogizing. I still haven’t figured out why the generally progressive and anti-statist Japan Focus ran this piece. I also did a late report from the AHA on some Islamic history panels that my friend Sepoy was kind enough to host at his blog. (Brian Ulrich is on the Sunni-Shia split patrol as well, an elegant and complicated history.)

Owen Miller, at the Korea blog, asks some hard questions (he’s good at that), and catching some really bad rhetoric

Alan Baumler and I have gotten into the habit of posting syllabi at the beginning of the semester

The Year of the Pig has gotten some attention at our China blog (I draw your attention to the comments section, as well).

Unfortunately, this only takes us back two weeks, whereas the last AHC was almost eight weeks ago. So, being a good historian, it’s time to dig backwards.

My AHA blogging also included a first-day panel on sports and nationalism

Bucky Sheftall did a great post on the history of Blood Typology: Not only is it, as my friend Orac would say, a load of woo, it’s a load of woo with a troubling history.

I love it when bloggers collaborate: Jottings from the Granite Studio and The Useless Tree did some good thinking about Xunzi, especially as a teaching exercise. And I’m always in favor of the history of historians.

It can be disconcerting to discover that someone with a similar name to yourself is one of the most famous defectors to North Korea. Thanks, Adamu. Joe, at MutantFrogTravelogue, found in the newly available Time Magazine archives a detailed feature on Japan in 1970, which is going to make it into the reading list for my next 20c course.

The MutantFrog himself copied a timeline of Japanese-resident Koreans from a South Korea-associated middle-school textbook. While it is ROK-related, I’m a bit surprised that DPRK history doesn’t at least make a token appearance beyond the beginning and end of the Korean war. Speaking of the internationalization of Korean history, the China-Korea history wars continue, and the Japan-Korea conflicts have spilled over into US school testing, but there was a time when Japanese and Korean anarchists worked closely.

Natalie Bennett notes a Times Online story about “ghost marriages” in China, including the — rare, I hope — depth of depravity to which some people have gone to satisfy their relatives in the afterlife. The “demographic time bomb” issue has been pretty prominent in my China course, but this is a twist I really didn’t expect. She also noted the exclusion of Starbucks from the Forbidden City, though Lisa says that it wasn’t a big deal.

The award-winning Alan Baumler’s been doing some material culture blogging, too: a thoughtful post on antiques and a nice discussion of the Luoyang Shovel, designed for graverobbers and beloved by archaeologists.

Michael, in Xinjiang reports on a cannabis-totin’ shaman mummy. My students are gonna love this….

Richard, in Taipei, reports critically on the Chinese documentary about the Rape of Nanjing.

Bill Benzon, in Tokugawa Blogging: Best of 2006, recalls his pleasure at reading Eiko Ekegami’s Bonds of Civility: Aesthetic Networks and the Political Origins of Japanese Culture

Ikegami argues that individuals who were assigned different stations by the Tokugawa shogunate would temporarily “escape” that structure in the pursuit of poetry, flower arranging, the tea ceremony, theatre, painting, and so forth. Samurai, merchants, farmers, and others were thus able to meet and interact as equals in these aesthetic activities. Over the centuries, these informal institutions forged a civil society “that generated an image of aesthetic Japan as if it had been a natural description of the geographical identity called Japan” (375)

Art and architecture at the Marmot’s Hole: Yongsan’s colonial era architecture and the architect Kim Swoo-geun. And at wood s lot, a tribute to photographer Sze Tsung Leong, chronicler of urban change.

On a lighter note, 100wordminimum watched a terribly bilingual historical pun treated like gospel on a Japanese quiz show. Year of the Pig, indeed.

Errors, omissions and bad style are par for the course: if you don’t like it, volunteer and show me up next time. [Update: I now have volunteers for March and April — many thanks! — but the rest of the year is wide open!]


  1. I was interested that the article on the Niihau incident repeats the claim, made elsewhere, that the traitorous behavior of the Japanese-Americans in the incident had a decisive influence on the decision to intern Japanese-Americans. While I don’t know much about the policy debates and chain of events leading up to internment, a Washington Post article which briefly mentions the same claim in another context makes a pretty good point:

    “Had the Niihau incident been significant, then Japanese Americans in the Hawaiian Islands would have been interned. Unlike their counterparts on the West Coast, they never were.”

    Jonathan, as someone who has done a lot on Japanese immigration to the US, and who is in Hawaii, do you have any thoughts on this?

    Another article online which hints at the impact of the event is here

    But it also gets taken up in a great post and discussion that follows over at Is That Legal, here, where Jonathan also made a nice intervention.

  2. Um, when I host the Disability Blog Carnival, I actually do submit stuff to myself–I send myself the links through, collect them in an email file, etc. It’s a habit. I’d hate to break stride just because I’m the next host.

  3. Penny: I usually just keep stuff in bloglines until the carnival date approaches. On the other hand, if I know someone else is hosting, I’ll submit all kinds of stuff via Nobody except carnival hosts and spammers seem to use it, though, some months.

    Konrad: Actually, there were some internments from the Hawaiian Japanese community. I don’t have the figures at hand, but it was about 4%, more than the German and Italian internees, but based on the same principles; a lot less, obviously, than the mainland Japanese community. The Niihau incident itself got very little attention, as far as I know, either in the press or in the security analyses; much less than Japanese language schools and newspapers, imported nationalistic Nichiren priests, kibei educational returnees and other community ties to Japan.

    It is, however, a decisive event for those arguing in defense of the internment, because it’s pretty much the only actual incident in which an America-based Japanese did something questionable.

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