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Last updated 1 February 2016

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Asia General


CONSTRUCTING MODERN ASIAN CITIZENSHIP. Routledge Studies in Education and Society in Asia. Edited by Edward Vickers and Krishna Kumar. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xiii, 365 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$165.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-85578-5.

In Constructing Modern Asian Citizenship, Krishna Kumar and Edward Vickers begin their introduction with two questions: “How has citizenship been constructed in Asian societies negotiating transitions to modern statehood?” “To what extent have such transitions, and associated citizenship discourses, been shaped by any distinctively ‘Asian’ ideas or conditions?” (1).

The first question is addressed convincingly. First, this volume covers India, China, Japan, the Philippines, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Mongolia, giving a broad view of citizenship in Asia. Second, the sketch of the reality of citizenship is multi-dimensional. Each chapter begins with theories of citizenship and modernity, then progresses to more and more concrete matters: the history of state formation, educational policies, textbooks, the actual images and narratives used to convey citizenship, and the reaction of students to them. Additionally, five chapters go beyond the school system, delving into other sites of education like museums, youth groups, and the internet. The end result is an understanding of modern Asian citizenship that is dense, vivid, and dynamic, not merely showing how citizenship evolves in various histories, but providing a glimpse of how students are shaped in various processes of education.

To what extent have these processes been affected by Asian conditions? Here, most chapters paint a dark picture of education as hegemonic (although multi-directional), a power play between key tensions of modernity: majority vs. minority, Asia vs. the West, the nation vs. the others. I will use these to summarize some key arguments in the book.

In the first tension, we see that modern education tends to create centralized unity and identity at the expense of minorities and those at the fringes. This is clearest in Kumar’s chapter on rural India and Vickers’ chapter on China. Be it the domination of urban India over rural areas, or majority culture in China being imposed on minorities, education functions as a method of enculturation, draining rural areas of young, talented people and centralizing power around the cities. Of course, this tension is quite complex, and nuance is added by chapters like Jiang Lei and Vickers’ on Shanghai’s museums, where Shanghai is shown as negotiating its own identity within that of China as a whole.

Amidst this erasure of the margins, both Vickers and Kumar call for a need to rebalance our understanding of society and history by allowing all children in school, including the marginalized, to discuss and critique this ethos. A concrete suggestion can be found in Latika Gupta’s study of India’s textbooks for Social and Political Life. Here, we see what a more genuinely democratic education might be like: foregrounding conflict and issues, and actively involving students in social change.

The second tension of modernity is between Asia and the West. As Kumar and Vickers repeatedly point out, Asian modernization has always been complexly related to Westernization. This tension shows in every chapter, but is particularly clear in Caroline Rose’s comparison of China and Japan, Filiz Keser Aschenberger’s discussion of Turkey, and Myagmarsuren Damdin and Vickers’ analysis of Mongolia. In all of these countries, modernization mixes learning from the West with attempts to resist the West with a strong national identity. However, Mark Maca and Paul Morris point out that the Philippines is an exception: for various historical and political reasons, it seems to have simply failed to create a strong national identity or citizenship, resulting in a widespread embracing of values of globality and easy assimilation into foreign cultures. In a country economically buoyed by overseas workers, this ethos is useful but perhaps unsustainable.

The third tension is the nation vs. the others, where Asian modernization seems to very often couple national unity with national chauvinism. Aschenberger’s chapter on Turkey, Rubina Saigol’s chapter on Pakistan, Rose’s chapter on Japan and China, and Rowena Xiaoqing He’s article on overseas Chinese student nationalism take this up directly. They depict the concrete processes by which individuals learn to love their own countries by hating others: reiterating instances of national victimhood, creating a sense of suspicion that others (or the West) are trying to destroy one’s country, depicting the state as a family that ought not to be betrayed, strongly depicting a binary between martyrs and traitors, etc. The dangers these pose for regional and global stability is clear.

With these tensions shown in their various forms, in a wide range of countries and levels, this volume provides an excellent entry point not only for those in Comparative Education but for anyone engaged with a study of modernization as a whole.

However, there is room for further argument. In this volume, we see that in the process of Asian modernization, Asian teachings (philosophies and religions)—“Asian values,” Confucianism, Islam, State Shinto, and the cult of Chinggis Khan—have been complicit in supporting anti-Western, chauvinistic, authoritarian regimes. The solution offered by Kumar, Vickers, Gupta, and others seems to be “discourse, discussion, and critique.” While these are important, perhaps it is still prudent to consider Asian teachings in the search for solutions.

First, alongside Helen Ting Mu Hung’s discussion of Islamizing Malaysia, I think there needs to be a more thorough engagement with post-secularism. Is secularist “neutrality” the only solution to a multi-religious state? Is secularism not a religion onto itself, with its own implications for private life and the existential needs of man, and thus in competition with other religions? (See Talal Asad, On Suicide Bombing, Columbia University Press, 2007.) Perhaps we, especially in education, need to take more seriously this “moral, spiritual void” secular modernity seems to create, especially in a region where the very idea of “religion” (in relation to the public and private spheres) formed in a distinctive way.

Second, might Asian teachings not provide alternate, profitable visions of participatory democracy that enable rather than merely presuppose discourse? One common idea in contemporary Confucianism and Japanese Philosophy (particularly Watsuji Tetsurô) is that perhaps, prior to reason, communication needs trust. In cases of an “allergy to critique” in countries like China, perhaps the ethics and psychology of critique and discourse need to be reconsidered.

Anton Luis Sevilla, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan 

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THE DYNAMICS OF HIGHER EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT IN EAST ASIA: Asian Cultural Heritage, Western Dominance, Economic Development, and Globalization. International and Development Education. Edited by Deane E. Neubauer, Jung Cheol Shin, and John N. Hawkins. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. xiv, 219 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$100.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-35826-4.

This volume contributes significantly to ongoing debates on the influence of East Asian values and traditions, neo-liberalism, globalization, and the internationalization of higher education in the development of East Asian higher education and the dynamics involved in such developments. The chapters in this volume not only present cases and arguments on the diversity and localization of globalization and the internationalization of higher education, but also support a multiple perspective and strategically posed argument for the existence of a hybrid university.

Framed within four hypotheses, advanced by Hawkins, Neubauer, and Shin in the introductory chapter, the discussions and case studies provide multiple perspectives and empirical data to support or argue against the Western dominance hypothesis; the Asian values hypothesis; the economic determinism hypothesis; and the globalist inclusion hypothesis. This volume is presented in three major sections on cultural tradition, economic development, and globalization, respectively, as they relate to the development of higher education in East Asia.

In section 1, which focuses on the cultural tradition perspective, Shin (chapter 2) explains East Asian higher education development from a cultural-economic context and proposes a typology based on education development strategy (incremental vs. simultaneous), public recourse inputs (maximum or minimum), and planning approach (social demand vs. human resource demand). Looking into the trend towards the internationalization of higher education, Chan (chapter 3) discusses the challenges of balancing Eastern and Western values in East Asian higher education institutions, especially with the pursuit of an international reputation and world-class university status, the greater use of English in teaching and research, the proliferation of Western practices in transnational higher education, and the harmonizing effect of internationalization.

Tracing China’s traditional context and intellectual traditions, Hawkins (chapter 4) observes that China’s modern higher education system contains indigenous Chinese elements in its structure, curriculum, roles of and relationships between teachers and students, and learning and assessment, and argues for the existence of a hybrid higher education in Asia. Taking a cultural-historical perspective, Xun (chapter 5) explores how the modernization paradigm changed the views of and relationship between traditional and modern Chinese education, their forms and practices.

In section 2, which takes the economic perspective, the authors review the impact of economic development on higher education in the East Asian region. Reviewing major innovation policies across selected East Asian countries (Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore), Mok (chapter 6) finds East Asian states to be more proactive in innovation, research, and development; the author theorizes that they tend to promote closer links between higher education institutions and industry to enhance global competitiveness. On the other hand, Bhumiratana (chapter 7) presents the case of Thailand, where the development of higher education tended to be driven more by economic determinism than globalist inclusion. This case study also looks at the challenges of balancing the adoption of Western higher education best practices in an environment where cultural and spiritual development is considered equally important to academic achievement.

Focused on the globalization perspective, the last section presents diverse views on globalization’s effect on East Asian higher education, its structural transformation and practices. Taking into consideration the various forces of global change, Neubauer (chapter 8) explores the implications of the globalization of higher education in terms of its conduct, structural changes, and the emergence of the globalized university, further posing three propositions as to the nature of the globalized university. Identifying Asia Pacific universities’ globalizing practices, Lee (chapter 9) notes two concurrent but opposing streams, namely homogenization and particularization, which reflect the importance of the sociopolitical and economic context of each country and the emergence of hybrid variations of education policy ideas in spite of its origination from multiple metropolitan centers.

Presenting the Japanese higher education case, Yamada (chapter 10) maps that country’s higher education policies over the past decades (e.g., the Global 30 program, Re-inventing Japan Project and its new policy for globalized talent) and shows that the structural transformation of Japanese higher education brought about by the challenges of globalization and the market economy. This structural change is seen in the increased stratification and diversification as well as the emergence of elitism in Japanese higher education. Furthermore, the chapter shows that Japanese elite universities tend to choose global approaches and best practices, while some universities, such as Doshisha University, built on its mission statement and tradition as a liberal arts university that was significantly enhanced by Japan’s higher education policies. Posing the question “Is there an Asian hybrid university?” Hawkins, Neubauer, and Shin, in the concluding chapter, discuss the notion of a hybrid university, presenting their arguments in terms of six key elements: Cartesian framing versus Yin and Yang; Western “muddling through” versus Asian pragmatic approach to modernity; Western hierarchy versus relational structures; freedom of expression versus politically and culturally constrained expression; and the notion of democracy as global currency versus university as a set of linkages of restraints.

Overall, this volume on the dynamics of higher education development in East Asia should be considered required reading for those dealing in higher education policy and those in international higher education. Its multiple perspective approach, the four hypotheses posed to frame the volume, and the wealth of historical and cultural insights into East Asian higher education development should inform higher education researchers and policy makers in the East Asian region and beyond. Lastly, it has set the tone for further intellectual inquiry of the Asian values discourse in higher education, posed new dimensions in terms of globalization’s impact and dynamics in higher education development, and facilitated significantly informed dialogue about the notion of a hybrid Asian university.

Roger Y. Chao Jr., Independent Education Development Consultant      

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PUBLIC HEALTH AND NATIONAL RECONSTRUCTION IN POST-WAR ASIA: International Influences, Local Transformations. Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia, 100. Edited by Liping Bu and Ka-che Yip. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xiii, 204 pp. US$155.00, cloth . ISBN 978-0-415-71905-6.

The 1957 poster “Methods of Prevention” on this book’s cover page presents three distinct scenes: left of the open door a male doctor takes notes as he talks with a patient; to the right a female nurse gives a bottle of medicine to an elderly woman sitting in a row with others; in the forefront, a young woman looks through a microscope at a desk where three slides lay ready for her to examine. As part of the Science and Technology Popularization Association of Zhejiang Province, the Shanghai Health Press published this poster five years into the Patriotic Health Movement that began in response to allegations of US germ warfare during the Korean War (1950–1953). It visually captures the two core themes that course through this edited volume: 1) how public health was a central aspect of national reconstruction in postwar Asia (i.e., the rural clinic was a central part of Chinese nation building); and 2) how international influences were locally transformed (i.e., the microscope and smear slides, both part of disease eradication programs, represent modern Western science).

The co-editors Ka-che Yip and Liping Bu’s earlier collaboration (with Darwin H. Stapleton) on the history of public health in pre-1950 Asia, Science, Public Health and the State in Modern Asia (2010), inspired this collection’s focus on postwar Asia. One of the authors in this volume, Akihito Suzuki, co-authored Reforming Public Health in Occupied Japan, 1945–52: Alien Prescriptions (2012). All three books were published within five years of each other in the same Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia series (#71, #73, #100). This indicates that since the series started in 1997 the history of public health has finally become one of the central themes of the “Modern History of Asia.”

The opening chapter “National Health, International Interests” serves as an entry point into the co-editors’ main argument that one of the most important developments in postwar Asian nations was the reconstruction, or rebuilding, of public health systems within the framework of new international public health institutions and Cold War politics. They also show how the political changes in the postwar period (decolonization, revolution, and national reconstruction) connected with these public health projects, effectively setting the stage for integrating Asian public health history into modern world history.

The introduction ends with a summary of each of the nine case studies, showing how the goals of national public health and nation building locally transformed those of international institutions in distinctly different ways. The coeditors did not write a separate conclusion. Nor did the separate contributors cross-reference their articles well. One is thus left with a sense that this book is not yet greater than the sum of its chapters. Nonetheless, the separate contributions remain well worth reading for the illuminating public health case studies as well as informative 30- to 60-year public health histories that they offer of a range of East Asian (mainland China, South and North Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong), Southeast Asian (Indonesia and Thailand), and South Asian (India) countries.

The two co-editors contributed several-decade-long surveys of a particular public health topic. Ka-che Yip traced a change toward more proactive interventionist British public health policy in Hong Kong from 1945 to 1985 in response to lowered British prestige, discontent among the Chinese subjects, and the rise in Chinese communism in a new postwar political context. Liping Bu examined how from 1950 to 1980 the Patriotic Health Movement developed in response to the US involvement in the Korean War, relied on Soviet models, and contributed to China’s Socialist reconstruction. Xiaoping Fang’s “Diseases, Peasants, and Nation-Building in Rural China” moves from national-level health policies to the many roles beyond patient health care that mass-line disease eradication and prevention programs played in integrating rural China into the Chinese nation-state. Gao Xi’s case study on the “Pavlovian Influence on Chinese Medicine, 1950s” returns to the Soviet influence on Chinese public health theme introduced in Bu’s chapter.

The second half of the book moves to other countries in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and India. Shin Dong-won’s “Public Health and People’s Health” compares the different public health histories of South and North Korea in the immediate postwar period from 1945 to 1960 in which Cold War politics played out in contrasting socialist (N. Korea) and capitalist (S. Korea) approaches to public health. Kazumi Noguchi then examines the “Impact of Government-Foundation Cooperation” on the development of the postwar Japanese health-care system. Shirish R. Kavadi’s essay moves the reader’s gaze over to India by studying different visions of the relationship between “Medicine, Philanthropy, and Nationhood.” Vivek Neelakantan’s study of public health in Indonesia focuses on the WHO’s “Campaign Against the Big Four Endemic Diseases” during the 1950s. Finally, Davisakd Puaksom concludes the volume with a chapter “On the Politics of Health Care an Moral Discourse in Thailand, 1950-2010.” Together these final three chapters offer insights into little-known areas of public health history in South and Southeast Asia.

Because this edited volume’s intention was to provide a range of new public health history scholarship on postwar Asia, this is not yet the “history of public health in East Asia” book that I still seek to assign in my undergraduate course of the same title. Nevertheless I will draw on the rich material in chapters 2 through 7 for my lectures as well as assign some of the chapters. I thus recommend historians of modern world history, public health history, and, especially, the modern history of Asia, to do the same in their own courses. Historians of public health in the post-World War II period, anywhere in the world, would also find much to think about in this volume’s interesting range of contributions on modern Asian public health history.

Marta E. Hanson, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA

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HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE ARTS: Perspectives on Global Asia. Global Encounters: Studies in Comparative Political Theory. Edited by Susan J. Henders and Lily Cho. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014. xi, 262 pp. (Figures.) US$90.78, cloth. ISBN 978-0-7391-8473-8.

Human Rights and the Arts is a valuable and welcome contribution to the growing scholarship on human rights issues and debates in Asia. Its major contributions are threefold. First, it enables us to understand how culture and local context play a role in understandings and struggles for human rights in different Asian societies while avoiding the often static discussions on culture found in many works on Asian values. Second, it draws our attention to the central place of art (poetry, literature, visual art, film, performances, etc.) in human rights struggles, and how such works, more easily than legal and political texts, can sensitize and engage people on human rights issues. And third, it alerts us to the fluid nature of geographic boundaries and cultures as it discusses Asia as a global site where local and global values merge and where people elsewhere (including the Asian diaspora) engage with human rights issues in Asia.

The volume consists of an introductory chapter that outlines the book’s aim and approach, and a range of chapters dealing with specific artists/authors and countries grouped under different headings such as freedoms and democracies; war and atrocity; livelihoods, place and ecologies; minorities, nations, states, and empires; and migrations, transnationalisms, universalisms. In the introduction the editors situate the book in relation to other academic discussions on how local contexts and culture shape human rights debates and practices. The editors draw our attention to earlier, often essentialized and static descriptions of culture, and alert us to the fact that such descriptions hide power hierarchies, contestations, and changes within societies and over time, as well as ignore how contacts with other cultures and the emergence of new values shape local societies. Their conceptualization of context, which includes aspects such as embodied and everyday experiences, spiritual and religious dimensions, ecologies and places, cultures and nations, provides a basis for a deeper understanding of how different individuals and communities discuss and speak out against human rights violations of different kinds. The editors argue well for why art is a powerful tool to discuss and engage with human rights in Asia, although many of the works discussed don’t explicitly talk about human rights and the artists in question wouldn’t conceive of themselves as human rights activists. Art elicits emotional responses and feelings of empathy and solidarity that enable people to engage with human rights in a more personal, immediate, and bottom-up way. To express oneself through art can furthermore often be the only way to make trauma and human rights violations visible in contexts and societies where it is too painful or too dangerous to speak openly.

The artists and authors discussed in the volume come from many different Asian countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India, and they depict and deal with different types of injustices and atrocities in works that range from poetry, fiction, visual art, and film, to drama and performances. We are introduced to both internationally well-known arists and writers such as Ai Weiwei and Michael Ondaatje and less well-known artists from the region. Among the artists discussed in the volume, Ai Weiwei is probably the most well-known and outspoken on human rights issues. Alice Ming Wai Jim discusses the cultural and political context that has triggered Ai Weiwei’s activism and why art can be such a powerful tool in a repressive society like China. She also draws attention to Ai Weiwei’s skilful use of different digital technologies such as social media and film, which opens up new possibilities for both art and human rights activism in Asia today. Alicia Turner’s chapter on the Burmese artist U Htein Lin and his work shows how religious beliefs imbue human rights struggles in the country and alerts us to the danger of a narrow universalist human rights interpretation. The different and complex ways depictions of war and civil war find their way into literature are dealt with in the chapters by Van Nguyen-Marshall (Vietnam) and Arun Nedra Rodrigo (Sri Lanka). The latter also addresses the impact of ethnic and diaspora identities in writings about the civil war, and the complex and contested international circulation of both rights discourses and literary works. One of the more original sections in the book addresses literary works that deal with ecology and place, people’s relations to nature, and traditional ways of living under threat. The three chapters on works from Tibet (Françoise Robin), Indonesia (Mary M. Young), and Bangladesh (Afsan Chowdhury) show how local views on nature imbue people’s identities and struggle for livelihood and rights, that these understandings may challenge both local states’ development agendas and global human rights discourses, as well as pave the way for new understandings of environmental rights and global responsibilities. Four chapters in the book deal with literature and film that address discrimination based on ethnicity in different Asian counties (Jooyeon Rhee, Arun P. Mukherjee, Susan J. Henders) and of citizens of Asian origin in North America (Theodore W Goossen). The final section deals with issues of migration, transnationalism, and universalism, addressing the intersection of diasporic experiences and human rights struggles in a chapter on South Asian diasporic poets (Sailaja Krishnamurti) and the impact of global power and universal human rights on workers, women, and other citizens in Indonesia (Michael Bodden). The latter chapter raises many important and difficult issues such as whether global human rights discourses can challenge unequal power relations in a world dominated by global capital, and whether art really can provide an avenue to challenge inequalities and create real solidarity both nationally and globally.

This volume shows not only that art can be a powerful tool for artists and activists to depict human rights violations and call for justice and recognition, especially important in non-democratic countries, but that art can be an excellent window for students and scholars who want to understand how human rights norms, contestations, and problems are experienced by individual citizens in Asia. One would hope that this volume would inspire further studies that probe deeper into different forms of art, the relationship between art and activism in different Asian countries, and the reception of these art works in Asia.

Marina Svensson, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

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GREAT GAME EAST: India, China, and the Struggle for Asia’s Most Volatile Frontier. By Bertil Lintner. New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 2015. vi, 343 pp. (Illustrations.) US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-300-19567-5.

In early June of 2015, Indian special forces carried out an attack across the Indo-Burmese border against an insurgent group that had previously attacked an Indian Army unit in the border state of Manipur. India’s willingness to use force beyond its borders in the northeast marked a new assertiveness on the part of the Narendra Modi regime. It also highlighted the fact that despite years of attempts to both repress and conciliate a host of insurgent movements in the region, the country was far from out of the woods.

The obvious strategic significance of this region to New Delhi cannot be overstated. It abuts India’s principal antagonist, the People Republic of China (PRC), Bangladesh, a country with which India has had a complex and occasionally troubled relationship, and Burma (Myanmar), a state where India is now involved in a competition for influence with the PRC. Yet substantial scholarship or even informed commentary on India’s northeastern states and their ties, both formal and informal, with China, Bangladesh, and Burma (Myanmar), is scanty. Quite apart from the geopolitical importance of this region, this lacuna is perplexing at various other levels. The region has long been politically volatile, laden with a host of movements ranging from autonomy to secession. It is the site of much regional migration across porous borders, with all its concomitant tensions, and it shares borders with the PRC, which has substantial territorial claims in the area. To complicate matters further it is also a part of the world with substantial biodiversity. The fragile ecosystems that permeate it are now under threat owing to extensive dam building projects both in the PRC and in India.

Given the paucity of reliable and insightful work on the contemporary politics of the region, Bertil Linter’s Great Game East: India, China and the Struggle for Asia’s Most Volatile Frontier, is a most welcome contribution. Linter, a journalist of considerable repute, writes with authority, clarity, and verve about the tangled skein of ethnic tensions, state responses, and political chicanery that have long characterized this region.

The central argument of the book is that there is a long-term competition between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and India in India’s northeast and its adjoining regions. Lintner argues that this contestation has intensified in recent years. Both states have expended considerable resources to garner influence, with varying results. The PRC, Lintner demonstrates, had long sought to exploit existing grievances in India’s northeast. To that end it had supported a range of ethnic secessionist movements, supplying them with weaponry, training, and organization, and even sanctuaries.

He also shows that Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate (ISI-D) has been active in Bangladesh in efforts to undermine India’s influence in the country. Specifically, like the PRC, it has sought to establish links with Indian secessionist organizations and has attempted to boost their activities. Furthermore, it has fostered anti-Indian sentiment in Bangladesh and provided assistance to radical Islamist organizations in the country.

Of course, it is hardly surprising that India’s two principal adversaries, Pakistan and the PRC, would seek to sow discord and exploit existing grievances in a volatile region. It is to Lintner’s credit, however, that he is entirely unsparing in his description and analysis of the shortcomings of India’s policies that contributed to the emergence of various movements for autonomy and secession in the region. In his examination of the political movements in the northeast, he demonstrates a fine-grained knowledge of both their historical backgrounds as well as contemporary realities. His understanding of the role of key individuals, critical turning points, and flawed policy choices, all of which converged to create a combustible mix, is indeed exemplary.

Lintner’s discussion is not confined to the seven states in India’s northeast and Bangladesh but also extends to Burma (Myanmar). Once again, he brings to bear a keen understanding of recent Burmese history, its fraught domestic politics and its deeply blemished policies toward its ethnic minorities. He also shows that the PRC, in its attempts to penetrate the country, may have now overplayed its hand. As a consequence a backlash of sorts, especially within the Burmese military, is now emerging against its overbearing presence. To that end, Burma’s rulers have sought to court the United States to balance the PRC. Yet he contends that the PRC will not easily cede ground given its own strategic concerns in the region. The physical proximity that the PRC enjoys, its early involvement in the country and its determination to try and limit Indian influence will all conspire to render American efforts to establish a more robust presence within Burma difficult.

The considerable historical background, the careful description of contemporary developments, and the deft analysis of both the roles of domestic and external players in the region makes this book a most useful contribution to a very small body of existing work. Scholars, diplomats, and students interested in the complex politics of the region will all stand to benefit from Lintner’s discussion.

Sumit Ganguly, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA

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CULTURAL POLICIES IN EAST ASIA: Dynamics between the State, Arts and Creative Industries. Edited by Hye-Kyung Lee and Lorraine Lim. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. xi, 229 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-32776-5.

This collection of essays makes a strong case for the need to explicitly incorporate insights from the fast-growing, fast-changing nations of East Asia, and to extend conceptual understanding about cultural policy and the creative industries beyond the dominant Anglophone and European contexts. Drawing upon case studies from China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, the thirteen essays in this collection aim to provide interdisciplinary insights into cultural policy formation in this region. The essays work around three core themes and relate these to national cases: (1) cultural identity formation and nation building; (2) negotiations between culture and the state; and (3) the rise of creative industries policies. A feature of all essays is that they frame these debates around the implications of economic growth and modernization, and the greater role being played by markets in the allocation and distribution of cultural resources.

Considering the national framing of cultural policies, Terence Chong discusses how the “bureaucratic imagination” in Singapore has been forced to adapt from its historical suspicion of art as vaguely subversive of national culture towards a more active embrace of the arts and culture in the “Renaissance City” strategies of the 2000s. Li-Jung Wang observes that the strong Chinese nationalism of early Taiwanese cultural policies has given way to a more fluid understanding of multicultural Taiwan that recognizes indigenous cultures and cultural diversity within the nation. Anthony Fung locates strategies for games industry development in China in the context of the “big question” of how much control over culture the Chinese party-state is prepared to cede to the market and the private sector. In contrast to the Singaporean and Taiwanese cases, Fung concludes that a more market-oriented approach to culture has been linked to a relaxing of discourses of strong nationalism, the Chinese case is one where national discourses of Chinese identity and state hegemony remain paramount, and that exposure to the wider forces of globalization has had only a limited impact on the shape of China’s games industry.

Addressing the case of the “Korean Wave,” Ki-won Hong proposes that nation branding has been central to Korean cultural policy, with the cultural products of the “Korean Wave” being central to a reinvigorated Korean cultural diplomacy in the 2000s. The focus on the changing relationship between culture and the state is also central to Hye-Kyung Lee’s discussion of Korean cultural policy, although it focuses more particularly upon the arts, and the often-troubled relationship between Korean artists and the government.

A critical question in the collection is the degree to which state agencies are prepared to fund the arts and culture, and at the same time cede governance over cultural forms and products to civil society. Lorraine Lim discusses this in the context of Singaporean live theatre, which has become more popular as the nation has become more prosperous. The popularity of live performance opens up questions about its capacity to challenge governmental norms in culture and society, such as the question of equality for gays and lesbians in Singapore. Jerry Liu attempts an ambitious—and perhaps too ambitious—theorization of changing structures and discourses of cultural governance in Taiwan and China, arguing that “governance by culture” remains the norm in China, whereas Taiwan has been marked by a growing turn towards self-governing citizens working with and through culture. Mari Kobiyashi argues that Japan has been marked by a turn towards greater local autonomy in cultural policy and a partial democratization of culture as a result.

The essays by Keane and Zhou and Xin Gu address, in different ways, the impact of marketization on cultural policy in contemporary China. For Keane and Zhou, the new directions in Chinese cultural policy point towards a greater application of “soft power” concepts in relation to cultural exports, and a growing embrace of innovation and entrepreneurship in the arts, media, and cultural sectors. They express the cautious hope that the turn towards “creativity” in Chinese policy discourses (which extends well beyond the cultural sphere) opens up spaces for more bottom-up, participatory cultural forms. Xin Gu draws upon the Shanghai case study to argue that the promotion of creative clusters that occurred in the 2000s has exhausted itself, falling prey to rampant real estate speculation and the difficulties in reconciling artistic production with the demand for “urban spectacle” in China’s showcase global city.

Hsiao-Ling Chung refers more specifically to the creative industries, and to cultural and creative industries (CCI) policies in Taiwan in the 2000s. Drawing upon five urban case studies (Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and New Taipei City), Chung considers the tensions between industry development and cultural development strategies, and the ways in which local authorities seek to broker the relationship between global aspirations to develop “creative cities” and the need to engage local artists, entrepreneurs, and the wider community in urban cultural development. Nobuko Kawashima takes the specific case of the Japanese film industry, arguing that its creative and economic resurgence in the 2000s was linked to a more explicit articulation to creative industries strategies and the branding of genres such as anime as central to “Cool Japan.” Given the heavy reliance upon the domestic market, however, Kawashima questions the sustainability of such strategies, particularly as China, Korea, and Taiwan turn more towards branding the creative industries as being central to their “soft power” projections and cultural diplomacy.

This collection points to the vibrancy of debates in East Asia around cultural policy and creative industries, and the wider futures for cultural policy in a global knowledge economy. At the same time, all authors are cautious to not simply attribute cultural shifts to generic forces such as globalization or neoliberal ideologies, but rather to situate them in particular national policy settings, institutional contexts, and discursive formations.

Terry Flew, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

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THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF AFFECT AND EMOTION IN EAST ASIA. Asia’s Transformations, 42. Edited by Jie Yang. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xxiii, 247 pp. (Figures.) US$140.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-70970-5.

The book sets out to use affect (or emotion) as a fresh analytical tool for exploring the ways in which it can be used for achieving political and economic objectives, and for understanding dynamics of contemporary governance which are specific to East Asia. While these specific questions are well posited in the introduction, not all chapters in the book are in fact exploring them. However, as is well put by Ahmed in the foreword, the book successfully delivers a sense of how affect studies pulls from different directions and how scholars engage it differently in an effort to theorize an emerging field. Put differently, this book is an engaging collective contribution to the exploration of the potential of affect as a social or socio-political practice.

In the introduction, Yang outlines the goal of this book as stated above and offers an overview of relevant (mostly Western) literature. She emphasizes that the study of affect in East Asian cultures and societies may require adjustments of this literature because social relations in East Asia are more rooted and articulated in terms of affect than in the West—a point that some would find contestable. Yang organizes her introduction according to themes that aim to contextualize the chapters in the book but the result is not entirely convincing. Yang also uses terms that the reader may expect to find again in the book, such as Soft Power, that never reappear.

The book picks up momentum in the following chapters. In chapter 1, Zhang offers an ethnographic investigation of Yu Dan, a media studies professor who became the state’s star with her series of lectures on Confucian Analects from the Heart. Zhang interprets these lectures as effeminate, affective practices that are a response to the needs of the state, the market, and the consumer subjects. They are ideological but also emotive, giving instructions on how to feel and live as a modern neo-liberal individual in contemporary China.

In chapter 2, Yang presents an ethnographic study on Chinese state-led re-employment counselling programs for those who have been laid off from state-owned enterprises. Happiness, positive psychology, and self-reflection are used as therapeutic strategies for adapting to the economic transformations, in line with the state’s project of constructing a people-centred, socially and economically sustainable “harmonious society.” Yang shows that these measures also attract contestation.

Chapter 3 by Kuan discusses an ethnographic case on quality education reform in China. The author focuses on Zhou Ting, an education expert, who promotes the concept of affect education—i.e., creating opportunities for emotional-sensory experiences to an overly grade- and information-oriented education system. Kuan argues that while this project goes hand-in-hand with a neo-liberal market system which is best advanced by encouraging individual responsibility, there are in fact benefits to affective economy to the individuals as well.

The next chapter by Satsuka examines affective labour in the tourism industry. In this ethnography, the author describes how Japanese guides in the Rocky Mountains are trained to produce emotional attachment in their Japanese customers. For the tourists the guides become an embodiment of liberated cosmopolitanism. The author explores the limits and dialectics between the conflicting economies of gift and commodity in a competitive market.

Chapter 5 by White uses an ethnographic perspective on the relations between emotions (as they are embodied in tears) and the public sphere in Japanese media. Using two examples, White shows how media producers aim to secure a relationship between affect, emotions, and narration through reflexive practices, to ensure rating and capital. The author argues that contrary to the accepted theorization of the public sphere as thriving on rationality, affective intensity triggers moral reflection and therefore functions as integral rather than injurious to a flourishing public sphere.

Kong, in chapter 6, offers a textual analysis of Chinese television dramas that deal with retrenchment and socio-economic transformations. Kong argues that these television dramas offer on the one hand a neoliberal message of inspiration and upward mobility in a new market economy, and on the other hand affective contentious voices from the point of view of the reform victims (who are mostly female in the case of television dramas), thereby complicating the resulting image, and providing the viewers with catharsis.

Next Yoshimizu analyzes the media coverage of a Japanese government trial in importing care labourers for the elderly from Indonesia. The author argues that this deployment of labourers is an example of biopolitical economy: individuals and collectives are scrutinized and controlled by state apparatuses. Yoshimizu demonstrates how the female and male workers are effeminized, socially marginalized, and portrayed as inherently fit to perform affective labour because of specific racial and cultural attributes. She suggests that these images may be connected to colonial images and neo-colonial images of Southeast Asian women in Japan.

In the following chapter, Tsujimoto offers an ethnography of migrant Filipino domestic workers in South Korea. Using emotional labour as their tactic, these workers manage to juggle the roles of worker, mother, breadwinner, and community volunteer. Tsujimoto concludes that the delimitation of emotional labour to the discourses of femininity and gendered subjugation may result in neglecting its dynamic functions and potential to promote socio-economic status and fulfill personal goals.

Chapter 9 by Nakamura investigates the contemporary emotional attachment of Japanese people to women’s language in the context of its dwindling caused by socio-linguistic transformations. Through an informed reconstruction of the dynamically changing attitudes towards women’s language in Japan since the late nineteenth century, Nakamura shows that this emotional attachment is not natural but historically situated. Women’s language is today a felt space for recovering and ascertaining Japanese social order and identity.

Next Min explores Haan—a key word in Korean culture that refers to accumulated personal or collective feelings of frustrations and anger after experiencing a trauma, usually an injustice caused by human agency. The author argues that throughout Korean history collective feelings of haan have been mobilized by leaders for various objectives, including rapid economic growth and rehabilitation from colonialism and war. The result was haan-puri (the resolution of haan) that stimulated cultures of creativity and determination.

Lastly, Mackie argues a comparative study of North Korean and American children’s cartoons representing the army. The author demonstrates how affective pedagogy is used to create a specific relationship between the North Korean national community as an extended family, the private family, and the role of the soldier as protector from within the national territory. The author wishes to point out that emotions can be wielded as a political technology to mobilize action and unify groups.

Michal Daliot-Bul, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel

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ASIAN-PACIFIC RIM LOGISTICS: Global Context and Local Policies. By Peter J. Rimmer. Northampton, MA; Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2014. xxiv, 522 pp. (Illustrations, maps.) US$180.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-84720-628-2.

While there have been many books written about the rise of the Asian economy, none before this one have focused on the key transportation and logistics challenges facing the Asian-Pacific Rim in the twenty-first century. Transportation geographer Peter Rimmer provides a grand synthesis of the region’s supply chain needs and discusses how national transport policies are responding to the growth of a region that stretches from eastern Russia in the north to the Indonesian archipelago in the south and which encompasses China, Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia. What is at stake is that due to the elongated geography of the Asian-Pacific region, together with its decentralized production and service hubs and the difficulties of shipping, air transport, and so on, the costs of logistics are inherently more expensive here than in Europe and North America. “A seamless Asian-Pacific Rim is still a long way from reality” (15). This of course impacts on the region’s overall competitiveness.

By way of a long introduction, in part 1 the author discusses the growth of supply chain management for manufacturing and retail companies together with recent trends in container shipping, cargo airlines, and telecommunications in terms of hub-and-spoke spatial arrangements on a global region level. He uses spatial concepts such as gateways and transport corridors as a way of linking international flows of goods and information with national-level logistics policies and plans, which are then explored in detail for selected countries of the Asian-Pacific Rim in the second part of the book. This examination is also extended in part 3 to Australia and India, just around the corner from the Rim. One can only marvel at Rimmer’s in-depth knowledge of individual Asian manufacturing, transportation, and distribution companies and the very interesting case studies of the supply chain requirements of Toyota, Sony, Samsung, and Lenovo, as well as the up-to-date marketing strategies of Qantas and Singapore Airlines.

In a chapter examining the paucity of any joint logistics policy between China, Japan, and South Korea, he comments favourably on Canada’s national approach to supporting integrated trade corridors in British Columbia, which is a long-term project aimed at capturing the growth of Asian exports sent by container ships into North America involving multi-level governance, public infrastructure, and the input of the private sector. He shows that similar plans exist for Northeast Asia on paper but very little implementation has occurred, especially in the absence of an effective region-wide institution.

Rimmer argues that another missing link in Asian-Pacific Rim logistics is a “land bridge” that could span the industrial and consumption hubs of China with those of India and further into Europe. He points out that a Eurasian land bridge would disrupt the current “hub-and-spoke” system of global transportation links, which gives more or less equal weight to North America, Europe, and Asia (and hence helps set the status quo geopolitics and geo-economics) by integrating Europe-Eurasia-Asia as the core global region, leaving North America as a relative outlier. This of course is exactly why Chinese President Xi Jinping has proposed the land-based “New Silk Road,” which will begin in Xi’an in central China before stretching west through Lanzhou (Gansu Province), Urumqi (Xinjiang), and Khorgas (Xinjiang), which is near the border with Kazakhstan. The New Silk Road then runs southwest from Central Asia to northern Iran before swinging west through Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. From Istanbul, the New Silk Road crosses the Bosporus Strait and heads northwest through Europe, including Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Germany. Reaching Duisburg in Germany, it travels north to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. From Rotterdam, the path runs south to Venice, Italy, where it meets up with the equally ambitious Maritime Silk Road. Although not mentioned in this study, such an enormous project conveys economic and political ambitions far beyond reducing the costs of logistics: it is designed to reclaim China’s place as the “Middle Kingdom,” linked to the world by trade, currency and cultural exchanges through an “economic cooperation area” that stretches from the Western Pacific to the Baltic Sea.

This book’s strengths lie in its comprehensive grasp and synthetic approach of the material, together with the many maps and diagrams explaining the conceptual ideas and spatial patterns of the region’s transportation networks between countries, as well as national development corridors, either actual or proposed. It will be very valuable for not only business studies scholars but also for geographers and spatial planners interested in the Asian-Pacific region.

David W. Edgington, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF EAST ASIAN CAPITALISM. Research Papers and Policy Studies, 46. Edited by Hong Yung Lee. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 2014. vii, 291 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-55729-108-0.

A Comparative Study of East Asian Capitalism provides excellently written case studies detailing important economic aspects of East Asia (defined as Japan, China, and South Korea). It asserts that as the memory of each country’s different historical, economic, and political paths to the present has gradually begun to fade, so the mutual benefits of cooperation and the convergence of strategies for economic development have come to the fore. Therefore, according to the editor of the volume it is necessary to recognize a distinct form of capitalism in this part of the world, whilst acknowledging the differences at the national level.

The book is divided into four parts: the introduction offers an overview of the economic development of Japan, China, and South Korea; part 2 focuses on financial and labour reforms in all three countries; part 3 examines corporate governance (again covering all three countries); and part 4 looks at networks (strangely, only in South Korea and Japan). The level of detail displayed and thorough coverage of the historic subtleties of economic development in each country must be applauded. The book provides an extremely useful insight and factual repository into the micro-mechanisms of many aspects of capitalism across East Asia. This would prove indispensible to any scholar looking at specific changes or attempting to build a theoretical framework based on this book in conjunction with other sources. With its key strength being micro-analysis, it is parts 2 and 3 that are most useful. Part 4 lacks an analysis of networks in China and offers a useful factual, but less culturally analytical view of networks. This is especially pertinent as networks are highlighted as one of the features uniting East Asian capitalism, despite the useful recognition that they operate differently in each of the three countries examined. Certain chapters may be useful for advanced undergraduates, but the specialist nature of this book makes it more applicable to postgraduates and scholars of China.

At the beginning of this book the need for a new conceptual framework of East Asia, fully applicable to China, Japan, and South Korea, is asserted. The common characteristics of these countries’ economies are identified as a combination of conscious decision-making processes on the part of the state, spontaneous decision-making processes on the part of the market, and the highly influential function of networks. However, the majority of the book is then (rightly) dedicated to illuminating the differences between these countries, especially when it comes to the functional and operational differences of economic institutions, which rather causes one to question whether any framework could be fully applicable to all three. The extent to which Western thinkers (classically Weber of course) have (erroneously) tended to define East Asian economies as “stagnant” due to cultural features such as Confucianism is usefully touched upon, and the potential for Confucianism to have aided the East Asian style of capitalism (via discipline, paternalism, and the acceptance of state intervention, for example) is hinted at. A slightly fuller explanation of the re-appropriation of Confucianism to market agendas may help further this argument and provide more basis for the new conceptual framework the book hopes to inspire. However, the succinct critique of neoclassical economics very much helps outline the issues at stake. Three “fallacies” are outlined: 1) a single-cause theory of underdevelopment, 2) a single figure of merit criterion for development, and 3) the portrayal of development as a log-linear process. The insistence of neoclassical economics on the necessity of state non-intervention is also usefully ridiculed. Perhaps what may also be useful is to question the assumed clear line between state and market and market and community that neoclassical economics asserts, especially in light of the emphasis on networks that transgress established boundaries of “business” and “family.”

There is certainly a need for some kind of alternative theory that speaks more to East Asia, but building it will require more consideration of common features than occurs here—a feat that is difficult and requires careful consideration if it is not to fall into normative assumptions about the nature of socio-economic development in East Asia. However, in that it more than satisfies its stated aim of alerting scholars to the urgent need for a comprehensive theory that can cover the remarkable economic performances of China, Japan, and South Korea, this book is a resounding success. One is left keen to consider what this theory might look like and how it would manage to break out of neoclassical economic paradigms without essentializing and homogenizing the experience of what it fully acknowledges to be three very different nations and cultures.

Alison Hulme, Royal Holloway, University of London, London, United Kingdom

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FOREIGN POLICIES AND DIPLOMACIES IN ASIA: Changes in Practice, Concepts, and Thinking in a Rising Region. Global Asia, 1. Edited by Matthias Maass. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press in close collaboration with the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS); Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press [distributor], 2014. 207 pp. US$99.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-8964-540-1.

The “Rise of Asia,” in contemporary terms, is already a multi-decade story, one which began with the postwar recovery of Japan, building in less than two generations the second-highest GDP of the planet, and followed by a succession of “economic miracles,” the most recent, and also the most dramatic, that of China.

This story has moved well beyond being an economic one. Among the innumerable ramifications of this transformative era, geopolitics and its hand-maiden, diplomacy in all of its forms today receives the most deserved attention, not least among scholars, even the best of whom are hard-pressed to keep up with developments in Asia, let alone explain their import.

Still, a great deal of excellent analysis is available to those, in academia and out, who seek to understand at least the direction of international relations, if not their ultimate destination. It’s easy to list the ongoing geopolitical, economic, security, even cultural developments, another matter to assert their outcomes.

A recent addition to the outpouring of informed reflection on geopolitics and diplomacy is Foreign Policies and Diplomacies in Asia, edited by Matthias Maass, currently at Yonsei University, only the most recent stop for this peripatetic academic. Along with eight other distinguished academics, he seeks to “probe and explore how the changing regional dynamics are reshaping the political landscape in a rising Asia,” (13) and on this point, the volume enjoys a measure of success. Thematically, Maass’ book covers much that is relevant to an understanding of the region’s dynamics, with many of the views of contributors expressing refreshingly unconventional views. And interestingly, while this 2014 volume contains primarily chapters that date back to 2010, the issues it raises remain highly relevant in 2015. Even in dynamic Asia, where change is the norm, so is continuity.

Two contributors (Chong and Howe) outline the constraints on the development of a regional security consensus, explaining the limitations arising from a dearth of shared political and social values: what is shared is a “sovereignty-centered, non-interventionist paradigm” that sets its own limits on a predisposition in favour of cooperation.

The dynamics promoting both stability and instability in Northeast Asia are outlined by Lukin. He posits a set of structural breaks against armed conflict, arising from demographics and aging populations: less war-like; regional economic integration with high mutual dependency rations; and a regional nuclear balance of terror.

Southeast Asia and its dominant institution, ASEAN, once Asia’s convener-in-chief, has seen its influence wane, for reasons internal (limits on its economic and political integration) and external (Chinese economic and political clout). The two contributors (Noortmann and Tang) focus on internal ASEAN dynamics to explain its loss of momentum, accelerating the speed and impact on the region of China’s rise.

An interesting chapter (by Ming Hwa Ting) on the distinctive and competitive relations which China and India maintain with Myanmar throws an informed light on how these emerging superpowers insert strategic considerations in their relations with this important neighbour state—all neighbours by definition being of strategic import. China’s ability to throw money and infrastructure at Myanmar contrasts with India’s focus on managing bilateral political relations—one is tempted to add faute de mieux. These distinctive approaches say a great deal about the priorities and capacities of the two large players in the conduct of their foreign relations.

Wilkins’ “Reinventing Japan in the Asian Century” fits the argument in the title: the sum of all of Japan’s current challenges is less than the extent of its resources and its capabilities. Japan’s economy (third in the world) and military capacity (sixth) offer the potential for international power projection. True as far as it goes. But unfortunately for Wilkins, his 2010 sources lead him to conclude that Japan’s erstwhile, if misleadingly named, “omni-directional foreign policy” will be sufficient to manage its relations with the US and the rise of China at the same time, a misreading of the depth of the China challenge and ever-evolving US expectations of its allies.

The strategic reach of Chinese diplomacy is best captured in Saffiulin’s chapter on China, Central Asia, and the uses and impacts of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The focus is not on China’s economic diplomacy—important in Central Asia as it is elsewhere—but on its conduct of the security dialogues with the “Stans” on its Western border, emphasizing common threats, cooperation, and identity over the establishment of a common security regime. Saffiulin emphasizes the importance of promoting ideas of a “common security space” in China’s regional diplomacy, an example of the breadth of tools Chinese policy makers have in their kit to defend and promote their national interests.

A few minor caveats: Maass does not provide thumbnail bios of his writers, so non-academics will be googling and guessing who is who. And inescapably, there are errors of fact: the Asian Tigers were not the precedent for China’s economic rise: that was Japan; Japan was not the only country that escaped Western colonialism: so did Thailand; and so forth. Many of the writers also bow, at the outset, to the spirits of political and diplomatic theories (constructivism, neorealism, even Kahneman’s prospect theory, etc.) before moving on to the more interesting task of calling regional developments as they see them.

These are quibbles for what is an informed and insightful reflection on some of the key dynamics shaping Asia and its place in the world.

Joseph Caron, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN ASIA. Routledge Contemporary Asia Series, 48. By Robert J. Hanlon. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xix, 191 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$140.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-70505-9.

This is an ambitious project. It draws on jurisprudence, recent Asian political history, corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature, and political economy. Robert Hanlon argues that although social responsibility is an increasingly important corporate strategy, human rights and corruption remain marginalized CSR issues in China and Southeast Asia for three reasons. First, multinational corporations see the structural causes of human rights violations and corruption as outside their sphere of influence and responsibility. Second, divergent stakeholder interests are sidelining human rights and corruption as CSR issues. Third, pressure to achieve profit maximization is encouraging a “race to the bottom” scenario in which human rights are increasingly ignored. This book concludes that human rights and corruption will remain peripheral business issues until elite stakeholders agree on how these concepts should enter the social responsibility framework while being vigorously promoted as a global best practice (18).

The author admits that he had to scale back his original plan for ten country profiles. This is a pity because whilst the three countries he covers, Cambodia, China, and Thailand, are all interesting and are comprehensively analyzed, a greater coverage of Asian countries might have produced more rounded and generally applicable conclusions. “Asia” after all consists of 48 countries. As it is, the promise of the book’s title “in Asia,” is not really delivered.

I hope it is not churlish or ungenerous to point out that the fieldwork for the book (published April 2014) was carried out between 2007 and January 2010. As someone who has previously tried to juggle a day job and writing a book, I do empathize with Hanlon’s challenge but it means, for example, that there is no reference to the major, on-going anti-corruption campaign in China initiated by Xi Jinping when he became leader in 2012. Certainly, I would have expected Hanlon’s editor to have picked up on infelicities such as ISO 26000 “is set to launch in 2010” (131); and the use of “recent” to describe a report published in 2007.

Nevertheless, the material he does have is well presented, with a logical flow. Each chapter begins with an overview of what is to be covered; discussion; and then a summary recapping the main points of the chapter. The book is an antidote to the sometimes rose-tinted spectacles of business and human rights and CSR advocates. Hanlon raises some important questions about how serious companies doing business in Asia can be about CSR, if they are not including human rights or anti-corruption within their strategies.

However, there are some serious omissions. I double-checked the index to make sure I had not missed a reference to John Ruggie who, as the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Business and Human Rights from 2005, developed a set of principles, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, commonly known as “the Ruggie Principles” (Protect, Respect, Remedy) which have been adopted by multiple international agencies. I would have liked to know Hanlon’s view about whether the Ruggie work will have any impact on business and human rights in Asia. Similarly, it would have been interesting to have Hanlon’s views on the role that Asia’s great religions and philosophical traditions (for example, Confucianism in China) play in shaping Asian attitudes towards how businesses should behave.

In his recommendations for future action, Hanlon emphasizes the role of business schools (as I am currently a business school professor, I, of course, agree!) but there is no acknowledgement of the work of business schools like the Asian Institute of Management and their annual Asian CSR Forum, for example. Similarly, and I believe correctly, the author argues that business representative organizations in Asia should be more proactive—but some recognition of the work of those like the Shanghai Chamber of Commerce, which has had a CSR unit for several years, would have strengthened the argument. Hanlon also recommends more engagement from “CSR brokers” but there is barely a mention of the major form of brokerage: corporate responsibility coalitions. Likewise, Hanlon also argues that international NGOs need to engage business more, so some examples like Greenpeace’s campaign on sustainable palm oil and deforestation, which has had a major impact on significant Asian businesses like Asia Pulp & Paper and Golden Agri-Resources, would have added weight to the proposition.

At the end of the book, there is a powerful statement that “scholarship must evolve beyond disciplinary perspectives and more towards holistic research that can incorporate business administration, the humanities, law and social science. The business case for human rights requires an interdisciplinary approach and will fail if left to narrow theoretical perspectives grounded in specific fields of study” (153). I agree and I hope that the workmanlike contribution that Hanlon has made will inspire others to pursue this evolution. For there is an important book still to be written on corporate responsibility, corruption, and human rights across Asia.

David Grayson, Cranfield University, Cranfield, United Kingdom

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THE NATURE OF ASIAN POLITICS. By Bruce Gilley. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. xii, 262 pp. (Figures.) US$29.99, paper. ISBN 978-0-521-15239-6.

The genre of Asian comparative politics has tended to be dominated by what may be called the historical-cultural explanation. By this I mean the mix of historical narratives and cultural threads. In this broad category the study of political culture may be included. This school tends to see power and politics deeply determined by certain culturally fixed societal norms, rules, and institutions. This exercise has tended to be practiced often from a Western bias.

Well-known for this characterization are Hegel (one man’s freedom), Marx (Asiatic mode of production), Weber (Protestant ethic), and Wittfogel (oriental despotism). Underlying these and some other works of a similar kind is Asia’s alleged lack of modernity. When modernization theory flourished in the third quarter of the last century, this school of thought produced the genre of political culture based on the above-cited classical works.

Gabriel Almond and Sydney Verba’s comparative political culture study, Civic Culture: Attitudes and Beliefs of Six Nations (Princeton University Press, 1962), is the first of its kind executed through social survey. Their analysis of citizens’ attitudes and beliefs in the US, Britain, Mexico, Germany, and Italy seems to vindicate the then still-dominant view in Western Europe and North America that democracy is a political system that only northwestern European Protestants could aspire to and achieve. Lucian W. Pye’s comparative Asian political culture study Asian Power and Politics (Harvard University Press, 1987) is another kind not dependent on social survey. Perhaps time helps to mellow the above-cited fixed view of Asian politics. Pye seems to have more distance from the above-cited classical works, possibly including that of Almond and Verba, in that Pye’s analysis of Asian political cultures is much more accommodating of Asia’s diversity. However both belong to modernization theory. Their thesis is that premodern societies have to go through industrialization, urbanization, and democratization via the important variable of the growth of a middle class to reach democratic politics.

After reading the above-cited classical works, I feel that Bruce Gilley’s book is very fresh and well-versed on Asian politics in terms of the basic political science concepts like state and society, development, democracy, governance, and public policy. Gilley should be applauded since Asian comparative politics has been dominated either by Western-biased modernization theory and fixed political culture narratives or by those area specialists sticking to the description of a society and politics they respectively specialize in.

It is the reviewer’s forecast that Gilley’s book will be seen as a solid step toward a genuinely comparative Asian politics exercise. Yet I am a bit bothered that in Gilley’s book, the overarching notion of the nature of Asian politics still retains the heavy carry-over from the classical works dating back to Hegel, Marx, Weber, and Wittfogel.

The author of the book may well reply that this is the result of very meticulous, thoughtful, empirical, and comparative investigations. The reviewer might well reply that in addition to the state-centric conceptualization, the society-centred conceptualization may open the way to a new Asian comparative politics relatively free from Western bias. As a matter of fact, the reviewer executed the Asia-wide social surveys on the quality of life in the 2000s (Takashi Inoguchi and Seiji Fujii, The Quality of Life in Asia: A Comparison of Quality of Life in Asia, Springer, 2011) in order to construct citizen-oriented society types for twenty-nine societies in East, Southeast, South, and Central Asia. Five society types derived from citizens’ satisfaction with daily life aspects come from factor-analysis results. How key dimensions are ordered determine society types. Survival, social relations, and state dominance are three key dimensions in this order when twenty-nine societies are pooled. Separately analyzed, five society types come up: 1) survival followed by social relations; 2) survival followed by state dominance; 3) social relations followed by survival; 4) social relations followed by state dominance; and 5) state dominance followed by survival. The point of this citizen-centred exercise is that seen from below, Asian politics look very different from Asian politics seen from above.

Takashi Inoguchi, University of Niigata Prefecture, Tokyo, Japan

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UNWANTED VISIONARIES: The Soviet Failure in Asia at the End of the Cold War. Oxford Studies in International History. By Sergey Radchenko. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. xi, 383 pp. US$34.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-993877-3.

In this remarkable book, Sergey Radchenko, a native of Sakhalin Island who now teaches in the UK, presents an even-handed and richly detailed account of Soviet policy in Asia from 1982 to 1991. His concern is the rise and fall of Mikhail Gorbachev’s vision for Asia. He argues that while the last Soviet leader is known for the rapprochement with the West that brought a peaceful end to the Cold War, Gorbachev initially focused on the East. His aim was to improve relations with India and China and maintain relations with longtime clients like Vietnam and North Korea in order to strengthen the Soviet position in the global struggle with the United States. His vision failed for lack of followers, as the leaders he believed he could woo were not, in the end, enticed by what Moscow had to offer. Nonetheless, Radchenko argues, Gorbachev’s unrealized dreams have lived on in the imaginations of post-1991 Russian leaders, nurturing visions of a grand comeback.

Radchenko bases this account on prodigious research. His main source is Russian archives, particularly the Gorbachev Foundation, the State Archive of the Russian Federation, the Sakhalin State Archive, and Soviet documents held in the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, the Library of Congress, and the National Security Archive in Washington, DC. He supplements these records with holdings of East German, Hungarian and Mongolian archives, the Shanghai Municipal Archive, the Archive of the International Olympic Committee (for South Korea), the Nehru Memorial Library and Museum, and the Archive of the United Nations. He skillfully integrates this broad documentary base with newspaper and memoir accounts, as well as numerous interviews with policymakers. Balancing detail with the larger context, writing with wit and grace, Radchenko provides by far the most detailed and insightful account yet published of the Soviet Union’s involvement in Asia during the Gorbachev years.

He begins with China policy, charting how despite deep mutual mistrust, the small steps Moscow and Beijing took between 1982 and 1985—exchange of visits and increased trade—“helped to build up a certain reserve of trust that made further movement toward normalization possible”(50). He moves next to Japan, recounting how between 1982 and 1987, important players on both sides seriously considered coming to a compromise on the territorial issue. Despite moments of real opportunity, however, Moscow and Tokyo backed out of agreements because of the higher priority they placed on relations with the United States.

Turning to South Asia, Radchenko discusses the key role India played in Gorbachev’s vision for a new global order. As Sino-Soviet relations improved, Gorbachev hoped to create a strategic triangle that would unite the three Asian powers under his leadership. However, to pursue this goal Moscow had to withdraw from Afghanistan, which necessitated greater cooperation from Pakistan just as Rajiv Gandhi sought greater Soviet aid to prevail over Islamabad. Moreover, as Gorbachev increasingly turned to the West beginning in 1989, he lost interest in India while domestic chaos within the Soviet Union left Moscow unable to capitalize on the anti-American sentiment brought by the 1991 Gulf War.

A chapter on Southeast Asia recounts how Gorbachev sought to secure Vietnam’s withdrawal from Cambodia, a precondition of improved Sino-Soviet relations. Radchenko then examines, in particularly rich detail, the single lasting success of Gorbachev’s Asia policy: normalization of relations with China. He argues that the key factor in this success was the view held by Gorbachev and his inner circle that relations with Beijing would have to be on the basis of equality and respect for China’s place as a great power. By the time of the August 1991 coup against Gorbachev, Chinese leaders sympathized with Soviet hardliners. The gains of the previous years could have been lost had Yeltsin turned against Beijing for its suppression of democracy. However, “Beijing and Moscow jointly set out on a road toward strategic partnership informed by a shared sense of resentment of the United States, which, in Gorbachev’s words, had wished them both ill” (197).

Radchenko’s account of the tortured process of establishing diplomatic relations with Seoul is particularly groundbreaking, presenting much more evidence of the policy debates and confusion in Moscow than previously seen. He argues that Gorbachev was reluctant to sacrifice Soviet ties with North Korea, for fear of loss of credibility in the Third World, and therefore failed to respond quickly enough to overtures from Seoul. It was only the collapse of his grand strategic vision in the late 1980s coupled with Moscow’s acute need for money that prompted the Soviet leader finally to jettison Pyongyang in favour of Seoul. In Radchenko’s view, Gorbachev’s foot-dragging on the issue cost the Soviet Union a profitable economic relationship with South Korea and left Moscow with little leverage in Seoul, even as tensions on the Korean Peninsula remained high.

Radchenko concludes with two chapters examining Soviet-Japanese relations from 1988-1991. Even though Moscow entertained grand hopes of foreign investment in the Soviet Far East, Gorbachev was offended by Tokyo’s blatant attempts to use economic leverage to force a favourable settlement on the “northern territories.” Moreover, as Radchenko documents, decentralization of political power in the Soviet Union brought a new factor: the strong opposition to concessions by nationalists in Sakhalin and elsewhere. Thus, as Japan floated proposals in 1990 and 1991 to buy the islands for a considerable sum of money, Gorbachev was unable politically to accept such a resolution.

With the depth and breadth of evidence Radchenko presents and the subtlety and balance of his analysis, this book is a milestone in scholarship on the international history of Asia in the last years of the Cold War. It will be essential reading for political scientists, area studies specialists, historians of foreign relations, and policy analysts seeking to understand the antecedents of the region’s contemporary international affairs.

Kathryn Weathersby, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA

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CONSTRUCTING EAST ASIA: Technology, Ideology, and Empire in Japan’s Wartime Era, 1931-1945. By Aaron Stephen Moore. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013. xii, 314 pp. US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8539-6.

There was, until not too long ago, a curious gap in the conventional narrative of technology in Japan’s modern era. While we were often told that technological developments were central to both Japan’s emergence as an imperial power in the Meiji period and its rise as an economic giant in the postwar years, we tended to hear much less about the role that technology played in the intervening decades. Aaron Stephen Moore’s Constructing East Asia is one of several recent important studies that offer a corrective by revealing just how fundamental technology was to the shaping of interwar and wartime Japan.

Specific to Moore’s analysis is his concept of the “technological imaginary”—a discursive framework in which this one term “technology” (gijutsu) came to represent various key social and political ideas for different groups of people. Moore demonstrates that Japanese elites across the spectrum, from leftist intellectuals to state planners, saw in technology and its associated ideals of rationality and efficiency foundational principles for the remaking of society in the midst of the tumultuous 1930s and 1940s. His examination extends, however, beyond just the ideological. In following the construction of a number of large-scale infrastructural projects across the Japanese empire, Moore also shows how the technological imaginary was realized on the ground—a process not without contestation or compromise. The result is a wide-ranging account that invites us to rethink the workings of technology and power in imperial Japan.

Moore begins by exploring how technology was conceptualized by two contrasting groups: leftist intellectuals, represented by Marxist theorist Aikawa Haruki, and state engineers, represented by technology bureaucrat Miyamoto Takenosuke. He traces how Aikawa’s understanding of technology shifted from a materialist manifestation of the means of production to an integrated assemblage of political, economic and cultural parts geared towards not only revolutionary transformation but also wartime mobilization. If leftists like Aikawa came to see technology as encompassing all areas of life, engineers, in Moore’s telling, viewed it as a social and technical field in which they claimed exclusive expertise. Both these groups would be implicated in Japan’s imperial enterprise. Aikawa’s theoretical realignment coincided with the outbreak of the war with China in 1937. Moore suggests that Aikawa may have been motivated by the idea that this conflict would help sweep away the feudal remnants holding Japan back from a socialist revolution. He ended up producing a handful of studies on technology and the management of colonial industry that resonated with the goals of the expansionist state. Similarly, engineers such as Miyamoto too perceived potential in empire and war. Continental expansion provided them with opportunities to introduce “comprehensive technology”—large technological systems serving multiple functions—that would in turn generate employment for the beleaguered engineering class. Drawn into planning agencies within the colonial administration, engineers became embroiled in pan-Asianist developmentalist visions and the exploitation they engendered.

The manifold efforts to turn the technological imaginary into material reality form the next part of the book. Moore takes us to different parts of the Japanese empire to survey an array of infrastructural projects, from river conservancy and urban redevelopment to port construction and, most notably, dam building. While many scholars have pointed out that empire often served as a laboratory for the social and economic experiments of technocratic planners, Moore goes a step further by looking at how exactly some of these experts formulated and implemented their plans. The picture he presents is not one of neat, mechanistic efficacy so frequently attributed to technocracy, but of contingency and messiness arising from the many competing interests within the colonial context. This is, in my opinion, the strongest contribution of the book. The examples of the Fengman and Sup’ung Dams illustrate the complex constellation of factors—including land ownership, labour management, and the forces of nature—that technocrats struggled to master in their bid to build. If they met with any success, this was not merely a product of well-crafted plans, but just as much—if not more—a result of the mobilized might of the colonial state.

In the last part of the book, Moore turns to the reform bureaucrats who promoted the establishment of a “managed economy”—an integrated economic system characterized by a high degree of state intervention—in order to save Japan from the crisis of capitalism and prepare it for total war. Focusing on their chief ideologue Mōri Hideoto, he describes how technology entered the thought and ideology of this group of policy makers. It was not only about industrial development and the production of advanced armaments, but also about an elaborate and extensive mechanism of social control that Moore identifies as a new mode of fascist power. He ends with an epilogue that suggests that the wartime technological imaginary and its undemocratic impulses have persisted into Japan’s postwar era, reflecting and reinforcing contradictions underlying efforts at national reconstruction at home and at development assistance abroad.

Moore goes to great lengths to argue that technology constituted a kind of power that was just as much about the mobilization of human creativity and freedom as it was about the exercise of technocratic repression and violence. What is to be gained by emphasizing the former, though, when it was, even in his account, the latter that ultimately defined the colonial encounter? To what extent did articulations about technology serve rhetorical as opposed to purely ideological functions? In what ways did the large-scale infrastructural projects in the colonies shape the contours of technological development back in the metropole? This book raises as many questions as it sets out to answer. However, it is among the few truly innovative studies on the Japanese empire to come out in recent years. It is, for one, an excellent example of how one might integrate intellectual history with histories of empire, technology and political economy. Constructing East Asia should be of much interest not only to historians of modern Japan and East Asia, but also to those interested in the politics of technology and the intellectual foundations of sociotechnical regimes.

Victor Seow, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA

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THE POLITICS OF MARKETISING ASIA. Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy. Edited by Toby Carroll and Darryl S.L. Jarvis. Basingstoke, UK; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. xx, 313 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$105, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-00166-5.

The role of the state in economic development and industrial adjustment has been an ongoing debate since the early twentieth century. On one hand, the idea that the state should play a leading role in economic development was central to early development economics. The neoliberal idea of the state, on the other hand, focused on promoting economic liberalization and minimizing the state’s role in regulating and securing freedom for capital. This edited volume contributes to this debate by analyzing cases of the politics and risks of marketization in Asia, and how it transformed the state’s reach, form and function in recent years.

Several factors in Asia have combined to make it an interesting case to study. Scholars have long argued that government interventions have been the most divisive factors contributing to dynamic economic growth across the region (Alice Amsden, Asia’s Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization, Oxford University Press, 1989; Chang Ha-Joon, The Political Economy of Industrial Policy, St. Martin’s Press, 1994; Robert Wade, Governing the Market: Economic Theory and the Role of Government in East Asian Industrialization, Princeton University Press, 1990). Meanwhile, economic and institutional circumstances have evolved rapidly and rising inequality in incomes and access to social opportunities have started to threaten social stability and challenge economic growth in the region. This leads us back, then, to the question of the role of the state.

Carroll and Jarvis’s edited volume provides a timely examination of the developmental policies and state-society relations in contemporary Asia, in particular by dealing with the impacts of neoliberalism. They look at how policies now being adopted to promote private sector participation, restructure state entities, and reduce the presence of the state in the provision of public goods and services, are tied to transformations in the notions of state and development in Asia. The global cast of contributors—from the diverse fields of political economy, international relations, sociology and public policy—offer 12 academic chapters illustrating how neoliberalism has transformed the role of the state and created new forms of socioeconomic risk and vulnerability in Asia.

The book is organized into three parts. Part 1 rationalizes the political economy approach used by the contributors to this volume by bringing back politics into understandings of the economic realities in Asia. From an historical context, Carroll and Jarvis revisit Asia’s developmental narratives and juxtapose neoliberal and statist perspectives on the region’s era of rapid growth. What’s more important, Carroll and Jarvis caution that a deepening of neoliberalism has gained greater momentum across a spate of sectors in Asia and highlight the challenges brought by its ideational evolution. They present a vigorous argument for the need to understand the growing intersection between the globalization of neoliberalism and the region in the post 1997–1998 crisis era.

Part 2 (chapters 2 through 7) takes a deeper view of the current form of neoliberalism and potential forms of risks associated with it. In chapter 2, Cammack starts by identifying key trends within the shifting neoliberal development agenda, including redefining the state’s role as regulatory, emphasizing market building and risk management, and the attempt to construct a global market economy. Drawing on a diverse selection of case studies, ranging from the World Bank’s mining regimes in Laos, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea to AusAid’s policies and procedures for managing risks, this part consists of detailed analyses of the latest manifestations of increasingly dominant neoliberal development agendas that aim to roll back the state in the name of market building. Despite their differences in focus, all the authors believe that these neoliberal agendas have detracted from a genuine focus on development, while potentially fostering conflicting social relations and vulnerability.

The third part of the book (chapters 8 to 12) presents an assorted collection of articles, which take slightly different angles and offer somewhat contradictory views to the previous chapters — they assume that neoliberal reforms could be preferable and beneficial in promoting growth and development in some circumstances. In chapter 8, for example, Simpson argues that for countries such as Myanmar, the added value of a neoliberal agenda, particularly in the form of social and environmental safeguards and alternative sources of capital, is preferable to its absence. Chapter 10 presents a quantitative analysis of the benefits of market building in Asia. It proves that the total number and values of M&A deals are positively related to features of the institutional environment promoted by neoliberal agendas, including protection of property rights, the enforcement of contracts and the stability of governance structures.

Overall, this book represents a valuable addition to the expanding literature on the dynamics of neoliberalism and its impact on state society relations in Asia. It draws attention to the increasingly dominant neoliberal agenda and illustrates how it has threatened the “developmental state” that has historically driven Asia’s rapid economic growth.

However, the book might have benefitted from bringing out the highly uneven and complex nature of institutional circumstances and industrialization stages in the region that, to a certain extent, predetermine the range of options faced by the governments and the role that the state should play in the economy. In other words, the neoliberal approach towards the forms and function of the state should not be regarded as a universally proper role for the state. Rather, there is a need to match the capacities and functions of the state to the tasks posed by specific problems of a particular era. MITI’s evolving role in Japan’s economy, for example, is not just a response to pressures from external neoliberal agendas, but also the result of structure changes in Japan’s domestic institutional circumstances. Likewise, certain governmental industrial policies in China, which historically enabled the development of particular sectors, have now become a hindrance for achieving further efficiency and equity, leading to readjustment of the role of government and its policies.

In addition, the book focuses predominately on the state’s influence from the top-down. The huge capability building at the grassroots level and the coordination between the top and grassroots levels in Asian countries should be taken into account. The small and medium enterprises in Taiwan, for instance, played an essential role in driving economic growth through investment in fixed assets, generating exports, and promoting technology assimilation. Undoubtedly, together with a coordinating state, these enterprises have contributed to the success of the Asian stories.

Wei Li, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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MAKERS OF MODERN ASIA. Edited by Ramachandra Guha. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014. 385 pp. US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-36541-4.

This 11-essay collection is testimony to the remarkable industry of Ramachandra Guha, one of India’s most spirited and widely read writers. The book grows out of Guha’s long interest in biography and his quiet campaign to redress the fact that “for many years, the biographical method was disparaged by academic historians” (10). One aim of the book is to highlight the value of “biography as history” and the “superb showcase” that twentieth-century Asia provides to demonstrate such potential (10).

People love lists, and the book invites browsers to think about who ranks as a “maker of modern Asia.” Here is Guha’s line-up (with the name of each essay’s author in parentheses):

  • K. Gandhi (Ramachandra Guha)
  • Chiang Kai-shek (Jay Taylor)
  • Ho Chi Minh (Sophie Quinn-Judge)
  • Mao Zedong (Rana Mitter)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru (Ramachandra Guha)
  • Zhou En-lai (Chen Jian)
  • Sukarno (James R. Rush)
  • Deng Xiaoping (Odd Arne Westad)
  • Indira Gandhi (Srinath Raghavan)
  • Lee Kuan Yew (Michael D. Barr)
  • A. Bhutto (Farzana Shaikh)

That means four from China, four from South Asia and three from Southeast Asia. The absence of a Japanese figure is explained by the argument that “it is hard, if not impossible, to name even one major Japanese politician who has provided an autonomously developed idea of his country’s place in the world” (13). But what about Emperor Hirohito? Not a politician or thinker, but what a symbol and survivor! How did such a life unfold in the tortured times of modern Japan? “Modern Asia” cannot be imagined without Japan. The office of emperor, which Hirohito occupied from 1926 to 1989, provided the symbolic glue that enabled Japan to carve its remarkable path—industrializing, terrorizing, crumbling, rebuilding.

I would have had two others on my list. Jose Rizal of the Philippines probably missed out because he died in 1896, executed by the Spanish. But Rizal was a forerunner of all the others in attacking European imperialism with intellectual weapons of Europe combined with deep connection to his own culture. The other figure who would be on my list is Bhim Rao Ambedkar, activist, writer and today, patron saint of 180 million “ex”-untouchables in India. An “untouchable” himself, Ambedkar contended with appalling prejudice, yet left a legacy that inspires, and is fought over, throughout India today.

Guha begins the book with Mahatma Gandhi—Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi—and calls the essay “Gandhi, India and the World.” Implicit in the positioning as the first essay, and explicit in the title, is the fact that of the eleven leaders in the book, only Gandhi advanced a program that claimed global applicability and that still attracts millions of sympathizers. (To be sure, there are “Maoists” to be found elsewhere, not least in India, but admiration for Mao is small in comparison to the global esteem of the Gandhi legend).

Guha is writing a big biography of Gandhi, the first volume of which was published in 2013 (Gandhi before India). As an admirable archival historian, he is able to draw on details that knit this short essay to the “Asian” fabric of the book. He points out that during Gandhi’s first major civil disobedience campaign in South Africa, some of his most ardent backers were more than a thousand Chinese, who also suffered from the discrimination of the British regime. And he points out that Liu Xiabao, the imprisoned Chinese Nobel Laureate, has often referred to Gandhi in his writing.

The longest essay in the book deals with the leader of least significance: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the disastrous Pakistani prime minister and president of the 1970s, who was executed by the general he had appointed commander-in-chief. Farzana Shaikh makes an able and engaging attempt to convince readers that Bhutto was a political visionary “in pursuit of an Asian Pakistan.” But Bhutto comes across more as a well-heeled dilettante capable of picking up catchwords and repeating them resoundingly. His legacy appears to have been to leave Pakistan with both an entrenched military dictatorship and a family political dynasty of the kind common in South Asia (not to say elsewhere).

Three other representatives of dynasties are treated in the book: Jawaharlal Nehru, who didn’t mean to leave a dynasty (Guha assures readers); his daughter, Indira Gandhi, who did; and Lee Kuan Yew, who certainly did (given the ideas about genetics and race attributed to him by author Michael Barr) (246-7, 249, 262). For me, Barr’s essay on LKY and Srinath Raghavan’s on Indira Gandhi are two highlights of the book. Barr’s provocative essay profits from the fact that Lee Kuan Yew and the city-state of Singapore are bound together uniquely. Because Singapore is so small and the People’s Action Party so all-pervasive, there is no part of the Singapore pie in which LKY has not had a finger. Barr is not impressed: “I realize that Singaporeans could have done much worse, but personally, I think they deserved better” (266).

Raghavan’s essay surprised me. I expected to be a bit bored by a story I thought I knew well. But Raghavan, like Guha, works in the archives like a beaver in a forest. And he too writes well. He provides as insightful and fast-moving account of India from the 1960s to the 1980s as one will find.

The other essay that especially appealed to me was the shortest: Deng Xiaoping by Odd Arne Westad. Deng’s Hakka/southern China background (like Lee Kuan Yew), the seven years in France from the age of 16 and the long experience as a guerrilla and administrator from the 1930s (plus the ups and downs experienced in Mao’s China) make the life of Deng worthy of a soap opera.

This book will appeal to varied audiences. Curious travellers in Asia will find it a friendly and invaluable introduction to countries they visit and names they encounter. Scholars will relish the invitation to measure their judgements against those of Guha’s expert authors and to muse over Guha’s arguments about the importance of biography as “history.” And teachers will find tight, well-written essays that may entice students into questions about what “making modern Asia” may mean.

Robin Jeffrey, Institute of South Asian Studies, Singapore

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China and Inner Asia


CHINA AND GLOBAL NUCLEAR ORDER: From Estrangement to Active Engagement. By Nicola Horsburgh. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2015. x, 234 pp. US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-870611-3.

China’s rising nuclear capabilities are attracting worldwide attention. However, existing studies tend to adopt realist approaches and emphasize the evolving capabilities and doctrines of China’s nuclear forces. Balancing and deterrence are the standard angles through which China’s nuclear forces are analyzed and interpreted.

In this context, Nicola Horsburgh’s new book, China & Global Nuclear Order, represents a refreshing effort to cast China’s nuclear politics in a different context. As the author puts it, the aim of the book “is to explore China’s engagement with the process of creating and consolidating nuclear order by assessing the methods it adopts; the motivation behind its policy; and the implications of its actions for nuclear order. Put differently, this book focuses on the extent to which China has shaped global nuclear order, as well as its position in that order since 1949” (1).

Horsburgh’s understanding of global nuclear order is strongly influenced by the English school of international relations, which sees the world order comprised of rules and norms that govern the relations among states. In particular, Horsburgh borrows insights from various studies on nuclear order by William Walker, who emphasizes the importance of international regimes in shaping the nuclear relationship among states. These regimes include the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) as well as norms of eventual global nuclear disarmament. Horsburgh offers an expanded definition of global nuclear order that is based on four core elements: nuclear deterrence, arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament. According to her, these four elements represent “enduring features of nuclear politics and the study of nuclear weapons since 1945” (22).

The book also explains states’ motivations to engage with global nuclear order and their attempts to shape that order. According to Horsburgh, there is a range of interconnected domestic and external variables that can explain why an actor might engage with nuclear order. They range from financial and technical incentives to a state’s quest for global images and prestige as well as international pressures.

In addition to the above conceptual contributions, the main part of the book examines China’s engagement with global nuclear order and its efforts to shape the rules and norms of that order. Several empirical chapters delineate the evolution of China’s position on global nuclear order. This begins with China’s rejection of global nuclear regimes, such as the NPT, during Mao’s era. During that period, China’s main aim was to develop an independent and credible nuclear deterrent. This effort required rejection of global non-proliferation regimes that were proposed by the two superpowers. In the post-Mao era, however, China began to engage with global nuclear order for a combination of domestic and international considerations. As a result, China joined the IAEA in 1984 and reversed its previous positions on arms control and non-proliferation. During the 1990s, through deeper engagement with institutions like the NPT, China reinforced elements of nuclear order related to non-proliferation, at the same time enhancing its global image and legitimacy. Horsburgh’s main conclusion is that China has had a bigger hand than previously thought in the creation, consolidation, and maintenance of global nuclear order.

This book offers a different angle to analyze and interpret China’s nuclear politics. Rather than focusing exclusively on the capabilities and doctrines of China’s nuclear forces, which represents the standard approach, Horsburgh is able to draw our attention to the roles played by China in shaping international regimes and norms for non-proliferation, arms control, and disarmament. As she argues, the English school’s international society approach “offers deep insights into how nuclear arms are governed and how actors behave across the four core elements of nuclear order” (148). As a consequence, this book complements and enhances existing studies which all use realist approaches to interpret China’s nuclear politics. Libraries and researchers on China’s nuclear issues will clearly benefit from this book’s unique insights and contributions.

Baohui Zhang, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China                                                       

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THE GOOD IMMIGRANTS: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority. Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America. By Madeline Y. Hsu. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015. viii, 335 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-691-16402-1.

Asian Americans were portrayed as “bad” immigrants in American society for a long time. Since the mid-1960s, however, the stereotype has been changed from that of “problem minorities” to that of “model minorities.” As a consequence, one of the hottest debates and discussions in Asian American communities has been over the motives and impacts of the model minority characterization. Madeline Hsu’s book, The Good Immigrants: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority, proposes an historical perspective to understand the invention and its impacts. Hsu argues for two historical influences behind the myth’s construction: US-China educational diplomacy, and Cold War refugee politics. These two historical factors shaped both Americans’ perceptions of Chinese as “good” immigrants and US immigration policies. The creation of “model minorities” were embedded in these contexts.

Hsu details throughout the book how US immigration systems—not only restrictive, but also selective processes—contributed to the invention of this myth. She turns her eyes to the important but insufficiently discussed Asian immigrant subgroup— Chinese students and the institutionalized US-China constituencies that supported student migration— to fill the gap. Unlike its historically tight restrictions on Chinese low-skilled labourers, US immigration controls have been lenient to Chinese students and high-skilled professionals, exempting them from exclusion and treating them as welcome immigrants who can be readily assimilated into American society, even at the height of the Chinese exclusion period. By tracking the trajectory of US-China educational exchange activities, Hsu argues that because of trade and diplomatic relations with China, wartime allies, the need for valuable skilled trainees, and Cold War international competition, the US developed double-track immigration systems. On the one hand, the United States continued to exclude Chinese working-class immigrants from the country; on the other, it allowed economically and strategically useful immigrants to enter the country. The selectivity of US immigration laws, in other words, came to be based on class (individual merits and economic achievement), not race. This neoliberal thinking gradually came to dominate in US immigration law in 1965 and afterward.

Hsu shows unusual ingenuity by addressing another interesting but neglected topic: the Chinese refugee crisis in US global Cold War politics. She sheds light on the intertwined relationship between US foreign outreach and domestic immigration reforms. In chapters 6 and 7, Hsu demonstrates how economic nationalism and the effort to create propaganda showcasing US humanitarianism served as major principles and strategies in the US policy on Chinese refugees during the Cold War. On the one hand, to undercut communist influence on high-skilled Chinese refugees and strengthen America’s economic and technological advancement beginning in the 1950s, the US government prioritized visas for Chinese refugees with educational credentials and valuable job skills. This policy challenged the conventionally race-and-nation-based immigration controls and therefore opened the door to the future immigration reforms of 1965. On the other, to propagandize about the American dream and the vision of the nation as a world leader promoting racial integration and equality, American media in domestic and international spheres emphasized the “good immigrant” images of Chinese refugees and immigrants. Hsu convincingly argues that though the State Department only allocated a few thousand Chinese refugee visas, it greatly maximized the symbolic meaning of US refugee relief programs to cater to anti-communist sentiments.

Together, US-China educational collaboration and Cold War refugee politics paved the way for the immigration reforms of 1965 and repositioned Chinese immigrants as model minorities. As Hsu states in her conclusion, “the encoding of economic priorities and recoding of racial stigmas into immigration laws and employment preferences that began during the Cold War have transformed Chinese and other Asians into model immigrants” (237).

Transnational approaches have been widely used in recent Asian-American historical scholarship. Hsu demonstrated how to do transnational history in her award-winning book Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Homes. Here again, she adeptly analyzes English and Chinese sources and transnational perspectives in the book. Through the medium of Chinese student and refugee migration, Hsu shows how the dynamic and inextricable relationships between different nations shape their histories of each other. She tells the history of US immigration and refugee legislation, but also of the US-China educational and cultural exchanges in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, modern Chinese transpacific migration, the 1950s-1960s Hong Kong refugees, and of socio-political change in post-World War II Taiwan. This multi-centric historical writing complicates the current Asian immigration narratives that focus on domestic motives and impacts. Scholars of US-China foreign relations may be familiar with Hsu’s analysis of the US-China “open door constituency.” But they may be amazed at the imaginative combination of this material with other histories, a blending which produces this groundbreaking story.

An interesting comparative perspective between Asian and Latin American immigrants is briefly discussed. Further comparative analysis may highlight the differentiation and racialization of US immigration policies toward the two minority groups. For example, Hsu mentions in chapter 5 how the State Department had begun facilitating international education programs as an effective form of diplomatic outreach in the mid-1930s, particularly with Latin American neighbours and China (203). What were the similarities and differences in US policies toward the two different groups? If the educational exchange program was implemented in both groups, why did it seem to have more influence on Asian immigrants than on Latin American immigrants? Why did it not turn Latin American immigrants into model minorities?

Considering that the greater percentage of first-generation Asian Americans enter the country through education or employment, Hsu reminds us in her conclusion of the evil legacy left to both US foreign and domestic racial relations by the neoliberal logic of the immigration selection system. The Good Immigrants provides much insight on a variety of topics. Those who want to learn more about US immigration policies, cultural relations between the US and China during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Chinese refugees during the 1940s to 1960s, and Chinese transpacific migration will not want to miss it.

Chi-ting Peng, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA                                                           

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FATEFUL TIES: A History of America’s Preoccupation with China. By Gordon H. Chang. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015. 314 pp. US$32.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-05039-6.

In his most recent book on US-China relations, Gordon H. Chang presents how generations of Americans perceived and interacted with China. Believing that China was a nation with strong implications for the destiny of the United States, these Americans actively engaged in Chinese affairs and by doing so actually made China part of the US national experience.

Chang states in the introduction to his book that Fateful Ties “speaks to those beyond China specialists” (8). He has done well in achieving this goal. Carefully crafted and smoothly written, the book is rich in details, which Chang successfully brought together to create a mosaic that is at once colourful and revealing. Featured in Chang’s tale are Americans of diverse backgrounds, whose lives intersected Chinese history. Some of these Americans are high-profile figures, but their involvements with China are not as well known. Patriarchs bearing names that later became easily recognizable in the US—Astor, Cabot, Lowell, Russell, Peabody, and Forbes—championed the Old China Trade that was as old as the United States itself. George Washington, until a friend corrected him, long assumed that the Chinese were a white people. W.E.B. Du Bois, the eminent African-American scholar, visited China in 1959 when he was ninety-one years old. The guest of Chairman Mao Zedong composed a long poem, “I Sing to China,” to celebrate the liberation of an oppressed people. Carl Crow, journalist and businessman in China, brought with him his best-selling book 400 Million Customers in 1937, which made a notable episode in America’s continuous endeavour to crack that famous but ever elusive market of China.

Chang’s narrative begins with America’s colonial era in the late eighteenth century, when pioneering American merchants started the trans-Pacific trade with China, exchanging furs, ginseng, and the infamous opium for Chinese tea. In the nineteenth century, two conflicting trends dominated US-China relations. On one hand, numerous dedicated missionaries journeyed to China to bring the Chinese into Christendom. On the other hand, Chinese labourers who came to work in America encountered open discrimination, which culminated in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Entering the twentieth century, China and the US developed a greater sense of solidarity, partly because of Japan’s imperialist expansion in East Asia. Many Americans advocated support for China as a way to help America. Philosopher John Dewey, for his part, very much hoped that his pragmatic philosophy would assist the Chinese in their struggle to solve many of their difficult problems. Along with John Dewey, Chang introduces quite a few other Americans who during this period tried to influence the newly created Republic of China with the American Way, and one additional figure that could have been included in the book is Frank J. Goodnow, the renowned legal scholar who for three years served as a constitutional advisor to President Yuan Shikai, and who, in an ironic turn of events, seemed to have endorsed Yuan in his ultimately disastrous scheme for an imperial restoration.

To the bitter disappointment of many Americans, events in China did not turn out as they expected. The Chinese Communists, taking advantage of domestic strife and Japanese invasion, rallied the vast masses of Chinese peasants and fought their way to power in China. Chang depicts how, as all this took place, concerned Americans such as Franklin Roosevelt, Patrick Hurley, General Joseph Stilwell, journalist Edgar Snow, and Times magazine owner Henry Luce argued over the course to follow but in the end were unable to prevent the “loss of China.” Ideological differences and conflicts of national interests would freeze US-China relations for over twenty years. But, as Chang demonstrates, even during this period of virtual separation, interesting undercurrents flowed beneath the surface. Years before he became US president, Richard Nixon confided that one day he would travel to China, and he dismissed Chiang Kaishek, the Chinese Nationalist leader whom he publicly supported, as “a small man” only capable of “running a small island” (222). It is also here that Chang takes care to report on some African-American leaders’ associations with Communist China, a subject often overlooked in the context of US-China relations.

In the chapter that deals with the most recent period of US-China relations, Chang highlights the contradicting views of China held by Americans. For some Americans, China’s recent economic success means that the long-awaited modernization of China is finally materializing, and this offers a great opportunity for the United States to continue its westward movement. For some other Americans, however, China’s rise poses a threat. As Chang points out, such conflicting views have their historical origins, and that’s the way the Americans are currently carrying on their reflection and debate on China and on their own nation.

At one point in his book, Chang acknowledges that Fateful Ties represents views expressed by leading Americans, namely Americans who have left behind written records. Historians work with sources, and the lack of records certainly makes it difficult to reconstruct average men’s opinions, especially in projects that cover periods extending far back and investigate topics that are foreign in nature. Despite this, Fateful Ties makes excellent reading for readers who are generally interested in US-China relations and for specialists who are looking for a well-written text on American views of China from early times to the present era.

Given the intended readership of the book, it may be helpful to mention here the difference between Gordon H. Chang and Gordon G. Chang. The former, author of the book under current review, is a university professor; the latter is a lawyer by training who works as a commentator on US-China relations for various media outlets. In the afterword to Fateful Ties Gordon H. Chang writes about the history of his family and himself in the United States, which in itself is part of the US-China relations that he examines.

Jing Li, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, USA                                                                                   

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LOVE’S UNCERTAINTY: The Politics and Ethics of Child Rearing in Contemporary China. By Teresa Kuan. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2015. xiii, 255 pp. US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28350-3.

This book provides insights into the dilemmas of middle-class parenting in China, in a way that can also be generalized to other countries. It provides a scholarly, yet eminently readable antidote to the thrills that global readers took from the tiger mother popular debates about whether children benefit from ambitious, autocratic parenting. The book unpacks what it means to balance the tensions between nurturing children to follow their own individuality, while preparing them for the competitive social and economic environment they face in China and in other populous countries.

The book builds from thorough ethnographic work in Kunming, the middle-sized capital city of Yunnan in southwest China. The chapters include engaging stories and illustrations from the research. The introduction starts by explaining the biopolitical (agency and governmentality) theoretical framework and anthropological methodology adopted in the research. The remainder of the book is also well referenced across the disciplines, in theories of parenting, childhood, education, identity, and human capital topics relevant to the subject. It concentrates on parents’ choices about education in its widest sense as the focus of parenting and child development.

Chapter 1 introduces the concept of suzhi—improving human quality. It argues that Chinese parents try to balance the scientific engineering of childhood against the agency and subjectivity of the child by engaging in the first in order to maximize opportunities for the second. Yet agency is disrupted or abandoned due to pressure to achieve, and conform by scoring well in examinations to enter good schools and universities.

Chapter 2 analyzes stories of good and bad parenting to illustrate the suzhi tension, noting the subjectivity of both the child and the parent and nurturing the potential of the child. Chapter 3 follows with an examination of the gendered aspects of the emotional work of parenting, including the conflict of different pressures and the irreconcilable contradiction of expectations to manage the internal wellbeing of children with the external competitive context.

Chapter 4 introduces the second Chinese concept explored in the book, tiaojian—the conditions in which children can flourish. Chinese parents’ explain that their focus on tiaojian is because it is the responsibility of parents to maximize tiaojian from which the child can take advantage. Even if parents disagree with the pressure on children, they invest in tiaojian to avoid regret. As well as investing in tiaojian, they also attempt to change tiaojian if it is bad, such as removing bad friends, avoiding child and parent behaviour that will provoke teachers to negatively label or discriminate against their child and avoiding risk by keeping a low profile so the teacher does not notice the child.

Chapter 5 analyzes the popular reaction to a television soap opera about three young women cousins, their mothers, and the godmother-like grandmother. The research is based on Internet discussions and the author’s ethnographic work, about how the young women’s autonomy and self-actualization conflict with the mothers’ efforts to establish tiaojian for “potential born of effort.” Popular sympathy rests with the young women, undermining the mothers’ recognition of how effort is needed to address the competitive world and the importance of status in their children’s lives.

Chapter 6 takes two contrasting examples of understanding child development as human capital. Teacher Wang, a popular parenting commentator, has the notion that a child’s human capital is a resource to build and invest in like material capital. Mr Deng, an engineer and father, views human capital as a limited entity like a natural resource, which needs to be conserved because it can be used up and a child or young person can burn out early if pushed too hard. Yet both Wang and Deng understand that, when competing for limited opportunities, the human capital of children needs investment, which requires parents to make consumption choices in education, to determine how they spend their time and money. Chapter 7 follows a similar theme about “banking in affects” or emotions, which claims that parents must invest in opportunities for children to accumulate and reflect on their emotional experiences. The author participates in an expensive children’s trip to Beijing that goes awry but is aimed at this investment.

The book concludes with a reflection on the contrast between the author’s own Californian childhood and the Cultural Revolution childhoods of today’s Chinese parents. Her sympathetic conclusion is that parents are not following their own ambitions or investing in their own future, but are trying to do their best by preparing their children to be able to make choices in the China of today. The book will appeal to people who are familiar with China as well as those who are not, because it includes sufficient explanation and detail for both, and resonates with parenting choices in any middle- and high-income country. The quirks of today’s China told in the stories add further interest to the analysis of this common dilemma.

Karen R. Fisher, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia                                           

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VISUAL CULTURE IN CONTEMPORARY CHINA: Paradigms and Shifts. By Xiaobing Tang. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. xii, 276 pp. (Illustrations.) US$34.99, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-44637-3.

In this richly illustrated full-colour study, Xiaobing Tang chronicles the development of the visual culture that has been produced from the founding of the People’s Republic of China (1949) to the (almost) present. As the author forcefully explains in the concluding chapter (250-258), devoted to an exhibition of Chinese woodcuts created between 2000 and 2010 that he curated in 2011 at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, USA, his goal is to break through the simplistic way of seeing Chinese visual culture as either mind-numbing government propaganda or barricade-breaching dissident art. His main aims are to make clear that Chinese visual culture in itself is complex and recognizably Chinese (2), a “reflection of the turbulent history of revolution” (65), yet of global and historical importance; that its practitioners are no dupes employed by a non-democratic regime but deeply committed to taking part in and being part of “a ‘cultural reorientation’ in China’s search for modernity” (26); and that Chinese cultural products should be evaluated and merited for their own qualities, in their own right, and not for what non-Chinese spectators might read into them, for whatever (political) reasons.

To accomplish these aims, the author looks at the creation, blossoming, and perseverance of the socialist visual culture that emerged as “a collective and deeply inspiring project in the 1950s, the period of socialist collectivization and construction,” as an expression of the “critical awareness of the relations between the visual and social transformation” (10). The author proves that contemporary Chinese art is the logical outcome of the revolutionary past, not in the sense of “a political mandate or paradigm” but rather as “a source of collective memory and cultural identity” (15). The author provides a comprehensive view of this evolution by analyzing paradigmatic works of different visual genres, such as printmaking; history paintings; rural films; the visuals of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and their influence on contemporary artists; historical cinematographic productions; and the vagaries that prints and their creators face in the present.

In close readings of defining cultural expressions, the author provides valuable insights into the artistic climate and productive processes that inspired and helped create the works he unpacks. The first chapter, devoted to printmaking (18-60), vividly shows how woodcut artists, after joining the revolution while the Party was in hiding in Yan’an, scrambled to respond to the rapidly changing demands and conditions after 1949. Once the People’s Republic was founded, the styles they had worked in and the themes they had addressed proved less popular in the cities than they had been in the countryside. Thus, artists were faced with questions pertaining to their artistic identity, the relevance of their art, and their active participation in the exciting developments around them.

The second chapter (61-101) focuses on The Bloodstained Shirt (Wang Shikuo, 1959), a large-sized pencil drawing that served as a study for an oil painting that was never made (62, 90). The work depicts the public trial of a landlord during the Land Reform Campaign (1950-1951) and is a “successful example of revolutionary realist art” (65). Beyond an analysis of the drawing, one of the finest and most comprehensive I have encountered, the chapter provides an informative discussion of the conditions and demands artists worked under, the considerations they had to deal with while engaged in the creative process, and the ways in which their works were evaluated, appreciated, or criticized.

In the third chapter (102-139), the focus is on movies that were filmed in the countryside or made with a rural audience in mind; in particular, movies dealing with the more active role that women took on in society. The analysis starts with Li Shuangshuang (1962), representing the “new collective life in a people’s commune” (106), and moves to In the Wild Mountains (1985), a film devoted to the early years of the Reform Era, and subsequently to Ermo (1994), when the socialist market economy started to take root. The main aim of the analysis is to show how past visions of a future continue to influence our view of the present.

Cultural Revolution visual culture is discussed in chapter 4 (140-174) in a fruitful juxtaposition with Wang Guangyi’s acclaimed series of Great Criticism paintings. Wang’s works, which combine Red Guard aesthetics with logos representing contemporary global consumer culture, employ the “socialist turn” (144) to revisit the “socialist visual experience” (167), again indicating that what once was cannot be glossed over in the present.

The analysis of the blockbuster movie The Founding of the Republic (chapter 5, 175-209) makes clear that what non-Chinese audiences (or critics) immediately perceive of as irrelevant or boring propaganda actually resonates with the intended Chinese audience. The much more problematized, orientalist art house films are embraced by Western audiences, while the development of the Chinese (entertainment) movie industry is neglected or disparaged.

The final chapter (210-249) deals with the neglect that printmaking faced and still faces after the Reform period started. No longer used to educate the people, nor a medium that attracts critical acclaim or huge interest, printmakers look for relevance while experimenting with techniques, subject matter, and marketing schemes.

In conclusion, in this very readable history of the development of visual culture in contemporary China, Tang has succeeded in bringing together a number of vastly different topics and artistic styles and developments. In a historical overview through the lens of the art world, he singles out specific styles to forcefully illustrate the larger historical picture. In doing so, he approaches his subjects with sympathy and understanding. At the same time, he succeeds in opposing the Western tendency to write off Chinese visual culture and the various media and styles it encompasses as either propagandistic or dissident.

Stefan Landsberger, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

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RED GOD: Wei Baqun and His Peasant Revolution in Southern China, 1894–1932. SUNY Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture. By Xiaorong Han. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2014. xii, 346 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$95.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4384-5383-5.

Han Xiaorong’s new book is a rigorously researched biography of Wei Baqun, a rural activist from Dongli village in Guangxi Province’s Donglan County. Before Wei was assassinated by his nephew in 1932, he led a peasant movement that, at its height in 1929, encompassed four counties of the Right River region. After his death, he became embedded in local folklore as a “Red God.” And, since the mid-1950s, the Beijing government has elevated him to the status of a Zhuang hero who united the Zhuang and Han people, who brought the Zhuang into the national revolution, and who helped integrate one of Guangxi’s remote regions into the Chinese nation. In 2009 Wei was elected as one of the “one hundred heroes and models” who had made “outstanding contributions to the founding of the People’s Republic of China” (245).

The deified Wei Baqun, however, is the product of a good deal of airbrushing. For one thing, he came from a landlord family and was a member of the Guomindang for longer than the three years he was a formal member of the Communist Party. Before and after he was admitted to the Party, his superiors complained about his leadership style; he was said “to lead the people like a hero would lead his worshippers” (125). He was also a very violent man who engaged in “excessive killing, looting, burning and kidnapping” (253); he treated defectors from his movement brutally, and murdered two of his four wives. Violence had become intrinsic to the Communist movement in the late 1920s, but Wei’s brutality seems to have been exceptional. Hao Xiaorong notes that it went beyond what was tolerated by the Party centre (207) and “had a destructive affect” on the Right River movement; it derived, he says, from a “small-time bandit pragmatism” that pervaded the local culture and was responsible for Wei’s own death in 1932 (253).

One of Han’s purposes is to explain the significant discrepancies between Party representations of Wei Baqun and the Wei who emerges from the historical records of the Donglan movement. Chapter 8 of Red God provides a clear and convincing explanation for the discrepancies. In the 1950s, the PRC government chose to revive Zhuang identity in Guangxi Province, and the reconstruction of Wei as a model Zhuang Communist was designed to serve that revival. Wei’s flaws as a revolutionary and that he was as much Han as Zhuang were brushed aside; “he was transformed into the most prestigious Communist of the Right River region” who mediated between and united the Zhuang and the Han (236, 247).

The book’s first seven chapters consist of a meticulously documented account of Wei’s progress as a rural radical, first in Donglan county and then the broader Right River base area. The author has used local folklore and the legends woven around Wei’s life to understand his personality and character; it is clear that Donglan villagers regarded Wei as first and foremost a Donglan man with deep roots in his home district and deserving of a proud place among the pantheon of immortalized warrior heroes who had defended the interests of Donglan folk over the centuries. Han Xiaorong also gives careful attention to the important role played by the region’s schools in cultivating the “rural intellectuals” who served as the backbone of Wei’s movement. The most significant factor shaping the history of the Donglan peasant movement, however, is militarism; the movement’s progress was at all times contingent on the alignment at any one time of military factions, local militia, warlord armies and, from the mid-1920s, the Nationalist and Communist armies. It was drawn into broader conflicts when its enemies sought military help from outside the county, forcing Wei also to seek help from friendly militarists both inside and outside Guangxi. The local cultures of violence that for centuries had blossomed in this remote frontier region were cannon fodder for the wider conflicts that, in the end, destroyed the Right River movement.

Han Xiaorong’s Red God must count as one of the best English-language studies we have of an early local peasant movement that became connected to the Chinese Communist movement after 1927. Han is at pains to show that his is not a local study, that Wei’s movement from its beginnings was much bigger than local, and that it serves as a case study of “the complicated relations between the center and the periphery” (11). He gives great importance to Wei’s visits to Shanghai and Canton. They connected him to the centres of “national political ferment,” and he took back to Donglan the new ideas and strategies he learned in the big cities (54). He says that in 1929, when Wei became “an integral part” of the Communists’ Soviet government in western Guangxi, he “upgraded himself from a local leader to a national one” (164). More than that, Wei’s membership of the Communist Party meant that his movement “became part of the global Communist movement directed by the Comintern in Moscow” (252). These and other connections that Han tries to make between national centres and the peripheral Right River region are less than convincing. So is his suggestion that Wei and his comrades “facilitated the partial amalgamation of two distinct cultures: the imported revolutionary culture and the indigenous culture of the rebels and bandits” (202). But we are given no evidence of local cultures being changed by Party policies. The centre-local interaction was really limited to the influence of the centre on the ideas of Wei and the “rural intellectuals” who joined his movement.

Neither the Donglan nor wider Right River peasant movements were ever effectively integrated into the wider Communist movement largely because there was not the time to integrate them. The Red Army had no intention of staying in Guangxi; it pulled out of the Right River Soviet in November 1930, having been there for less than 18 months, and it left Wei and his forces virtually defenceless. Han Xiaorong has very effectively demonstrated the enormous odds against revolutionary success in the wilds of warlord-ridden Guangxi; this is one of the strengths of his study. Yet he insists that Wei’s movement deserves to be remembered as much more than a failure. He concedes that Wei Baqun failed to deliver his promise “to bring happiness to Donglan,” but he says that the promise did not die when Wei died in 1932 (257). Han Xiaorong clearly admires the flawed revolutionary. He sometimes attributes to Wei the godlike qualities bestowed on him by both the Donglan locals and the Party.

Pauline Keating, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

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CHINA UNDER MAO: A Revolution Derailed. By Andrew G. Walder. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015. xiv, 413 pp. (B&W photos., figures, tables.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-05815-6.

Was China’s socialist revolution derivative or distinctive? Was the Mao Zedong-led Chinese Communist Party disciplined or destructive? With China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed, sociologist Andrew G. Walder provides answers to these questions through an in-depth examination of modern Chinese history, starting with the era of military conflict between Mao’s Communist Party and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Party in the 1930s and 1940s, and ending with Mao’s death in Beijing on September 9, 1976. The book is one of the first in English to make use of sources drawn from the Chinese Communist Party’s own organizational histories, while at the same time synthesizing nearly seven decades of scholarship on socialism in China, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union. In terms of wider impact, one of the lasting contributions made by China Under Mao is likely to be its portrayal of Mao Zedong as a limited and unoriginal ideologue whose Soviet-derived policies resulted in decades of internal strife and disaster for approximately one-fifth of the world’s population.

Walder’s core premise is that China’s post-1949 state was based on two institutional features to which Communist Party leaders had already committed prior to 1949: the first, a centralized and disciplined party apparatus, and the second, a Soviet Union-derived socialist economy. The context in which this governing style developed was not guerilla war, as has often been assumed, but rather the massive Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949. From this insight he develops three arguments which represent the book’s main themes. The first concerns Mao. According to Walder, Mao’s decision making was primarily influenced by dogmatic adherence to the political and economic tenets of early Stalinism, unswerving faith in the ultimate efficacy of mass mobilization and military power, and impatience with post-1930s models of socialist economic development. The book’s second argument is that the “new civilization” (81) created by Communist Party leaders after 1949 was supported by “two pillars: a bureaucratically administered economy that utterly rejected market mechanisms, and a disciplined and unitary party organization that extended its reach deep into society and economy.” Thus, up until roughly 1956, the PRC was managed almost wholly according to the Soviet model. Finally, Walder argues that the transition from revolutionary (pre-1949) to bureaucratic (post-1949) socialism, while providing some gains in aggregate living standards and GDP, was a demographic and political catastrophe. The PRC’s population soared, and Mao’s frustrations with the downsides of Soviet-style planning—in particular its proneness to economic stagnation and creation of a large class of managerial experts lacking in revolutionary experience and zeal—resulted in the twin tragedies of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution.

China Under Mao is organized as a narrative; however, each chapter also contributes thematically to the larger analytic whole. In the book’s first chapter, “Funeral,” Walder unambiguously places Mao at the centre of the story that unfolds. Like many recent studies of Chinese elite politics, most notably Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals’ monumental study Mao’s Last Revolution (Harvard University Press, 2006), China Under Mao refutes the notion that other leading Communist Party figures such as Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping ever mounted significant challenges to Mao’s policies. “From Movement to Regime” (chapter 2) builds Walder’s case that the context in which Maoism evolved was one of total war involving the massive mobilization of large swaths of China’s populace against the forces of Nationalist Party leader Chiang Kai-shek and his armies. “Rural Revolution” (chapter 3) and “Urban Revolution” (chapter 4) highlight the role of armed force and organizational control as key elements in both pre- and post-1949 Communist Party state making. “The Socialist Economy” (chapter 5) and “The Evolving Party System” (chapter 6) highlight the tremendous presence of Soviet influence in the design and construction of China’s political economy. By the end of the 1950s the “new state” (121) was basically complete; however, largely staffed by bureaucrats and other non-revolutionary experts it proved to be anathema to Mao’s earlier Stalinist vision of revolution as a process of perpetual “class struggle” between forces both internal and external to the party-state (26).

The book’s subsequent chapters thus tell a story more familiar to scholars of the People’s Republic of China: that of how Mao Zedong, disenchanted with what he perceived to be the failings of socialism in its post-revolutionary form, sought to reinvigorate China’s slowing economy and disaffected populace through frequent recourse to social purges, economic mobilization campaigns, and calls for revolution. This story is clearly described in chapters “Thaw and Backlash,” “Great Leap,” “Toward the Cultural Revolution,” and “Fractured Rebellion,” each of which is based on a remarkable summation of previous research—including Walder’s own—on the elite politics and social consequences surrounding Mao’s policies during the 1950s and 1960s, culminating with the spasms of Red Guard and “rebel” violence that followed the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in May 1966 (200). “Collapse and Division” (chapter 11) follows in painstaking detail the organization, campaigns, and factional politics which comprised the Maoist leadership’s response to this initial outpouring of violent insurrection. “Military Rule” (chapter 12) makes the revelatory case that more than half of the deaths caused by the Cultural Revolution occurred amidst military-administered demobilization and campaigns such as the Cleansing of the Class Ranks, which alone killed a staggering 600,000 to 800,000 people in all (277).

The death of Mao’s chosen successor, Lin Biao, in September 1971 following an alleged coup attempt, marked a new period of political division for China, and resulted in a new outpouring of citizen frustration with China’s radical leaders. “Discord and Dissent” (chapter 13) sheds new light on relatively little-known episodes in China’s political history, such as the posthumous campaign against Lin, and quotes at length several scathing denunciations of China’s leadership (291-300) which circulated widely and, as Walder provocatively argues, became the ideological backbone of China’s post-Mao democracy movements in 1978 and 1979 (301). The Cultural Revolution not only created a fractured rebellion but, ultimately, engendered a fractured elite and society as well. China Under Mao’s final chapter, “The Mao Era in Retrospect,” demonstrates that these costs extended well beyond the destructive erosion of relations between citizens, civil elites, and the military; as Walder points out, other fruits of Mao’s Stalinist vision included unstable economic growth, barely manageable demographic expansion, a wasteful and inefficient industrial sector, and stagnation in living standards. To the extent that Maoism represented a coherent political system, this system was characterized by impatience, violence, reliance on bureaucracy, and Mao’s idiosyncratic, if not “extremely odd” 340 readings of the Soviet model and its limitations. Rather than lauding Mao as a creative revolutionary, Walder provides another epitaph: brilliant tactician, narrow thinker, and inhumane dictator.

Matthew D. Johnson, Grinnell College, Grinnell, USA

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CHOPSTICKS: A Cultural and Culinary History. By Q. Edward Wang. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. xix, 190 pp., [22] pp. of plates. (Map, table.) US$29.99, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-02396-3.

In 2005, Foreign Language Press in Beijing published the richly illustrated, charming little book Chinese Chopsticks. It was written by Lan Xiang, a long-time chopsticks collector and the founder of the Chopsticks Museum in Shanghai. The museum’s collection is said to include over a thousand pairs of chopsticks from China, Korea, Japan, and Thailand, with the oldest ones dating back to the Tang period (618-907). While quite informative, Lan’s book is not an academic work on the subject. It took another decade for a long-overdue study of the cultural history of chopsticks to be finally published. Without a doubt, it will be a welcome addition to the pantheon of seminal works on the culinary history of East Asia. The publication does, however, have one important limitation. The book claims to be a “comprehensive and reliable account of how and why chopsticks became adopted by their users and continued, as a dining habit, through the centuries in Asia and beyond” (1). The author adds that the book also aims to discuss the “culinary impact of chopsticks use on Asian cookeries and cuisines and vice versa: how the change of foodways in the region influenced people’s choice of eating tools,” and “to analyze the cultural meanings of chopsticks and chopsticks use in the respective cultures of their users” (1). Judging from the endorsements that appear on the back cover of the volume, these three goals—specified at the beginning of the introduction—have been successfully met, and in many respects this is definitely the case. Yet, it needs to be pointed out that all four endorsements were written by China specialists: Benjamin Elman from Princeton University, On-cho Ng from Penn State University, Di Wang from Texas A&M University, and Ge Zhaoguang from Fudan University, China. It is difficult to assess whether scholars of Vietnam, Korea, and Japan were not involved in the review process of the book, or whether the geographical scope of the original manuscript was less extensive. The fact remains that the treatment of chopsticks culture in Vietnam, Korea, and Japan is noticeably less in-depth than of that relating to China.

The volume consists of seven chapters and a conclusion. Following the introduction, the story begins with the origins of chopsticks and their primary role as a subordinate companion to the main eating implement in China, which was a spoon. Initially chopsticks were merely used for grasping vegetables and other ingredients in a stew or broth. In chapter 2, we learn how agricultural and culinary transformations during the Tang period turned chopsticks and a spoon into a set that functioned as a symbol of the sophistication of the Chinese civilization. It is at this point, as the Tang culture began to spread beyond the Chinese territory, that a “chopsticks cultural sphere” that includes today’s China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan began to take shape (66). This process, completed by the fourteenth century, is described in chapter 4, and customs and etiquette related to the use of chopsticks across East Asia are studied in chapter 5. Unfortunately these two chapters are not comparable in terms of their depth and erudition to chapters 2 and 3, which focus on China. While it is undoubtedly clear that the author possesses an outstanding understanding of Chinese culinary history, making extensive use of archaeological evidence and a wide selection of Chinese classical literature to support his argument, his analysis of the rest of the chopsticks cultural sphere leaves much to be desired. For example, in the discussion of the culinary histories of Japan and Korea, examples of present practices rather than documented historical usage are cited (74, 82, 88), and references to support such statements are very scarce (108-116). For example, “[A] pot to make a stew or a hearty soup (as nabemono) must have had a long history in Japan, as boiling is a common cooking method there and around the world” (108) is not a phrase one expects to find in a solid academic publication.

Chapter 6, which deals with the topic of chopsticks as a gift, metaphor, and symbol—primarily in China—is again quite strong, as is chapter 7, which tells the fascinating story of the spread of chopsticks to North America and Europe, including a discussion on disposable chopsticks, which today are considered a serious environmental problem. In the conclusion, Wang drags Levi-Strauss’s The Raw and the Cooked into the discussion, which, in my view, is not very helpful. Equally irrelevant are the references to Roland Barthes that appear in the introduction and in chapter 4 (10-11, 67). With sociologists and anthropologists clearly in the lead as far as pioneering research on food is concerned, this is an understandable strategy for adding scholarly cachet to the book, but there is no need to do this. Historians can contribute to the definitional efforts of social scientists by examining how cuisines have developed over time and by situating them within particular social and cultural contexts of production, distribution, and consumption. This is precisely what Chopsticks: A Cultural and Culinary History does, and quite successfully so. Without a doubt it is a valuable book, which would be a welcome addition to any library that has an ambition to build a sound collection on the world’s culinary history.

Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

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MAO’S LITTLE RED BOOK: A Global History. Edited by Alexander C. Cook. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. xvi, 287 pp. (Figures.) US$27.99, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-66564-4.

This thought-provoking global history of Maoism focusses on the circulation and reception of the book of Mao Zedong’s quotations, the Little Red Book, and of the ideas of China’s Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) both in China and elsewhere. Cook concludes that “the Little Red Book is what people made of it” (Cook, xvi). In the first, second, and third worlds—into which the volume, suitably for the time period it covers, categorizes the world—the Little Red Book embodied the rebelliousness that helped people tackle local problems. Mao’s China influenced the world in which we live now, from shaping neo-Marxism in France (Bourg) and contributing to the erosion of universalism, which ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union (Mcguire), to setting the agendas of Ethnic Studies in American academia and African and Asian American activism (Mullen) and spurring a cultural turn in the humanities (Bourg).

This volume is an enjoyable read. It incorporates the wide range of perspectives necessary to understand this complex phenomenon both in China and globally. Rich sources are well fleshed out. Sources include publications by those who responded to the Little Red Book, from embassies to students and intellectuals influenced by Maoism: these include official speeches, pamphlets, Communist Party treatises, oral histories, online publications from state newspapers, dissidents’ blogs, and Mao’s texts. The various theoretical perspectives include those which are inspired by Mao’s critique of the Naxalite and Shining Path movements (Chakrabarti, Palmer); national histories, including China’s (Yang Guobing, Xu Lanjun); and theoretical approaches to pop culture, music, and propaganda (Jones, Ban Wang).

Among these fifteen well-sequenced chapters, China-centred essays highlight those aspects of Maoist cultural production which help the reader understand the appeal of the book beyond its original cultural context. From the historical origins and syncretism of the format of the Little Red Book (Leese); to the translation and technologies of its circulation outside China (Lanjun Xu); the meaning of metaphors (Cook); musical and performative aspects of the pop culture of the Cultural Revolution (Jones); the book as the “sacred script of revolution,” which set in motion its “incantatory power” and the unity of performance and reality in the Cultural Revolution (Guobin Yang, 61, 67); and, last but not least, Ban Wang’s provocative essay on the rituals and religiosity of the Cultural Revolution, which argues for the democratism of the Little Red Book—all these shed light on the rationale and traction points for the responses to the book worldwide, described in other chapters.

This volume will interest a wide audience of specialists in national histories, as well as those interested in global history. A thread running through most essays is well elucidated by Reill, who states that “Cold War explanations do not clarify domestic receptions” (204). Various local circumstances provoked enthusiastic responses in the world outside the Iron Curtain, from the alternative “shared imaginary” of the nation in Tanzania (Priya Lal, 18); to the student activism of the 1960s in Germany; “Orientalist” admiration in West Germany, Italy, and France; the pop-cultural appeal of catchy melodies and chanting to youth and the mundane reason that the book’s small format was fashionable in Europe, as well (Leese, 34).

These findings diversify our understanding of the Cold War. The book’s negative reception behind the Iron Curtain in the context of the Sino-Soviet split is not counterintuitive and the general dread that communist ideology incited by the 1960s among the population of the socialist bloc is not unknown. Yet, when examined within the context of the book’s strategic use as political leverage in Albania (Mёhilli) or of the personal experiences of people from the DDR and the Soviet Union during the Cultural Revolution, the findings advance our understanding of post-socialist spaces. The volume’s global outlook reveals once again the problematic use of such labels as “left” or “dissident” without contextualization. While French communist dissidents were Maoists, for Soviet dissidents, Maoism was the symbol of feared re-Stalinization (154). While Maoism appealed to communist youth because of its pop-cultural circulation and because it resonated with the postwar social experiences in Italy, such as intergenerational conflict (while also echoing the Sino-Soviet split), the Little Red Book was not used by communists only but also by ultra-right wing groups (192). Another takeaway is the importance of laughter, irony, and metaphor in the multilayered Cold War culture both in and outside China. For example, the book “acted as the textual equivalent of a tomato” to be thrown to express protest among belligerent students in West Germany (215).

All in all, this excellent volume demonstrates that Maoism, like Marxism-Leninism, was used by local actors strategically. The reception of the Little Red Book was mostly coded in the cultural codes of receiving cultures (including the social context and the structure of labour and communist movements), something we need to keep in mind in studies of other topics. Last but not least, a work of global history that centres on the circulation of an Asian intellectual product, this volume is a reminder that we need to account for global and non-Western histories to adequately understand familiar national narratives of our own.

Anna Belogurova, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany

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ASSESSING TREATY PERFORMANCE IN CHINA: Trade and Human Rights. Asia Pacific Legal Culture and Globalization. By Pitman B. Potter. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014. xii, 295pp. (Tables.) US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7748-2560-3

Potter is a prolific writer and scholar, respected among China law practitioners and academics alike. This book, providing insight into both contract law and property law, will interest even readers whose primary focus may be Chinese domestic law, rather than China’s accession to international treaties. There are five substantive chapters: “China and the WTO”; “Contract Law in China”; “Property Law in China”; “Encounters with International Human Rights Standards”; and “Treaty Performance on Human Rights: Sustainability and Social Justice.”

Readers unfamiliar with Potter’s technical lexicon might be forgiven for equating the terms “treaty compliance” and “treaty performance.” But the Introduction makes clear that he uses “treaty performance” in a specialised sense and attributes to it a meaning quite distinct from that of compliance. He argues that “performance” allows us, by introducing subjective factors of local normative standards, perceptions, conditions, selective adaptation, and institutional capacity, to gain an understanding of why compliance falls short.

The chapters on contract law and property law are comprehensive and helpful to any China Law specialist. Potter describes the influence of WTO and international contract law on the development of Chinese domestic contract law, tracing its evolution from the first Economic Contract Law applicable to Chinese parties, through the Foreign Economic Contract Law applicable to contracts involving a foreign element, to the present Unified Contract Law with universal application. The chapter on property law provides a useful review of how the concept of private property has developed since Deng’s “Open Door.”

The chapter on International Human Rights Standards addresses a number of topics in some depth. It is unfortunate that the author gives such short shrift to “The Judiciary,” to which he allots less than one page. With respect to human rights in China there is nothing more critical than the judicial system, which is barely addressed. Chinese “courts” function as little more than low-level administration organs of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). From arrest to execution, the entire judicial process is so fundamentally flawed that neither documentation adduced by Chinese prosecutors nor conviction in a Chinese “court” can be legitimately considered evidence of guilt against a Chinese citizen. The implications for Canadian and other western immigration officials in the handling of refugee applications are obvious.

Potter makes frequent reference to seemingly encouraging interpretations and edicts from the Chinese Supreme Court. But judges at all levels below the Supreme Court are appointed by and may be removed by local officials; the Supreme Court has little leverage over them. Supreme Court decrees are accepted by lower “courts” when they provide advantage to local interests; when counter to local interests they are rejected on the basis of “local practice,” which normally takes precedence over the wording of any law.

Mention must be made of one huge “elephant in the room” as the author discusses China’s “performance” of international human rights standards. For more than sixteen years, the most bestial crime against humanity since the Third Reich has steadily unfolded as tens of thousands of healthy Falun Gong practitioners have been detained in donor “herds,” to be killed on demand for instant organ harvesting when their tissue and blood types have been matched to those of organ tourists shopping for transplants of hearts, livers, kidneys, corneas, lungs, or skin. Estimates of the number slaughtered in Chinese hospitals to feed the burgeoning organ “industry” range from 50,000 to well over 100,000.

The first reports a decade ago alleging the systematic murder of healthy Falun Gong practitioners, were greeted with scepticism even from the severest critics of the CCP. Notwithstanding the CCP’s murderous record of human rights abuse, claims that Chinese doctors and the entire medical establishment of China were facilitating the mass murder of prisoners of conscience, for the purpose of pillaging and selling their organs, seemed as unbelievable as science fiction. The claims were treated in the early days as the products of sensationalist journalism.

But the evidence of organ harvesting has not come from The National Enquirer or Fox News. The ongoing reality of this atrocity has been thoroughly documented by the solid and substantial research of David Matas, David Kilgour, Torsten Trey, and Ethan Gutmann, whose credibility and integrity are beyond question. This level of bestiality begs the question of whether we can even rationally discuss the Chinese “legal system” or China’s alleged “long march to the rule of law.” How can “rule of law” and human rights in China be researched, examined, and discussed with not a word about this diabolical practice, originally perpetrated against Falun Gong practitioners, but now known, as a result of Gutmann’s research, to include Tibetans, Uighurs, and Christians? Even the Canadian Government, which normally turns a servile face to Beijing, has raised the issue at the United Nations and demanded that China end the practice. Yet Potter’s only mention of Falun Gong persecution is a one line reference to the authorities having illegally detained Falun Gong practitioners and forced them into study classes! The mass murder of healthy prisoners for organ theft cannot be explained as a function of “local normative standards.” This omission is analogous to publishing a study on the “rule of law” in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s, but forgetting to mention the Holocaust. Turning a blind eye to such an enormous issue risks rendering scholarly discussion of the Chinese legal system irrelevant.

Some readers may interpret Potter’s focus on subjective factors of “local normative dynamics,” “selective adaptation,” “institutional capacity,” etc., as an attempt to excuse or explain away China’s clear treaty breaches. That would be unfortunate because the author is no apologist for the Chinese Party/State. On the contrary, his chapters on human rights contain many unvarnished references to gross human rights violations. He deserves credit for his consistent references to the “Party/State,” showing awareness, not always exhibited by other scholars, that the CCP is the government and that the entire state apparatus is simply part of a fraudulent charade. But the “performance” approach at times seems to excuse non-compliance on the basis of Chinese cultural characteristics, perceptions, and institutional limitations. It is unfortunate that the relevance of the chapters on human rights is so reduced by failure to consider the human rights issues that dwarf all others in China today; Potter’s solid chapters in the remainder of this book constitute a useful contribution to the scholarly literature on Chinese law.

Clive Ansley, Ansley & Company, British Columbia, CANADA

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AFTER MIGRATION AND RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Religions, Chinese Identities, and Transnational Networks. Edited by Tan Chee-Beng. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Company, 2015. xxxii, 382 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$138.00, cloth. ISBN 978-981-4583-90-9.

As shown by its title, this book aims to explore the religious life of the overseas Chinese community, with a focus on the role of religion in the making of ethnic identities and transnational networks. Religious affiliation can serve as an indicator that shows the level of cultural integration of the migrants into their host society, as well as their ties with their native land. In other words, religious faiths and practices express the way the overseas Chinese identify themselves. Comprising thirteen articles (plus an introduction) written by scholars from different academic backgrounds, this book is strong in its geographical breadth and in the variety of religions it covers. The countries discussed in this book include Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Spain, Canada, America, Cuba, and Peru. Christianity, Islam, Japanese and Theravada Buddhism, and Chinese popular religions are dealt with. Readers can catch a glimpse of the various ways in which the Chinese migrants modify their native religious practices in a new environment and react to the existing religions of the host society.

The book is divided into four parts, namely, “Chinese religious traditions and living in the diaspora,” “localization and Chinese religious traditions,” “Christianity, Islam and the Chinese overseas,” and “religious affiliations and transnational networks.” As many of these themes are interconnected, the current division of the articles into these four categories is understandably arbitrary. The approaches and quality of articles vary widely. Some articles show a higher level of sophistication in terms of research and analysis, and are therefore more successful than others in illustrating the main theme of the book. Here are some of the more outstanding ones. Leo Suryadinata’s study (in part 1) explains how the state religious policy of Indonesia, which required every citizen to have a religious affiliation, affected the religious life of the Chinese people. With particular attention given to Confucianism and Buddhism, Suryadinata argues that “Chinese religions have been highly Indonesianized in order to survive and to be accepted as ‘Indonesian religions’” (22). Aristotle C. Dy and Teresita Ang See’s article (in part 2) on the interaction between Chinese religions and Catholicism in the Philippines gives a detailed analysis of the different levels of syncretism between the two faiths. It concludes that “the Chinese Filipinos’ unique brand of syncretism, one that includes Catholic elements, makes it an important marker of Chinese identity in the Philippines” (141). Chiou Syuan-yuan’s study (in part 3) on Chinese Muslims in Indonesia, which examines the assimilation plan of an ethnic Chinese leader who advocated the conversion of Indonesian Chinese into Islam, shows the importance of political and business factors in affecting one’s religious affiliation. With detailed examples of long-distance divination practices and candles donations, Irene Masdeu Torruella’s article (in part 4) explains the role played by a monastery in Qingtian county, Zhejiang Province in strengthening the transnational links between the Chinese migrants in Spain and their native place.

Some articles do not seem to fit very well into the analytical framework of the book. Myra Sidharta’s article on the Mazu worship on the Island of Java reads more like an anecdote or field notes than an academic work. The article points out that the Mazu temples “have a special relations with each other because they usually celebrate the birthday of the goddess together in Gresik,” and that in 2012, the “celebration shifted to Lasem” (16) without explaining the reasons behind. Some readers may find the map showing the location of the Mazu temples in Java useful, though. Satohiro Serizawa’s article narrates an interesting story of the connection between a Chaozhou’s Buddhist organization in Vietnam and esoteric Buddhism in Japan. He concludes that the Chinese migrants “are adapting to the host society while maintaining traits of local culture in Chaozhou which include the traits of Japanese Buddhism” (326). Unfortunately, the article focuses on individuals’ ties without shedding much light on the religious contents. Readers are left wondering how the Chaozhou people perceived Japanese Buddhism and discerned the differences between Chinese and Japanese Buddhism.

That being said, the book serves as a useful starting point for comparative analysis in the future. By putting all the articles together, the readers can get a basic grasp of the various factors and variables that affect the religious landscape and religious affiliation of the overseas Chinese. These factors include the syncretic nature of Chinese religions, policies of the government and religious organizations of the host society, and the place of origin and business needs of the migrants. However, some possibly significant factors are not touched on in this book. For instance, the migration history and settlement patterns might affect the communal ties and solidarity of the Chinese migrants in the host society, which in turn would shape their attitudes towards the religion of their native place and that of the host society.

Shuk-wah Poon, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China

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THE GLOBALIZATION OF CHINESE BUSINESS: Implications for Multinational Investors. Chandos Asian Studies Series. Edited by Robert Taylor. Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2014. xliv, 323 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$141.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-84334-768-2.

As the second-largest economy in the world, China is playing an increasingly important role in the world economy. China’s latest initiative, namely, the “one belt, one road” (or the Silk Road) initiative points to China’s enhanced economic role and increasing national self-confidence. The editor is right in arguing that “[n]o region of the world is unaffected by the nature and volume of China’s trade and investment” (preface). An understanding of the globalization of Chinese business is thus a must for all who are interested in this rapidly developing and changing country. The editor of this volume made great efforts in bringing together a dozen or so scholars and examining key aspects of globalizing Chinese business.

It is worth noting that the globalization of Chinese business has been an interactive process between Chinese firms and foreign firms. In the early stages of the opening up in the 1980s and 1990s, China opened its market to foreign investors since the country was then suffering from a serious shortage of capital. After more than three decades of opening up, China today has successfully transformed itself into a capital surplus economy. This is the rationale behind the globalization of Chinese business today. Furthermore, foreign investors have been an integral and important part of the globalization of Chinese business. The stage of the interaction between Chinese capital and foreign capital is now expanding to the international front.

How the interaction between the two plays out depends on many factors. Among others, the development of Chinese businesses matters a lot. China’s economic reform is still an ongoing process and there are many serious obstacles to sustaining the high growth rates of the past. After the current leadership of Xi Jinping came to power in 2012-2013, China has initiated a new set of economic policies. As President Xi emphasized, China has entered a stage of “new normal.” This concept refers to a situation where China’s high economic growth is over and the country has come to an age of middle growth. This new set of policies is apparently aimed at responding to the ongoing transformation of the Chinese economy. No doubt, such a transformation has presented both challenges and opportunities for foreign multinational investors.

The book focuses on the operation of multinational investors in their interaction with Chinese firms. It consists of 13 chapters, and is divided into two parts. Part 1 focuses on the internal operations of Chinese firms and examines key aspects of the Chinese firms, including the evolution of Chinese management, China’s R&D and innovation strategy, endogenous and exogenous dynamics in China’s cluster economy, state-owned versus private enterprises, the influence of family control on business performance and financial structure, and internationalization strategies of medium-sized multinational firms. It is clear that Chinese firms have learned and matured from their interactions with foreign firms. The transfer of human resources management practices in French multinational companies experiences in China is a good example.

Part 2 focuses on China’s economic changes by sectors, including the services sector, the financial services sector, the Shanghai stock market, and the health-care system. It also examines changing household saving patterns, the growing consumer culture, country-of-origin effects on Chinese consumption of branded foreign products, advertising in the luxury sector, and competition among Asian growing markets. As in part 1, the authors also explore the evolution of these key industrial sectors and their interaction with foreign firms.

All the authors made a great effort to combine economic and business analyses, and to integrate micro and macro perspectives. They together provide an overall picture of the development of China’s economic reform and opening up in different stages and its impact on Chinese business and interactions with foreign firms. The reader will find the book more interesting and helpful in understanding China than other books which focus either on micro-level factors or macro-level factors.

There are also many detailed case studies. The authors were able to dig up deep-rooted problems when they looked into the operation of Chinese firms. Many of the insights they provide are very useful in guiding foreign investors in different sectors and from different perspectives.

All the chapters were written by scholars from different fields and in a very academic way. Many readers will find the book a bit too academic. The book could have been written using simpler language and would thus have been more accessible. Overall, the book is very helpful in understanding key aspects of the Chinese economy and the operation of its firms, particularly their interaction with foreign firms.

Yongnian Zheng, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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DAMS AND DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA: The Moral Economy of Water and Power. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Bryan Tilt. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. xv, 259 pp., (Figures, tables.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-231-17011-6.

Dams and Development in China is a succinct and very useful introduction to the complex issue of hydroelectric development in China’s strategic southwestern region. Geopolitically, the Nu and Lancang rivers, the focus of the book’s case studies, drain through several southeast Asian countries. Development of the water resources in the upstream of these rivers has potentially critical consequences for downstream riparian communities. Domestically, the hydroelectric potential of these streams holds the promise of augmenting energy resources to the fast developing eastern regions of China, as well as the promise of clean energy in a country where heavy reliance on coal-fired power generation has resulted in extraordinary air pollution in urban areas. Subtitled “The Moral Economy of Water and Power,” the text examines these competing interests by elucidating “the normative choices that must be made when various objectives—economic development, energy production, biodiversity, conservation, and the protection of the rights of vulnerable people, among others—comes into conflict” (xi). Divided into seven chapters, Tilt endeavours to elucidate how different social interest groups devise deliberate strategies that reflect particular moral perspectives on the management of water. The issue of water development in Yunnan Province has been a topic of some scholarly attention over the past decade or so, often facilitated by a robust presence of international NGOs in the region, but the particular value of this text is its success in translating critical fieldwork into an effective text that synthesizes the multiple dimensions of hydro development in China.

In addition to examining the Lancang and Nu river development through the lens of a variety of stakeholders, the remaining chapters examine the interests of a specific set of social groups that impact and/or are impacted by the development of water resources in China’s southwest. First, the author explores scientific and developmental terrain traversed by technical experts in China’s vast water bureaucracy as they engage the “epistemological processes involved in high-level decision making” (108) on water issues. Frameworks of decision making, modelling, modes of environmental assessment, and feedback mechanisms are all components of a bureaucratic process that shape conclusions and decisions. The author reasonably argues, however, that such bureaucratic processes are of little value if they do not “fit into a larger system of equitable, transparent, and accountable decision making” (132). And it is here that the inevitable question of the resettlement of rural communities is broached. The author is well aware of the oft-cited stories of inequities around the globe implicated in large dam construction, but nevertheless argues that the outcomes of resettlement in China require “a close look at the details of policy governing resettlement . . . and at the ways individuals participate in the decision-making process. It also requires an examination of the changing nature of land-use rights in contemporary China” (135). Such a careful examination leads to conclusions that are not always predicable. On the one hand, large institutions in China, including government agencies and quasi-private/public financial institutions, render policy decisions that are clearly distanced from the lived experiences of rural communities. Indeed, the author argues that the hybrid nature of China’s political economy (“market socialism”) results in very little local input into resettlement policies and processes. On the other hand, the author’s fieldwork points to differentiated outcomes of resettlement policies on the denizens of displaced communities. The last constituency that Tilt examines is the role of international conservation organizations in China’s dam-building enterprise. Of particular interest here are the different tactics INGOs have adopted in adapting to the Chinese political landscape. Having to negotiate pragmatism versus ideology, the author argues that organizations such as the Nature Conservancy, which indeed promote the notion of minimizing the negative effects of dam construction (as opposed to outright objections to projects), have maximized the potentialities of INGOs to shape China’s water development policies. Of course, this landscape is shifting literally as we speak. Although the author “highlights the increasingly important role played by international conservation organizations in contemporary China (166),” only in the very recent past couple of years (i.e., since this chapter was written), have we witnessed the playing field for international advocacy and development organizations in China circumscribed in significant ways.

With roughly half of the world’s 50,000 large dams, but with perhaps the greatest potential for further development of surface water resources of any country in the world, China is unlikely to see the end of its dam-building era end any time soon. This is particularly true when a variety of constituencies within China see hydroelectricity as one important option to the burning of fossil fuels for energy production. Given this reality and the further reality that the rivers of China’s southwest region are critically important transnational waterways, an understanding of the complex dimensions of China’s water development landscape are vitally important. Dams and Development in China does a superb job of providing a succinct and even-handed exploration of these dynamics. The author has avoided making certain judgments about the correctness, or otherwise, of particular water development policies, and their implementation in China. Instead, Tilt’s goal is to “elucidate the goals and strategies of key constituent groups as they relate to balancing conservation and development objectives . . . and to show how these strategies are grounded in moral, cultural, and historical precedents” (193). The analysis succeeds in these ambitions and serves as a superb introduction to the complexity of water development politics in contemporary China.

David Pietz, The University of Arizona, Tucson, USA

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HEALTH POLICY REFORM IN CHINA: A Comparative Perspective. Series on Contemporary China, v. 36. By Jiwei Qian, Åke Blomqvist. Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific, 2014. viii, 354 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$125.00, cloth. ISBN 978-981-4425-88-9.

China has undergone significant changes in health-care policy since the beginning of the twentieth century. In the late imperial period, Confucian governments were non-interventionist in people’s health. In the twentieth century, China’s government increasingly saw the management of the health of the population as an important responsibility, even if it was unable to care for the vast majority of the people. Policy changes in the People’s Republic in 1949, 1965, 1979, and 2009 have been dramatic. The first two provided near universal public health, and then basic primary health care, decreasing infant mortality from 200 to 34 per 1000 live births, and raising life expectancy from 35 to 65 years. Market-based reforms after 1979 saw state expenditures drop and health outcomes for the rural majority decline until a new round of reform attempts in the 2000s.

Health Policy Reform in China examines only the very recent round of reforms in China’s health policy from the perspective of comparative health economics. In part 1, Qian and Blomqvist introduce the results of moving away from a centrally planned health system toward a market-based one in the 1980s—central government subsidies for health care were reduced and patients faced higher charges as hospitals marked up drugs and added new fees. Insurance coverage from rural cooperative medical schemes and urban insurance were reduced. The economy of China boomed, but health care became a burden for a growing number of Chinese.

Qian and Blomqvist argue that a mixture of state and market mechanisms are the best model. Throughout the book, the authors offer comparisons to the UK and the Netherlands as positive models. They claim that all health-care economists agree on two basic requirements for health-care reform: equity and efficiency. Each system approaches these differently, with the NHS in Britain covering all residents equally, while adopting supply-side incentives where patients choose providers, while the Dutch system allows citizens to choose one of many competing social or private insurance plans. The US system is rejected for its inequity and inefficiency.

In part 2, Qian and Blomqvist examine the main components of the current health reform, including social insurance systems, primary care, hospital reform, and drug policy. Each component either works toward, or against, the two goals of equity and efficiency. Reformers face the question of whether social insurance should be covered by taxes or by fees, and whether there should be private insurance options. Three systems have developed: the Basic Health Insurance system for urban workers, the new rural Cooperative Medical Scheme, and the Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance. The government chose to take a more active role with the aim of universal coverage by 2012 (the year at which most data in the book ends). A recent report claims that 95 percent of Chinese people are now covered, indicating some measure of success for the new reforms in terms of equity, although it admits that the problem of expense and limited access despite insurance coverage has not yet been solved (Wen Xueguo and Fang Zhiwu, Zhongguo yiyao weisheng tizhi gaige baogao 2014-2015, Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press, 349). Reforms to balance primary and hospital care and improve drug policy aim to address these.

Part 3 examines inequality in healthcare as part of the CCP’s slogan of “harmonious development,” and the authors argue that providing equal care to all Chinese is not currently realistic, and instead suggest that the government should guarantee access to “at least a basic menu of health services and drugs to everyone, including the poor” (239). Part 4 looks to the future of China’s health system and posits that a compromise solution between markets and government purchasing may be reached, as in a number of developed nations such as Canada or Japan. Finally, Qian and Blomqvist see the most likely outcome being that China will follow the Dutch model of a mixed private and public health insurance scheme.

This is a technical book for policy makers and economists and a weakness is the lack of historical perspective. Qian and Blomqvist admit that the Maoist-era government “could point to its health policy as a comparative success,” yet they nonetheless feel that the Reform Era of dismantling central planning has been “a vast improvement in comparison with what had gone before it” (3). Yet only one page later, the authors include UN data that demonstrates the opposite in one simple chart: life expectancy in China shot up dramatically between 1965 and 1975, the period of most intense revolutionary egalitarian health policies, only to return, in the Reform Era, to the standard rate of increase for developed economies.

The authors praise decentralization and privatization against the influence of officials (89-91). This small-government, decentralized approach fails to acknowledge that a private health bureaucracy creates at least as much inefficiency and waste as a centralized one. Ironically, the authors admit that “a large body of skilled managers” will be needed, “if the system is to be managed in a decentralized fashion” (90). The shift to a market-based health-care system “has not led to higher productivity, [but] … only to substantially higher costs and more waste of resources” (12). Thirty years of market reforms have led to more untreated illness today than when the reforms began, as sick people wait to seek treatment until symptoms reach a crisis point, and providers push unnecessary and expensive treatments and medication to raise their income. The authors do not address the widespread phenomenon of desperate patients who physically assault health-care providers, euphemized as “the doctor-patient relationship” (yihuan guanxi). While one may hope that China will achieve greater health equity under the current reforms, one could well wonder if the hybrid market reforms suggested here are merely a case of treating the symptom rather than the disease.

David Luesink, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA

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FORGING CHINA’S MILITARY MIGHT: A New Framework for Assessing Innovation. Edited by Tai Ming Cheung. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. vi, 295 pp. (Figures, tables.) $24.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-4214-1158-3.

As a result of China’s reform movement since the 1980s, the People’s Liberation Army (the PLA, as China’s army, air, naval, and strategic missile forces are collectively known) has experienced a wave of growth and change in the past thirty years. The ongoing changes and the inevitable implications in Asia-Pacific security have attracted great academic attention in the West, especially in the United States. As a leading scholar in the field, Tai Ming Cheung has brought together a group of first-string experts and their students in a new effort to provide a better understanding of the progress and problems of PLA modernization and what it means to the United States. The underlying research in the book reflects more than three years of continuous collaborative efforts under Cheung’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) at the University of California. His collection of nine essays offers a comprehensive and insightful assessment of the Chinese defense science and technology (S&T) in the 2010s. Any China specialist, military analyst, strategist, Chinese historian, teacher, and student of international relations in East Asia will find the volume’s previously unpublished sources of great interest and will value the important, novel questions it raises. This collection deserves close reading, particularly in view of the tension that still goes on in the South China Sea between the PLA and the US armed forces.

The nine essays cover three major issues of Chinese defense science and technology capabilities. Chapters 1, 2, and 6 develop some frameworks of analysis to Chinese defense innovation, including “a rigorous definition” (3) of defense innovation, a “framework for understanding Chinese defense and military innovation” (23), and an approach to Beijing’s “dual-use, defense-oriented innovation ecosystem” (139). Chapters 3, 4, 8, and 9 apply the conception and frameworks to an analysis of the Chinese navy, air force, missile industry, and aerospace programs as case studies. These chapters also examine the defense-innovation-related organizations, administration, operation, and civil-military relations by studying, for example, the PLA’s Science and Technology Committee (STC) and military representative offices (MROs). Chapters 5 and 7 explore the status of the PLA modernization in Chinese politics and international defense industrial relations. The former points out that China “has crafted a strategy that is focused on greatly expanding its utilization of civil-military integration (CMI)” (109) by examining Hu Jintao’s government in the 2000s. The latter places China in the “lower parts of the Tier 2 category” as one of the “adapters and modifiers” in the global defense industry because the Chinese defense industry “demonstrates few capacities for designing and producing relatively advanced conventional weapon systems” (5) and “China appears still to have only limited indigenous technological capabilities, relative to the West” (203). Nevertheless, Cheung concludes that China’s “enormous scale and intensity of this technological and industrial undertaking has not been seen since the Cold War days of intense US-Soviet technological and military rivalry” (273). He warns that it will undermine regional security, since the Asia-Pacific countries, including the United States, “have been taking steps to beef up their regional defense capabilities through weapons acquisitions or adjusting their military strategies and force deployments” (277).

The contributors have done incredible research on such a comprehensive subject in a single volume. Their multi-lingual capabilities and multiple-perspective approach have distinguished this book from most previous works. Therefore, this book makes three significant contributions to the scholarship in the field. First, the book compares the defense industry of China with those of other countries, including the United States, Britain, Russia, Italy, India, and Turkey. Its comparative perspective identifies China’s rapidly increased defense budget (at least fivefold over the past fifteen years) with the world’s second-highest defense R&D budget, and locates its innovation sources both domestically and internationally. Second, its diachronic discussions explore the reasons and factors for the PLA’s changes and constraints on the implementation of reforms, as well as the outcome of those efforts. Through their detailed narrative, the chapters capture the essence of successive generations of the PLA while illuminating the themes and patterns of its modernization. Third, the innovation patterns and models studied in the volume, such as China’s high-cost, high-end “gold-plated” approach, provide some predictive power to see the future of the PLA S&T. The Chinese defense industry will develop sophisticated weapons in some areas “that are able to match those of the United States and other advanced rivals” (277).

However, like most other essay collections, its chapters could have been better connected to each other in terms of narratives and analysis. Its introduction seems more a commentary or a conclusive summation of the essays than an entryway. Also, the book needs to be consistent in format and style. For instance, a few chapters use the Chinese characters and Hanyu Pinyin both in the text and endnotes, some only use the Chinese characters in the endnotes, and others don’t use them at all. The name of a well-known Chinese science and technology university in Beijing has traditional Wade-Giles spelling as “Tsinghua University” (China’s MIT) on pages 13 and 149, but in Hanyu Pinyin as “Qinghua University” on pages 115 and 247. A list of abbreviations and maps of China may be necessary for students and grade-school teachers who are not familiar with the military phrases and Chinese provinces and cities. A glossary and a note on transliteration would also help in navigating Chinese names and places that are largely alien to Western readers.

Xiaobing Li, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, USA

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THE CHANGING POLICY-MAKING PROCESS IN GREATER CHINA: Case Research from Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Comparative Development and Policy in Asia, 15. Edited by Bennis Wai Yip So and Yuang-kuang Kao. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xviii, 233 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$160.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-71130-2.

This edited volume, with contributions by scholars from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, presents case study research on public policy making in the three Chinese societies. The book, consisting of twelve chapters, covers four areas regarding the role of civic engagement, legislature, mass media, and bureaucracy in public policy making in the three entities in the Greater China region. The chapters are rich in information. I applaud the contributing authors for following the same structural format, with the description of the case and discussion/analysis of the case. The most obvious commonality among the three entities is that they are all ethnic Chinese societies. Other features shared by the three societies, as pointed out in the preface of the book, are a high level of popular political dissatisfaction and the transitional nature of these societies. Differences among them are also obvious: recent history, political system, civil liberty, and political culture. Mainland China experienced a violent revolution in the late 1940s and went on a socialist experiment for three decades before adopting market-driven reform in the late 1970s. Both Hong Kong and Taiwan had colonial experiences, with the former being a colony of Great Britain for over one hundred years and the latter being colonized by Japan for fifty years. While Mainland China remains an authoritarian state with limited civil liberties, Hong Kong can be classified as a semi-democracy with extensive civil liberties and Taiwan has been a full-fledged Western-style democracy for over two decades.

Despite the differences, one can conclude several similar developments in these three Chinese societies with regard to the public policy-making process. Public participation in public policy making has increased in all three societies, even in authoritarian Mainland China. It should be pointed out that other than legal civic engagement, unconventional political participation acts such as street protests, public petitions, and Internet discussions have become major forms of public participation in public policy making in Mainland China. In fact, street protests have become an extremely effective way for the public to “get things done.” Chinese local government is quite sensitive to public street protests due to its concern with maintaining local political stability. The most cited official figure for street protest occurrrences in China was 87,000 in 2005 (Zhao Peng et al., “The Warning Signal of ‘typical social protests’,” Outlook Weekly, September 8, 2008, 36). According to a Wall Street Journal report, the figure reached 180,000 in 2010 (Tom Orlik, “Unrest Grows as Economy Booms,” Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Perry, an influential scholar on contentious politics in China, even argues that social protests have become a normal form of political participation for ordinary Chinese in Chinese politics and these activities actually contribute to social stability in China because protesters use these occasions to vent their anger and have their demands met (Challenge the mandate of heaven: Social protest and state power in China, Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2002). Another similar development among the three entities is the increasing role played by mass media in governmental decision-making processes. While media behaviour in both Taiwan and Hong Kong is similar to that in any democratic setting, how media functions in Mainland China is somewhat interesting. For example, due to their need to appeal to the market, Chinese central media organs have carved out a critical role for themselves in exposing the wrongdoings of local governments in China. This is fully demonstrated in the case study of the “big-headed babies” incident in the book.

Though informative, this edited volume also suffers from several deficiencies. First of all, the book needs a strong introductory chapter. Currently it only has a weak preface. Ideally in the introductory chapter, the editors would lay out an overarching theoretical framework to connect the case studies together. Second, it is never clearly stated why Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong were chosen for this edited volume, other than the fact that all three are Chinese societies. Were they chosen for comparative purposes? Was “most similar system design” the main consideration for the selection of the three cases? If so, culture should be the common ground for the three societies. Yet, culture is not explicitly used as an explaining variable in the case studies from the three societies. Similarly, political system is an obvious difference between Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Again, it is not treated as a key explaining variable by the contributing authors in their case studies. This brings up my last criticism of the book: the chapters do not “talk” to each other. It seems that specific case studies in the book were chosen randomly, without an attempt to relate them to one another. The three chapters in the bureaucracy section are cases in point. The Mainland China case is about selective policy implementation or policy non-compliance by local Chinese government. The Taiwan case discusses bureaucratic neutrality, while the Hong Kong case talks about the continuity of Hong Kong bureaucracy before and after China’s takeover of Hong Kong in 1997. Readers cannot find much to connect the three cases. These case studies could have been much better connected with each other if political system were used as an explanatory variable.

Yang Zhong, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA

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MY TIBETAN CHILDHOOD: When Ice Shattered Stone. By Naktsang Nulo; translation provided by Angus Cargill and Sonam Lhamo; edited and abridged by Angus Cargill. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. liv, 286 pp. (Illustrations, map.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5726-1.

In a forward to this important volume, the 14th Dalai Lama writes, “My Tibetan Childhood is the autobiography of a young Tibetan that vividly describes the brutal repression of Tibet by Chinese forces in the 1950s” (ix). However, Naktsang Nulo’s memoir is much more than a story of Chinese aggression and Tibetan victimization. While there have been numerous accounts of Tibet under Maoist rule, most have been produced in exile and often in English, deliberate attempts to raise international attention for Tibet’s plight. A few others have been co-written by Western scholars, primarily for an academic readership. By contrast, when in 2007 the original edition appeared on bookshelves as Joys and Sorrows of the Naktsang Boy (Nags tsang zhi lu’i skyid sdug), written in colloquial Amdo Tibetan, it represented the first critical account of the 1950s in Tibet published within the People’s Republic of China. This is therefore an insider account written for insiders, an audience that experienced the events described within living memory, but also one that continues to negotiate the uncomfortable choices demanded of Tibetans living within China today.

Among its many contributions, My Tibetan Childhood contains the first detailed descriptions of 1958’s Amdo Rebellion and the state’s brutal response, as well as horrific accounts of mass starvation during the Great Leap Forward. In his extremely insightful introduction, Robert Barnett remarks, “This may thus be the first known eyewitness account of atrocities carried out by the PLA in Tibet or elsewhere in China to have appeared in print within the PRC” (xxxiv). Significantly, Naktsang narrates his story in the “unvarnished” voice of a child, “what he saw, what he heard, and what he thought” (1). Of course, the author’s claims of historical accuracy should be treated with the same caution as any attempt at historical reconstruction from individual memory. Nonetheless, as Barnett suggests, this literary device allows an otherwise hyper-political story to be told outside the rhetorical frameworks that usually accompany accounts of Tibet’s recent past. He writes, “In the child’s world, political rationalizations for destructive actions do not make sense; only moral values about human relations apply” (xxxviii). So, for example, it is not clear if the author considers “Tibet” to have been a singular, historical ethno-political community. However, his story is rife with references to fierce regionalism and intercommunity violence that might suggest otherwise. Likewise, Naktsang makes no attempt to explain the events that led to the violent confrontation between the Chinese state and Amdo Tibetans. Nor does he offer an opinion as to what caused the great starvation that in less than six months killed 95 percent of the 1600 children and elderly inhabitants of Ratsang School—with tragic irony referred to as “Joyous Home” (262). However, it is not lost upon the reader that Chinese soldiers bivouacked nearby had plenty to eat. And it is with astonishment but little further comment that Naktsang describes a Speaking Bitterness Meeting during which a Tibetan mob savagely murdered two lamas and their attendants.

Furthermore, the “joys” and “sorrows” from Naktsang’s original title do not simply reflect a rupture between “traditional” Tibet and what the author refers to as the “time of revolution,” when “the earth and the sky were turned upside down” (7). In fact, during the first half of the book Naktsang encounters almost no Chinese. Instead, he paints an engrossing and often unflattering portrait of social, political, and economic life on the Amdo grasslands prior to the arrival of the People’s Liberation Army. This includes a fascinating description of the six-month caravan trip to Lhasa, which combined religious pilgrimage with economic adventurism. Yet, as viewed through the child’s eyes, this was a world filled with violence and injustice. Monastic officials were corrupt, capricious and callous. Wealth was fleeting, human existence precarious. Nakstang’s father repeatedly served as victim to this unjust world. However, his father also embodied the positive characteristics of an Amdo Tibetan—loyalty to family and friends, rugged individualism, personal integrity, and the spirit of self-sacrifice—that in Naktsang’s memories bound this society together and allowed it to function according to a set of unwritten rules.

Imperfect though it may have been, for Nakstang Nulo this life came to an end the day his father was killed and he and his band of refugees were captured by the PLA. Although occurring more than halfway through the book, September 9, 1958—“The day of our destruction”—is the first time a specific date appears in the text, as if even the temporal rhythms of his old life had been dislodged (181). Yet, this transformation takes on a new dimension when we recall that the boy who had once vowed revenge against his father’s killers, instead would become a functionary of that state. Thus, the author himself may personify a troubling disconnect, one that is reflected in the book’s provocative final paragraphs. Having survived his harrowing stay at “Joyous Home,” Naktsang suddenly shifts to the voice of his elder self. Obliquely and perhaps ironically referring to the promises of the post-Mao period, he suggests that Amdo Tibetans continue to inhabit a world thrust upon them by outside forces, one in which the massive dislocations of the past have not been remedied. “Now we have grown up and are able to practice our religion and dedicate prayers to [our father],” he states before somberly adding, “We are also certain that we will have a chance to return to our native land, and all our relatives will greet us” (268).

Nakstang Nulo insists that his only purpose in writing of the “inconceivable suffering” experienced during “the times of great change” (4) is to preserve its memory for future Tibetan generations, remarking, “They know nothing of this era in history because no detailed account of it can be found in any history book” (7). With the publication of My Tibetan Childhood, this little-known history is now available to a far wider audience. Anyone interested in modern Tibetan or Chinese history—scholars, students, and the general public alike—should be grateful.

Benno Ryan Weiner, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA

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LOCAL GOVERNANCE INNOVATION IN CHINA: Experimentation, Diffusion, and Defiance. Routledge Contemporary China Series, 122. Edited by Jessica C. Teets and William Hurst. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xvi, 181 pp. (Illustrations, maps.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-74785-1.

This edited volume makes a significant contribution to a burgeoning literature on sub-national policy experimentation and diffusion in China. Bringing together nine rich and varied case studies, the volume sets out to more systematically theorize the pathways and processes of local policy innovation and diffusion, important for their potential to effect large-scale change. Four distinct patterns of policy diffusion are identified: top-down, bottom-up, inter-regional and intra-provincial. Each of these is found to have a different relationship to factors that commonly explain policy innovation and diffusion: persistent local governance challenges linked to cadre promotion criteria are found to drive most cases of local innovation, but only cause subnational diffusion. Central support can rapidly spread local initiatives nationally, but absent local need, centrally driven policies can encounter local resistance and innovative reinterpretation, behaviour which can spread regionally. Bureaucratic competition between government branches can also affect the speed of diffusion.

The case studies reveal how widespread local policy innovation and diffusion are across different policy areas. Highlighting the flexibility sub-national authorities can have, Ciqi Mei and Margaret Pearson’s chapter explains a case of defiance of Beijing`s attempts to curb local steel production. The authors show how a dynamic process of action, learning, and reaction shapes local behaviour. Observing how Beijing punished one offending steel producer to deter others, local governments and other producers calculated that the rewards of continued growth outweighed the probability and costs of punishment. Defiance thus spread, and steel production grew. Anna Lora-Wainwright also highlights how iterated, strategic interaction influences innovation and diffusion. As national urbanization policy extended to a Sichuan village, it was met not with resistance but with innovative individual responses to capitalize on the process. In response to a proposed development plan requiring village relocation, many villagers increased their house sizes in hopes of winning additional compensation. This strategy spread to such an extent that it ended up risking implementation of the plan due to higher compensation costs.

Kun-Chin Lin and Shaofeng Chen analyze another instance of strategic central-local interaction, this time in the area of state-owned enterprise (SOE) restructuring. The authors present two cases where centre and locality block each other’s initiatives and try to impose their own. When centrally mandated enterprise restructuring cut local governments off from enterprise-generated revenues, local governments developed countermeasures to preserve access to these revenues. One municipality leveraged its regulatory authority to extract side payments from a restructured firm. Another managed to implant its loyalists into a privatized firm’s new management to protect the locality’s claim on revenues, foiling part—but not all—of the intent of the central policies. William Hurst outlines a similar outcome in his chapter on privatization of a county-level SOE. He describes how local elites, faced with the centrally mandated privatization program, bent the policy to their advantage in order to retain access to the firm’s resources. Through a complex set of political and economic maneuvers, local officials orchestrated what Hurst calls a partial reform equilibrium under which local elites extracted benefits at the expense of both workers’ and central policy makers’ interests. While the objective of privatization was formally achieved, other central objectives of ending local political interference and access to firm resources were not. These cases demonstrate the dynamic, interactive nature of local innovation and policy diffusion, underpinning a key argument of the volume: that policy outcomes are a product of political compromise which may not yield socially optimal policies. Many cases highlight the formal institutions and structures shaping these interactive processes, and how informal institutions are developed to mediate between central dictates and local realities. Meina Cai describes how Zhejiang and Chongqing officials facing conflicting mandates (economic development and centrally imposed land-use restrictions) created land-use quota exchanges. Less developed counties traded their land development quotas for payments and investment from more developed counties, allowing the latter to build on more land than normally permitted. While central land-use quotas were violated at the county level, at the provincial level they balanced out to remain compliant with central rules. Similarly, Marie-Eve Rény outlines how some localities developed a more flexible policy of containment for unregistered Protestant house churches than Beijing’s harder-line policy of cooptation or repression. Containment is an informal agreement where house churches provide information to local police in exchange for a permissive approach to their activities, so long as they don’t threaten social stability. Rény argues the practice makes governance more effective and less costly, although the stricter central policy is an obstacle to wider diffusion.

May Farid’s chapter underlines another key argument of the volume, that the fragmented structure of the political system opens spaces for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to support “system innovation.” Farid argues that NGOs can affect discourse on issues or pursue direct advocacy, but cannot mobilize opposition. An incremental process of micro-influence is described, whereby NGOs support local officials with expertise and capacity, offering advice, feedback, training and service delivery, and even policy solutions and demonstration sites—bearing some of the risks of local experimentation.

Finally, John James Kennedy and Dan Chen’s chapter details how local innovation has become an end in itself for many local cadres, as it may be rewarded—and influenced—by superiors. Looking at electoral process innovations, the authors note that innovations challenging Communist Party authority (such as direct elections for township head) are quickly halted. On the other hand, they observe an explosion of less significant “innovative” adjustments of electoral procedures, particularly those which strengthen grassroots Party control—in line with current central preferences.

This volume firmly establishes the frequency, diversity, and importance of local innovation and diffusion in China’s broader policy process, noting China’s capacity to effectively address its myriad governance challenges is at stake. It begins to lay theoretical groundwork to explain this diversity with its typology of diffusion patterns, and their relationship to several key structural, agent-centred, and contextual variables. Given its specialization, it is most suitable for those with some prior understanding of China’s political system. Having advanced our understanding of the intertwining structures and processes involved in local initiative, the volume rightly calls for more research which emphasizes disaggregating the state, the interaction between its different levels, and the role of non-state actors.

Stephen Trott, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

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A MIDDLE CLASS WITHOUT DEMOCRACY: Economic Growth and the Prospects for Democratization in China. By Jie Chen. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014, c2013. xvi, 210 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$50.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-938561-4.

Jie Chen has written an accessible contribution to the theoretical debates on the relationship between development and democracy, with findings that are relevant to issues of late and late-late developers, post-Communist transition, and authoritarian states in general, as well as to the crucial questions of the role of middle class in democratic transitions and in China in particular. Using excellent probability sample survey data and in-depth qualitative interviews, Chen runs bivariate and multivariate regressions to rigorously test a set of hypotheses common among academics, pundits, and policy makers about the inevitability of democracy in middle-level income countries. His findings should make scholars and politicians alike sit up and take notice.

While not completely comprehensive in its treatment of debates around democracy, leaving out recent discussions of the meaning of the zigzag in democratic development in Latin America and elsewhere and only briefly mentioning the debates about premature or illiberal democracies (overlooking Guillermo O’Donnell’s contributions entirely), the book still provides excellent summaries of debates such as the role of economic development and the middle class in creating democracy (3-10), definitions of “middle class” by subjective or objective criteria, and by quantitative vs. qualitative measures (30-33), and models of China’s new middle-class growth using market-transition vs. state-centric models (43-44). Chen conducted well-designed random surveys and interviews in Beijing, Chengdu, and Xi’an to test a wide range of hypotheses related to Chinese classes’ political views. Chen’s definitions and operationalization of relevant concepts such as “support for democracy” (67-75) and support for the state (both diffuse and specific) (80-86) are comprehensively justified. He breaks with many who identify China’s middle class based on income, and convincingly explains his choice of occupation for identifying the middle class (managerial personnel, professionals, and office workers, 35, 64).

Chen’s excellent bivariate and multivariate analyses result in wonderfully well-supported findings, which this short review cannot fully explore. Most dramatically, the Chinese middle class as a whole is shown to be less supportive of democratic principles and institutions than the lower class (77, 112). Chen’s cross-tabulations between the indices of democratic support and political support show that those within the middle class who both support the current CCP regime and who gave high scores for their policy performance are much less supportive of democracy and democratization (89). This negative view of democracy and political change is even stronger among the middle class who work in the party/state or in state-owned enterprises.

Thus Chen finds that the attitudes of the new middle class toward democracy in China today are “contingent”—dependent on the class members’ moral and material connection with the party/state. Those directly in the state bureaucracy or state-owned enterprises (60 percent of the sample) are even less supportive of democracy than the middle class as a whole, confirming what has been found across the developing world (89 and chapters 4 and 6). Those in the middle class who work within the state sector only have a “high” support for democracy in 11 percent of the sample, while those outside the state sector have a high support for democracy 49 percent of the time (101). Interestingly, the middle class is more inclined to vote in elections the more they dislike democracy (133). Among all respondents, by contrast, supporters of democracy were dramatically less likely to vote than those who supported the current party/state system. Students of democratic developments in China would be well served to keep this in mind when crunching numbers and positing implications of electoral participation in China. Chen also shows that the middle class has much greater support for the political regime and its fundamental values, norms, and institutions (84), making it highly unlikely that this class will be a source of democratic pressure. Chen points out that contrary views of the Chinese middle class have not used probability surveys as he did, thus his findings are more robust (80).

Chen argues that all the so-called democratic institutions of current-day China are not only pseudo-democratic, but have been carefully designed by the CCP to be politically, structurally, and ideologically constrained to serve the ultimate political goal of state legitimacy, not democratization (chapter 5). “Not only has the CCP severely restricted the scope and format of electoral activities and deliberations, but it has also made relentless efforts to control the substance of the activities and deliberations to make sure that no political view contrary to the CCP’s ‘four cardinal principles’ sneaks into the local elections” (126). Unfortunately, the citations Chen’s literature reviews on China are often drawn from the 1990s and do not include recent developments and innovations. Relatedly, the “Chinese party/state” is portrayed quite monolithically, ignoring long-standing debates about the fragmentation of its authoritarianism.
The entirely urban focus of the book should have been repeated in text and in tables to make sure the findings were appropriately qualified. Chen does not cite any current proponents of modernization theory, but still makes shooting down its prediction of development leading to democracy one of his key points, missing an opportunity to engage policy and popular debate, where the theory is alive and well.

In the conclusion, Chen includes a broad pan-Asian comparative analysis of the role of the middle class. It appears clear that so long as the majority of China’s middle class remains tied to the party/state, both institutionally and ideationally (160), formal channels of political participation will continue to be used in ways that support the party/state. Written in a clear, engaging style, with effortlessly readable literature reviews of academic debates, this volume should be considered a must-read for those directly researching issues of development and democracy as well as those teaching in relevant undergraduate or graduate programs. This reviewer has decided to use parts of the book both in a China-specific upper-level undergraduate Chinese politics class and in a development-oriented class this year.

Michelle S. Mood, Kenyon College, Gambier, USA

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DAUGHTER OF GOOD FORTUNE: A Twentieth-Century Chinese Peasant Memoir. By Chen Huiqin with Shehong Chen; introduction by Delia Davin. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015. xii, 348 pp. (B&W photos, map.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-295-99492-5.

Biographies of women of the subaltern classes in China are few and far between. It is seventy years since Ida Pruitt wrote Daughter of Han, her transcription of the life story of a poor woman from the end of empire, through Japanese occupation and Nationalist government, to the eve of Communist victory. Daughter of Good Fortune is, like Pruitt’s book, a detailed memoir dictated by a woman of limited literacy to a sympathetic amanuensis, in this case a daughter. Chen Huiqin’s account begins around the time Daughter of Han left off and runs through to the time of writing.

Chen Huiqin is an archetypal beneficiary of Deng Xiaoping’s policy of reform and opening, the movement started in the early 1980s that disbanded the People’s Communes of the Mao era, permitting farming on an individual or family basis, and encouraging industrial enterprise at the local level. Chen Huiqin, from Jiading County on the outskirts of Shanghai, is a member of the class that was once categorized as peasants, but she, and many of her neighbours, realized their dream to become urbanites, with the security and state support that new status entailed, through hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. She and her husband, a former Communist Party official, endured the turmoil of the 1950s and 1960s, rode the reform wave and the real estate boom of the last two decades of the twentieth century, and now find themselves modestly prosperous, living in an elegant modern townhouse complex, their children educated and successful, and able to enjoy their old age at a level of comfort their forbears could never have imagined.

The book is a memoir of village life seen in microcosm: the momentous historical events intrude and influence, but the focus is on the daily life of Chen Huiqin and her family. In the hard times of the early years of the people’s Republic, it is Chen Huiqin who holds the family together, with help from her parents, while her husband is away on Party business; the story cuts, sometimes abruptly, between details of work and events in the life of family members, as they are important to her. Later in the memoir, as family fortunes improve, profitable business ventures and home improvements are described in considerable detail, along with the increasingly elaborate family occasions of the newly rich. However good things get, however, Chen Huiqin is not one to relax completely: “I tried everything to increase income,” she writes, “it had become a habit for me not to lose an opportunity to make money” (210). And as much as she admires her business-owner son’s generosity towards his employees, she expresses concern that he might be giving away more than he really should.

In Daughter of Good Fortune we see none of the romanticism about the peasantry that characterizes writings dating from the years of Chinese socialism. After describing her eighteen-year-old daughter’s arduous labour on a Mao-era public construction project in winter, something that might previously have been represented as glorious shared endeavour, Chen Huiqin comments: “Peasant life was too harsh” (162). There is also surprisingly little attachment to ancestral dwelling-places: when land is developed for industry or housing and the chance comes to get away, “[m]ost rural people in our area hoped that their village or house would be in the zone of rural expansion so that they would be relocated” (270). What remains constant is a tenacious devotion to the traditional rituals and ceremonies of family life, particularly weddings and funerals, even at times when such observances are frowned upon. In the austere atheism of the Cultural Revolution, when burials and funerals are prohibited, Chen Huiqin and her husband set up an altar at home to mourn her mother with appropriate reverence before heading off to the crematorium; and the perfunctory weddings of those days, with their simple gifts of candy from the bride and groom, are regarded with disdain, and contrast sharply with the narrator’s relish for the elaborate wedding of a granddaughter in the twenty-first century. Though Chen Huiqin’s husband was a Communist official, religion rather than political ideology predominates: she is a devout woman who daily burns incense and chants the name of Amitabha Buddha, and who continues “to hold the traditional rituals to remember our ancestors and pay respects to Heaven, Earth, and bodhisattvas” (281).

Chen Huiqin’s good fortune includes having as a daughter a professor at an American university who embodies the traditional virtue of filial devotion. In this labour of love, Shehong Chen appears to have produced a faithful and meticulous transcription of her mother’s narrative. In doing so, she has done a great service not only to Chen Huiqin, but also to readers who would like to understand the transformation of village life currently underway in China.

Richard King, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada

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FANTASY ISLANDS: Chinese Dreams and Ecological Fears in an Age of Climate Crisis. A Philip E. Lilienthal Book. By Julie Sze. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2015. 235 pp. (Figures, map.) US$26.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28448-7.

The pace and scale of urban development in contemporary China is unmatched in human history. The social and environmental implications of this are hotly debated. Many decry the forced displacement of long-time city residents or periurban farmers to make way for new construction, or the increased resource consumption that now makes China the world’s largest carbon emitter. Others point to the opportunity to build energy-efficient technologies and resource-conserving designs into new buildings and entire city plans. Such plans for an “eco-city” on Chongming Island, outside of Shanghai, inspired Julie Sze to apply a critical view to narratives around “ecological” urban development in China. She consciously draws on her background as both an American Studies scholar and a descendent of emigrants from Chongming to unpack the stories that international developers and the Chinese government tell about cities, technology, and globalization.

Fantasy Islands is organized around three case studies, each a fantasy in some sense: the Dongtan eco-city on Chongming, billed as the world’s largest such project but never built; the “One City, Nine Towns” projects that have incongruously attempted to replicate various European styles in real estate developments around Shanghai; and the 2010 World Expo that, like many prior world’s fairs, presents its host country’s vision of a global future. Sze punctuates her personal observations with details about the development ambitions of each site drawn from a wide range of academic and journalistic sources. The picture that emerges from the three cases is of American and European architects uncritically embracing the Chinese government’s ambitions to promote urbanization, globalization, and technological solutions to social and environmental challenges.

Sze draws on the theoretical framing of James Scott’s influential book Seeing Like a State (1998) and Warren Magnussen’s subsequent article “Seeing Like a City” (in the book Critical Urban Studies, 2010), which call attention to issues of power relations in state-initiated projects. The Chinese government’s development strategy is based in a “top-down and technocratic view of environmental development” (101). While promising to address urgent environmental problems—most notably, global climate change—it also has the potential to make a great deal of money for transnational architectural and engineering firms. These motivations can lead international environmentalists and developers alike “to a willful blindness to the negative consequences of projects that … end up creating or exacerbating other social injustices” (28).

Fantasy Islands offers a much-needed critique of the collusion between the Chinese state and key transnational developers, pointing out the language of “eco-desire” that permeates their public statements and promotional materials. However, while the book comprehensively reviews the secondary literature around the three case studies, we hear relatively few of the voices of the people displaced by these developments. Sze cites one example of a human rights case brought by a family displaced by the World Expo, but that is countered by an official statement that “the relocation has been widely acclaimed by residents” (127-128). The story of a family friend still living in a crowded, outdated apartment suggests “why some Shanghainese are … unsentimental about relocation and change, especially if it means more money, a little more privacy, and cleanliness” (49). No doubt that represents many urbanites’ views, but that perspective is not shared by the displaced farmers and villagers who are responsible for thousands of protests across China each year, some violent. Some have had their relocation stipends skimmed off by corrupt officials, or been displaced multiple times (Chongming itself was a relocation site for farmers displaced by the Three Gorges Dam project).

Even the urbanites’ attitudes about these new developments are shaped by the relentless state rhetoric that maps “urban” and “international” onto “modern” and “desirable.” The target of this rhetoric is primarily domestic, a point readers could miss in Sze’s discussion of the English-language marketing materials for the projects, such as the slogan for the World Expo (“Better City, Better Life”); as she does note, “the official meaning changes based on whether it is aimed at English- or Chinese-speaking audiences” (139) (a better translation of the Chinese slogan might be “Cities Make Life Better”). The domestic propaganda purpose of the fair is clear in the words of a designer of one of the pavilions celebrating urban life: fair visitors from across China “come here to understand the city and to know what the city is. This is the original goal of the expo and also why our country invested so much money in this expo to make Chinese people … realize their world citizenship” (145). Sze dismisses as vague bureaucratic language the official designation of the Chongming project as a “test point” for the construction of “ecological civilization” (38), but that term situates this endeavour in the Chinese Communist Party’s longstanding practice of using test points and model units to popularize various policies, a point that would not be missed by a domestic audience.

Fantasy Islands concludes with a conversation with the reader about the lessons of the book, gained from the author’s “uniquely American vantage point [as a] prototypical immigrant offspring, … an Asian American suspicious of China-bashing as much as a committed environmentalist” (162-163). In addition to meeting Sze’s goal of “interject[ing] some healthy skepticism into the eco-city trend,” the book succeeds in demonstrating how an American Studies scholar can bridge disciplinary and geographical boundaries to contribute to the ever-growing literature on the city in China. Her warning “against any simple design or technological fix” for environmental challenges will resonate as these urban models from Shanghai continue to spread across China and beyond.

Mark Henderson, Mills College, Oakland, USA

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GREEN INNOVATION IN CHINA: China’s Wind Power Industry and the Global Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Joanna I. Lewis. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. xx, 282 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-231-15331-7.

Today it is widely known that China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases by volume, mainly due to the continued dominance of fossil fuels in energy production. In fact, the country’s energy sector is the largest single source of climate-warming emissions globally. In Green Innovation in China, the result of nine years research, Joanna Lewis takes as her focus a low-carbon power source that has seen unprecedented growth in China and is therefore of crucial importance: wind energy. The country now has the biggest wind power market in the world, its installed capacity having increased over a hundredfold from 2000 to 2010 (1).

China now builds almost all of its wind turbines at home. It therefore offers not only an example of a transition from carbon-intensive growth towards low-carbon economic development, underpinned by China’s domestic policies and reflected to varying extents in its changing position in the United Nations climate-change negotiations—an important context that Lewis outlines clearly in the book’s second chapter—but also valuable insights into the process of innovation in energy, particularly for relative latecomers, and the government and business strategies that have underpinned this: from technology transfer and diffusion, to networks of learning, the emergence of Chinese green energy leaders, and, ultimately, to technological leapfrogging.

To better understand China’s place in the wind power innovation system as it has developed around the world, Lewis’s third chapter explores the national and multinational networks of public and private institutions that have funded and supported innovative activity in this sector, with a particular focus on China’s national innovation system and the laws, Five-Year Plans, scientific institutions, and mechanisms for government support that have sustained it through the period of China’s ongoing and evolving market reforms. This includes discussions of China’s absorptive capacity, incentives and decisions around localization of manufacturing and the barriers posed by factors as diverse as tariffs, gaps in indigenous technical capacity, and failings in quality control.

Lewis’s fourth chapter focuses on the role of foreign technology. The author discusses the early decisions taken by international turbine manufacturers in engaging with China, including Denmark’s Vestas, Spain’s Gamesa, Germany’s Nordex and the United States’ GE, by pursuing joint ventures or localizing production to meet local content requirements. These detailed profiles illustrate the changing policy environment for foreign firms in the era of reform and opening up, and the diverse ways in which technology transfer to China was achieved in this context, from mergers and movements of employees, to licensing and collaborations with China’s universities and research institutes. This brings the reader up to the environment of today, in which foreign companies face not only price competition in China, but also a policy environment that assists research, development, and deployment in its domestic wind industry “in a manner not unlike that of Denmark and the United States in the 1980s” (113), at a time when government support in industrialized countries has waned.

This is particularly important, since the successful results of this sustained government support are evident in Lewis’s fifth chapter, which focuses on Goldwind: China’s “first leading wind turbine manufacturer” (121), a partially state-owned company which had designed one-fifth of wind turbines installed in China by the end of 2010. Goldwind also managed to increase its total R&D investments annually—receiving funds not only from the Chinese government but also international investors, such as the World Bank—developing its own, successful turbine designs. Lewis notes here that domestic wind deployment has suffered delays in connecting to the grid and political barriers to wind integration remain. Given its prominence in debates around renewables in China, it is surprising that this problem of so-called “abandoned wind,” the local implementation gap it exposes, and the fragmented, elite politics that it touches on are not given greater attention in the book.

The process of leapfrogging in wind energy, however, is given close and well-deserved attention in the sixth chapter, with China, South Korea, and India—all late entrants to the global wind power industry—seen using different strategies to foster the development of their own domestic manufacturing firms, in terms of technology transfer and acquisition strategies, domestic policy environments and integration with global learning networks. Leading Indian firm Suzlon, for example, is seen to have pursued an internationally based R&D and manufacturing strategy from the outset, while Goldwind kept an exclusive focus on the Chinese market, with little R&D or manufacturing outside.

Lewis’s final chapter, on the prospects and politics of engaging China on clean energy cooperation, makes clear the contrast between China’s role as developing country in multilateral climate change talks and its increasing ambition when acting bilaterally: so far as to be seen to act as a “superpower” (169) in the context of US-China climate cooperation. This observation proved prescient, given the importance of 2014’s joint US-China announcement on emissions reductions (after Lewis’s book went to press). Her concluding recommendations in this chapter—to expand US-China collaboration on clean energy—also resonate with the details of that agreement.

That political dimension, however, suggests how understanding the prospects for wind energy in China should also include the political and social dimensions of innovation, aspects that technology-focused approaches do not emphasize. There is room for greater attention, for example, to the perspectives, priorities, and practices of China’s provincial and county-level governments, individual entrepreneurs, grid operators, or electricity users themselves. Green Innovation in China is important nonetheless: an accurate and invaluable reference for scholars of development and innovation studies, which while commendably empirically focused, should inform theoretical conversations around diverse global approaches to green transformations, seen in Hubert Schmitz’s How does the Global Power Shift Affect the Low Carbon Transformation? (IDS, 2014), and the dynamic role of government in driving innovation, as discussed in Mariana Mazzucato’s The Entrepreneurial State (Anthem, 2013).

Sam Geall, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom

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FROM FU MANCHU TO KUNG FU PANDA: Images of China in American Film. Critical Interventions. By Naomi Greene. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. xii, 264 pp. (Figures.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3836-2.

Naomi Greene has written a thoughtful and accessible study of “representations of China found in American films” over the course of a century, looking specifically at “images and myths regarding China” (1). As a film studies scholar, Greene deftly integrates various elements of visual representation and historical analysis. Her work expands the rapidly growing body of scholarship in American Orientalism and the cultural Cold War in Asia. Greene’s central argument is that myths and images of China swing in pendulum-like fashion between positive and negative extremes. On the positive side, “China is regarded as an ancient and wise civilization,” and portrayals of Chinese people and culture in Hollywood are connected to beautiful landscapes, venerable sages, and noble traditions. But the underside of such nobility is a more troubling world of “Oriental despots, of Genghis Khan and his marauding hordes, of strange practices and barbaric tortures” (3). While times have changed, many of the images have not. Greene sees current anxiety about China’s rise as an economic power as reprising earlier preoccupations articulated by American missionaries, merchants, and politicians.

Despite significant diversity in the type of cinematic stories that are told about China, when the pendulum swings it does so, Greene convincingly argues, in a repeatedly bifurcated style, saying more about constructions of the American self and other, than China or the Chinese. And, while there are historical periods when such divisions seem to fade or disappear, they can, upon closer analysis, be seen in reconstituted albeit more muted forms. The divide between self and other plays out in both macro and micro contexts and, Greene claims, “reflects and fuels, at the individual level, the distinction between two countries, the United States and China” (12). Limiting her study to analysis of films about China rather than Chinese Americans or Chinese immigrants, Greene reminds us that both groups were, nonetheless, affected by stereotypes and representations on screen (14).

The first three chapters offer a nice fleshing out of issues related to early-twentieth-century films. I particularly appreciated Greene’s discussion of The Bitter Tea of General Yen, The Cat’s-Paw, and The Good Earth. Many scholars have written about both Pearl S. Buck’s wildly popular book and film, but Greene managed to provide a fresh perspective through her discussion of the marginalization of ethnically Chinese/Asian actors and the Caucasian performers who played Chinese characters in yellowface.

The second half of the book is particularly engaging. Chapter 4, “The Cold War in Three Acts,” weaves film analysis with a textured discussion of Sino-US relations, broad transpacific historical tensions, and links between cultural production and anti-Communist sentiment. It illustrates how attitudes about Chinese culture have, despite significant change in China, stayed frozen in time on screen. Audiences today have inherited staid stereotypes and do little to resist them. Chapter 5, “The World Splits in Two,” seems to jump rather abruptly to the 1990s but then meanders between late- and mid-twentieth-century films in a way that prepares the reader to see how past and present are always already in conversation with each other in Hollywood. The political landscape in both China and the US are juxtaposed against each other in considering several late-twentieth and early-twenty-first-century films including Kundun and Seven Years in Tibet. However, even as she keeps several plates in the air, Greene never loses sight of the self/other split and the reprising of themes from earlier eras. We are, thus, prepared for a full-on encounter with postmodernity and its trenchant Sinophobia and American neocolonialism as the book winds its way to a conclusion. But for all of its caution about the ways in which Americans continue to see themselves, and a “hollowed-out” China when they go to the movies, Greene teases out differences and divergences from the historical norm by considering a range of films from the “new” families of Ang Lee, to the revisionist westerns Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights and to animated blockbusters such as Mulan and Kung Fu Panda.

While the focus of the book is, of course, Hollywood, because Greene uses the term “American” film in her subtitle, this reviewer wondered how an already strong study might have been improved by introducing films from Canada, or considering how recent co-productions with a PRC, Taiwanese, or Hong Kong connection would have been in conversation with other films in her archive. After all, Ang Lee, like many ethnically Chinese/Sinophone filmmakers, is simultaneously claimed by various nations when he wins awards, and many of the most established Hollywood studios are, actually, transnational in their production, marketing, and distribution efforts. For all of her care with the integration of films and historical context one wishes for a bit more commentary on how national myths are in conversation with postnational/transnational flows in an age of globalization. But perhaps such themes would have watered down the sorts of clear theoretical/conceptual lines Greene chose to draw.

Greene’s book is that rare gem that will be of use in graduate film studies courses as well as in undergraduate teaching in various departments. But it would be equally interesting to a keen general reader with a desire to think beyond the binaries that are all too apparent as one looks at representations of China in the news currently.


Stacilee Ford, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

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THE GOVERNMENT NEXT DOOR: Neighborhood Politics in Urban China. By Luigi Tomba. Ithaca; London: Cornell University Press, 2014. x, 225 pp. (Figures.) US$75.00, cloth, ISBN 978-0-8014-5282-6; US$22.95, paper, ISBN 978-0-8014-7935-9.

Any visitor who stays in mainland China for a while might wonder about the country’s seeming stability. Ordinary Chinese rarely conceal their grievances about increasing inequality, corruption, and the near death of society as we imagine it. Media reports about peasants’ struggles against land expropriation as well as workers’ protests against labour exploitation have dramatically increased over recent decades. Nevertheless, these class-specific incidents are isolated while everyday conflicts remain “contained,” relatively peacefully, in local neighbourhoods.

The Government Next Door is a significant contribution to interrogating this puzzle. With a sophisticated eye to neighbourhood politics, the book shows how political legitimacy is cultivated and grounded among local residents with various interests and status. Neighbourhoods, the primary research sites of this book, serve as “a window on the flexibility and variations that characterize governmental practices in present-day China” (5). They are places where social structure, ideology, and policy focus are elaborated and concretized through grassroots governances and everyday interactions.

Luigi Tomba analyzes China’s changing political practices and rationalities by focusing on two types of neighbourhoods. One is a working-class neighbourhood in Shenyang, the one-time cradle of socialist industrialism in northeast China, while the other is a gated community for newly emerging middle classes in Beijing. Despite their disparate condition under the nation’s market-driven reforms, impoverished workers in Shanyang and wealthy homeowners in Beijing share in common the fact that their residential areas are no longer subject to old socialist government of urban space. Urban workers, the one-time representatives of the socialist project, have been plunged into dispossession; their neighbourhoods have been shifted to moribund slums amidst the breakdown of the work-unit system. Middle-class professionals in newly-built gated communities insist on their autonomy from state interference while struggling to maintain their property rights and privatized space. Nevertheless, Luigi Tomba argues that the two parties’ relationships with the state have been not so much weakened as reconfigured. Laid-off workers in Shenyang’s public housing compounds are subject to state intervention and required to raise their “quality” (suzhi) in exchange for access to residual welfare and assistance. Salaried middle-class residents in Beijing’s commercial apartment complexes seek social stability and enhance their entrepreneurial consumer identity, which is beneficial to both the state and the market.

Consensus is a primary concept of this book, which provides a clear-cut analysis of the two classes’ contentious but close relationship with state governance. The concept guides us to “a space where bargaining between state and society and within society is made possible through formalized institutions, routinized practices, and discursive boundaries” (169). Neither indicative of political support nor the outcome of good governance, consensus opens a space for bargaining and contestation, in which social actors (are engineered to) accept certain hegemonic values and practices even though they do not entirely approve of the rule of the party-state. Emphasis on social order, evolutionary ideas of development, and aspirations for “modern” citizens and communities permeate a series of discursive activities such as public media, community activism, marketing strategies, and personal interactions, thus producing legitimacy for daily practices of government. The strength of this concept is that it goes beyond the dichotomy of acceptance and resistance. Luigi Tomba tries to capture the tension of state-society relations by asserting that consensus is not forced by the authoritarian regime but constructed through endless negotiations and contestations.

Chapters of this book introduce governing strategies of neighbourhood politics in Shenyang and Beijing: social clustering, micro-governing, social engineering, containing contention, and exemplarism. Each technique acts upon territory, one’s position, housing policy, activism, and one’s conduct, providing a kaleidoscopic topography of neighbourhood governance. Although the summary of each technique is kindly provided in the conclusion, I suggest that the reader should not miss the vivid ethnographic descriptions and in-depth analyses in each chapter. What I found most illuminating among the various strategies described in the book was the section in chapter 3on social engineering, which explains why the new propertied middle class never separate their love for market interests from their approval of state power. This chapter traces the formation of the “salaried middle class” as one of the foundations of the neighbourhood consensus. It delves into a selective redistribution of public assets (especially of housing) for professionals in public sectors and shows how such coordinated policy making helped to associate their interests with those of the state.

I am certain that this book will be discussed enthusiastically by scholars who engage in urban space, class politics, and governmentality in contemporary China. To stimulate this discussion, I want to conclude my review with a few remarks.

First, the analysis of neighbourhood consensus would face compelling complexity if it also includes urban village enclaves (chengzhongcun) other than working-class public housing compounds and middle-class gated communities. Full of migrants whose ties to the state are fragile and who are mostly excluded from the provision of public services, these peripheral enclaves prompt us to question how “the boundaries of a ‘consensual arena’ of interaction between state and society” (20) are to be set when local state agents struggle with a gap between the will to govern and the inability to govern.

Second, the working-class politics in Shenyang’s neighbourhood might be more dynamic and contentious than the author describes. As I argued in my book The Specter of “The People,”(Cornell University Press, 2013), impoverished workers in northeast China invoke the claim of “the people,” i.e., the very language with which the party-state had once identified. This contingent claim not only legitimizes their “rightful” dependence on state paternalism, which Luigi Tomba particularly focuses on in his book, but also prevents these workers from being reduced to nameless, ahistorical “urban poor.” Neighbourhood politics are often caught in the oscillating tension between “the people” as a class and “the people” as a nation.

Finally, what kind of politics does the analysis of consensus lead us to imagine? The author writes, “What is interesting is not how much impact conflicts in such consensual arenas have on democratization or the substantial reform of China’s political system but rather how they contribute to reconfiguring the practices of power and authority” (171). Although I side with his opposition to evolutionary ideas of democracy, I still wonder if consensus cannot but remain as “policing,” borrowing Jacques Rancière’s terms, as a governing process of creating community consent, or if it has the potential to expand the realm of “the political” by invoking new forms of political imagination.

Mun Young Cho, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea

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THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF CHINA’S CONSUMERISM. Chandos Asian Studies Series. Edited by Alison Hulme. Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2014. xxxi, 221 pp. (Figures.) USD $140.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-84334-761-3.

This book is a collection of essays authored by a diverse group of young scholars and artists from such places as the UK, Denmark, Iceland, and the US, with quite rich academic and non-academic backgrounds in literature, philosophy, sociology, and media and cultural studies, and experiences of growing up, living, working, or studying in China. These credentials are important for their subjects of study, the evolving consumerism of today’s China, which requires close and intimate observations and even participation. Since modern consumer society and consumerism as an ideology are now a global phenomenon with historical roots in Western societies, the multiple and comparative perspectives that the authors take in their examination of China’s case are especially valuable.

The book’s editor Alison Hulme argues that as “capitalism becomes an increasingly global phenomenon, consumer society is the mode of organization desired by nation states,” and China now needs to “turn a consuming society into a consumer society (i.e. one in which the buying and selling of goods and services is in reality the most important social and economic activity)” (xxiv; emphasis in original). Hulme then quickly qualifies her argument: “the meeting of capitalism (and therefore consumerism) and communism in China,” and the “constantly re-negotiated conundrum of capitalist-communist consumerism … differs from any yet seen in global development and creates new questions for established theories of consumerism” (xxv). The introduction thus cogently spells out the dichotomy of “capitalism (consumerism) vis-à-vis communism” (or the “conundrum,” as Hulme puts it) as the quintessential problem for the authors to explore, and, meanwhile, a task for theoretical self-reflection on consumerism. Hulme acknowledges that the direction of Chinese consumerism “cannot be fully known,” and thus the issues the authors discuss “are riddled with awkward contradictions and cultural attitudes are in constant flux” (xxv). Such a caveat about the tentativeness of taking China’s pulse becomes a cliché. Yet the sincerity and seriousness of the authors’ efforts can be seen throughout the book.

The chapters are grouped into two parts. The first part has five chapters addressing consumer culture in China today. The first chapter, by Xin Wang, examines the formation of China’s middle class within the context of consumer culture and society, drawing heavily on the theories of French cultural philosopher Pierre Bourdieu. Wang’s essay illustrates the double bind that is both theoretical and methodical. He aptly applies Bourdieu’s ideas about class distinction in contemporary capitalist society to China, observing the interplay of the cultural, symbolic capital, and economic, material status at work in the Chinese middle class. However, Wang recognizes at the same time the difficulties in describing and defining the Chinese middle class in purely Bourdieuan terms. On the one hand, he states that the Chinese middle class distinguishes itself by engaging in the consumption of cultural, educational, and other status-boosting products (or suzhi promotion, a Chinese concept mentioned by many authors in the book, somewhat akin to Bourdieu’s “distinction” and “taste”), with ample case studies. On the other hand, Wang concludes that members of the so-called Chinese middle class find their social distinction or identity primarily through consumption of commodities or ownership of material wealth (20). What Wang does not address, however, is the political culture or the ideology of the Party-state in China that simultaneously encourages the commodity fetish and suppresses any political and social engagement. Bourdieu certainly has no answer to this “Chinese characteristic,” and Wang’s response is regrettably scarce.

The second chapter, by Calvin Hui, takes on the interesting task of examining the legacy of socialism and its linkage to the contemporary fashion industry from the 1970s (the Cultural Revolution) to the present. It’s a Foucauldian genealogical inquiry with a good deal of insight, and its feminist focus on gender and sexuality is interesting in itself. The third chapter, by Gabriel Lafitte, explores the ways the exotic and ethnic Tibet has been consumed by the booming Chinese tourism industry. This chapter confronts the political question of China with/in Tibet. This draws attention directly to the political and ideological battles waged both at the forefront and behind Tibet, either as a site of intense conflict or as a commodity for tourist consumption. The fourth chapter, by Karen Tam, offers a fascinating narrative of the fake art products or shanzhai (counterfeiting) phenomenon in China, and questions the far-reaching implications this pervasive Chinese copy-cat cultural practice has on the meaning of the “original” and the “authentic.” Tam’s question reminds us of Walter Benjamin’s query of when modern technology of mechanic reproduction threatened to deprive customers and society of the aura of the original and authentic art work. The fifth chapter, by Qingyan Ma, is an interesting field-work report on how medicine and health care is being rapidly turned into a commodity in China and the social and economic implications of this.

The second part of the book consists of three chapters, one by Geir Sigurosson on traditional Chinese philosophy’s possible implications for today’s consumerism; a chapter by Andreas Steen on the revolutionary model soldier Lei Feng from the 1960s which shows the sharp ideological contrast with today’s consumerism; and a final chapter by Giovanna Puppin on the ambiguous and awkward relationship between Maoist socialist ideology and the contemporary advertising industry, another illustration of ideological conflicts and contrasts. These chapters nicely contextualize Chinese consumerism in terms of its historical and political conditions, highlighting and reinforcing the “Chinese characteristics” of consumerism, specifically and emphatically, its political and ideological nature. Consumerism, in a nutshell, is better seen as an ideology or a set of values, and we will be better served by viewing Chinese consumerism dissected and diagnosed as such, in an ongoing ideological battleground that involves all members of society across the world. For that, this book is certainly a good starting point.

Liu Kang, Duke University, Durham, USA

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RELIGION AND ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY IN CHINA. Routledge Contemporary China Series, 119. Edited by James Miller, Dan Smyer Yu and Peter van der Veer. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xxi, 247 pp. (Figures.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-85515-0.

The edited volume, Religion and Ecological Sustainability in China, contains twelve articles which range from considerations of philosophical and religious resources in the Chinese traditions to reflections from on-the-ground, detailed accounts of real-world cases. The traditions considered consist of Confucianism, Daoism, Yijing (The Book of Changes), fengshui (commonly rendered as “geomancy”), and Tibetan Buddhism, along with some passing references to Chinese Buddhism; whereas those articles involving case studies mostly concern Tibetan communities of western China, with the exception of the final article in part 1, which deals with a village in southern China. The volume, as described by the editors, falls within the larger project of a search “for environmentally wholesome models of human flourishing from diverse cultural constituencies, religious systems and traditional lifestyles” (1). Despite the diverse disciplinary allegiances of the contributors, involving “social scientists, eco-philosophers, historians of religion and human ecologists” (1), perhaps the articles collectively could be loosely conceived as a kind of trans-disciplinary study (2). In terms of providing a general framework, the “introduction” provides helpful articulation of key terms, including a cultural interpretation of religion that includes secularity (4–6), and an understanding of nature as “a critical modern intellectual and policy concept” (7–8).

The volume is divided into 2 parts, entitled “Ecology and the classics” and “Imagining nature in modernity.” For the majority of articles in part 1, the opening article by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim states the rationale for investigating the classics: given the ecological crisis which the world cannot ignore, the authors are engaged in the project of drawing upon the Chinese traditions for inspiration and instruction “because they reflect both timeless and timely concerns of the human spirit” (21). Other articles in this part include an examination of the significance of the terms di 地 and tu 土 in the classical texts (Deborah Sommer); an articulation of philosophical grounding for deep ecology through the Yijing (Joseph Adler); and an exchange on the rereading of (neo-)Confucian and Daoist classics conceived as “soft-hearted” and “hard-hearted” ecologies (Chen Xia 陈霞 on Daoism, Peng Guoxiang 彭国翔 on Wang Yangming’s teachings, with comments from James Miller). Also included in part 1 are two articles with somewhat different foci: an elaboration of biospirituality as “transgressive eco-spirituality” based on a study of medieval Shangqing Daoism 上清道 (James Miller); and an investigation of the rural tradition of preserving forests in their natural state for the sake of better fengshui, and what lessons this holds for the environmental movement (Chris Coggins).

Part 2 contains reflections from the ground up, and is concerned with “forces that are shaping modern Chinese conceptions of nature, ecology and religion” (11). Articles in this part include an analysis of religion within the social environment of the Chinese Republican era viewed through the theoretical framework of a secondary “landscape of fear” (Rebecca Nedostup); a study of the role of globalizing forces (namely, the introduction of new world crops, the Enlightenment, Buddhism, and the modern idea of conserving nature) in influencing environmental policies in China, and arguing for the importance of appreciating diversity in understandings of the natural world (Robert Weller); an investigation and critique of the practice of fengshui as a global phenomenon, and assessment of its compatibility with ecological concerns (Ole Brunn); a case study on Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve—exploring the claim that overgrazing of the area, which led to the establishment of the nature reserve involving the relocation of the ethnic population, is the main culprit of ecological degradation of Sanjiangyuan (Qi Jinyu 祁进玉); a critique of Western environmentalism from the perspectives and experiences of Tibetan environmentalists in Yunnan Province (Emily Yeh); and a reflection on the intersecting of “natural landscape, religious practices and home-making” (220) in a Tibetan village in Qinghai Province (Dan Smyer Yu).

Despite this being a volume of divergent opinions with affiliations to different disciplines, it reads, surprisingly, rather coherently, its many voices offering glimpses of aspects of a complex and multifaceted issue. And one feels inspired, even lead, to form the following view—which remains, naturally, this reviewer’s

It concerns the place of the human in nature. A number of contributors, drawing from the Confucian tradition, appeal to Tu Wei-ming’s notion of an anthropocosmic experience of nature. For Joseph Adler, the experience speaks of a “common nature shared by humanity and the natural world,” and according to his consideration of the Yijing, this nature could be identified further as “creativity, and more specifically, moral creativity, which can be fully realized only by human beings” (49). The human then is viewed as the culmination of nature, and becomes nature’s affective and moral centre. From such an understanding, we have Peng Guoxiang’s emphasis on “sympathy, care and commiseration” (80) for all things, sentient or non-sentient, as the basis for a Confucian ecology; and hence his characterization of a “soft-hearted” ecology (80–81).

In contrast with the neo-Confucian anthropocosmic vision is a notion of a biospirituality in which the human does not occupy a privileged position, a notion that seems to find strong affinity with Daoist teachings (87). One possible version is found in what Miller describes as “transgressive ecospirituality,” such that the experience is one of “the world dwelt within human bodies, and not the other way round” (94). Thus, it is misleading to think that the Daoist has ceased to care (i.e., one reading of being “hard-hearted”) (71, 80), but that what one cares for is a consequence of the “human” differently experienced, in that the fleshly heart gives way to the cosmic heart of the dao (82).

While the foregoing paragraphs outline the point of tension between Confucian and Daoist positions, they need not necessarily be incompatible. If we adopt the view that Daoism often serves as a corrective to Confucian teachings, then the kind of Daoist biospirituality just mentioned points out the danger in adopting the Confucian vision unreservedly: Miller states, “Daoists have been distrustful of the central place afforded to the human heart in the Confucian view of human engagement with the natural world” (82). At the same time, such contrasting notions coexist—as seen in Weller’s study of the conceptions of nature in late Qing China. When embraced, diversity enhances adaptability. Weller states, “adaptability requires the maintenance of a pool of diversity—biological as much as human, among many possible natures rather than within one Nature” (161). It is a view well exemplified by this volume.

Peter Wong Yih Jiun, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

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CLASS IN CONTEMPORARY CHINA. China Today. By David S.G. Goodman. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2014. xvii, 233 pp. (Tables, maps.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7456-5337-2.

China has experienced nothing short of a new social revolution since market reforms were launched in 1978. The centrally planned socialist system of the late-Mao era has been transformed into a very different social order today, one in which foreign capitalists are welcome to invest and native millionaires and even billionaires are entering (or re-entering, after an absence since the 1950s) the historical stage. What should we call this transformed Chinese social order? How are structures of wealth and power currently organized, and what terms should we use to characterize contemporary social stratification? Which individuals and groups are the primary beneficiaries, and the major losers, as a result of this new social revolution? These are the kinds of “big questions” that David S.G. Goodman, a Chinese politics specialist at the University of Sydney, tackles in this important book.

Goodman situates his book within a venerable tradition by framing it as an analysis of social class in contemporary China. This choice is inherently problematic, since the term class carries so much ideological baggage from prior intellectual and political traditions. Are we talking about class in the sense used by Karl Marx, by Max Weber, or perhaps by Milovan Djilas or Ralf Dahrendorf? Do classes in China today have clear boundaries, and if so what are the primary classes by which stratification is currently structured? Do contemporary Chinese classes possess class consciousness (à la Marx) or shared values, opportunities, and ways of life (à la Weber)? How do contemporary classes relate to the classes and class struggle that Mao Zedong placed at the centre of Cultural Revolution battles in the 1960s? In analyzing contemporary stratification, is it preferable to avoid using the term class (jieji) in favour of the simpler but vaguer term stratum (jieceng)? Some of these questions bedevil attempts to conduct class analysis in any complex modern society, but the rapidity of the changes in China and the historical context of an explicit rejection of the type of class analysis employed during the Cultural Revolution make the dilemmas of what class means in China today particularly problematic.

Fortunately, Goodman is aware of all of these issues and many more. His book does not present the results of a specific research project he has conducted, and he does not argue for a particular interpretation of class as the best or only framework for analyzing inequality in China today. Instead this work could be viewed as a massive review of the existing literature, from both Western China scholars and from social scientists in the People’s Republic of China, in order to describe both the major changes that have occurred in stratification since the reforms were launched as well as competing ways of conceptualizing and explaining those changes. As such it provides a very welcome and useful overview of recent debates about a wide range of issues regarding evolving patterns of inequality and stratification. Even though social class remains front and centre in much of his analysis, the term does not prevent Goodman from considering a number of issues that do not readily fit into conventional class analysis.

Goodman joins many analysts in emphasizing the irony that Mao’s revolution, which was dedicated to eliminating the property-owning basis of all social classes in the Marxist sense in the 1950s, has in effect been repudiated, with rich entrepreneurs and real estate magnates not only prospering mightily, but even being welcomed into membership in the Communist Party and into service as delegates to the national legislature. However, he resists referring to China today as a restored capitalist society by emphasizing that major parts of the social and political order built during the Mao era have been retained, thus creating a hybrid social order that is difficult to pigeon hole as either capitalist or socialist. Furthermore, he makes it clear that the political elites in China today are still dominant over the new economic elites, with the latter having much less autonomous power and influence than their counterparts in more fully capitalist societies. At the same time he does not fully endorse the Djilas option of referring to the political elites as a “new class,” instead lumping political and economic elites together in a chapter devoted to China’s dominant class.

The author also stresses other distinctive features of stratification in China today that make that society quite different from more conventional class societies. In particular, he emphasizes the key role of China’s system of household registration (hukou) in creating a rigid, caste-like status barrier between China’s rural and urban citizens, with both rural residents and urban migrants consigned to the low end of the social hierarchy, which Goodman again refers to in somewhat vague terms as “subordinate classes.”

Particularly interesting is Goodman’s chapter on China’s middle classes. He summarizes and wades into debates about multiple and conflicting criteria for classifying Chinese as belonging to the middle class, as well as debates about the implications for political stability of a large and growing middle class. He is quite skeptical of claims that China’s middle class is already very large and growing rapidly. And based upon both his more conservative estimate of the present size of the middle class and research showing the diversity and ties to the status quo of many who might be classified as middle class, he casts doubt on the view that the growth of the middle class is driving China toward a democratic transition anytime soon.

Despite the very broad range of topics covered in the book, there is some unevenness. As the author is well aware, the primary focus is on social patterns and class formation in urban China, even though roughly half of the population remains rural. Nevertheless, anyone interested in how the structures of inequality are changing in China today will want to consult this book.

Martin King Whyte, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA

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CHINA’S JAPAN POLICY: Adjusting to New Challenges. By Joseph Yu-shek Cheng. Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific Publishing, 2015. xviii, 466 pp. US$138.00, cloth. ISBN 978-981-4596-41-1.

In the past decade, English-language scholarship on Sino-Japanese relations has increased significantly. Scholars are paying more attention not only because of these two countries’ importance but also the escalating tensions between them. Joseph Yu-shek Cheng’s book is a welcome addition to this very important topic.

Cheng’s book examines the diplomatic history between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Japan from 1949 to 2011. It has nine chapters organized largely chronologically. The first four chapters examine pre-normalization relations, covering the Cultural Revolution, the Cold War context, and the Chinese Communist Party’s use of “united front” policy attempting to woo Japan even prior to the founding of the PRC in 1949. Chapters 5 to 7 study the normalization process and its impact on the future of Sino-Japanese relations. Chapters 8 and 9 examine relations during the 1980s, and chapters 10 to 12 cover Sino-Japanese relations since the 1990s.

I see three main values in Cheng’s book. First is its exhaustiveness. The book is long: 431 pages, excluding bibliography and index. Throughout, Cheng convincingly demonstrates his firm grasp of voluminous details regarding Sino-Japanese relations. My applause comes with a disclaimer: honestly, I did not find much new information in the book, materials that I have not encountered in scholarship or media coverage produced in the Chinese, Japanese, or English languages. Where the book lacks fresh empirical materials, it handsomely compensates with its sheer comprehensiveness. The book is certainly not the first to examine the diplomatic history between the PRC and Japan. But it is clearly among the most thorough works on this topic.

Second, the book examines Sino-Japanese relations from a predominantly Chinese official perspective. This focus helps balance out the conventional wisdom on China-Japan relations. Mainstream English scholarship tends to analyze Sino-Japanese relations, especially its recent problems, more by examining what has gone wrong on the Chinese side: for example, how Beijing’s need of promoting nationalism forced its leaders to take a hawkish attitude toward Japan. However, it takes two to tango. Cheng’s work offers a detailed analysis of the mistakes committed by Tokyo, from the point of view of China’s leaders and policy experts. A sense of insecurity is not confined to China. In Japan, this insecurity is fostering an increasingly paranoid government overly sensitive to gains and losses in its interactions with China.

Third, the book offers an insightful summary of the philosophical evolution of China’s diplomatic framework toward Japan: from an orthodox Marxist-Leninist desire to spread revolution to anti-Soviet hegemonism to boosting modernization and to enhancing China’s international status in recent years. This thematic roadmap is helpful as one navigates the long and storied interactions between China and Japan.

I perceive two weaknesses in Cheng’s book. The first one lies in Cheng’s effort to present the Chinese official take on what has gone wrong in Sino-Japanese relations. While I applaud the book’s balancing value, I wonder if Cheng has gone too far in blaming Japan overwhelmingly for the long list of problems between the two countries. Towards the end of the book, as Cheng discusses the latest diplomatic crises, the arrow of complaint is unmistakably pointed at leaders in Japan: how they were held hostage to Japan’s “rightwing” forces (Koizumi Jun’ichiro), how they squandered Chinese good intentions (Kan Naoto), or how unfortunately short their tenures were (Fukuda Yasuo and Hatoyama Yukio). Chinese nationalism is certainly not the only culprit in pushing China-Japan relations to a nadir. But I am surprised at how little systematic attention Cheng gives to this important factor or, for that matter, to China’s domestic politics in general. There has been a lot of insightful knowledge generated on how China’s domestic agenda shapes its foreign policy. Given the comprehensiveness the book boasts, this analytical void is a major disappointment.

Second, as the book progresses, the main target of analysis increasingly shifts from the Chinese government to a particular group: China’s Japan specialists. Indeed, in the last two chapters, references to China’s “Japan experts” appear on almost every page. This is problematic: to begin with, it feels the last third of the book needs a new title: it is no longer China’s Japan policy, but China’s Japan policy in the eyes of China’s Japan specialists. But exactly how have China’s academics shaped Beijing’s policy towards Tokyo? Cheng’s answer is assumed rather than analyzed, as he claims that to study these experts’ words “is probably the only way” to study Chinese leaders’ perception (376). This claim makes the book methodologically one-dimensional and vulnerable to subjectivity.

Also, the community of China’s Japan watchers is pluralistic: one only needs to look at the controversies stirred up by the moderates’ “New Thinking” to get a sense of such lively debates. But Cheng’s analysis of the intra-experts’ differences is cursory. He simply dismisses the New Thinking as “severely criticized”(376). No other information is offered. But what about the rise of such voices in the first place? Did its publication reflect the agenda of the moderates within the leadership? Peter Hays Gries, among others, offered a careful analysis of China’s remarkable public debate on Japan policy. His widely cited piece titled “China’s ‘New Thinking’ on Japan” (The China Quarterly, 2005: 831-850) focused on the “New Thinking”. However, Cheng’s book made no reference to this or similar academic effort This is but one example of an even bigger problem: the book treats China as a unitary actor with a coherent Japan policy and a schism-free leadership. I find such treatment, which glides over China’s domestic complexities, simplistic and inaccurate.

Despite the complaints, I appreciate the importance of Cheng’s book and applaud the contribution it makes. Cheng’s encyclopedic knowledge of the vital relations between China and Japan shines in the work. The book is a helpful reference to anyone who wants to understand China’s diplomatic evolution toward Japan.

Jing Sun, The University of Denver, Denver, USA

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IN THE LAND OF THE EASTERN QUEENDOM: The Politics of Gender and Ethnicity on the Sino-Tibetan Border. Studies on Ethnic Groups in China. By Tenzin Jinba. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014. xvi, 170 pp. (Illustrations, maps.) US$75.00, cloth, ISBN 978-0-295-99306-5; US$30.00, paper, ISBN 978-0-295-99307-2.

MAPPING SHANGRILA: Contested Landscapes in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands. Studies on Ethnic Groups in China. Edited by Emily T. Yeh and Chris Coggins. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014. xv, 332 pp. (Figures.) US$75.00, cloth, ISBN 978-0-295-99357-7; US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-295-99358-4.

For those not specialized in Tibetan affairs, Tibet is often identified primarily with the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China and perhaps too with the Tibetan exile community in India. It is seldom recognized that more than half of ethnic Tibetans belong to the four provinces to the east of the TAR: Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan. The Tibetans of these regions have their own histories and cultural specificities, as well as peculiar challenges in establishing communal identities and negotiating their station in contemporary China. It is to the credit of the University of Washington Press’s Studies on Ethnic Groups in China series, under the general editorship of Stevan Harrell, that it has encouraged well-informed scholarship on the Sino-Tibetan borderland peoples, first in its publications of Åshild Kolås and Monika P. Thowsen’s On the Margins of Tibet: Cultural Survival on the Sino-Tibetan Frontier (2004) and Koen Wellens’s Religious Revival in the Tibetan Borderlands: The Premi of Southwest China (2010). The two new titles reviewed here continue to advance our knowledge of current developments in communities on the margins of Chinese and Tibetan cultural worlds.

Both Tenzin Jinba’s monograph, In the Land of the Eastern Queendom, and Emily T. Yeh and Chris Coggins’s edited volume, Mapping Shangrila, may be said to concern centrally the phenomenon that Yeh and Coggins term “shangrilazation” (16). This designation was inspired by the 2002 rebranding of Zhongdian County in northern Yunnan as Shangrila, a toponym unknown in Tibetan and derived from James Hilton’s famed novel Lost Horizons, which described a never-never land hidden away somewhere in Tibet (20). Zhongdian’s new identity suggested that current reality might be configured so as to satisfy the yearnings of the imagination, the touristic imagination in particular. The promise of bringing tourist investment—above all from China’s burgeoning domestic tourism market—to the Sino-Tibetan borderlands is one of the leitmotifs in the two books under discussion.

The “eastern queendom” of Tenzin Jinba’s title refers to the fabled “eastern land of women” (Chinese, dongnüguo) mentioned in the annals of the Sui and Tang dynasties. Though legend has magnified this to be a land of amazons, less dramatic institutions privileging women or maternal lineages, as are current in some Tibetan and Himalayan societies, may well be in the background here. Whatever the explanation, a region that is often named as a probable location of the eastern land of women is Gyalmorong (literary Tibetan, rgyal mo rong; Chinese, jiarong), literally the “Valley of the Queens.” Tenzin Jinba is himself a native of Gyalmorong, but from a different community than that which he studies here. He is therefore enough of an insider to have unusual insights into the nuances of his subjects’ relations and affirmations—which, given the several linguistic registers in use (the Gyalmorong language, Amdo and Khampa Tibetan, Sichuan-dialect Chinese), present a considerable challenge to non-natives—and yet far enough removed to develop an etic perspective.

Gyalmorong, a cluster of counties mostly straddling the upper reaches of the Dadu River in northern Sichuan, has been closely associated with Tibet since the eighth century. Its dominant religious system was, and to some extent remains, the autochtonous Tibetan Bon religion, though Tibetan Buddhism is a strong presence as well. The language is peppered with Tibetan expressions, often in archaic forms, and, although current linguistic scholarship considers it to be a Qiangic language, local opinion, strongly supported by local scholars, insists that what is spoken is in fact ancient Tibetan (23). In some parts of Gyalmorong, versions of the Tibetan Amdo dialect are nevertheless also widely in use, and in Danba County, where Tenzin Jinba’s research was conducted, Khampa dialect too. This perhaps explains why Danba, uniquely among the Gyalmorong counties, was incorporated into Sichuan’s Ganzi prefecture, which is Khampa. Although the people of Gyalmorong were given their own ethnic designation immediately after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, in 1954 they were reclassified as zangzu, that is, Tibetan (21). Nevertheless, owing to differences of language and local custom, Tibetans often consider them alien (23). Identity is thus very much an issue in Gyalmorong, and Danba County in particular has responded by asserting itself to be the site of the famous “queendom.”

Tenzin Jinba’s study concerns the dynamics of this claim within Danba, where the identification of the county with the legend has opened up a variety of divisions and unanticipated consequences in the country itself. First, and most generally, was the transformation of the “queendom” into the “Land of Beauties,” which, of course, played very well in the Chinese tourist business. However, the exotic in this case soon morphed into the erotic and Danba found itself beset by numbers of Chinese men looking for sexual adventure. This eventuality had not been foreseen and was a profound affront to the dominant mores of the community (59-64).

Tenzin Jinba sets this episode in relation to pertinent aspects of gender construction in contemporary China, particularly with reference to ethnic minorities like the people of Danba (chapters 2-3). His account explores both the gender-based stereotypes that have emerged and in particular the manner in which these have played out in the discourses of the “queendom” elaborated in and around his main site of fieldwork, the Danba township of Suopo. For here a coterie of the local elite has sought to demonstrate that their township was not just within the queendom, but that it was its royal centre, the site of the ancient queens’ palace. Being of this lineage, they insist, the women of Suopo are particularly capable and wise, and the men particularly inclined to grant the women the honour and respect that they merit. This distinguishes the people of Suopo both from the Han and from other Tibetans, earning them, so it is argued, a unique dignity (67-71).

All of this has a (no doubt unintended) comedic dimension; for, as Tenzin Jinba suggests, there is no empirical basis for believing that gender relations in Suopo differ much from norms in other Danba communities, the local traditions of the queens seem rather tenuous, and the entire queendom issue—including the debates it provokes with Suopo’s neighbours—involves primarily the men, Suopo women being generally indifferent to it (65-67). What emerges is a portrait of a small and vulnerable community strategically maneuvering to win for itself what it hopes will be a profitable position in relation to the larger forces that surround it, while at the same time seeking to enhance its sense of rootedness and self-esteem (chapters 4-5). The ancient queendom figures here as the imaginal vehicle invoked to ensure the order of contemporary reality.

The intersection of imagination and reality informs the first part of Mapping Shangrila, as well. Entitled “Shangrilazation,” it includes three articles probing the constructions of the Sino-Tibetan borderlands in writing and popular culture. “Vital Margins” by Li-hua Ying explores the depiction of Sino-Tibetan frontier societies in contemporary fiction and poetry, both by Chinese and Sinophone Tibetan authors. In “Dreamworld, Shambala, Gannan,” Chris Vasantkumar examines the touristic vision of southwestern Gansu Province (Gannan) as “Little Tibet.” The trope of “miniaturization” (57-70) is of particular interest here, focusing on the representation of Labrang monastery and its culture in contemporary guidebooks produced in China. The final article in this section, Travis Klingberg’s “A Routine Discovery,” looks to the Yading Nature Reserve in western Sichuan and its varied representations beginning with early twentieth-century botanical explorers, for whom it was ungoverned wilderness, through to its current incorporation (and domestication) in the Greater Shangrila Ecotourism Zone.

The second part of the volume, “Constructing the Ecological State,” includes two informative contributions on wilderness conservation—“Making National Parks in Yunnan” by John Aloysius Zinda and “The Nature Conservancy in Shangrila” by Robert K. Mosely and Renée B. Mullen—and two articles on fungus: Michael J. Hathaway’s “Transnational Matsuke Governance” and Michelle Olsgard Stewart’s “Constructing and Deconstructing the Commons: Caterpillar Fungus Governance in Developing Yunnan.” While one might regret that topics such as endangered species preservation are not treated more fully in this section of the work, the one dealing most directly with conservation policy, the swelling importance of the matsuke mushroom and the caterpillar fungus in the rural economies of the regions studied is very adequately demonstrated, as are the distortions emerging from too narrow a focus on these commodities and from their over-exploitation.

Part 3, “Contested Landscapes,” is particularly attractive precisely because contestation, that inevitable marker of value, is at last brought to the fore. In “Animate Landscapes,” Chris Coggins, with Gesang Zeren, discusses the latter’s deployment in recent years of traditional beliefs regarding the spirits occupying the land to support the adoption of ecofriendly practices. Such efforts, however, involve an inevitable tension between traditional reverence to powers that are not beholden to human reason and scientific projects of environmental management that presume no non-rationalized agencies: “[A]nimate landscapes are, in ontological and cosmological terms, radically different from, and not always commensurable with, scientific conservation practices and interests.… Tibetan geopiety is not a panacea for sustainable ecological development” (213). Similar divisions are brought more sharply into focus in Charlene E. Makley’s “The Amoral Other,” which turns to the continuing practice of spirit-mediumship in Qinghai’s Rebkong district and the challenge this has presented to state-governed policies of development. In the final chapter, “The Rise and Fall of the Green Tibetan,” Emily T. Yeh takes up the cases of Tibetan environmentalists who have fallen on the wrong side of Chinese authority—and have been arrested and jailed for this impertinence—precisely while advocating policies and practices that the state seems otherwise to support. An immediate analogy that comes to the fore at the time of this writing (April 7, 2015) is the arrest of five Chinese feminists who appear to be advocating rights for women that China has otherwise broadly endorsed (Andrew Jacobs, “Taking Feminist Battle to China’s Streets, and Landing in Jail,” The New York Times, 5 April 2015.]

I note this parallel because it appears to me to touch on a vital point that has not been, to my mind, quite satisfactorily addressed in either of the books reviewed here. Both appear to speak with cautious optimism of the rise of “civil society” in China. Neither seems quite willing to acknowledge that genuine civil society is not only difficult to achieve, but is an impossibility in today’s China, that its activities are tolerated only so long as they appear not to disrupt the authority of the Party or state. Manifestations that suggest the rise of other sources of authority, even where they broadly accord with current policy, cannot be tolerated at all. Of course, quite a lot may fly under the radar of the dominant powers at any given time, particularly in remote districts. In the end, however, the monopolization of authority in China ensures that civil society will never be allowed to mature. If I am reading her correctly, Yeh indeed suggests that, in the wake of the Tibetan protests of 2008, something like this may now be the case in Tibetan regions. I would hold, however, that even without the events of 2008, this is inevitably the nature of power under China’s system of one-party rule. Something of this sort indeed seems to be entailed in the concluding “afterword” to the volume, contributed by Ralph Litzinger (279-286).

With the publication of these two works, we see that “Sino-Tibetan Borderland Studies” has in a sense come of age as a distinct area of inquiry. For reasons stated by Yeh and Coggins in their introduction (7-8), reasons that include the projection of these regions as an idealized counterpart to contemporary urban China, their central place in the working out of Chinese ethnicity policies, and the concrete role of both development and ecology within them in the formation of contemporary Chinese territorial definition, this is as it should be. The Sino-Tibetan frontiers are thus of considerable interest in their own right, while bringing an important range of broad issues facing China into close focus as well.

Matthew T. Kapstein, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, France

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CHINESE LABOR IN A KOREAN FACTORY: Class, Ethnicity, and Productivity on the Shop Floor in Globalizing China. By Jaesok Kim. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013. xii, 290 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8454-2.

In recent years there has been steady growth in the literature on global supply chains and labour in China. In Chinese Labor in a Korean Factory, Jaesok Kim adds to this scholarship with an ethnography that is sensitive to managerial strategy, ethnicity, and local embeddedness. Focusing on a Korean-owned garment manufacturer in Qingdao, the author explores the ways in which the organization of production is shaped by the interaction of both global and highly localized forces. With excellent access both on the shop floor and among management, the result is a nuanced account of how one company responds to social and economic vicissitudes spanning from the mid-1990s up until the recent past.

The first two chapters of the book describe the spatial and ethnic organization of the firm. Indeed, the spatial organization of housing serves to reinforce ethnic difference and hierarchy. While all employees live on factory premises, the Korean expatriate managers live in secluded and spacious private houses with their families. The Korean-Chinese and Han-Chinese employees live in dormitories. But the former enjoy more space (fewer roommates) and the relative luxuries of access to hot water, heat, and electricity.

One consequence of these ethnically stratified working and living arrangements is that the Han-Chinese workers frequently suffered from body odor. Kim explains the reason for this, namely that the workers toiled in an environment without air conditioning, and did not have access to hot water for showering. Nonetheless, this olfactory marker came to be a key point of ethnic distinction, as both the Korean-Chinese and Korean managers in the firm attributed it to the cultural deficiency of unhygienic practices among Chinese peasant workers.

Kim argues that the company’s use of Korean-Chinese employees as interpreters and mid-level managers “overturned the dominant ethnic power relationship of China” (70). Indeed, Korean-Chinese employees found that their ethnicity came to be an important asset. Since the Korean expatriate managers had come to depend on them for much of the business operations, the Korean-Chinese enjoyed not only better living conditions and higher wages, but also higher social status within the firm. One consequence of this was a newfound sense of ethnic pride for people that had grown up as part of a minority in a Han-dominated society.

One of the most interesting parts of the book is the company’s evolving strategy of “localization.” When the plant first opened in the mid-1990s, nearly all managerial positions were held by Korean nationals, as locals were seen as untrustworthy or lacking in skills. But over time, the company sought to increase the number of both Korean-Chinese and Han-Chinese managers. The first reason was simply economic: wages for expatriates were much higher. But they also used new hiring practices to accumulate political capital, as they hired relatives of the village head. For a time, this localization strategy worked well, and the company received favourable treatment.

But Kim also shows how this approach was a double-edged sword. When it became apparent that local employees were assisting organized crime groups in stealing materials from the factory, management was in a bind. It was widely known that the gangsters had close ties to the government. The Korean management felt that there was little they could do to stop the pilfering without endangering their company’s cozy relationship with local officials. This is a wonderful illustration of the complexity of social embeddedness for global capital: both enabling accumulation and yet imposing new and unforeseen limits.

There is much to recommend Chinese Labor in a Korean Factory. First, it takes the issue of ethnicity seriously. Some research on work has looked at the hierarchy between overseas and Mainland Chinese. But given that there are tens of millions of ethnic minority workers in China, the question of ethnicity/race and work should be higher on the scholarly agenda. Kim’s study is an important first foray into this field, and provides insights on the relationship between ethnicity and identity in globalizing China.

Second, the study takes management’s views seriously. Much existing research assumes capital’s imperative of expanded reproduction, without seriously assessing the complex decision making of managers on the ground. With important ethnographic, interview, and administrative data from Nawon, Kim has a nuanced account of the contingency of the organization of work. With a longitudinal perspective, he is able to demonstrate how managerial agency interacts with global structural shifts—as well as worker activism—to produce particular organizations of work at particular times. His ability to integrate capital’s perspective into the heart of the analysis is a welcome corrective.

That being said, there is some ambiguity in Kim’s argument about the relationship between the local and the global. At some points, he seems to suggest that local realities impose major constraints on global capital: “the images of free-flowing transnational capital and multinational corporations are clearly wrong” (227). This is something of a straw-man argument, as it is not clear who specifically believes that transnational capital can ignore local conditions. And yet, later in the book we see that with increased operating expenses in China, the company begins outsourcing production to Vietnam. While Nawon will inevitably be forced to accommodate local conditions in new sites of production, Kim’s own evidence suggests that capital’s advantage in spatial mobility over and against labour and the state remains huge—even if such a move involves frictions and incurs various costs. Kim does not take a strong position here, implying that the relationship between global capital and local states changes, depending on a variety of conditions. While this is certainly true empirically, one is not entirely sure what the analytical takeaway is.

While Chinese Labor in a Korean Factory sticks to relatively safe terrain theoretically and analytically, the empirical work is impressive. With its contributions to our understanding of managerial strategy and ethnicity, the book should be of interest to a variety of China and Korea scholars.

Eli Friedman, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA

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NEGOTIATING CHINA’S DESTINY IN WORLD WAR II. Edited by Hans van de Ven, Diana Lary, and Stephen R. MacKinnon. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2015. xii, 319 pp. US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8966-0.

This is the fourth of five edited volumes sponsored by Harvard University. Thirteen essays examine Nationalist China’s wartime diplomacy with France, Britain, Tibet, Canada, India, Russia, and the United States, the Communist International (Comintern), the Nationalist declaration of war, the postwar recovery of the Northeast, plus negotiations ending the war with Japan, relations with Vietnam, and the postwar peace treaties. Notably, the Wang Jingwei government’s pro-Japanese diplomacy is excluded.

The introduction and conclusion, written by Diana Lary and Stephen R. MacKinnon respectively, describe how China grew from a minor international player in the early 1930s to one of the “Big Four” by the end of the war. Major themes include: 1) how Japan’s invasion forced the Nationalist regime to open diplomatic relations with the rest of the world; 2) Chiang Kai-shek’s failed attempts to balance relations with various Allies, in particular the USSR and the United States; and 3) China’s relatively lenient postwar attitude toward Japan in return for recognition as one of the victors of World War II. Many wartime problems remain unresolved, including Taiwan’s legal status, Japanese responsibility for beginning the war, plus the sticky issue of war reparations.

In part 1, Marianne Bastid-Bruguiere argues that Japan was determined to halt arms shipments to Chiang Kai-shek, and the Vichy regime was forced to agree after the fall of Paris on June 14, 1940, thus turning Vietnam into a virtual Japanese puppet state. Rana Mitter discusses how London was worried that Moscow might dominate China, but Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin was reassured by T.V. Soong during fall 1945 that China was satisfied with its negotiations with Stalin; meanwhile, the British ambassador to Chongqing, Sir Horace Seymour, presciently warned that while the USSR had “agreed not to provide assistance to any government other than the Nationalists,” Moscow’s desire to expand into Xinjiang and Mongolia “might lead them to an alliance with Yan’an” (50). Chang Jui-te discusses Tibet’s attempts to retain its independence from China, but when Lhasa sent a delegation to the Nationalist Representative Conference during spring 1946, Nanjing refused to recognize Tibetan autonomy. Yang Kuisong shows how Mao Zedong was secretly pleased when the Comintern was dissolved in May 1943, without necessarily realizing that Soviet promises might no longer be honoured; among these was a Comintern promise to turn Outer Mongolia back to a Communist government. Diana Lary summarizes Sino-Canadian relations during World War II, when many Canadians—most important among them Dr. Norman Bethune—were lionized by the Chinese Communists as models of self-sacrifice.

In part 2, Tsuchida Akio explains why the Nationalists did not declare war against Japan until December 8, 1941, fearing US aid would be cut due to the Neutrality Act. Yang Tianshi recounts how Jawaharlal Nehru supported the Nationalists in their fight against Japan, but when Chiang urged India to join the war effort Nehru refused, instead denouncing British imperialism. Li Yuzhen discusses how, after the Second United Front’s formation in 1937, Chiang tried, and failed, on three different occasions to convince Joseph Stalin to declare war on Japan; Stalin was more than happy to let China absorb Japanese troops, even while signing the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact of April 1941, and authorizing Soviet troops to invade Manchuria only in the last days of the war. Xiaoyuan Liu recounts how the US State Department hoped to sponsor postwar international discussions on the autonomy of Inner Mongolia, Outer Mongolia, Tannu Tuva, Tibet, and Xinjiang, but restoring the Chinese empire turned out to be a core interest of both the Nationalists and Communists, and so US efforts were largely ignored. Nishimura Shigeo discusses Chiang’s determination to recover the northeast, and when it was suggested that Manchuria be ceded to the USSR after the war, he protested that recovering Chinese sovereignty in the northeast was a primary war aim.

In part 3, Wu Sufeng details the Nationalist postwar claims to all private and public Japanese lands in China, minus much of the industry in Manchuria that the USSR removed as war reparations. Yang Weizhen shows that Chiang initially supported an independent Vietnam, but fearful of a pro-Communist government under Ho Chi Minh, Chiang allowed France to return to Vietnam in exchange for abolishing French special rights and privileges in China plus territorial concessions along the Sino-Vietnamese border. Hans Van De Ven recounts how Russia refused to attend, and neither the PRC nor the ROC were invited to the signing of the 1951 San Francisco Treaty. American insistence that Japan not pay reparations angered many participants, but John Foster Dulles—who had attended the Versailles peace talks as a young man—refused to back down. This treaty, plus the subsequent 1952 peace treaty between Japan and the ROC, helped guarantee the postwar peace.

While presenting much new information on the Nationalist wartime diplomacy, this book repeats outdated myths. One author argues Roosevelt and Churchill “accepted Stalin’s price tag” at Yalta and “endorsed the geopolitical reality on the Mongolian Plateau” (170). Another blames FDR for signing “secret Yalta agreements,” forcing China to agree to Outer Mongolia’s independence (155). It has long been known that W. Averell Harriman, who was the US ambassador to the USSR, testified in 1951 that once Sino-Soviet negotiations began in July 1945, “Stalin, at the outset, made demands that went substantially beyond the Yalta understanding.” Harriman also said of T.V. Soong: “At no time did Soong give me any indication that he felt the Yalta understanding was a handicap in his negotiations. I repeatedly urged him not to give in to Stalin’s demands” (W. Averell Harriman Papers, Manuscript Division, US Library of Congress, Washington, DC). Recently, S.C.M. Paine has demonstrated that Roosevelt did not betray China, but that “Chiang Kai-shek traded Chinese sovereignty over Outer Mongolia for the return of Manchuria” (The Wars for Asia, 1911-1949, Cambridge University Press, 242).

Bruce A. Elleman, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, USA

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BEIJING’S ECONOMIC STATECRAFT DURING THE COLD WAR, 1949-1991. By Shu Guang Zhang. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Centre Press; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 2014. xiv, 477 pp. US$65.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4214-1583-3.

This is a newly published book which provides the readers with a very detailed description and in-depth analysis of how China’s economic statecraft, or the use of economic weaponry in diplomacy, evolved during the Cold War years (1949-1991). The author elaborates on the economic statecraft of China, both in the role of aid receiver and aid giver. He argues that in order to regain its “rightful” position in the international community, the PRC was not only on the target side (being sanctioned and aided) but also on the sender side (rendering economic aid and imposing economic sanctions). This is the central argument of the book.

As a well-known Cold War historian, Shu Guang Zhang adopts an international history approach to describe and analyze the PRC’s experiences with economic statecraft during the Cold War years by using the recently declassified Chinese and Soviet bloc countries’ archives and records, and each chapter of the book (8 chapters in total) deals with one of those experiences. China’s foreign economic statecraft had its origins in 1949 when the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was proclaimed. Shortly after the PRC came into being, the United States and other Western powers imposed restrictions on trade with China. After 1949, the PRC followed Soviet-style economic policy, including foreign trade policy, at least partly as a response to the trade embargo and other economic sanctions by the US and its allies, especially after the breakout of the Korean War in 1950. The PRC had been a target of economic aid from the Soviet Union and the East European countries from 1949 to the early 1960s. At the same time Beijing also adopted a strategy to break the China embargo by simultaneously promoting trade with some non-Communist countries, including the UK and Japan. The PRC was taking a position in China-Soviet economic relations by seeking Soviet aid while resisting Moscow’s influence. The impact of the political relations and nationalism on the bilateral economic relations was enormous, and as a result, the Soviet Union withdrew all of its advisers sent to China and imposed economic punishment on China in 1963.

Starting in the mid-1950s, shortly after the end of the Korean War, the PRC, a very poor country in the world, devoted much of its still limited resources to aid select Asian and African countries, shifting from the target to the sender position. The aid diplomacy targeted toward the African and Asian states bore fruit in 1971 when the 26th UN Central Assembly passed a resolution which called for the replacement of Taiwan’s seat at the UN with the PRC. China continued to provide aid to the so-called third-world countries in the remaining years of Mao’s rule and in the post-Mao era. In the 1960s and 1970s, North Korea, Mongolia, Albania, and North Vietnam were the four socialist countries which received a large amount of economic aid from China. The PRC aimed to lure those recipients of economic aid away from the USSR or to neutralize them in the Sino-Soviet rivalry, and the four socialist brothers also took great efforts to exploit the difficulty in the Sino-Soviet relations more to their own advantage. In the end, China’s aid to those countries proved counterproductive to its political objectives. As a result, China even sanctioned Albania and Vietnam by terminating aid to them in the second half of the 1970s. Beginning in the late 1970s with the proclamation of the reform and opening policy, China’s economic statecraft entered a new stage. While continuing to stress the utility of economic aid in accomplishing political and strategic goals, the Chinese leadership under Deng Xiaoping assigned China’s economic diplomacy a new mission: to help promote China’s opening up abroad and economic reforms at home, including the economic incentive diplomacy toward Washington, and the expansion of China’s share of the resources and labour markets. At the same time, China also began to collaborate with the United Nations and other international organizations in granting technical assistance.

Although the focus of this book is an account of the more than forty-year evolution of Beijing’s economic diplomacy during the Cold War, the historical interpretation of China’s economic diplomatic behaviour in the past might also provide readers with a better understanding of the current and future economic statecraft of the PRC. As the author points out in the book, Beijing’s past experiences with economic diplomacy might play a role in shaping China’s foreign policy in the coming decades. As China has been rising as a great power, no longer a poor country by any contemporary economic measure, Beijing seems poised to transform its economic might into considerable political influence in world affairs.

Xiaoming Zhang, Peking University, Beijing, China

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CHINESE AND AMERICANS: A Shared History. By Xu Guoqi; foreword by Akira Iriye. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2014. xiii, 332 pp. (Illustrations.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-05253-6.

Untimely deaths punctuate Xu Guoqi’s engagingly written “shared history” of Chinese and American attempts to cooperate toward China’s self-strengthening and modernization. Anson Burlingame succumbed to illness while touring Europe as China’s representative seeking more favourable treaty terms; several students in the Chinese Educational Mission passed away before returning home; Ge Kunhua, the first Chinese native hired to teach the language at Harvard, died from pneumonia only three years into his posting; uremia claimed Yuan Shikai before he could expand presidential powers as advised by the constitutional law advisor Frank Goodnow.

Apart from Yung Wing’s Chinese Educational Mission and John Dewey, the individuals and projects featured in Chinese and Americans have previously received little scholarly attention. Echoing Prasenjit Duara’s interventions in Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China (University of Chicago Press, 1997), they seem not to have contributed to the dominant turns taken in China’s unruly recent history. Xu argues that the many abrupt starts and stops in China’s long quest for self-strengthening via Westernization have obscured but not necessarily rendered inconsequential those efforts that produced few short-term outcomes. He suggests persuasively that the fraught image of Western domination, poor communications, and Chinese corruption and incompetence that has tended to characterize this era should be leavened with consideration of these carefully developed and mutually constituted efforts toward integrating China into the circle of modern nations. A striking example is the scrupulous attention brought by both Ge Kunhua and his advocate Francis Knight to the selection of textbooks and adapting of pedagogical approaches for Ge’s pioneering efforts to teach Chinese to Americans in the United States.

Chinese and Americans is perhaps most expressive in conveying the dedication, talents, and creative adaptability of Qing dynasty and Republican Chinese leaders such as Zeng Guofan, Li Hongzhang, Prince Gong, Sun Jiagu, Wu Tingfang, Tang Shaoyi, Cai Tinggan, and Hu Shi in seeking purchase in a world dominated by militaristic powers who operated by vastly different rules. They proactively sought support and advice from Americans and other foreigners whom they had identified to be well-qualified and sympathetic to China, and hired not a few, including Anson Burlingame, who negotiated on China’s behalf the first equal treaty since the first Opium War. This unprecedented gain in status for China reflected Burlingame’s conviction, unfortunately then shared by too few other Americans, that China must be allowed and encouraged to develop into a sovereign, independent nation. The Qing funded the Chinese Educational Mission, as described most authoritatively by Edward Rhoads in Stepping Forth into the World: The Chinese Educational Mission to the United States, 1872-81 (University of Hong Kong Press, 2011), under the access to public military schools secured in this agreement. Within a scant dozen years, however, the White House and US Congress moved to renegotiate the treaty terms so that the United States could restrict the immigration of Chinese, reflecting a majority view that a strong America should press its advantages over a weak China.

Even the efforts of liberals such as Goodnow and Dewey to facilitate China’s modernization were motivated in part by the goal of spreading American influence. This self-interest and overconfidence has on frequent occasions blinded Americans in their dealings with Chinese by limiting capacities to discern and comprehend how the intense forces of nationalism and self-determination moved China away from US influence and toward communism.

Xu argues that “despite giving a general impression of isolation and stagnation, Chinese civilization was not bankrupt, nor was ‘China’ or ‘Chinese culture’ at a dead end; it only needed to work out a way forward in a very different world system.” As Goodnow concluded, this required a dominant, centralized authority and not necessarily a republican form of government poorly directed by a mass of population as yet unprepared to meaningfully cast votes. China had to wait until “a nationalist revolution . . . concentrated the power by which a Chinese nation could develop internally and protect itself internationally” (260-261). Communist successes justify Xu’s final substantive chapter surveying sports as a site of mutual endeavour and subsumed nationalist competition but also as a vehicle to strengthen international alliances. The “ping pong” diplomacy of 1972 warmed the chill of the Cold War, followed by unified action in Olympic boycotts targeting the Soviet Union during the 1980s which affirmed China’s common cause with America. Forty years of economic integration logically culminated in Beijing’s triumphant hosting of the Games in 2008 with a dazzling display of cutting-edge technology and wealth that emphatically proclaimed China’s return as a major world power.

Although selective in its narration of the past 150 years of entwined history, Chinese and Americans recalls key conjunctures of amity and cooperation during times of even the greatest misunderstanding and conflict, endowing hope in personal friendships when political negotiations fail to find a way to move forward.

Madeline Y. Hsu, The University of Texas, Austin, USA

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CHINA’S CIVIL WAR: A Social History, 1945-1949. New Approaches to Asian History, 13. By Diana Lary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. xii, 283 pp. (Figures, maps, tables.) US$29.99, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-67826-2.

French novelist Victor Hugo once wrote that “foreign war is a scratch on the arm; a civil war is an ulcer which devours the vitals of a nation.” The Chinese Civil War (1927–1949)—technically ongoing since the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan) never signed an official armistice—is no exception to this characterization of civil strife as an instrument of life-shattering trauma. Historians know well that the conflict split China along ideological lines, with millions of Communist and Nationalist soldiers and countless millions of civilians perishing throughout the duration of hostilities, and millions more evacuating the Mainland to Taiwan to escape the victorious Chinese Communists. But lost in the war’s underscoring of the ideological divide between Mainland China and Taiwan and postwar interpretations of the war on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are the people who suffered through war themselves.

Contrary to ideologically tempered interpretations of the 1945–1949 period of the Chinese Civil War, however, China’s Civil War: A Social History, 1945-1949 by Diana Lary (professor emeritus, University of British Columbia) moves beyond existing Marxist and postmodern theoretical approaches to interpret it through the lens of trauma theory. Like her previous Scars of War (ed. with Stephen Mackinnon), The Chinese People at War, and China at War (ed. with Ezra Vogel and Mackinnon), military history interweaves with social history to frame a picture of the lives of people during and after violent conflict. Lary uses biographies, memoirs, illustrations, and oral histories to accomplish this end, thereby highlighting the “painful and divisive social impacts of the war” (12) to give voices to those who either experienced China’s Civil War firsthand or felt its reverberations through familial ties.

The book consists of eight chapters that cover the war in chronological fashion, from its social background in the opening chapter to the immediate and social outcomes in the 1950s. Lary sets the first few chapters against a backdrop of Guomindang (GMD) instability and Chinese Communist regrouping in China’s countryside after 1927. Chapter 1 examines elite upheaval, social polarization, and the psycho-social effects that war with Japan caused, while the second chapter analyzes the transition from the Second Sino-Japanese War into all-out civil strife between Communist and GMD belligerents, during which, as Lary states, the “re-establishment of political order in China was fragile” (38). The author argues in chapter 3 that despite the GMD’s control of China, several turning points account partially for a spike in support for the Communists and shifted momentum into their camp, such as a disunited GMD’s failed efforts to recoup lands that they lost previously, economic turmoil, and its total ignorance of winning hearts and minds. The next few chapters, meanwhile, trace the Communists’ gradual rise from rural nuisance to tactical aggressor. The fourth, fifth, and sixth chapters discuss the escalation of the conflict, leading up to the eleven months of the Communists’ rout of GMD forces as it moved to take Beijing by 1949. Chapters 7 and 8 examine outcomes of the war during the 1950s such as the victorious Communists’ entrenchment of class differences, generational splits as youth took primacy in Communist China over parents and adults, and in contrast to earlier periods, a promise to improve the status of women. The concluding chapter provides an exposé into postwar reverberations, namely isolation, cross-Taiwan Strait interpretations/re-interpretations of the conflict, and memories of the war.

Overall, the book satisfies as a long-overdue investigation of the immediate post-WWII period of the Chinese Civil War without the ideological or nationalist overtones that have characterized previous efforts, yet some issues do detract from an otherwise excellent study. Lary’s inclusion of succinct biographical snapshots—from last Emperor Pu Yi, acclaimed author Jiang Bingzhi (Ding Ling) to best-selling novelist and journalist Louis Cha and famed director Ang Lee—succeeds in connecting peoples’ stories to the larger analysis of the Chinese Civil War. Her decision to incorporate them only in short form instead of granting them chapter-length focus, however, is disappointing, and at times this causes distraction from the larger point that the author endeavours to make. Also offsetting is Lary’s invocation of Chalmers Johnson’s somewhat dated mono-causal explanation for the spread of nationalism in China to rural areas. Lary states that Johnson “argues persuasively that the alliance between Party and peasantry in the resistance to Japan brought nationalism to the villages, taught peasants to understand how oppressed they were under the old order and gave them a sense of belonging to a nation” (8). However, recent scholarship based on Communist Party documents, classified GMD intelligence reportage, and local archives reveals otherwise. Chen Yungfa’s local historical approach, for instance, highlights issues of tax evasion, army desertion, the Party’s countermeasures, corvée service, and soldier enlistment campaigns, to demonstrate that to overcome the peasant tradition of resisting state requirements the Communists’ required more than patriotic appeals to mobilize peasants. Prasenjit Duara, in the same vein, argues that Qing state modernizing initiatives attacked local religion and lineage structures, thereby empowering entrepreneurial brokers, and unseating rural gentry to create a cultural nexus of power vacuum that remained unfilled until the Communists established rural bases. Therefore, the Communists’ exploitation of several cleavages, not merely homages to a detached and ethereal nationalism, explains more fully the phenomenon of peasant mobilization against the Japanese occupiers.

Such issues notwithstanding, China’s Civil War is a thoughtful and well-composed volume that breaks the mould of telling military history by placing valuable insight on the social dimensions of civil strife. Diana Lary’s interweaving of accounts of the war with people’s lives illustrates the conflict’s pervasiveness across several social strata in Chinese society, reminding us that countless numbers of everyday Chinese endured significant hardship at wartime, and even thereafter, in both Chinas, many more still seek to sew the broken pieces of their lives back together.

Matt Galway, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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POWERFUL PATRIOTS: Nationalist Protest in China’s Foreign Relations. By Jessica Chen Weiss. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. x, 341 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$31.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-938755-7.

In this deeply researched volume, author Jessica Chen Weiss examines Beijing’s management of nationalist, anti-foreign protests. If the elite of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are dependent on popular nationalism to back their foreign policy aims, does this inhibit rational diplomacy? Under what circumstances do the authorities allow or even encourage citizens to take to the streets to organize demonstrations? When do they shut down protests and bring activists in to “drink tea,” a thinly veiled warning that failure to improve their behavior will result in more strenuous penalties. Chen Weiss presents seven case studies. Two involve the United States: the apparently accidental bombing of the PRC embassy in Belgrade in 1999 and the collision of an American reconnaissance plane with a Chinese air force fighter plane in 2001. Five concern Japan: the demonstrations of 1985, protests in the 1990s, 2005, 2010, and 2012. She argues convincingly that without visible evidence of popular anger, Chinese leaders, being unelected, have greater difficulty convincing foreign observers that public opinion credibly constrains their diplomatic options. Anti-foreign, nationalist protests enable authoritarian leaders to raise the specter of a popular backlash if they make concessions, while discernible efforts to repress nationalist sentiment allow the authorities to play “good cop” relative to extremist voices from the streets.

Still, any actions to diminish the intensity of the demonstrators have serious disadvantages both internationally and internally. Target countries perceive a weakening of central government resolve on the foreign policy issues that brought the protestors to the streets and may be less inclined to meet Beijing’s demands. Domestically, suppressed activists become disillusioned with their government, accusing it of unpatriotic behaviour and even implying that corrupt high-level officials stand to enhance their incomes by collusion with foreign entities. Party and government leaders are acutely aware that the demonstrations they encourage, either tacitly or actively, may be used to bring down the regime. Hence they are sensitive to indications that activists’ demands are straying off message, seguing into slogans urging an end to such practices as illegal confiscation of land, inflation, corruption, and suppression of freedom of expression.

Chen Weiss presents examples of where the Chinese government has succeeded in extracting concessions on the basis of popular pressure. Premier Zhu Rongji, negotiating the PRC’s accession to the World Trade Organization, was able to extract a reduction of ownership in telecommunications and insurance from 51 to 50 percent, persuading US representative Charlene Barshevsky that he would lose his job otherwise. In 2005, Japanese officials attributed their country’s failure to obtain permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council to popular protests in China.

Though not remarked on by the author, the ability of Chinese officials to convince Western negotiators that their jobs are at stake if they cannot get concessions is ongoing. An example that long predates the founding of the PRC occurred during talks between Qing representative Qiying (Ch’i Ying) and British envoy Sir Henry Pottinger over what eventually become the 1842 Treaty of Nanjing. In addition to Barshevsky’s concern for Zhu, in 1985, Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro, believing that his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine would undermine the position of Chinese leader Hu Yaobang, pledged he would not revisit the shrine, which Chinese activists consider symbolic of Japan’s lack of remorse for the country’s aggression during World War II.

Two years later, paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, pressing Japan for a concession on the ownership of a disputed dormitory as well as additional aid, told Japanese officials “it will be impossible to explain [these actions] to the people. It will be impossible to control them. I want you to understand this position which [party and government] are in” (102). A Japanese analyst commented that whenever political disagreements arose, Tokyo attached the highest priority to avoiding serious confrontation and made the concessions necessary to defuse the crisis.

Despite the author’s efforts, it is difficult to thread a path through the murky waters of less than transparent high-level diplomacy, and some oddities appear. This reviewer was puzzled by the statement that, after the Tiananmen demonstrations of 1989, Japan rewarded China for Chinese restraint. Perhaps it should have been the other way around. The Japanese government, though publicly opposed to sanctions against China, acquiesced to American pressure, and ended them as soon as possible. Japanese business people were the first to return to China after June 4, some even arriving before their government had deemed their presence safe. Tokyo was roundly criticized by democracy activists, some of whom threatened violence against Japanese citizens for supporting the Beijing leadership.

There is an occasional tendency to accept soothing diplomatic rhetoric as reality. The Japanese ambassador’s statement in the mid-1990s that Sino-Japanese relations were the best in the new decade belied serious underlying tensions. While the Japanese government and business community were eager to soothe relations, public opinion was horrified by the murder of unarmed civilians, and views of the PRC took a sharply negative turn. Chen Weiss describes the Japanese government’s reaction to the National People’s Congress passing, in 1992, a law unilaterally declaring sovereignty as mild. Yet it was only publicly so; the declaration threatened to scuttle a long-planned visit by the imperial couple to China, which officials on each side had, for their own reasons, desired. The law also provides needed context to Japan’s efforts to resist China’s efforts to take control of the disputed islands, which Tokyo had incorporated in 1895, and energized nationalist sentiments in Japan. While there is much evidence of Japanese concern for the position of Chinese administrators, there is no indication of Chinese leadership concern for their Japanese counterparts and relatively little examination of the influence of Japanese domestic politics on it government’s decision-making.

Allegations that the Japanese foreign ministry was far too accommodative to China came to a head in 2002, when Chinese police entered the Japanese consulate-general in Shenyang to extricate a North Korean family who had sought refuge there. The incident, unmentioned in this volume, discredited the so-called China School in the Japanese foreign ministry, thereby narrowing the bargaining space for solution of disputes.

Withal, Chen Weiss sustains her argument well. A prudent Chinese leadership should, she counsels, balance the long-term risks of stoking Chinese nationalism against the short-term gains of diplomatic pressure. This is a book well worth reading.

June Teufel Dreyer, University of Miami, Florida, USA

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PATRONAGE AND POWER: Local State Networks and Party-State Resilience in Rural China. By Ben Hillman. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. viii, 208 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8936-3.

A book that contains the following quotes from its rural Chinese interviewees has to be interesting: “If you’re not corrupt, no one will trust you,” (15) and “In Mao’s day we had more fairness, but that’s because we all had an equal share of nothing” (138). And while Ben Hillman’s study of patronage links starts off with a fairly abstract scene-setting chapter about the nature of kinship and the political, moral, and economic values attached to this in contemporary China, the material that follows is richly informed by the decade-long period he spent doing field research in a remote part of the southwest.

His broad subject is the reach of the Chinese Party-state into the most distant places. The picture he draws is of a Communist Party and government often portrayed as hierarchical and rigid in its Beijing manifestation which, in its most local face at least, has created an extraordinary, dynamic accommodation with the highly networked nature of society there. In the author’s description, the Party has, in the ways in which its officials organize relations and dispense resources, made a very broad framework within which people work, leaving plenty of space for variations and adaptations. It is a less fiercely prescriptive entity than the one that is sometimes portrayed, at least outside China. The Party in this account is pragmatic to its fingertips, and, depending on whether you are looking at it from its provincial, prefectural, country, or town levels, shows different faces to the world.

In the village-level entity the author spent most of his time at, there were two issues he picked up on that illustrate this diversity. One was that, purely through bureaucratic accident, a place that anywhere else in China would have ranked as a township was given classification as a rural area. This allowed it to hold multi-candidate elections under the 1998 Village Election Laws, despite the fact that from the early 2000s the brief experiment in townships elections effectively ceased. The second was that on the whole the relationship between kinship links and how these led to the exercise of power was not a straightforward one. People spent time mobilizing areas of support through the different groups ranged around them when elections came up; there were constituencies that were relatively easy to mobilize, and other which were more neutral and had to be appeased by different sorts of incentives, from money to discreet favours and other promises. While not a “democracy” in the formal sense, at the most local level, from the evidence presented here, China is certainly a place where people often negotiate, campaign, and form alliances, support for which has to be won rather than assumed.

This is one of the problems that Hillman’s book very lucidly puts into sharper focus. Everyone knows that China remains a highly networked society, and that human relationships and connections remain a fundamental characteristic of the business, cultural, and political life of the country. But trying to get inside these relationships to give them a stronger sense of definition and content is challenging. The fact that people went to the same schools, worked in the same factories or on the same farms, or are linked by marriage gives at least some clues as to what that content might be. But kinship also means something more than this—a sense of shared interest and values, or clan identity for instance, or shared world views.

This issue of content is highlighted in an informal survey the author undertook, showing that most of the residents of the area he is looking at rank political connectedness and wealth over all other preferred qualities in a village leader—including efficiency and honesty. The most we can conclude from this is that the Chinese people he talked to place a high value on perceptions of being well-connected. But the real value of this connectedness is far harder to quantify. He refers later to other studies that show rank incompetence has not precluded the well-connected from enjoying good careers when they get the right sort of support. But against this, he does also offer signs of supportive relationships that get exhausted and end, or people whose incompetence is finally dealt with by them being sidelined in positions at cultural bureaus or academic entities where they have grand-sounding titles, but zero powers or influence. In these aspects, China is not so different from the outside world. Even when it comes to connections and kinship values, people change their minds and have strategies in place to deal with this.

This links to probably the most contentious issue the book raises: how far can lessons observed in the regions Hillman studied be extrapolated elsewhere in China? This, after all, is the promise implied in the book’s title and subtitle, which seems to promise a description of networks and power in rural China generally, rather than one area of Yunnan. Ethnically, geographically, and even developmentally, Hillman is evidently looking at somewhere which is very specific. Perhaps the only safe conclusion to draw from this book is that, organizationally at least, the Communist Party of China represents different things to different people, and this almost liquid aspect of the way it exercises power is the source of its durability.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Hillman’s study is the lively vignettes that he relays about some of the elections he has witnessed and the way people in the area he researched related to each other, tried to gain influence, and, when things didn’t go well, how they sometimes lost it. For a crisp, accessible description of how towns, counties, and prefectures are meant to operate, this book is invaluable. Whether it tells us much about the real nature of power in China, however, is more debatable.

Kerry Brown, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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CHINESE MODELS OF DEVELOPMENT: Global, Local, and Comparative Perspectives. Challenges Facing Chinese Political Development. Edited by Tse-Kang Leng and Yu-Shan Wu. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014. xviii, 301 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$100.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-7391-9226-9.

This volume is the product of a collaborative effort between the Institute of Political Science, Academia Sinica, and the Department of Political Science of the University of Virginia in November 2011. The organizing theme of the volume concerns the issue of “models” of Chinese development. The book is divided into four parts, each providing a somewhat different take on understanding Chinese models of development. Part 1 focuses on Chinese models and paradigms of development studies with contributions by Yun-han Chu and Xiaoming Huang. The second part, on Chinese models in comparative perspective, has essays by Yu-Shan Wu, Allen Lynch, and Brantly Womack. Part 3 looks at regional models of development in China, with two essays by Tse-Kang Leng and Szu-chien Hsu and Hans Tung. The final section looks at models of Chinese external relations and global governance. Here, David Kang, Rumi Aoyama, and Herman Schwartz provide the chapters.

As with most edited volumes, the contributions are uneven. I particularly liked Yun-han Chu’s essay on regime legitimacy in China; Yu-Shan Wu’s essay comparing China’s development models with the historical experience of the Republic of China (both on the mainland and on Taiwan) and the thought of Sun Yat-sen; Tse-Kang Leng’s examination of cultural industry development in different areas of Nanjing; Szu-chien Hsu and Hans Tung’s examination of local autonomy under the 2008 Chinese stimulus package; and David Kang’s essay on hegemony, power, and history in international relations.

A number of the essays in this volume are revisions of papers that have been published in English elsewhere (Chu and Womack) and others have been published in other languages or summarize larger works by the authors. In some cases, the papers have been updated to include data from 2013, but in others, there seems to have been little added since the original conference in 2011.

The editors state in the preface that there is “no single ‘Chinese model’ to cover all dimensions of this rising power” (vii). However, while there is no single model, a central problem with this volume is there is no agreement on what exactly a model is, or what makes a model a model. Thus, for many of the essays, one might easily substitute “the Chinese experience” (or experiences), the “Chinese case(s),” or even Chinese history. Is it a distinctly Chinese model or models, or does China fit or not fit some other “type” or category? Some do try to think about the issue of model or models more or less explicitly (Xiaoming Huang in particular), but there is no consistent effort to unify the essays around what exactly a model is or might be. Several of the authors do not seem to pay any attention to the issue of whether (and in what respects) China is a model at all. Without a more explicit consideration of what constitutes a model, there is no standard of comparison and evaluation common to all of these essays, so the essays stand on their own as opposed to being in a more explicit dialogue with each other. The whole is not greater than the sum of its parts.

Several questions might have been used to organize this volume more effectively around the issue of Chinese models. First, can we extrapolate out China’s reform experience core, enduring analytical elements of that experience? How do we know what is the core or enduring? Given that China’s reforms and changes remain dynamic, how is it possible to isolate out the underlying core elements of a model? Second, is the model time-bound or not? Are there a series of “models,” one after another? Allen Lynch compares Deng’s reforms of the 1980s with Gorbachev’s reforms in the Soviet Union (though his title suggests he covers the 1965 to 2010 period). But the Chinese reforms of the 1980s were quite different than the reforms of the 1990s or 2000s. Which set of experiences are truly a model, or put differently, if each set of reform experiences is a model, is there any model at all?

Third, we might ask whether the model is replicable in other countries or localities? Can the model be diffused or transplanted without doing undo damage to the model when there is an attempt to emulate it in other contexts? If it cannot, then in what sense is it a model, as opposed to a unique case? Fourth, in addition to the question of transferability, we might try to probe what political purposes are served by labelling something as a model. Who benefits or is privileged by such a label? What experiences are excluded when a model becomes a particular reification of reality? Several of the authors discuss or mention the “Beijing Consensus” though none seems to see this as a model. Presumably, the Beijing Consensus calls for authoritarian politics and state capitalist approaches, thereby de-emphasizing democracy and more laissez-faire forms of capitalism. Is that enough to qualify for a model? If it is not, why isn’t it?

A number of the essays in this volume provide some fruitful material to contemplate as we think about comparing China to other places or experiences, and what makes China’s experience during the post-Mao period unique. But this book represents perhaps a starting point for those endeavours, and leaves us far from any definitive conclusions.

David Bachman, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

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XINJIANG AND THE EXPANSION OF CHINESE COMMUNIST POWER: Kashgar in the Early Twentieth Century. Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia (2005), 98. By Michael Dillon. New York: Routledge, 2014. xxxiii, 252 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$160.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-58443-2.

An array of foreigners played vital roles in Xinjiang, which is often portrayed as a remote and isolated region in the period from 1911 to 1949. Although it lay in the interior of Asia and was far from the sea, it attracted diverse groups, despite its relative inaccessibility. The Turkic group, which became identified as the Uyghurs in the twentieth century, constituted the largest segment of the population, but Han Chinese, Dungans (also known as Hui or Chinese Muslims), British, Russians, Swedes, Hindus and Afghans reached or settled in the region. Han Chinese leaders governed the region from 1911 to 1949, and Xinjiang was frequently independent and not responsive to the central Chinese or any other government. Xinjiang’s geographic location adjacent to the USSR’s Central Asian republics offered the Soviet Union considerable leverage in the economy and politics of the region. The British had a consulate general (known as the Chinibagh) in Kashgar that gathered information and intelligence about Xinjiang and attempted to promote British India’s trade with Xinjiang, and a few Indian merchants reached the area. Afghans smuggled opium into Kashgar; the Swedes had the only religious mission in western Xinjiang and, like other Christian missionaries in China, started schools and provided modern medical care. The local inhabitants, in addition to the Uyghurs, consisted of small but diverse communities of Hui, Kyrgyz, Kazakhs and even Mongols.

Dillon writes about the political and economic history of Xinjiang during this era and supplements Andrew Forbes’ Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: A Political History of Republican Sinkiang 1911-1949 (published in 1986), which he praises as a “key text,” but which did not have access to currently available Chinese and English sources. He focuses on the city of Kashgar, the point of intersection of the northern and southern routes around the Taklamakan Desert. His brief description of the city’s history is generally accurate except for a slip about the dates of the Mongolian Empire. In relation to dates, the author jumps around, leading the average reader to be confused about chronology. Part of the reason is that he focuses on biographical sketches and identifies specific individuals with important developments, including education, journalism and officialdom. The narrative sometimes shifts from the 1930s to 2010. For example, he writes that “Kashgar is no longer medieval” (27), referring to a period 65 years after the purported conclusion of the book.

Nonetheless, Dillon presents new information and insights, especially based on the reports of British subjects associated with the consulate general in Kashgar. He has mined the British accounts and writings to provide a vivid portrayal not only of the British community but also of its perception of the Chinese and Turkic rulers. He also contributes to knowledge of pre-1949 developments in Xinjiang. Other studies have described the policies of Yang Zengxin, Jin Shuren and Sheng Shicai, the three autocratic rulers during the three decades from 1911 on, but Dillon presents additional notes based upon the 12 volumes of the Kashi wenshi ziliao (Cultural and Historical Materials on Kashgar City) and other sources issued by the present Chinese government.

An interesting by-product of Dillon’s research is a generally positive view of Mao Zedong’s brother Mao Zemin and other communists who collaborated with Sheng Shicai in Xinjiang before he turned against the USSR and subsequently imprisoned and executed the communists who had worked for him. Dillon praises Mao Zemin for initiating reforms that “were modern and rational, and were designed to eliminate corruption and the worst excesses of exploitation” (104) and writes that Mao “refused to stay away from work when he was ill and often had to be sent home by his colleagues” (122). In 1943, Sheng had Mao executed, turning him into a martyr and providing the communists with an ideal model of a Han Chinese who had sacrificed himself for the benefit of the Uyghurs. After the communist victory in 1949, Mao’s remains were moved to the Revolutionary Martyrs Memorial Cemetery in Urumchi in a transparent attempt to indicate the dedication and selflessness of the communist Chinese in Xinjiang.

Dillon’s book is also useful for its front matter and its visuals. It provides a compact chronology of major events in Kashgar and southern Xinjiang from 1911 to 1953, a valuable source for the non-specialist educated reader. As important, it includes a generous selection of photographs from the Höök collection. Ivar and Elisabeth Höök, Swedish missionaries in Xinjiang, took their own photographs and collected others from friends and acquaintances. Their daughter gave Dillon permission to use these black-and-white photos of a mosque, a market, a hospital and a school, as well as images of the local inhabitants at work, the religious leaders, and the soldiers guarding the Swedish compound. There are also photographs of the natural environment, which complement Dillon’s descriptions of Xinjiang.

Morris Rossabi, City University of New York, Queens, USA

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VISIONS OF DYSTOPIA IN CHINA’S NEW HISTORICAL NOVELS. By Jeffrey C. Kinkley. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. xvi, 285 pp. US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16768-0.

There is a generation of Chinese novelists, now in their fifties and sixties, whose careers began in the early years of reform and opening after the death of Mao, and who have enjoyed uninterrupted literary careers of three decades, a span denied to almost all their predecessors in China’s tempestuous twentieth century. Members of this group, which includes Mo Yan, Su Tong, Yu Hua, Ge Fei and Han Shaogong, and has Wang Anyi as its only female representative, rode the wave of “high-culture fever” in the 1980s, and transitioned in subsequent decades from the “avant-garde Boom to post-avant-garde Post-Boom” (29). In recent years, their works have been extensively translated and honoured with international awards, most notably Mo Yan’s 2012 Nobel Prize, even as younger and less earnest writers have begun to outsell them at home.

In Visions of Dystopia, Jeffrey C. Kinkley introduces an extensive selection of the fiction of this generation of writers; the works combine to present a history of modern China which contradicts previous state narratives of triumph and human perfectibility. For these authors, “[h]unger, desire, gangsters, and prostitutes are universals in Chinese history” (42), and their novels are replete with violence, tyranny, betrayal, absurdity and collective madness. Rather than a steady march towards enlightenment and liberation, the reader is presented with stories that generally end badly for the characters that populate them. Writing of Mo Yan’s Life and Death are Wearing Me Out, Kinkley concludes that “the overall direction of history … is one of decadence, decline, and injustice” (90).

In his reading of these new historical novels, Kinkley acknowledges, but does not allow himself to be directed by, two established ways of reading modern Chinese fiction: C.T. Hsia’s proposal that writers share an “obsession with China” and Frederic Jameson’s generalization that third-world literatures can be read as “national allegories” on themes such as liberation from colonialism and nation-building. Rather, the novels are seen here as dystopian, and compared to a global literature of grand visions gone terribly wrong for those who have to live them, a list that includes Anglo-American works such as George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-four, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. A reading of these works offers valuable insights into the writing of this generation of Chinese writers, but for literary influence, Kinkley rightly ascribes greater importance to Latin American authors, most notably Gabriel García Márquez, whose masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude was widely circulated and much admired by young writers emerging from the confines of socialist realism in the 1980s. That novel’s vision of an unpredictable world seen through the microcosm of a locality, and its blending of the realistic and the fantastic, appealed to writers searching for the elemental and the primitive in the Chinese soul rather than charting progress towards communist utopia. A further reason to emulate Márquez in the late twentieth century was his 1982 Nobel Prize, at a time when Chinese authors were convinced that their long wait for the honour would soon be over; the “hallucinatory realism” cited in the announcement of Mo Yan’s award recalls the “magic realism” for which Márquez is celebrated.

The post-Mao generation of authors did not only look for inspiration in translated fiction: Kinkley draws attention to their veneration of Dream of the Red Chamber/ Story of the Stone; Cao Xueqin’s Qing dynasty masterwork records the decline of a great family through the microcosm of a complex of residences contained in a large compound, with periodic visits from supernatural realms into the world of official intrigue and family discord. In many of the new historical novels, family is likewise the microcosm for twentieth-century China: Su Tong’s Wives and Concubines (filmed by Zhang Yimou as Raise the Red Lantern) is set in the toxic environment of a rich man’s compound, and dysfunctional families people Yu Hua’s sagas of late twentieth and early twenty-first century China.

Yu Hua’s Brothers is a recent example of the new historical novel: the lives of two utterly dissimilar men rendered brothers by their parents’ marriage are charted from the unspeakable cruelty of the revolutionary past to the unspeakable vulgarity of the mercenary present. Kinkley writes of the novel that “the relationship of the brothers is perpetually symbiotic and mutually self-destructive” (152); he also sees in it the signs that the genre itself may be in decline, becoming “over-the-top, slapdash, and repetitious” (200), and predicts that readers may lose enthusiasm for dystopian critiques of their consumerist goals.

This is a masterful study of a major genre in recent Chinese literature; it is erudite but readable, strongly comparative, and with both historical and literary perspective. A relish for the material is evident throughout, and the book is studded with passages of translation that convey the flavour of the originals.

Richard King, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada

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LA FRANCE EN CHINE DE SUN YAT-SEN À MAO ZEDONG 1918–1953. Collection Histoire”(Rennes, France). By Nicole Bensacq-Tixier. Rennes, FR: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2014. 751 pp. (Figures, maps.) €28.00, paper. ISBN 978-2-7535-2925-0.

Diplomats usually serve as transmitters of orders and directives received from their home country to the governments of nations where they are posted. They also act as brokers for their own citizens and national companies in those foreign countries and provide valuable information to their respective governments. However, the warlord period and World War II in China provided environments not as clearly delimited as during normal times. Because China had multiple governments during the 1918–1949 period (warlord-controlled areas, the Japanese-occupied area, and Nationalist China), and France had also suffered the fate of occupation during World War II, the normal state of bilateral relations was upset, which fostered initiatives from diplomats that did not necessarily reflect home policy. On top of this, France had to secure its interests in Indochina at a time when the Japanese threat complicated the situation. Bensacq-Tixier’s impressive work on French diplomatic history during this period exposes these difficulties.

The book is divided into three parts that reflect specific periods of Chinese modern history: warlord China, China at war, and Communist China. The first part aims to detail how China’s warlords dealt with foreign diplomats. In the case of France, whose sphere of influence was primarily in Yunnan province and Shanghai, the book takes an interesting view on the complex regional Chinese histories of this period. The reader can clearly understand why China could not be governed by a single government at that time and more importantly, the multiple governments emerging in warlord China had the effect of dividing state power in international relations. France recognized Beijing as the capital of China (as did most Western nations) while it shared in the Republican ideals of Sun Yat-sen. Developing their interests in Yunnan, the French were willingly contributing to the weakening of China. Meanwhile, France’s protection of the missionary Catholic network reflected the incapacity of the Chinese state to provide social services, crippled as it was by outsiders who controlled vital elements of national strengthening, such as railways, extraterritoriality, customs, and trade.

The second part of the book, by far the most interesting and insightful, tackles the role of French diplomats in China when their own country was occupied by Germany and the Axis powers, which included Japan. Divided between the Vichy government and the resistance led by de Gaulle, French diplomacy faced an internal revolt by those French wishing to join the resistance against Germany and Japan, and thereby exposing Indochina to Japanese occupation and indisposing their own diplomatic comrades posted in occupied China (in Harbin, Shenyang, Qingdao, Yantai, Dalian, Beijing, Tianjin, Wuhan, Nanjing, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Shantou, Beihai, Haikou, Longzhou, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and notably Shanghai, where a sizable French population resided) and Free China (Chongqing, Chengdu, Kunming and Mengzi, established to protect the Haiphong-Kunming railway). Furthermore, French diplomatic recognition of China’s government posed a great dilemma, which turned out to be a catch-22 situation. France’s recognition of Wang Jingwei’s regime enraged Chiang Kai-shek, who recognized that the French were in a dire position and hoping to protect their colonial estate. An important and interesting point here was the posting of junior and senior diplomats who joined secret movements aimed at liberating French overseas territories (such as Japanese-occupied Indochina). Almost all of them spoke Chinese and had spent many years posted in China. They had a deep knowledge of the country and wrangled over the political influence of the French foreign service and the policies France should adopt towards China.

The third part details how the French had few friends remaining in the postwar period. Americans were not interested in helping de Gaulle regain a foothold in Southeast Asia, Chiang Kai-shek occupied Northern Vietnam with his troops, and Ho Chi Minh had proclaimed national independence. France’s weak position entailed the loss of extraterritoriality and the end of the French quarter of Shanghai. The Yunnan Railway was ceded to the Chinese as the French made efforts to maintain their presence by seeking treaties permitting French nationals to remain in China and conduct business. However, the situation in Indochina over the next eight years (1946–1954) and Mao’s victory (1949) definitely ushered in a new era and the departure of all French nationals from China. Although some French diplomats proposed the recognition of the new communist regime, Paris instead sought to save Indochina with American help.

The secondary weaknesses of the book do not undermine the scope of the study. However, it would have been appreciated if Chinese sources had been consulted to explain how the Chinese saw French diplomats. Unfortunately, the author uses only French sources, thus offering a one-sided narrative that portrays only how the French diplomats saw their own work in China. Also, a more theoretical framing of the study would have been welcomed because it would have provided some explanation on the limits of diplomatic action when a country is basically divided between multiple governments and non-state actors. This asymmetry could have been explored to demonstrate how under such conditions even the most able diplomats cannot efficiently implement their home country’s policies. Finally, the substantial amount of information on the lives of senior and junior diplomats could have been reduced to allow a tighter focus on French policy in China. Bensacq-Tixier published Dictionnaire du corps diplomatique et consulaire français en Chine (1840–1912) in 2004 and Dictionnaire biographique des diplomates et consuls en Chine (1918–1953) in 2013, which relate the lives of French diplomats in China with substantive biographical details. Overall, this book is quite entertaining and informative but it could have been a masterpiece had the author chosen to cut some of the biographical details in favour of more more political science.

Serge Granger, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada

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MODERNITY WITH A COLD WAR FACE: Reimagining the Nation in Chinese Literature across the 1949 Divide. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 360. By Xiaojue Wang. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2013. xiii, 359 pp. US$39.95, cloth . ISBN 978-0-674-72672-7.

Wang Xiaojue presents six chapters in this book, each devoted to a modern writer in Chinese whose life illustrates the various courses that vocation brought during the Cold War. They are Shen Congwen (1902-1988), who gave up literature for museum work after political denunciation, and died in Beijing before he could receive the widely expected Nobel Prize; Ding Ling (1904-1986), the electrifying feminist writer of the pre-1949 period and then winner of the second Stalin Prize for literature in 1951, after which she suffered brutal torture at the hands of the Communist authorities, being rehabilitated, a shadow of her former self, only in 1978; Wu Zhuoliu (1900-1976), a leading Taiwanese novelist, in particular of the period of Japanese rule; Feng Zhi (1905-1993), greatly influenced by German literature, on which he was an expert, who navigated the political tides of his times with considerable success; and finally Eileen Chang (1920-1965), a great writer but also a tragic expatriate, who spent her life after 1949 dividing her time between Hong Kong and the United States.

The essays are largely successful and informative, though unlike much writing on the subject, they say little about the role of official compulsion in the careers of the three who lived their lives in China. The book’s subtitle, “Reimagining the Nation in Chinese Literature across the 1949 Divide,” however, suggests greater ambition than simply a well-chosen set of biographical vignettes. By attempting to de-emphasize the Cold War, Wang seeks to unify her subjects under a national rubric that somehow transcends ideology. Neither her introduction nor conclusion, which present her larger arguments pointing to “a De-Cold War Criticism,” quite achieve the evidently hoped-for purpose of making the book more than the sum of its parts.

For one thing, the Cold War has effectively been over since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991—twelve years before the publication of the book. Since then the strange confrontation has not so much been re-evaluated as disappeared: a visit to Moscow discloses few symbolic traces of the Communist past, while even in China, vestiges of the period of Maoism (1949-1976) are increasingly difficult to find. It is as if the very different waters of pre-Communist and now effectively post-Communist (but still authoritarian) China are closing over the 24 years of Mao’s rule which, it turns out, did not so much transform the nation’s development as delay it until the great man was dead. Furthermore, like it or not, while it lasted the Cold War did split the Chinese-language world into fragments, some of which communicated a bit, others not at all. So the whole premise of the book seems a bit archaic: that we must somehow wrestle with a once-real “divide” now largely forgotten and well on the way to closing.

A never-resolved ambiguity about the actual history of the period plagues the book. Thus, an ordinary observer might think that Ding Ling, having been a daring and untrammeled author until Communism, subsequently encountered (after a brief celebrity) exile, mental torture, and so forth that effectively broke her spirit. She was, after all, an emotionally delicate woman of literary genius, but so traumatized that at the end of her life, visiting America, she had scarcely anything of interest to say. We know, after all, from a plethora of sources, how brutal were the Chinese Communist authorities, how many great talents were killed or died or broke down. Like Ding Ling they had no choice: they could not opt out of the then pervasive and coercive politicization of art and all else in China. It was obligatory and forcibly imposed

We also know that the whole process of harnessing art to political goals began with Mao Zedong’s “Talks at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art” (1942) which had the full support of the new (since 1935) secret police of Kang Sheng, trained by the KGB in the USSR. Only in a footnote does Wang acknowledge that “Mao’s notion of spiritual and physical hygiene was implemented during various political campaigns targeted at intellectuals, of which the 1942 rectification campaign was only the beginning” (118, note 20). Yet rather than exploring what Mao said (and did) to Ding Ling, Wang devotes effectively all of her attention to a putative “self-transformation” by which Ding Ling attempted to change herself into a new kind of writer, as indeed she may have, before perhaps crumbling.

Likewise striking is the ease with which Wang slides over the terrible tragedy of Shen Congwen’s turn away from literary brilliance to museum curatorship. Even her lack of curiosity about Feng Zhi’s passage into Communism “without a strenuous process of assimilation” (242) is puzzling. Perhaps his ability to write in 1958, no less, that only under socialism would “freedom and law, the individual and the collective” be realized, suggests something about his gift for overlooking the obvious oppression in China (243)? As for Wu and Chang, they would fit only if the topic and structure of the book were more intellectually rigorous and better articulated.

One simply cannot erase at will divisions within a world of writing which, in China, saw the final manuscript of Ding Ling’s Sun Shines Over the Sangan River (1948) delayed a year until approved by Mao himself (114), while in contemporaneous Taiwan creative writing was certainly restricted, though Chiang Kai-shek, a far less ambitious dictator than Mao, had little desire to transform human souls, and finally the free world of Hong Kong and beyond. Instead of attempting the impossible by placing the Chinese police state in the background while seeking to rub away hard boundaries, Wang’s deep scholarship might have been better used confronting the indubitable realities of the rapidly receding world of which she writes.

Arthur Waldron, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

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ON THE FRINGES OF THE HARMONIOUS SOCIETY: Tibetans and Uyghurs in Socialist China. NIAS Studies in Asian Topics. Edited by Trine Brox, Ildikó Bellér-Hann. Copenhagen: NIAS Press; Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press [distributor], 2014. xvi, 320 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$32.00, paper. ISBN 978-87-7694-142-0.

“On the Fringes of the Harmonious Society” is a collection of papers from a workshop held at the University of Copenhagen. The editors have drawn together academics working on Tibet and Xinjiang, situating their works in the context of China’s development strategy. The title “harmonious society” is drawn from Hu Jintao’s motto during his presidency. Hu was intimately connected to Tibet as the CCP’s first secretary. During his presidency of China, he launched the “Western Development Program,” which sought to promote an aggressive development strategy for the poor regions on the periphery within the mainstream of China’s economy. In the introduction, the editors hope to “make better sense, of the complex interconnectedness between culture, ethnic, and development policies in China” (1). The introduction also quotes Steven Harrell’s description of the regions as the “most resistant to the Centre’s civilizing efforts”(3). Despite similarities, the two regions are treated as separate regions with differing milieus, Buddhist Tibet and Islam in Xinjiang.

The collection consists of twelve contributions, with six papers dealing with Tibet and five papers devoted to Uighurs. Only the paper by Andrew Fischer (29-68) provides systemic comparative studies of the two regions. Fischer’s paper looks at the “structural foundations” of governance and economic strategies. Fischer places two regions within the context of state-led economic and developmental models. The paper shows economic growth rates in Tibet and Xinjiang exceed the national average between 2000 and 2010 (35). The rapid growth was seen as a success from the government’s point of view, but, as Fischer’s paper shows, it was not without its problems. Both Tibet and Xinjiang saw the growth generated by the expansion of state administration and infrastructure construction. Fischer’s paper focuses primarily on the labour transition resulting from the state’s development strategies. Both regions saw the privileging of the urban sector over the rural economy; economic development also led to the exclusion and marginalization of Tibetans and Uighurs from major sources of employment. Fischer makes extensive use of official statistics compiled by provincial governments and by the central government. These provide fruitful data for comparative studies of the regions; the data demonstrates growing marginalization of “minorities” in the labour market (65-66).

The rest of the contributions focus on region-specific issues; however, there are thematic similarities both in subject matter and issues highlighted in the papers. The contributions from Henryk Szadziewski (69-97), Tashi Nyima (127-158) and Elisa Cenecetti (159-182) all deal with the effects of the “Open the West Campaign” (xibu da kaifa) in differing ways. All the papers present similar findings in the development campaign that is aimed at closing the economic disparity between Western regions, which make up 71 percent percent of China’s landmass, yet it accounts for less than 28 percent of GDP (72). As noted in Fischer’s contribution the emphasis was on promoted material development without taking into account ethnic disparities in employment and income disparities. An interesting comparative point made in the book is that economic transformation was more disruptive in Tibetan areas, as the changes involved the destruction of a pastoral economy.

Chris Hann (183-208) and Francoise Robin’s (209-234) contributions look at language issues in Tibet and Xinjiang. Language issues facing the Tibetans and Uighurs are similar to the extent that the promotion of Chinese as the national language through state administration and education has disadvantaged indigenous languages. Both languages are seen as markers of identity and religion, and any decline in the use of the languages is associated with the stripping away of identity. The chapter by Emily Yeh (235-262) deals with of the environmental movement in China and points out that the Tibetan areas were the “point of origin” of China’s environmental activism (237). This would have presented a possibility of convergence of interested parties, beyond ethnicity and locality. Yeh shows that the Green Movement brought Tibet from the periphery to the mainstream of the Chinese nation. However, this presented a problem since it meant mobilizing the local Tibetans, and the Han environmentalists were far more sympathetic to local practices and mobilizing religious leaders to their sides. This led to the emergence of Tibetan environmentalists to create “a space for cultural assertion” (258) viewed by the authorities as detrimental to the state-led campaign of ethnic harmony by accentuating ethnic identity.

The papers by Joanne Finley (263-292), Rachael Harris (293-217) and Eric Schluessel (318-346) deal with social and cultural contestation in Xinjiang. Finley’s paper focuses on the reception of a popular television soap opera (Xinjiang Girl) and the debates it generated regarding inter-ethnic marriage. However, as the paper shows, inter-ethnic marriage remains taboo and marriage is seen as a site of maintaining Uyghur identity and resisting assimilation. Rachael Harris’s paper is the only one dealing with religion and gender issues, a subject that has received little to no attention in the context of Tibet or Xinjiang. The women’s ritual practices are seen as outside Uyghur Islamic society and the state views these practices as “discordant” with the state modernization goal, resulting in the double marginalization of Uyghur women. Eric Schluessel examines the positions and articulations by Uyghur public intellectuals. The situation described by Schuessel is very similar to the position of Tibetan intellectuals. Uyghur and Tibetan intellectuals face the problem of critiquing internal social problems without seeming to endorse the colonial power’s accusations of backwardness.

The book makes valuable contributions to the study of Tibetans and Ugyhurs in contemporary China. By providing well-researched and ethnographically rich details of Tibet and Xinjiang, the book moves the subject beyond treating the people merely as “minorities” who are recipients of state benevolence.

Tsering Shakya, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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CHINA FROM EMPIRE TO NATION-STATE. By Wang Hui; translated by Michael Gibbs Hill. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014. xiv, 179 pp. US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-04695-5.

This book is the translation of the introduction to Wang Hui’s four-volume Rise of Modern Chinese Thought, published in Chinese in 2004 and as yet not translated. Wang is a preeminent new-left public intellectual in China, well known for his political and scholarly writings as well as for his editing of Dushu, one of China’s best-known intellectual journals. More of his work is available in English translation than is the case for most contemporary Chinese intellectuals, and this volume is a welcome addition to those interested in Wang in particular and in current intellectual trends in China in general.

Wang’s ambitious goal is to rethink the meanings of “China,” “modernity” and “modern China.” The context for his inquiry is essentially sinological and historical discourse on China as practiced in Japan, the United States and Europe over the past few decades (the introduction suggests that Wang pays less attention to his Chinese colleagues, which may be one reason that he is not universally appreciated there). His discipline is intellectual history, meaning both that he has read broadly and deeply in the writings of Chinese thinkers since the Song dynasty, and that he understands sinological and historical writing as a part of intellectual history. Wang’s approach is post-modern; it could hardly be otherwise, given the nature of his project. Happily, he avoids the sneering “holier than thou” tone of some post-modern writings. He also avoids “bashing the West” and “valourizing China,” although he does want us to rethink many of the central narratives of Chinese historical studies, both in China and elsewhere.

As the title of the volume suggests, most of these central narratives are related to notions concerning “empire” and “nation-state” in China and elsewhere. Relentlessly iconoclastic, Wang attempts to illustrate the extent to which these concepts, central to various narratives of modernity, are in fact much more complex than one might think from reading textbook accounts of Chinese history (or history elsewhere). In the first section of the book, “Two Narratives of China and Their Derivative Forms,” Wang argues that the common binary employed in most historical studies which discuss China’s evolution from premodern empire to modern nation are more teleological than fact-based, and ignore much of the complexity of the historical interactions between capitalism, imperialism and colonialism. In the second section, “The Empire/Nation-State Binary and European ‘World History,'” Wang similarly argues that much of the complexity—and intelligence —of policy discussion and implementation under the Qing has been swept under the rug by dismissive Western images of the Manchus as incompetent Keystone Kops (or by Chinese nationalist images of the Qing as racial enemies). In the third section, “Heavenly Principle/Universal Principle and History,” Wang examines the neo-Confucian notion of heavenly principle, its unfolding over the late dynastic period, and its confrontation with “universal principle” (broadly, science and rationality as introduced by the West in the late nineteenth century). Unlike Joseph Levenson, Wang does not see these two principles as mutually exclusive. Although based on a reading of China’s ancient civilization (rites and music), heavenly principle as conceived by Zhu Xi and others in the Song also contained an understanding of history and flexibility, and remains a resource for present-day Chinese intellectuals. In section 4, “China’s Modern Identity and the Transformation of Empire,” Wang seems to argue against the impact of print capitalism and Benedict Anderson’s idea of an “imagined community” in the rise of China’s modern identity, and for greater attention to the idea of economic empire under globalization.

As this brief summary suggests, this is heady stuff. Wang is clearly serious, erudite and, I think, judicious in what he is trying to do. It is a pleasure to read a Chinese scholar who takes Western and Japanese sinology seriously on its own terms, and who seeks to bend postmodernism to his own ends. At the very least, Wang asks interesting questions in interesting ways, and illustrates helpfully just how silly the (already much decried) notion of “changeless China” really is. At the same time, it is hard to tell the extent to which Wang is “successful.” The project exists at a very high level of abstraction, and given that Wang is hoping to interrogate just what we mean by “China” and “modern,” much of what he says is necessarily highly tentative. It does not help that Wang’s prose is rather dense; a typical paragraph might be a page long, and many are much longer (kudos to the translator, however, who seems to have done a marvelous job). Some passages were fascinating, and made me want to check out the larger four-volume work. Others were nothing short of exasperating, and made me put the book down. I suppose that in a study like this, much of the artistry consists in just getting the balls in the air. Juggling is appreciated for its own sake and there is no immediate larger goal.

Wang wants to do more than juggle, though, and I wish that he had tried harder to communicate his insights in declarative sentences. The final sentence of the volume reads: “Because the process of writing this book stretched out over ten years, I am already unable to sketch out the complete context of my theoretical considerations and how they have changed—this is something that still needs to be addressed” (145). I admire the honesty, but would still have appreciated a few morsels now.

David Ownby, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada

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BORN OUT OF PLACE: Migrant Mothers and the Politics of International Labor. By Nicole Constable. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014. xvii, 259 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28202-5.

Nicole Constable has produced another compelling ethnography about gender and migration. Her 1997 classic Maid to Order in Hong Kong explores domination and resistance of foreign domestic workers (FDW). Romance on a Global Stage (2003) examines the landscape of desire and power in women’s and men’s pursuit of cross-border marriage. Born Out of Place is a sequel that weaves the critical threads of her previous studies to look into the experience of Filipina and Indonesian FDWs who became pregnant, gave birth and struggled to mother in Hong Kong.

FDWs in Hong Kong are granted local residency on the condition of a labour contract, and are deprived of the right to family unification. Although they may stay in Hong Kong for as long as decades, they are not entitled to permanent residency, and their Hong Kong-born babies are rarely given the right of abode, either.

Born Out of Place demonstrates a range of experiences: some women chose abortion or gave the baby away for adoption, while others struggled to raise the child by themselves or with their partners. Their migratory status and tactics of survival also vary, from those who sought legal residency through marriage or employment, to those on the less privileged spectrum who filed refugee or torture claims but mostly failed in their applications eventually. During their extended period of stay in Hong Kong, they made ends meet by locating low-paying illegal work, including camping in line for the release of iPhones.

The thousands of migrant babies are numerically limited, compared to the total number of FDWs in Hong Kong (about 300,000 in 2012). Some activists have therefore dismissed this as a “tiny little problem.” And yet, Constable has successfully argued that this small problem can speak to large theoretical questions and reveal wider structural paradoxes.

First, this book poignantly reveals the human costs and social injustice of temporary labour migration. The “guest worker” regime places migrant workers in a condition of what Agamben calls “bare life”: they are denied the needs to fulfill their sexual lives and union with family members. Some migrant women desire children to gain some stability in their transitional life, but their pregnancy paradoxically pushes them into a more precarious condition. Although they are legally entitled to maternal leave, their employers tend to terminate the contract, leaving many jobless and undocumented.

Second, Constable vividly demonstrates that the intimate life hidden in the glamorous global city is shadowed by power inequality and moral ambivalence. Although the book focuses on the experiences of migrant women, Constable made a concerted effort to hear the voice of men. Hong Kong is a meeting place for Western tourists, African traders, and South Asian asylum seekers and undocumented workers. Many of these men, as well as local Chinese residents, become “boyfriends” to the FDWs, a term blurring into “a sort of customer, client, or benefactor relationship” (129). Migrant women seek what they call “Hong Kong happy” to escape the patriarchal constraints at home, but they still aspire to the moral legitimacy of marriage. Some bear the consequence of pregnancy because “not using contraception is associated with trust, hope and intimacy” (133).

Finally, the book shows the bitter reality of family alienation and circular migration as an unfortunate and unexpected consequence of labour migration. Constable revisited these women in Indonesia and found that many had become alienated from their natal family and left their children to work overseas again. She coins the concept “the migratory cycle of atonement” to describe how the moral stigma associated with single motherhood and foreign-born children, coupled with the difficulty of earning sufficient wages back home, tends to push women to reenter the migratory cycle. They hope to redeem themselves by converting their earlier moral failure to a steady flow of remittance, which is nevertheless earned in the face of bare, stripped-down lives.

Constable made a conscious decision to write in an accessible, story-telling manner. She is not shy about her passion and sympathy for these migrant women, or her position as a politically engaged feminist-ethnographer-activist. This helps her to delve into migrant women’s underground lives and unsettled feelings, and also enriches this book with touching life stories with telling details. Such a format, however, leaves academic readers like me hungry for further theoretical analysis. Perhaps the expansion of a concluding chapter can tease out issues such as the circuit between paid and unpaid reproductive labour across multiple spheres, the intersecting inequalities of race, gender and class in multiracial intimacy, and the research implications for policy and activism.

This book is an ideal assignment for courses about gender, migration, citizenship or globalization in anthropology, sociology and Asian studies. It would also interest lay readers who are concerned about the vulnerability of disposable labour and the persistence of humanistic values in an era of global migration.

Pei-chia Lan, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

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A LANDSCAPE OF TRAVEL: The Work of Tourism in Rural Ethnic China. Studies on Ethnic Groups in China. By Jenny Chio. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014. xxxi, 294 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-295-99366-9.

Over hundreds of years, the mountains of Guangxi have been transformed into terraced rice paddies famous the world over, a textbook example of the human transformation of China’s natural environment. Since the 1980s, Ping’an has become a major tourism destination, though its famous fields are increasingly sown by outside hands hired to keep up appearances. The local labour that maintained these terraces is now devoted to tourism work, including guesthouse management, village beautification, and new ethnic displays created specifically for tourism.

The situation in Ping’an village makes up one of the two comparative cases that Jenny Chio presents in A Landscape of Travel. The other is the village of Upper Jidao, a nine-hour drive across the border into Guizhou, provided you make the right turns. Upper Jidao has no famous landscapes, but like Ping’an it is caught up in a national push to economically and socially develop the countryside. In the 2000s, Upper Jidao village became a provincial target for tourism development. Despite being marginalized by more popular and accessible Miao villages in eastern Guizhou, Upper Jidao carved a piece of the tourism market by playing up its rural ethnicity with ethnic costumes and performances, and disguising modern brickwork behind wooden plank facades.

Chio’s book is an ethnographic account of the mobilities and subjectivities of rural ethnic villagers in China working to become visible, attractive and relevant in a competitive new tourism economy. Chio finds that in both villages, “doing” tourism (gao lüyou, in Mandarin) is not something tourists do, but is a process undertaken by villagers learning how to be ethnic and rural (210). This is not an altogether new insight, yet the book makes an important contribution in covering the intensified pressure placed on rural areas over the past decade to more actively contribute to national economic and social goals. In highlighting the role of migrant subjectivities and labor, Chio has at the same time helped clarify the relationship between migration and tourism in China. The rediscovery of rural and remote China by urban Chinese has been a significant social and political change over the past two decades in China. This is a question that I have pursued in my own work. But mobilities of leisure and labour don’t map cleanly onto the schematic movement of urban tourists to rural China and rural labourers to urban China, and A Landscape of Travel is a valuable study of how closely related these mobilities are.

Stories of Ping’an and Upper Jidao are woven through each chapter, each contributing to Chio’s focus on a broad set of theoretical issues. The introduction explains that instead of focusing on the mobility and the visuality of tourists, the book concentrates on the concrete work rural ethnic villagers do in order to be mobile and be seen. Chapter 1 surveys literature on ethnicity and tourism in China, and provides historical overviews of tourism development in Ping’an and Upper Jidao. Chapter 2 frames tourism in these villages as part of the central state’s New Socialist Countryside campaign, and as commodified through the trope of the nongjiale, the “happy farmer home.” The middle chapters go into more detail regarding the mobilities, appearances and subjectivities behind the work of tourism. Tourist subjectivities sneak into the book in chapter 3, which covers the uneven mobilities generated through tourism development—how rural tourism requires that someone remain in the role of the peasant, and how residents come to see their village and themselves through tourism. Chapter 4 probes the politics of the visual work required for tourism, how villagers make themselves and their landscapes appear rural and ethnic. Chapter 5 covers the local politics of tourism—between residents, developers, and local governments—and the requirement to create distance and difference between rural ethnic villages. The conclusion reprises the major themes of the book through an account of a tour to Ping’an organized by Chio for Upper Jidao officials.

Chio demonstrates sensitivity to the complex relationships and politics of tourism development in these villages. In her close focus on specific villages in a specific period of time, Chio does not slip into making generalizations about all tourism in China. However, there is no explicit discussion about how this might relate to other parts of China: to “non-ethnic” rural villages, for example, to more urbanized (or more remote) ethnic areas, or to China’s “greening,” “ruralizing” cities. And while the book establishes its place in past literature, it makes only tentative steps into new theoretical territory. The central idea of “landscape,” for example, is framed in terms of the visual and phenomenological, rather than the material and political. Geographer Don Mitchell’s book The Lie of the Land, with its take on landscape as labour history, came to mind as I read Chio’s account of how these villages came to appear both rural and ethnic.

A Landscape of Travel is a valuable contribution to the study of tourism and ethnic minorities in contemporary China. It is unique in its attention to the role of rural-to-rural and returnee migrant subjectivities in the making of rural tourism destinations. Chio’s work echoes a number of important book-length studies on ethnicity in southwestern China going back to the 1990s. It provides an updated account of dynamics detailed in the work of scholars such as Tim Oakes, Margaret Swain and Louisa Schein, and it stands out among more recent but less rounded ethnographic books on tourism in China.

Travis Klingberg, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, USA

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CHINA’S FOREIGN POLICY. China Today Series. By Stuart Harris. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press; Hoboken: Wiley [distributor], 2014. xvii, 236 pp. (Maps.) US$22.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-7456-6247-3.

This fine introduction to contemporary China’s foreign policy stands out for its fairness and honesty. Debates outside China about Communist China and the world have ordinarily focused on the concerns of the American-led international community. Written by Stuart Harris, a former Australian government official who has dealt with China and other countries in foreign affairs and trade, the book would disappoint expectations of kindred inclinations, for it explains not only criticisms of Chinese foreign policy but also China’s own diplomatic objectives and the changing methods that the Communist Party and government have chosen to pursue those objectives. Neither China nor America bashers would be pleased.

Among the total eight chapters of the book, chapter 1 is the only one devoted to the impact of history and culture on China’s foreign policy and the main aspects of the Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping eras up to what Harris terms the 1989 Tiananmen Square tragedy. Instead of privileging Chinese nativism (nationalism)—popular in academic discussion and media communications on post-Deng Chinese foreign relations—Harris pays homage to the many other traditions and cultures, such as cosmopolitanism, quasi-imperialism, Sinocentrism and victimhood, that have played an important and changing role in foreign policy. Chapter 2 looks at who makes foreign policy decisions in China during the last thirty years within formal government organizations and through informal processes. More diffused than ever, both formal power structure and informal dynamics involve a growing degree of collectivism, coalitions, compromises and coordination among a myriad of government offices and other stake-holders.

Chapter 3 turns to the question of how global actors and the international system have shaped Chinese foreign policy. Synthesizing works by other scholars, Harris notes that, apart from the issue of human rights, the People’s Republic of China’s contributions to international law have, on balance, been constructive and sympathetic. However, since its integration with the world order commencing in the 1970s, China has not aligned well with the new directions of international norms and values especially in the fields of human rights, humanitarian intervention, popular representation and intellectual property rights now perceived as key to responsible statehood and the global common good. Sovereignty and non-interference, to which China adheres, represent the traditional norms of the Westphalian system. Five sets of Chinese vulnerability and insecurity are discussed in chapters 4 and 5, i.e., vulnerability of the Communist regime, China’s historical vulnerability about national unity, insecurity on geographic frontiers, and vulnerabilities to the United States and to international military threats. Harris does not resort to the usual quick condemnation of China in the South and East China Seas and on its continental frontiers such as Tibet and Xinjiang. While pointing out China’s legitimate rights under international law, Harris suggests that the increase in China’s attempts to deter other claimants in the South China Sea was a response “to other claimants’ increased activity in fishing and resource exploration,” and that US officials and some Chinese military agencies shared responsibility for stoking the tensions in the region (76-85). Between the lines, readers will find that Harris interjects his judgment with care. For instance, he observes that although “the presence of US nuclear-armed submarines patrolling the Pacific waters, is a persistent affront and a security vulnerability to China” (91), China has not attempted to counter the American military capabilities except in relation to Taiwan. Hence, one still needs to ask “what would motivate a change to expansionist and aggressive Chinese policies” (103-104 and 119).

Chapter 6 examines China’s economic foreign policy through the lens of currency exchange rates, the World Trade Organization, outward direct investment and the use of economic power. Despite their successes and the recognition of their contribution to developing countries, Chinese “going out” policies in Africa and Latin and South Americas have been the subject of complaints, some valid and some not, for their disregard for human rights, local labour conditions and environmental standards. As China under the influence of developed countries adopted many Western norms and values, Harris posits that in the wake of economic interdependence there may have been an influence in the other direction as well, on Western norms and values, although he does not spell out what this may involve. Chapter 7 shifts to China’s complex relationships with its neighbours and beyond, including ASEAN, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, North Korea, South Korea, Vietnam, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Russia, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Japan and the European Union. Again, these wide-ranging topics are treated with both brevity and sophistication. In the concluding chapter, Harris implies that the US pivot has not made easier the Northeast Asian security situation: the potential for inadvertent clashes between the United States and China at the local level is more immediately worrying than the China “threat.” In the end, what is needed to approach the sovereignty issues in the Asia Pacific is not more military force, but political leadership and diplomatic compromises on all sides.

Readers will find the author’s writing and analysis readable and skillfully effortless. Although one would desire to see more directness and originality as well as coverage of China’s reputation challenge and cultural diplomacy, this book is very much valued as a reliable source of expertise.

Dong Wang, University of Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg, Germany

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STRATEGIC REASSURANCE AND RESOLVE: U.S.-China Relations in the Twenty-First Century. By James Steinberg, Michael E. O’Hanlon. Princeton; Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2014. ix, 260 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$29.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-691-15951-5.

In an increasingly interdependent and globalized world, relations between the existing and the rising dominant power are of material interest to nations and regions throughout the world. Strategic Reassurance and Resolve not only tackles in sustained depth the contemporary security challenges that the United States and China face, particularly vis-à-vis one another, but also presents a general security framework that is applicable across other bilateral or multilateral international relations debates. Acknowledging but ultimately eschewing the role of economic and political relations in the determination of security, Steinberg and O’Hanlon present a sustained, informed and practical study of military and strategic issues and their potential resolution for the United States and China.

The core intervention by the authors is the concept of strategic reassurance between the United States and China as the only solution in a new world where the United States can no longer maintain its dominant role and China increasingly is an economic, political and military presence. While acknowledging the national security concerns, historical context and strategic culture of each nation, the concept of strategic reassurance requires both countries to compromise. For the US, that means accepting the rise of China as a benign superpower with which it will share the responsibility for global public goods—such as the security of shipping lanes, counterterrorism, counternarcotics, responding to international disasters and cyber theft. For China, it means showing that China’s national security does not come at the expense of others including, but not limited to, allies of the United States. For realists in a zero-sum game, this is a loss for the US and a win for China. For Steinberg and O’Hanlon, this is an opportunity to enhance global peace and security.

There are various means by which strategic reassurance is achieved. Most apparent is the need to avoid “hedging.” When military planners and policy makers envision military buildups on the other side as reducing their own security, the only response is to devote more resources to counteract the effect. This leads to competition and military arms races that produce less security overall. Instead, strategic reassurance serves to communicate the types and goals of military and security deployments. Underlying this is strategic resolve encompassing the clear statement of “red lines” that cannot be crossed without a response, as well as agreeing on global, regional and national order. How much the United States and China can agree on public goods and the status quo in the realm of security is the challenge of contemporary and future eras.

The authors explore the way security scenarios may lead to conflict. They first state in no equivocal terms that “in a major war between the United States and China there would be no winners… [hence] de-escalation and conflict termination should be as high as, if not higher than, the priority for victory” (121). They proceed to examine North Korea, Taiwan and the East and South China Seas as areas of strategic concern for China and in terms of security and open access for the US and its allies. Using the overall framework of global interdependence and multilateralism, North Korea presents the biggest security challenge in its economic and political isolation. Steinberg and O’Hanlon suggest a US-China dialogue—secret, to forestall North Korean paranoia—to discuss how regime change and military occupation by US and Chinese forces will proceed following regime overthrow, though they acknowledge Beijing may be unwilling to explicitly discuss the possibility. While Taiwan, Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and the range of islands claimed by China within the so-called “nine-dash line” are emotional and contentious issues, they involve countries that are all increasingly integrated in the global economy and regional security organizations, such as ASEAN, and so escalation seems less likely, though the scenarios sketched present a chilling picture of what American or Chinese intransigence may entail.

The biggest challenge to future global security, particularly between the United States and China, is cyber. The authors examine nuclear, missile, operations and space threats to mutual or global security and outline measures such as the United States not targeting or contemplating invasion of the Chinese mainland, China continuing to limit warhead development and both banning space weapons. But it is cyber that remains fraught with the most unknowns. It is difficult to argue that intellectual property and trade secrets are national security interests and Beijing does not prioritize ensuring profits to Western multinationals through measures to counter cyber theft. Opposition to companies such as Huawei and Lenovo in Washington does not provide assurance, either, that the United States is committed to an open playing field in cyber terms. Yet by broaching this topic, Steinberg and O’Hanlon have brought the issue to the fore, underscoring how this realm increasingly touches on national and global security.

In the appendix (209-211), there is a list of some 24 concrete measures that both countries should take to achieve strategic reassurance. For a practitioner, this may provide a useful “crib sheet” to think through what specific steps might be palatable in advancing strategic interdependence. Of greater significance, however, is the overall framework that the book presents. While not stated as such, it is a revolution in how the United States and China can collaborate rather than compete to provide global security and public goods. This is a new paradigm for thinking about US-China strategic interactions that will guide policy, inform decision makers, train international relations and foreign policy scholars and even help business leaders. China is a player. Its rise is inevitable. How the US copes with this new reality and how China takes up its leadership role will determine whether or not the next 40 years will continue the mostly harmonious relationship of the past 40 years between the world’s richest and its most populous countries.

Tyler Rooker, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom

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CONVERTS TO CIVIL SOCIETY: Christianity and Political Culture in Contemporary Hong Kong. Studies in World Christianity. By Lida V. Nedilsky. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2014. xii, 227 pp. (Tables, B&W photos.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4813-0032-2.

In August 2014, the National People’s Congress in Beijing determined that Hong Kong could have universal suffrage in electing its chief executive in 2017, provided that the candidates were first nominated by an election committee and, after popular vote, appointed by the central government. Needless to say, many Hong Kong citizens were outraged by these limitations on universal suffrage. In what would become known as the Umbrella Movement, citizens joined in several months of protests in front of the Hong Kong government headquarters. As time progressed, a number of news media outlets reported that many of the leaders of the protests were Christians, and that the ranks of protesters included a large percentage of Christians, Buddhists and practitioners of Chinese popular religion.

Hence, the publication of Converts to Civil Society in July 2014 that looks at the relationship between the Christian faith and civil engagement in contemporary Hong Kong is very timely. It focuses on the years 1997 to 2008, immediately following Hong Kong’s reintegration into Chinese sovereignty, and provides rich ethnographic research into the lives of several Hong Kong citizens as they express their Christian faiths through NGOs.

After some introductory material, two chapters engage a key motif discussed throughout this book: conversion. Chapter 2 looks at how conversion to Christianity sets the initial groundwork for engagement with civil society. For many Hong Kong Christians, conversion often runs against one’s parents’ wishes and brings about conflicts in fulfilling one’s filial duties. The choice of conversion is a step away from collectivism and towards individualism. Such a decision is a break from one community (the family unit) to join another community (the local church). Moreover, this choice of conversion can occur multiple times, from one Christian community to another. Chapter 3 continues this theme and looks at how the conversion to Christianity facilitates the conversion to civil society. Events like the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protests and the 1997 return of Hong Kong to Chinese rule challenged Hong Kong Christians to consider how to respond to sociopolitical uncertainty. The perceived political apathy of many Christian churches led interviewees to rethink their personal faiths. Christian NGOs were new institutions which addressed the failings of the old institutions of the churches, and provided the Christian with a new expression of individualism.

After these two key chapters, the book follows with three more general discussions about civil society. Chapter 4 provides a survey of the variety of concerns addressed by Christian and non-Christian NGOs in Hong Kong, from economic development and environmental issues, to working with migrant workers and youth. Despite this breadth, the present study focuses on four Christian NGOs that have a primary concern in human rights. Chapter 5 moves on to discuss the longevity of these NGOs and how to pass the fervour of Christian civil engagement to younger generations. The final major chapter, chapter 6, takes the stories and lessons from this single city of Hong Kong and casts an eye upon the much bigger nation of the People’s Republic of China. While post-Mao China’s pursuit of a socialist market economy has resulted in a rising civil society, this is constantly tempered by the heavy hand of the state. Though the chapter speaks of the significant growth of Christianity in mainland China, the author concludes that the potential for Christians on the mainland to engage in the civil society is still quite preliminary and not yet realized.

Two criticisms can be raised against this volume due to its scope. Firstly, while the book focuses on the significance of NGOs in contrast with socially “complacent” institutional churches (76-84, 91), it has a tendency to downplay the important public role that religion has historically played in Hong Kong society. While the Umbrella Movement has brought this point to mind for the broader public, it is worth noting that, in contrast with fledgling NGOs, the long legacy of many Christian denominations has resulted in theological understandings of social engagement (e.g., Catholic social teaching, Anglican social theology, etc.). How has the theological legacy of particular denominations helped to bring shape to Christian NGOs? What about the stories of converts to civil society who engage from within the structures of institutional churches? Recognizing the narrow focus of the book on Hong Kong NGOs, a second criticism can be raised with regards to the widening of focus to include mainland China in chapter 6. Since the 1990s, there has been a vast amount of scholarly literature that has come out debating the notion of a civil society in mainland China. Moreover, there are a large number of faith-based NGOs that exist in China, such as the Protestant Amity Foundation and the Catholic Jinde Charities, as well as the growing number of urban intellectual churches which act like NGOs in their involvement in human rights activism and social concern. This chapter could have been enriched by engaging these topics.

With these quibbles in mind, one must remember that any monograph should be necessarily narrow in its concern in order to be a manageable research project. Lida Nedilsky’s timely and well-written book provides a rich view into the journeys of select individuals as they convert to civil society, expressing their Christian faiths through Hong Kong NGOs. Converts to Civil Society is a focused treatment on an important segment of Hong Kong that cannot be ignored by researchers interested in the public role of religion.

Alexander Chow, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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Northeast Asia


INTIMATE EMPIRE: Collaboration and Colonial Modernity in Korea and Japan. By Nayoung Aimee Kwon. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015. xi, 277 pp. (Figures.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5925-8.

Nayoung Aimee Kwon’s expertly researched and handsomely illustrated Intimate Empire: Collaboration and Colonial Modernity in Korea and Japan examines the frequent and varied cultural encounters between Korean and Japanese literary figures and literatures during the colonial period (1910–1945), as well as the disavowals of these ties for much of the postcolonial era. In so doing, Intimate Empire joins a growing corpus of scholarship, now liberated from the constraints of national literatures and literary histories, that rigorously probes the deep albeit regularly fraught interconnections between Korean and Japanese writers.

A principal concern of Kwon’s book is to move away from such binaries as assimilation and differentiation, as well as collaboration and resistance, and instead to reframe “the scandalous confluence of cultures under imperialism . . . within a more historical term of intimacy” (8). Kwon also seeks to redefine colonial modernity as “the experience of modernity in colonial subjection, whether through actual colonial domination or the hegemonic power and occupation of the West, both real and imagined.” For Kwon, colonial modernity is “a disavowed conundrum shared between the colonizer and the colonized in Korea and Japan, and more broadly shared throughout the non-West, with troubling implications for postcolonial legacies into the present” (10). Kwon uses the term “conundrum of representation” to refer to the impasse that the colonial modern subject was forced to negotiate. She divides this challenge into five categories: conundrum of (modern) subjectivity, of language, of history, of aesthetic representation, and of recognition. Intimate Empire probes the intricacies of these conundrums by shining the spotlight on a body of imperial-language texts by colonized cultural producers that reflect conditions of modernity lived under both direct colonial rule and the threat of Western imperialism.

Following the introduction, chapter 2, “Translating Korean Literature,” examines colonial debates regarding Korean literature, particularly focusing on the complexities of the colonial modern condition. As Kwon argues, “In the absence of Korea as a sovereign entity, the perceived lack of a modern national literature in the colony exemplified the paradoxes of the conundrum of representation in the imperial global order” (18). Chapter 3, “A Minor Writer,” highlights Kim Saryang, the Akutagawa Prize-winning author of the Japanese-language short story “Into the Light” (Hikari no naka ni), as a case study of the “minor” writer and translator. For its part, chapter 4, “Into the Light,” probes more deeply into this text, revealing how textually and metatextually it “embodies the complex process of imperial co-optation” (59) and how it does not, contrary to the assertions of metropolitan critics, embrace the form of the I-novel. Kwon rightly notes that this story, composed at a time when writings by the colonized were being both subsumed and marked as “different” vis-à-vis the canon of imperial literature, exhibits much of the “deep pain and anxiety about its own uncertain location in the cultural politics of representation in the empire” (78). In chapter 5, “Colonial Abject,” the scope broadens to the great recognition that the Japanese gave some colonial writers, which far from celebrating their individual talent, “relegated them to new secondary roles as ethnic translators or native informants.” They were expected to write “exotic self-ethnographies in translation for the consuming passions of the metropolitan audience” (82), which placed them in a clearly subordinate position.

Chapter 6, “Performing Colonial Kitsch,” takes up Chang Hyǒkchu, who although largely forgotten in the postwar years because of the alleged collaborative nature of his writings, achieved great prominence during the colonial period. As its title suggests, through the case study of the staging of Ch’unhyang, this chapter also deepens our understanding of the broader phenomenon of “colonial kitsch,” a term referring to the “devaluation and exoticization of the colony’s culture circulated as mass-produced commodities to fulfill imperial consuming desires” (104).

In chapter 7, “Overhearing Transcolonial Roundtables,” the focus turns to the staged and well-publicized discussions among colonizers and colonized. Kwon correctly argues that the roundtables were a relative failure in enhancing understanding between the two often very different groups. Chapter 8, “Turning Local,” reexamines the colonizer/colonized divide by contextualizing the increase in translated texts advertised as ethnographic “colonial collections,” exploring the significance of colonial literature “being collected and curated as mass-produced objects of colonial kitsch for consumption in the empire” (156). Chapter 9 introduces the life and works of Kang Kyǒngae, a Korean colonial writer who migrated to Manchuria, revealing the triangulated position of Korea between Japan and China. Chapter 10, “Paradox of Postcoloniality,” takes the reader into the postwar period, revealing as Eurocentric the assumptions undergirding postcolonial studies.

Intimate Empire provides valuable insight into Japanese imperialism. But at times it can be a bit repetitive, as Kwon tells us again and again that “binary thinking,” the “binary logic of national resistance and colonial collaboration,” is inadequate, that it is this “binary logic of resistance and collaboration which . . . still dominates the study of colonial literature.” Kwon is absolutely correct that discussing historical phenomena in terms of either/or is counterproductive, but she overestimates the extent to which this mode of thinking continues to monopolize scholarly discussion. In fact, much recent scholarly work outside East Asia on Japanese and other forms of colonialism has argued strongly for more nuanced understandings. Also, it is ironic that despite Kwon’s emphasis on thinking beyond binaries, she speaks constantly of “contact zones.” As has been pointed out, the term “zone” itself establishes separations, indeed binaries, that can unintentionally misrepresent colonial and postcolonial dynamics by not leaving space for the many phenomena that do not fit neatly inside or outside a particular “zone.”

But these are small concerns, given Kwon’s admirable use of archival materials and her clear command of the colonial literary scene in Japan and Korea. Intimate Empire is a most welcome addition to transcultural scholarship on East Asian literatures and cultures and sets an excellent example for future research on imperialism in East Asia and well beyond.

Karen Thornber, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA                                                                 


RECASTING RED CULTURE IN PROLETARIAN JAPAN: Childhood, Korea, and the Historical Avant-Garde. By Samuel Perry. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2014. xii, 228 pp. (Illustrations.) US$49.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3893-5.

By the late 1920s, the proletarian cultural movement had evolved into one of the most complex and vibrant movements in the cultural and intellectual history of twentieth-century Japan. In this well-presented volume, Samuel Perry sets out to shed new light on the flourishing cultural activities associated with the Japanese Communist Party. He does this by drawing on a wide array of writings ranging from reportage to fairy tales and also from poetry to educational journals. In order to foreground what the author calls “marginal” aspects of the proletarian cultural movement, the book delves into three case studies: childhood literature, the revolutionary genre of “wall fiction,” and literary works about Korea and the Korean minority in Japan. Purposely shifting the focus away from canonized works of proletarian literature and art, these detailed case studies serve to “restore much of the forgotten ideological and aesthetic complexity of Japan’s proletarian movement and show that it must be central to any understanding of modern Japanese culture in the early Shōwa period” (3). Perry maintains that, in Japan, proletarian literature “was rich and diverse as were the social experiences of its many participants and it came into being within a history that gave a particular shape to its evolving aesthetic forms, critical consciousness, and social practices in Japan” (8).

Following an introductory chapter, the book takes up the formation of revolutionary children’s literature. Motivated by the founding of a revolutionary school for poor farmers’ children in the village of Kizaki in Niigata Prefecture, from about 1926 the genre of leftwing children’s fiction emerged among proletarian authors who contested many middle-class assumptions about childhood by criticizing traditional “liberal” or “nationalist” approaches to education. Citing a wide range of writers and sources, Perry argues that the proletarian movement made an “immense impact on children’s culture in Japan” (68) by indefatigably insisting that the division of classes produced different childhood experiences and by emphasizing the children’s revolutionary potential, which ran counter to the bourgeois ideal of the innocent child. The chapter stresses global influences on children’s literature that not only fostered class solidarity and praise for the Soviet Union, but also internationalism and a critique of Japanese imperialism. A variety of writers like f.e. Kaji Wataru or Fujieda Takeo wrote stories about African or Chinese boys becoming revolutionaries and defying colonial authorities. Another positive aspect is the citation of the periodical Shōnen senki that favourably reported on the Korean Children’s Day, eliciting compassionate responses from its young readers, who stressed the importance of international solidarity. Nevertheless, at times it seems that Perry exaggerates the political content as well as the impact of single works for young children. While the inclusion of questions of race and imperialism add another important layer to the analyses, one is left wondering about the relationship between proletarian children’s literature and the children of other marginalized groups within Japan, in particular Dōwa Japanese.

By analyzing kabe shōsetsu (“wall fiction”) in chapter 3 Perry goes on to buttress the central narrative of the book: offering a correction to the “dominant assumptions about the role the Communist Party played in the cultural movement” and to point out “the vanguard character of its aesthetic vision” (71). A highly visual form of literature, kabe shōsetsu were illustrated short narratives designed to be cut out and posted on the walls of factories or in public that were also taken up by mainstream intellectual journals like Chūō Kōron (75). Perry shows how this short-form literature evolved into a platform for labour protest and antiwar activities. Furthermore, the chapter includes works by Korean writers in order to strengthen the argument that the practice of wall fiction not only radiated across Japan’s borders where it was adopted by Korean and Chinese revolutionaries, but also carried over into the postwar period. However, Perry only briefly touches upon other forms of participatory literature that might prove equally defining for postwar literature and art if more thoroughly examined.

As in both the preceding chapters there had already been a special focus on the role of Koreans within the movement, the narrative comes full circle in the last chapter when Perry turns to Japanese communist writers’ perceptions of colonial subjects. Citing works by Japanese authors Makimura Kō and Nakano Shigeharu alongside Korean works like Chang Hyŏk-chu’s Gakidō, he describes a wide array of literary strategies to expand class analysis across the borders of the Japanese nation-state. One does not have to concur with his blatant dismissal of scholarly critiques of the above-mentioned Japanese writers for putting class over nation as mere ahistorical anti-communism. However, he carefully reconstructs the “many different, often competing, claims within the movement about how best to translate revolutionary politics and radical literature into discussions about colonial Korea and the Korean people” (169). Against a backdrop of very low literacy rates the question as to what extent the majority of ordinary Koreans were able to actively participate in these debates remains unanswered.

Recasting Red Culture succeeds in offering an important corrective to the view that the proletarian cultural movement in prewar Japan and its expanding empire was merely a crude but ultimately ineffective instrument of communist propaganda. Perhaps its greatest contribution lies in adding another layer of complexity to our understanding of proletarian culture that was clearly more than a monolithic product of the typical male Japanese industry-worker. Nonetheless, the book covers only marginal literary and artistic works that reached only a comparatively small number of recipients during a rather short period of time. Due to its scope, the book is clearly not designed to provide an introduction to leftwing literature in Japan before World War II. Indeed, a concluding chapter that brings together the three interesting case studies under the main narrative certainly would have facilitated the reader’s understanding of the coherencies between prewar and postwar proletarian literature, as well as between the different forms of literature analyzed in this book. Hence, this work will mostly appeal to an audience that already possesses a substantial knowledge of the proletarian culture of prewar Japan and Korea.

Dolf-Alexander Neuhaus, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany                         


INTIMATE RIVALS: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China. By Sheila A. Smith. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. xviii, 361 pp. (Figures, tables, maps.) US$40.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16788-8.

This carefully researched book looks at how Japanese social actors have mobilized in response to China’s rise in the twenty-first century. It builds on comprehensive insight into both the Japanese and English literature on how Japan has reacted to the increasing activity and influence of China. The author has had remarkably good access to some of Japan’s major politicians: four prime ministers, four foreign ministers, and two cabinet secretaries (one of whom later became a prime minister) have been interviewed. Overall, the picture drawn is that there are a variety of opinions on China in Japan, but an increasing number of people are skeptical of the Japanese government’s ability to negotiate agreements with Beijing.

The first of the book’s seven chapters gives a brief overview of diplomatic tensions between Japan and China in recent years and introduces the cases that will be examined. Chapter 2 begins with a broad presentation of China’s rise and moves on to describe the maneuvers by Japan and the United States in the beginning of the 1970s that led to their establishment of diplomatic relations with China. It ends with a presentation of the policies toward China advocated by the main political and business groups. The next four chapters examine the impact on Japan of disagreement with China in four fields.

Visits by Japanese politicians to the Yasukuni Shrine, an institution with an unrepentant attitude to Japan’s past wars, is criticized by China. The analysis shows that Nippon Izokukai, which is both a policy advocacy group representing those who lost family members in World War 2 and an important vote gatherer for the Liberal Democratic Party, has taken a moderate stance on the shrine in recent years. Nevertheless, support for Yasukuni by Prime Minister Koizumi and others made it difficult to establish a new, more neutral national facility to memorialize the country’s war dead.

Under new UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) rules that were ratified in 1996, Japan and China had to negotiate maritime boundaries. Japan proposed a median line to divide the East China Sea, whereas China claimed an exclusive economic zone that extended far beyond that line. It took many years for Japan to develop a policy to achieve its interests under the new UNCLOS rules, and some politicians blamed this delay on diffusion of authority over maritime issues among several ministries. In order to achieve better coordination, the Japanese government passed a new oceans law and established a Headquarters for Ocean Policy at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence in 2007.

Several people in Japan fell ill in 2008 when they ate frozen Chinese dumplings that were found to contain poison. This brought attention to the increasing dependence on food imports from China. In Japan, food importers reacted by seeking to have Chinese factories meet Japanese food safety standards. The scandal also stimulated the establishment of Japan’s first Consumer Affairs Agency, and Shufuren (Japan Housewives Association) played a role in deliberations about the new agency’s mandate.

China disputes Japan’s sovereignty over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Therefore, Beijing reacted strongly in 2010 when a Chinese fishing trawler captain was arrested near the islands and in 2012 when the Japanese government purchased them from a private owner and “nationalized” them. China sent its own patrol ships to the islands after the events in 2012. These two incidents furthered Japanese moves already under way to strengthen the defense of the islands, to start training Japanese self-defense forces in amphibious operations together with US forces, and to give the Japan Coast Guard policing authority over the country’s remote islands.

Japan’s response to the rise of China has thus been characterized by a diversity of social groups advocating policy on China, incremental problem solving, and adaptation. Groups as diverse as Nippon Izokukai and Shufuren were often critical of the government’s deference to Chinese interests. As maritime affairs were handled by several ministries with insufficient coordination, it took nearly ten years to develop a policy on the implications of new UNCLOS rules for the East China Sea. Difficulties in negotiating policy with Beijing in various fields seldom led to Japanese accommodation or confrontation but more often to adaptation. For example, Japan made a new oceans law and established a new agency for consumer affairs, and as a result of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands conflict, strengthened cooperation between the Maritime Self-Defense Forces and the Japan Coast Guard.

In this way, the book charts the effect of the opinions of social groups and domestic institutions on foreign policy choices toward China. This is a valuable contribution to a field where most of the focus has been on the perspective of the elite. The analysis would, however, benefit by bringing in other factors as well, some of which belong to the international level of analysis. One such factor is the degree to which Japan views China as a threat. One way to gauge this is by looking at the strength of China’s military capabilities compared to Japan’s and whether the Japanese perceive China’s intentions to be in any way aggressive. Japan’s policy choices are also affected by the balance that it must strike in its alliance policy to avoid being abandoned by the US while also avoiding entrapment in a conflict involving the US that it wants to keep away from. Such factors, in addition to the ones examined in the book, have contributed to Japan’s policy of having a close economic relationship with China while maintaining a strong alliance with the US, and in recent years, reorganizing its self-defense forces so that they can respond to contingencies in parts of Japanese territory that lie close to China.

Eivind Lande, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway


INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS IN JAPAN: Contributions in an Era of Population Decline. Japanese Society Series. Edited by Yoshitaka Ishikawa. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press; Kyoto: Kyoto University Press; Portland: International Specialized Book Services [exclusive distributor], 2015. xxiv, 313 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$84.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-92090-191-2.

Over the last thirty years Japan has become a country of immigration again. While the literature on migration to Japan is growing, reliable data on the issue is still scarce. Yoshitaka Ishikawa’s edited volume is a major contribution to closing this void. The book consists of twelve papers exclusively by geographers, featuring four nation-wide empirical studies, five ethnic- and regional-specific surveys, and three papers on national policies, the labour market and local government responses, with a focus on recent immigration. The book thus does not cover the Korean and Chinese communities which have existed since Japan’s prewar colonial encroachment on Asia.

As the title suggests, the overall theme is the contribution of migrants to Japan’s economy and society during the current phase of population decline. Besides settlement, economic and social integration, naturalization, and fertility outcomes of migrants in Japan, the important role of long-term (migrants with Japanese ancestry) and short- to mid-term labour migration (foreign trainees and interns), especially in semi-urban and rural industries, is being stressed. Here the three policy-oriented papers make for a good introduction, though one wonders why they are placed at the end of the book.

The first chapter, on occupational attainment, compares household data from the 2010 population census and finds variations in the labour market integration based on nationality, length of stay, and gender. As its main merit the study highlights the share of high occupational attainment (white-collar jobs) among eleven nationalities. However, correlations are presented as causalities and it remains unclear how “positive selection” and “limited international transferability” can be identified as explanatory factors, while racial and gender discrimination, as well as discriminatory Japanese immigration policies, are being excluded from consideration (15).

Chapter 2 examines the contribution of immigrant women to fertility in Japan. Though the “number of births to foreign women increased between the late 1980s and the mid-1990s,” it did not contribute to an increase in Japan’s “total fertility rate” (41). This situation differs significantly from that found in Europe.

Applying logistic regression models on microdata from the 2005 population census, chapter 3 compares the fertility outcomes of cross-border, immigrant, and native-born couples in Japan and finds significant variations. It shows low fertility outcomes of cross-border couples of Japanese spouses with either Asian wives or husbands from “less developed countries” (71). Husband’s employment status and dwelling type had a higher effect on fertility than the country of origin (71).

Addressing a major desideratum chapter 4 analyzes the spatial distribution of naturalized Japanese citizens, pointing out that “statistics on naturalization are practically nonexistent” (75). Detailed data was electronically retrieved from the Naturalization Permission Official Gazette Notice database and produced a number of 462,795 people living in Japan who acquired Japanese citizenship through naturalization between 1950 and 2009. Large naturalized populations are concentrated in the Tokyo and Osaka-Kobe metropolitan areas, followed by Nagoya, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, and Fukushima Prefecture.

Chapter 5 sheds light on a specific ethnic migrant group in Japan: female Filipino migrants as well as Filipino mothers and their children with Japanese fathers and thus Japanese nationality re-migrating to Japan, who are referred to as “Shin Nikkei Filipinos” (102). Female Filipino migrants mostly find employment in the care and nursing industry in regional urban areas afflicted by aging and depopulation.

Chapters 6 to 8 analyze different aspects of mostly Brazilian nationality migrant life in the town of Hamamatsu. Brazilian ethnic businesses had not expanded to the non-ethnic market, while Brazilian customers frequented Japanese “non-ethnic” stores (145). One explanation is that Brazilian migrants concentrate in industrial cities and “remain in lower socioeconomic classes” (145). Ethnic businesses functioned as ethnic employers when many Brazilian workers lost their jobs in manufacturing due to the economic crisis from 2008 onward.

Addressing migrants’ quality of life, chapter 7 examines the density of public and private facilities providing services and goods for daily needs in areas where migrants live. Though access to services and goods was adequate and there was no spatial segregation between Japanese and foreign nationality residents, most migrants concentrated in built-up zones close to industrial areas, an indicator of their limited social mobility.

Taking a closer look at the education of migrant children, chapter 8 discusses the relations between local government, public schools, and volunteer groups teaching Japanese to migrants in Hamamatsu. While hierarchical and non-cooperative relations between teachers and volunteers are observed, the paper stresses the importance of voluntary activity, which however suffers from limited funding through the local government.

Religion is an often overlooked aspect of migration to Japan. Chapter 9 therefore studies the function of religion and the ways the Quran is taught in the small Turkish communities of Aichi prefecture. It argues that Islam is at the centre of the communities and facilitates “remote nationalism” (209), but that its teaching differs with the socio-economic background of the communities: stricter in communities from rural Turkey and “more easygoing” in communities with an urban “white-collar” background (210).

Due to the normative focus on “contributions,” many papers in this book stress problems, difficulties, and concerns related to migration and most papers conclude with recommendations for more and better integration policies and services for foreign residents and their children, so they can contribute more effectively in the future. However well-intentioned this approach is, it perpetuates the view of the presence of migrants as a problem, rather than as an opportunity to think about social change and how to make life more fair and enjoyable for everybody.

Overall the papers compiled in the book are a good introduction to the complex and multifaceted realities of newcomer migrants and shed light on some understudied quantitative and qualitative aspects of migration to Japan.

Daniel Kremers, German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ), Tokyo, Japan                         


WOMEN PRE-SCRIPTED: Forging Modern Roles through Korean Print. By Ji-Eun Lee. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xi, 182 pp. (Illustrations.) US$49.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3926-0.

Women throughout much of Korean history have left behind little evidence in the historical archives. The copious volumes of historical documents from the premodern period occasionally hint at the presence of women, but only a handful of sources, like petitions and letters, allow us to reconstruct their lives. Ji-Eun Lee addresses this dearth of women’s voices in Korean history in Women Pre-scripted: Forging Modern Roles through Korean Print through an examination of the discourse on “New Women” as Koreans discussed the issues of modernity, enlightenment, and nation for the first time within the print media in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By gathering together a wide range of materials such as cartoons, literary works, and editorials, the author contributes many insights into the construction of modern Korean womanhood.

The first chapter of Women Pre-scripted starts with a discussion of female readership during the Chosŏn Dynasty (1392-1910). A succinct overview of the secondary research on female participation in the book culture of Chosŏn highlights the difficulties in determining the extent of female writing and literacy. The general lack of conclusive evidence calls into question some of the claims that tend to link vernacular fiction and the han’gŭl script to women. The ambiguity of women’s participation in reading and authorship in the premodern era makes it hard for us to draw firm conclusions about how Korean women understood their gender relations. Therefore, the careful literature review allows us to appreciate the intellectual contribution of Women Pre-scripted, which provides a nuanced analysis of the historical period when the first writings on women and by women appeared in the modern media.

The second and third chapters introduce several representative periodicals such as The Independent newspaper and Korea’s first women’s journals Kajŏng chapchi to show how women’s roles became “prescribed” with modern knowledge that was “appropriate,” while critiquing those aspects of modernity found to be problematic. The initial male-dominated discourse of The Independent offers few discussions outside the topics of a woman’s role in the family and women’s education. In a sense, male guidance regarding a woman’s role restricted women to the home during this initial period. Ji-Eun Lee draws attention to the writings of Yun Chŏng-wŏn (1894-?) in the journal T’aegŭk hakpo, because she is the first known female contributor in the modern media. Yun’s writings differ from The Independent’s discourse on womanhood, because she establishes a clear role for women in public life. While women were encouraged to take an active role outside the home, at the same time the new women’s journals like Kajŏng chapchi, written mostly by men, emphasized the importance of practical knowledge and domesticity for women. The images of womanhood that emerge from this period are mired in contradictions, as women were called upon to construct a “home” for Korea’s male patriots while also taking a limited part in the public life beyond the confines of traditional gender roles.

Chapters 4 and 5 examine in detail two women’s journals from the colonial period, Sinyŏja and Sinyŏsŏng, and discuss their importance in fostering the emerging discourse on “New Women.” These two chapters highlight the importance of literary forms like confessions and letters in establishing an emerging female agency in the print media. Sinyŏja was particularly important because it was a journal edited by a woman and featured mostly female writers. This new space for imagining the role of Korean women was not without its limits, and the most successful women’s publication during the 1920s, Sinyŏsŏng, was predominantly produced by men and had few developments that could be viewed in a progressive light. Ji-Eun Lee’s analysis emphasizes the problematic assumptions within these journals and provides a broader historical framework for understanding how modern womanhood emerged from these women’s publications.

Women Pre-scripted brings to light the historical value of Korean periodicals as sources that can provide a major window into the cultural and social developments of modern Korea. The volume skillfully links the emergence of literary forms, readership, and authorship with newly emerging gender roles. Yet a number of unresolved issues remain in this study because of the limited selection of journals. For example, the author provides a valuable corrective that we should be careful in linking han’gŭl script with women by highlighting the usage of mixed Chinese-character script in Sinyŏja. While the diversity among female readers needs to be kept in mind, there is considerable indirect evidence that links women to the han’gŭl script. Several women’s journals published in the early 1920s, like Puin, were published all in han’gŭl and the association between women and the vernacular script becomes even more pronounced in the 1930s. Women Pre-scripted carefully limits its analysis to a small subset of highly educated women readers in the 1920s, who were mostly affiliated with religious organizations. However, this limited selection of journals does not allow for a broader overview of the female readership, which expanded rapidly through the mass publications that emerged in the 1930s and early 1940s.

Ultimately, the decision to examine only Sinyŏja and Sinyŏsŏng raises the problem that they represent only a small fragment of the female readership of the colonial period. Kaebŏksa, the publisher of Sinyŏsŏng, stopped publishing in the mid-1930s, because it could not compete with the relatively well-financed newspaper companies and other organizations that entered the journal market. The mass women’s publications of the late colonial period eventually reached tens of thousands of readers per issue. Examining the earliest publications to explain how the modern discourse on womanhood emerged is an important contribution, but the insights are not connected to the long-term trends in colonial print culture such as the increasing usage of the Japanese language and the commodification of female identities. Despite these reservations, Women Pre-scripted offers an excellent and compact introduction into the world of pre-1945 women’s journals for English-language audiences. The insights into the literary production and the discussion of key players in the discourse of womanhood provide a welcome contribution for specialists of East Asian history and literature.

Michael Kim, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea                                                                   


CAN ABENOMICS SUCCEED?: Overcoming the Legacy of Japan’s Lost Decades. By Dennis Botman, Stephan Danninger, Jerald Schiff. Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 2015. vii, 193 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-49832-468-7.

Those already well versed in both economics and Japan’s policy debates will find plenty of nuggets of information and insight in this collection of essays. However, those looking for a detailed assessment of the contributions and shortcomings of “Abenomics”—the nickname for the policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe—will find it wanting. It does not live up to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) usual standards. Most of this collection of essays reads like it could have been written five years ago or five years from now, and its title could have been “Stuff we think Japan should do to avoid a fiscal crisis.”

This volume is organized around the famous “three arrows” of Abenomics: monetary ease, “flexible” fiscal policy, and structural reforms to promote higher long-term growth. Even though the volume repeatedly stresses that success requires all three arrows, the majority of chapters seem to judge the arrows, not on their ability to raise per capita growth and living standards, but mainly by their ability to provide enough real growth and inflation and spending/taxation adjustments so as to lower the ratio of government debt to GDP. That reinforces the contention of critics that IMF stands for “It’s Mostly Fiscal.”

Each chapter starts with a solid analysis of the problems facing Japan in areas like deflation, fiscal stability, growth rates, labour markets, corporate behaviour, finance, and so forth. Surprisingly, there is no chapter devoted to the economic gains and losses caused by the large depreciation of the yen, one of the few impactful facets of Abenomics. In most chapters, this analysis is well-reasoned, even if expert readers will find themselves in agreement with some of it and in disagreement with other parts. That is to be expected; if the diagnosis were so self-evident, the cure would have come much more quickly. One helpful bit was illustrating how most of Japan’s fiscal dilemmas stem from the consequences of insufficient revenue to deal with the costs of aging rather than more easily corrected wasteful spending. Particularly illuminating was the essay on Japan’s rigid labour markets. It highlighted the adverse consequences for growth of the growing bifurcation between higher-paid, better-trained “regular” workers and the lower-paid “non-regular” workers, to whom firms do not provide the on-the-job training essential to productivity growth.

Each chapter then moves to detailed proposals on how to address these problems. Some readers will agree with the proposals; some will disagree, and that is fine. But one would think the proposals would set the yardstick by which Abe’s policy efforts would then be judged. But no chapter gives more than cursory mention of what Abe is doing in that particular policy area. There is little detailed evaluation of what is working and what is not, where there is action and where mere rhetoric.

The volume inherently limits its audience by assuming a great deal of familiarity with economic theory, the statistical methods of econometrics, and the intricacies of policy debates about Japan. It would not be suitable for most undergraduate economics students.

That is a valid editorial choice. However, even when addressing experts, one finds glaring omissions. For example, in the chapter on aging, the author tells us that, “[i]n the simulation, it is assumed that structural reforms raise potential growth [i.e., the growth rate at full employment and full of physical capacity—ed.] by 0.25 percentage point by 2015 and 0.5 percent point by 2018” (44). This would be a stupendous achievement: a doubling in just five years of the IMF’s current estimate of Japan’s annual potential growth rate of just 0.5 percent. Yet, nowhere in the entire volume is there an attempt justify, or even explain, this assertion. Nor in a book published in 2015 is there any analysis of whether Abenomics has, in fact, gone anywhere in meeting the 2015 projection, let alone the one for 2018. We get fascinating reportage on cases where other countries have raised their potential growth over a decade-long process, as well as many worthwhile proposals on how Japan could raise its long-term growth. But there is no detailed assessment on whether Abenomics has any realistic chance of attaining Abe’s promise of 2 percent long-term real growth. Nor does it try to measure what it would take to reach that goal. It just tells us that reaching 1 percent is hard, and 2 percent even harder.

This reviewer has a fundamental disagreement with the premise offered in several essays that, as stated in the chapter on growth policies, “[s]tripping out the effects of population aging, Japan’s growth was solid until the global financial crisis. During the 2000s, growth per capita was at par with the US and TFP [Total Factor Productivity growth, i.e., output per unit of labour and capital combined—ed.] was comparatively high and at similar levels to Germany” (93). If this were the case, it would imply that what Japan most needs is an increase in investment levels and labour supply, for example, more women workers, more immigrants, rather than a productivity revolution. The chapter does, in fact, make many worthwhile proposals for productivity hikes, but the overarching premise would allow those who oppose politically difficult structural reforms to downplay their necessity.

The fact is that, from 1991 to 2007, per capita GDP growth in Japan, at 0.8 percent per year, was just half the average of the Group of Seven countries. As for TFP, which is the foundation for sustainable growth in GDP per work-hour, during 1991-2007, Japan’s TFP growth at 0.6 percent per year was lower than that of any other G7 country except for Italy. It was just half of the growth rate seen in Germany. Japan’s comparatives look better in the post-2007 period, not because its performance improved, but because Europe did so much worse as a result of its devotion to fiscal austerity.

The bottom line is this: economists with expertise in Japan will be able to glean gems of information, analysis, and proposals. Others will find it disappointing and sometimes even hard to get through.

Richard Katz, The Oriental Economist, New York, USA


LICENSE TO PLAY: The Ludic in Japanese Culture. By Michal Daliot-Bul. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. xxxiv, 186 pp. (Black and white illustrations.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3940-6.

Michal Daliot-Bul’s License to Play is a worthy addition to the field of cultural studies in Japan. In this monograph, she investigates the changes in cultural understandings of play over time and analyzes how those changes are both a product of and an influence on the sociohistorical context in which they occur. In doing so, she seeks to demonstrate the dynamic relationship between culture and play to better understand the way this relationship influences daily life. While this work offers an overview of the history of play in Japan, Daliot-Bul focuses her analysis on what she perceives to be the three most instructive periods for this topic: the Heian period (794-1185), the Edo period (1603-1868), and the 1970s.

With her first chapter, “The Linguistic Concept of ‘Play’ in Japanese,” Daliot-Bul starts her study of play in Japan by delineating the boundaries of the word “asobi,” arguing that through its susceptibility to cultural shifts, there is a clear role for play in Japanese sociocultural life. While the idea of play is found throughout the history of Japan, Daliot-Bul argues that at certain periods, certain groups, by their position and status, could engage in “legitimized” play, rendering it a “formative element of culture” as “a seedbed of cultural production” (15). According to Daliot-Bul, there is a cycle, albeit irregular, during which play achieves high cultural status and legitimacy and when play becomes the model for aesthetic and moral ideals. Her analysis of various usages of the word asobi is interesting and helps readers understand the long history of play in Japan, but by confining the history of pre-modern play to this chapter, Daliot-Bul misses out on some of the intertextual richness she might have incorporated into later chapters.

In chapter 2, “Play as a Formative Element of Culture,” Daliot-Bul discusses how play came to be part of daily life by focusing on the courtiers of Heian Japan, the city dwellers of Edo Japan, and the urban youth of the 1970s. While she acknowledges that these aren’t the only three possible examples, she argues that in these three groups one can see the most instructive changes in the scope of asobi as embodied in the sociocultural and economic developments and thus demonstrates how play becomes an increasingly influential force. The choice to focus on these specific groups seems unconvincing at times and causes the reader to wonder why other important examples from Japanese history (the mobo and moga urban culture of the Taisho era being a notable example) are omitted.

In chapter 3, “The Otherness of Play,” Daliot-Bul moves beyond the historical and turns her focus to contemporary playscapes. In particular, she argues that the boundaries of play are culturally constructed symbols of the separation between play and reality and uses the example of modern-day Tokyo sakariba as a liminal “third space” that facilitates a sociocultural inversion. Even as the boundaries shift, Daliot-Bul argues, it is precisely in this third space that players are given an opportunity to critique social norms and experiment with different identities. As her analysis shifts to contemporary practices of play, the crux of her arguments regarding the significance of play in Japan becomes much clearer.

In chapter 4, “The Rules of the Game, or, How to Become the Best Player,” Daliot-Bul studies the practice of play as enacted by many different types of players, from the high school club member to the Shinjuku cosplayer. According to Daliot-Bul, the “ideologies of hegemonic work-oriented culture” (77) and the growing information culture of contemporary Japan have heavily influenced late-twentieth and early twenty-first century consumer culture, and, as a result the way people play. By looking at how people learn to play and then how they play, Daliot-Bul highlights the culturally and temporally constructed practices of play.

In “Creativity in Play,” the fifth chapter, Daliot-Bul turns the discussion away from the complex rules and social structures of play, and explores instead the connections between play and creativity. Daliot-Bul argues that the best creative players are not the ones who work outside of the rules but the ones who are able to use mimicry and parody—what she refers to as the “eloquent subjugation to rules, patterns, and structures of knowledge” (114)—to legitimize their play. Daliot-Bul’s discussion of the practice of play (in chapter 4) and its derivatives (in chapter 5) speaks to the long history of intertextuality in Japanese culture.

In the final chapters “Contested Meanings of Play” and the epilogue, Daliot-Bul analyzes the potential for play to be the avenue through which people can best engage with cultural rhetoric relating to shifting notions of societal value. By focusing on the various sociocultural discourses that give play its meaning in contemporary Japan, Daliot-Bul suggests that play has become idealized precisely because it allows players to have agency in a world of constantly shifting realities.

Daliot-Bul covers a broad sweep of history and cultural shifts while also giving readers a firm grounding in the theoretical underpinnings of her argument. The brocade of analysis she presents focuses on trends in play culture from the 1970s to today. This is a dense, scholarly book with thick academic prose. As such, it may not be accessible to a broader and more general audience, who would greatly benefit from the research presented here. That aside, given the depth and breadth of research here, Daliot-Bul has created an engaging theoretical and analytical work that should appeal to scholars interested in intellectual history, contemporary Japanese cultural studies, and play and game theory.

Susan W. Furukawa, Beloit College, Beloit, USA


HOKUSAI’S GREAT WAVE: Biography of a Global Icon. By Christine M.E. Guth. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xv, 256 pp. (Illustrations.) US$20.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3960-4.

Christine Guth’s study of the print officially titled “Under the Wave off Kanagawa,” or Kanagawa oki no namiura, now commonly known as “The Great Wave,” explores how this image travelled in time and space from 1831, Edo, Japan, to so many parts of the world, being reconfigured and reworked by artists all over the world in so many media. So what can this example teach us about the process of global cultural socialization?

Drawing on art history and the history of design, anthropology, sociology, and media studies, Guth answers questions, such as what defines an icon, what does globalization mean, also exploring the biography of the print and how it first travelled on the waves of Japonisme, and later as the eye-catcher in publications and exhibition catalogues on Hokusai—who happened to be the designer of the original print—and again, more recently in national antagonism, as well as in media such as manga, anime, and the Internet. It may be added here that the first Japanese monograph on Katsushika Hokusai (Iijima Kyoshin, Katsushika Hokusai den, 2 vols., Tokyo: Hōsūkaku, 1893) makes no mention of The Wave, whereas the first Western monograph study of the artist (Edmond de Goncourt, Hokousaï, Paris, 1896) that mostly describes prints in just one or two lines, devotes ten lines to The Wave (166, cited by Guth on 81f.), as it also does for South Wind at Clear Dawn from the same series of prints (163f.), and please note that De Goncourt would also devote nine lines to Hokusai’s second-best-known design, the plate of Octopuses and a diver woman in the album Kinoe no komatsu (175).

In chapter 1, Guth examines the popularity of The Wave from about 1831 to the 1860s (21). It opens with the statement that “[i]n 1830 the publication of a series of Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji by the artist Hokusai was announced in the back of a collection of stories by Ryūtei Tanehiko” (17). In fact, this announcement appeared in a novel issued in the first month of Tenpō 2, that is February of the year 1831 in the Western calendar. On page 26, she then asserts, in keeping with Henry D. Smith II, that “five monochrome blue prints, including views of Mount Fuji from Shichirigahama and Tsukudajima … had already been issued,” to be followed by a “next group of five, still featuring blue outlines but with a more varied palette, appeared at the New Year of 1831, including ‘Under the Wave off Kanagawa,’ ‘South Wind, Clear Dawn’ … and ‘Rainstorm beneath the Summit … .’ ” Yet, these three designs are all signed “Hokusai changing his name to Iitsu,” whereas the five (actually ten) designs printed in tones of blue exclusively bear the signature “by Iitsu, formerly Hokusai”—just like all other prints issued in the series until 1833, suggesting just the reverse.

Guth appears to have done insufficient research, or relies too heavily on secondary sources without addressing the various contradictions between them. As for Hokusai’s precursors, it may be true that Minsetsu’s book Hyaku Fuji, 1771, had “only limited circulation” (19), yet, there is a reprint dated 1818. Moreover, there is also the Kyōka Fujisan of 1814, with illustrations by Tanba Tōkei, and certainly known to Hokusai, as well as some 31 views of Mt. Fuji by Ōishi Shūga in his Sannō shinkei of 1822, also known in various editions. And then, we shouldn’t forget that Hokusai already had incorporated a few first drafts of his Fuji prints in his Hokusai manga volumes of 1814-1819. Citing the case of the “projected series of One Hundred Poems as Told by the Nurse, of which only ninety-one of a promised hundred appeared” to substantiate her remark that “the publisher would likely have discontinued” publication “had the Fuji series not found public favor,” is hardly convincing. The truth is that only 27 prints came out during Hokusai’s lifetime, and that Nishimuraya, facing bankruptcy, was obliged to sell the blocks. Yes, this was the Tenpō crisis, also hitting the world of prints and books. So let’s move on to the following chapters.

In chapter 2, Guth presents a fascinating overview of how The Wave rolled over Europe after its first discovery in 1883 (67), aided by an earlier and more direct appreciation of the Hokusai manga volumes and the One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji, from the 1850s or 1860s, eventually leading to the canonization of The Wave. Hokusai’s designs appealed to many, often for totally opposite reasons: see the views of Bing and De Goncourt (84f.), or how Henri Rivière’s series of Thirty-Six Views of the Eiffel Tower (1888-1902) helped rescue this structure from its scheduled demolition in 1909. The wide appreciation of The Wave, seen in prints, paintings, and even in Royal Copenhagen plates, also gave rise to an “indigo-mania.” However, it seems questionable whether De Goncourt’s “biography was as much about the writer as the artist” as it “does not contain a single illustration” (81)—this was simply part of a series of projected monographs on Japanese artists, such as Utamaro (1891), Hokusai (1896), Kōrin and Gakutei.

In chapter 3, Guth explores how The Wave, but also Japanese prints in general, came to be appreciated and collected in America, where it would play a much more diverse role in all kinds of various discourses than was the case in Europe.. As this quality came to be recognized in America, this also gave rise to a more recent answer, or reaction, in Japan itself. Indeed, it would be used to both express and contest narratives of race and nation.

In the following chapters, Guth presents a comprehensive view of The Wave’s most recent afterlife. How it came to be suitable to a variety of social levels, such as even environmental sensitivity, how its distinctive silhouette, even if altered or rendered in simplified linear form would be recognized, serving whatever an international lexicon demanded—indeed, how The Wave became canonized and iconized. Guth’s study of how this 1830 Japanese print became a very meaningful image, as it is still today and no doubt for many years to come, is more than a fascinating study of one of today’s icons, seen from many various viewpoints. It is as much a study in international cultural history.

Matthi Forrer, National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, Netherlands


THE DECADE OF THE GREAT WAR: Japan and the Wider World in the 1910s. Edited by Tosh Minohara, Tze-ki Hon, Evan Dawley. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2014. xxi, 540 pp. (Figures, maps, tables.) US$234.00, cloth. ISBN 978-90-04-27001-5.

Perhaps at least in part because the impact of World War II on Japanese society was so enormous (and has thus been examined so exhaustively), Japan’s place within the historical context of World War I and that conflict’s global diplomatic, political, and cultural consequences has been less studied in English language scholarship to date. The Decade of the Great War is thus a welcome addition to the field that offers a rich variety of detailed explorations concerning the impact of the First World War on Japan’s relationships with nations both within and beyond East Asia. In particular, the editors contend that, more than merely complicating the typically Eurocentric chronology of the era, the chapters contained within this volume illuminate two significant East Asia-driven shifts in global history during the 1910s: first, “Japan replaced China as the core of East Asia” and, second, “Japan and the United States displaced Europe and began to shift the epicenter of global affairs from the Atlantic to the Pacific” (17). While not all of the essays speak directly to these interpretive themes, the book as a whole offers a nonetheless fresh and valuable rendition of Japan’s engagement with the global scene during the first decades of the twentieth century.

A total of twenty-three chapters divided into two broad thematic categories of “Diplomacy and Foreign Relations” and “National and Transnational Networks” give the book a substantial and wide-sweeping range of vision. Part 1 covers topics ranging from immigration policy, the Siberian Intervention and merchant marine commerce to Swedish perceptions of Japan’s regional rise, Japan’s recognition of independent Poland, and the interactions of Pan-Asian activists in Japan and Ottoman Turkey. Part 2 then features studies on issues such as colonial migration, urban planning, and women’s education to Buddhist internationalism, railroad labour management, and cholera epidemics. Such diversity of research foci is one of the book’s greatest strengths, as is the editors’ inclusion of numerous East Asian scholars among their contributors. Not many multi-author edited volumes on modern East Asian history have done as well to bring the work of Japanese and Chinese historians to an English-reading audience. While some readers might find the topics examined by those authors to be a tad esoteric and data-heavy, the book deserves merit even so for its commitment to internationalism in both content and authorship.

For a work that aims to de-emphasize Europe, however, one might regret that Japan’s relations with the Western world still garner the lion’s share of interest from the volume’s contributors. Indeed, because a considerable majority of the book examines Japanese engagement with the peoples and states of Europe and North America, other more explicitly East Asian-focused and equally significant topics do not always receive their due attention. For example, the wartime years fundamentally transformed the developmental course of Chinese and Korean nationalism vis-à-vis Japan’s position at Versailles and the nature of the settlements reached there. While Caroline Rose’s insightful chapter reviews the politics of Sino-Japanese memory regarding the 1910s, and both Sōchi Naraoka and Yoshiko Okamoto unearth important new layers of meaning in Japan’s Twenty-One Demands upon China in 1915, that no chapter directly explores Japan’s impact on China’s May Fourth Movement of 1919 seems a striking absence. Likewise, the 1919 March First Movement in Korea significantly shaped the changing nature of Japan’s colonial rule on the peninsula, but Japan-Korea relations during the 1910s also largely escape the purview of the book (save for passing references in chapters by Shinohara and Dusinberre). Such observations, however, do not significantly detract from the overall value of this collection. In fact, that a reader would want to learn more about some of the topics left untreated in the volume is a testament to the power of the book as a whole to inspire deeper consideration of this complex and critically important period in early twentieth-century global history.

In sum, The Decade of the Great War is an exemplary achievement in transnational scholarly collaboration that offers its readers a valuable array of methodological approaches to the study of how Japanese society both influenced and was transformed by global events during the 1910s. Accessible to both East Asia specialists and First World War enthusiasts from other regional disciplines, the book will surely prove valuable as a source of new knowledge and an inspiration for future study.

Erik Esselstrom, The University of Vermont, Burlington, USA                                                         


JAPANESE DIPLOMACY: The Role of Leadership. SUNY Series, James N. Rosenau Series in Global Politics. By H.D.P. Envall. Albany: SUNY Press, 2015. xiv, 251 pp. (Tables.) US$85.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4384-5497-9.

How have Japanese prime ministers’ leadership styles, personalities, perceptions, and beliefs shaped Japan’s foreign relations? To what extent have Japanese prime ministers, especially those before the arrival of Koizumi Junichiro in the 2000s, been able to pursue idiosyncratic leadership styles not necessarily in step with their political environment? In the existing literature related to Japanese foreign policy, most studies have focused on the role of Japanese national identity and the change of material structure in the context of the power rivalry between China and the United States in East Asia. By contrast, this book successfully demonstrates the significant impact of the prime minister in shaping Japanese foreign policy. It offers an alternative theoretical perspective on understanding Japanese foreign relations via the lens of political leadership.

The main body of the book consists of two parts. In the first part, three aspects focused on the theoretical, environmental, and historical context of Japanese leadership at the macro level are discussed. Chapter 1 introduces the general literature of leadership studies, and the foreign and domestic constraints towards political leadership. Chapter 2 offers a general analysis of Japanese political leaders and their diplomatic leadership, and chapter 3 reviews the role of Japanese prime ministers since the Second World War. In the second part, three case studies of Japanese prime ministers before the 2000s are presented in a stimulating and thoughtful way. The three cases all focus on Japanese prime ministers’ performances during international summits. Chapter 4 evaluates Ohira’s leadership at the Tokyo summit in 1979. Chapter 5 examines Prime Minister Suzuki’s leadership in Ottawa in 1981, and Nakasone’s leadership at the Williamburg summit in 1983.

Two major arguments are offered in the book. First, the author rightly points out that Japanese political leadership in foreign affairs cannot be easily typecast and viewed as simply a representation of domestic preferences. Through the three case studies, all three prime ministers demonstrated a distinct leadership vision and style that reflected their personal beliefs, proving that preferences do matter in the process of Japanese foreign policy making. Second, by developing two concepts, action and actor dispensability, the author finds that Japanese prime ministers had a significant influence on the country’s diplomacy. The author points out that this is particularly true in Japan’s summit diplomacy, with the effective employment of leadership strategy.

The book makes a significant contribution to understanding the role of prime ministers in Japan’s foreign policy making through the theoretical lens of political leadership. It would be more interesting if the author could offer further discussion on how the change of electoral systems influences the degree of Japanese prime ministers’ autonomy on making their foreign policy decisions based on their own personal beliefs and preferences. As the author rightly points out, leadership environments matter in the decision-making process. Since 1994, the role of the Japanese prime minister in the ruling party has been significantly empowered due to electoral system reform, with a combined electoral system initiated in the House of Representatives (Lower House) with single-member districts and proportional representation in regional constituencies. Under the new electoral system, with the introduction of 300 single-member districts, the prime minister has the authority to endorse party members as official candidates and to allocate the political funding of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Unlike in the previous medium-sized election district system, only a single LDP candidate runs in each lower-house election district, which means that a Japanese prime minister (as party leader) would be able to discourage party members who do not follow his or her policy preferences by not nominating him/her or allocating political funding for a national election campaign (for example, Koizumi’s election on postal service privatization in 2005). On the other hand, Japanese prime ministers are also being constrained due to the linkage of their approval rating (naikaku shijilitsu) and their domestic political survival. If the prime minister’s approval rating declines significantly, he or she will be perceived by party members as not being able to lead the party to win the next national election, undermining his or her domestic legitimacy within the ruling party. In many cases, seeking political survival has been the precondition for Japanese prime ministers when they decide whether to pursue a policy based on their personal preferences and political beliefs. The policy variation revealed in the recent two Abe administrations over the Yasukuni problem (Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine in 2013 but not in 2006, 2014, or 2015) indeed offers an interesting insight to understanding the power and limitations of Japanese prime ministers, which should be the subject of future research.

In sum, this book is highly recommended for anyone interested in Japanese foreign policy, domestic politics, and leadership studies, as it offers a unique perspective on our understanding of Japanese foreign policy making that has been typically ignored in the current IR literature in general and Japanese foreign relations in particular. A leadership study of Japanese prime ministers will be able to provide an effective road map for readers to understand the future development of Japanese diplomacy.

Mong Cheung, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan

MARCHING THROUGH SUFFERING: Loss and Survival in North Korea. Contemporary Asia in the World. By Sandra Fahy. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. xiii, 252 pp. US$40.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-17134-2.

Speech acts (as John Langshaw Austin and others would understand them) have become a key component of engagement with North Korea in recent years. Speech acts focused on witness, testimony, and advocacy, which address Pyongyang’s perceived violation of the rules of the contemporary normative and hegemonic consensus surrounding human rights and critiquing North Korea’s acutely different political and economic systems in particular, have driven institutional agendas in the United Nations and elsewhere through the recent Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea led by the Honourable Michael Kirby. The realm of popular media and consciousness has also been marked and dominated by the translation of speech acts by North Koreans who are no longer living in North Korea (variously known as defectors, refugees, or migrants depending on one’s political and philosophical predilections) into a peculiar strain of literary production, the defector memoir. Mostly co-productions and acts of co-authorship, works such as those by Shin Dong-hyuk, Park Yeon-mi, Hwang Jang-yop, and Jang Jin-sung have captured the imagination of the wider world with their vivid, acerbic, brutal, and occasionally lysergic testimonial. Their narratives, similarly to those of North Korea, are subject to intense debate when it comes to matters of veracity and reliability. While it is not the intention of this review to contribute to that debate, it is the contention of its author that generally textual and literary co-productions are determinedly focused on acts of speech which are de-territorialized and de-temporalized from their original context in North Korea. Instead of being rooted in the lived experiences of North Korean famine, desperation, and escape, they become more abstracted moments of politics: speech acts focused on the acts of others and on future acts of regime change and unification.

On the other hand, Sandra Fahy’s fascinating work Marching Through Suffering: Loss and Survival in North Korea, while perhaps sourcing its evidential base from the same ex-patriated, diasporic community of North Koreans as the afore-mentioned more conventional works of advocacy and international agitation, achieves something of much depth and empirical utility to the scholar in its navigation of these narratives of difficulty and distress. Instead of an embedded concern for those acts (of speech or otherwise) which condemn, de-stabilize, or deconstruct North Korea in the midst of its period of crisis, Fahy, with an anthropologist’s ear, seeks out those speech acts which North Koreans themselves used to negotiate, explain, construct, and experience that period.

Fahy’s book is structurally a journey through its contributors’ own experiences of North Korea’s great famine period of 1992–1997 and journeys to their temporal and geographic presents, as North Koreans who no longer live in North Korea. Fahy adopts her contributors’ own temporal marking and linguistic categorization of their passage to the outside world. Hence what the wider world knows as a famine, and North Korean institutional narratives present as a second arduous march, is conceived of by Fahy’s interviewees as “The Busy Years.” The reader then follows their emotional journey from ideological cohesion to disintegration, near death and finally a break with the nation of their birth.

Utilizing the analytic tools of anthropology and ethnography, Fahy explores the linguistic transformations and strategies present in her interviewees’ past lives, as well as the often neglected temporal difference in the famine experience for North Koreans, dependant on their regional positionality. The busy years apparently began earlier in the late 1980s for those in the periphery and not arriving in Pyongyang’s heart of North Korean bureaucracy until the mid-1990s. In keeping with Alex De Waal’s theoretical frameworks focused on famine, Fahy unveils a deeply uneasy, mediated netherworld of familial and community discourse in which people do not die of starvation or experience famine, but freeze to death or encounter acute and severe pain.

In a clear marked difference from what must constitute a media and popular narrative of not just North Korea’s difficult period, but any moment of famine and acute, life-threatening deprivation experienced by a national or regional population, Fahy builds a picture derived from her interviewees’ accounts and their linguistic and conceptual stratagems of a people possessed of a distinct and determined agency. Faced with extraordinary and at times incomprehensible challenges, North Koreans, in spite of a collapse in conventional morality, social morays, and behaviours, are determined to survive. Her interviewees describe seeing old men steal food from the hands of small children, orphaned and abandoned children left to unsuccessfully fend for themselves and die in public, and families depending on precarious and illegal private vegetable plots in the mountains for food. Yet North Koreans deploy these new forms of private and public language to both cope emotionally and navigate the complex web of political and social expectation, they utilize hidden and subtle uses of humour, and, most prominently, they become adept at engaging with the practices and praxis of market economics, both in semi-public spaces and through acts of determined subterfuge.

Ultimately Fahy’s fine book holds an empathic and emotional ear to its subjects’ stories, narrating both their external and internal travels with an assertive yet subtle sensitivity. Fahy’s subjects are not the North Koreans of public and media nightmare—sallow, disempowered shadows of humanity—but active agents of their own, albeit occasionally unknown or unknowable destiny. Even at their moment of breaking with North Korean territory and sovereignty in the act of becoming that most transgressive of political beings, the North Korean who no longer lives in North Korea, Fahy’s subjects make powerful, rational decisions to bridge and survive existential challenges. This reviewer has rarely read a work which does such empirical and narrative justice to a much maligned and misunderstood people, allowing the reader to encounter their march through, encounter with, and survival from a truly disastrous moment of history in valuable new ways.

Robert Winstanley-Chesters, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

MARATHON JAPAN: Distance Racing and Civic Culture. By Thomas R.H. Havens. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xi, 227 pp. (Illustrations.) US$47.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-4101-0.

I like running. I also like reading about running, including academic writings, so what else would it need to warrant a highly sympathetic account of the first and therefore highly welcomed history of distance running in Japan? Certainly a bit more than the run-of-the-mill narrative of modernity that the renowned historian of modern and in particular twentieth-century Japan offers, with his incessant quoting of athletes’ names, running times, and rankings. Readers who are thrilled by an almanac of annual finishing times and records will find their bible in this book. For me, reading page after page about who ran the fastest marathon in Japan in 1967, how the follower-up did in 1968 at the Mexico Olympics in relation to the fastest times of the year, and what times Japan’s top runners delivered in 1969 and what their respective ranking was in 1970, was a bit like the dreary stretch between kilometres 32 and 36 of a marathon: hard to enjoy but necessary to slog through on the way to the finish. So if you want to get a feel for the meaning distance running has and had for the Japanese, or if you want to know what civic culture may have to do with the fascination Japan obviously has with running, you will have to wait for another study—maybe one more interested in body culture, the anthropology of running or fieldwork among runners than in the assemblage of facts. But this would be exactly the opposite of what Havens promises in the opening lines of his study.

It is not that Marathon Japan entirely fails to identify the aspects that have helped make Japan into a runners’ nation, both at the elite and more recently at the mass participation level, too. But the evidence Havens gained from combining randomly selected academic secondary sources with a fastidious extraction of rankings tables and finishing times from sport chronicles and genre magazines like Rikujo kyōgi (Track and Field) or Rannāzu (Runners) and a strikingly positivist interpretation of elite runners’ autobiographical accounts is not strong enough to provide a consistent explanation and coherent answers to the core questions the book wants to address: why Japanese love to watch marathons and distance relay races (ekiden) that are Japan’s original contribution to global running culture, and why so many decide to become distance runners themselves.

Judging from its name, the opening chapter on “The culture of running in Japan” appears to look into possible theoretical explanations for the role of running in society. In fact this chapter is a condensed summary of the chapters to follow. As Havens chooses an old-fashioned approach, putting trust only and exclusively on facts from the archives, he does not attend to theories or analytical frameworks developed by other scholars of sport in society. Partly due to the self-selected seclusion, the pattern that emerges from the five chronologically ordered chapters hardly differs from what other more or less undertheorized historical analyses of Japanese sport in general, or baseball or football in particular, have unsheathed.

Chapter 2, on “Racing to catch up,” covers the early period of modern sport in Japan from its introduction by Western powers until the end of the Pacific War. Running, very much like other sport disciplines, was tied to nationalist aspirations as well as to educational objectives, and the nation’s elite schools nurtured the top athletes that came to represent Japan on the international stage. Chapter 2, “A galaxy of distance runners,” records the development of running at the top level throughout the first two decades of postwar recovery. The emerging dominance of Japanese runners is explained in front of the background of national rehabilitation, industrial growth, and rising prosperity. More than the marathon, ekiden races captured the attention of the nation at a time when television became the lead mass medium and Japanese companies provided their semi-professional employee-athletes with ideal training conditions to excel in the name of the nation, when abroad, or the company, when competing at home.

Corporate Japan’s wealth continued to provide the basis for the ongoing success of Japanese runners abroad. Despite its theory-savvy chapter heading, “Distance running as a commodity” entertains the reader just like all the other chapters: first of all with detailed accounts of runners’ biographies and achievements, both in domestic and international arenas. However, the period from the 1970s onward is the first time that women runners entered centre stage. Chapter 5, somewhat wearily titled “Greater depth, more women,” argues that organizational changes during the 1990s opened up teams and contests for recreational runners that had been previously confined to top runners only, and thus initiated the burgeoning popularity of distance running across all boundaries of age and gender. This was certainly the case ten years later and therefore is extensively covered in chapter 7, “Running for everyone.” In between, chapter 6, “From peak to plateau: elite runners in the 2000s” offers more detailed information on the achievements of Japan’s top runners.

In the course of reading the 175 pages of text, I encountered an impressive amount of details about the history of top-level running, of which I have forgotten all but the more curious at the time of writing this review. As mentioned above, the general storyline that links the sport of running to the state’s ambitions of nation building and corporate Japan’s commercial interests is far from being new or original, while the scholarship that has taken the lead in that regard remains almost invisible. The link between civic culture and the sport of running is not elaborated in a way that explains differences and similarities to the running boom in other places. I can only guess if a historian would agree with me in rating the analytical power of the chosen approach as weak; the cumulative usage of words like “perhaps,” “maybe,” “seem,” or ‘apparent’ that soften many of the more general statements leaves the reader wondering what evidence is needed for more affirmative results. Listening to the subjects of this history would have been one option. The voices of runners, coaches, and sport administrators only emerge from published sources, such as autobiographies and interviews in the sport media. These are fine sources but like any other source they demand reflection and nuanced interpretation. In that regard I found it striking how statements produced for media consumption are taken at face value and treated exactly in the same manner as race results and finishing times. Shunning theory is one thing, but writing history without reflection on the nature of the data is certainly “old school,” without the positive connotation of the term.

Wolfram Manzenreiter, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

PARTNERS IN PRINT: Artistic Collaboration and the Ukiyo-e Market. By Julie Nelson Davis. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xvii, 242 pp. (Figures.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3938-3.

This study’s main thrust is to dispel the obsession in ukiyo-e studies both with authorial intention and with single-sheet colour prints. This is accomplished through the examination of the larger network which constituted “the floating world” of vernacular production in late eighteenth-century Japanese urban centres, to which Davis persuasively applies Howard Becker’s concept of the “art world.” The book revolves around four study cases addressing “four dimensions of cultural inquiry vital to the floating world: the status of art, the definition of beauty, the physicality of the body, and the inquiry into the intellect” (19).
Chapter 1 follows an atypical “floating world” artist: Toriyama Sekien, accomplished in a range of painting styles and significant as “a key point of transfer of traditional painting style for the floating world” (23). Going beyond recent scholarship’s recognition of painting as an important medium in the “floating world,” Davis explicates the imbrication between styles and practitioners of painting and print formats. This is exemplified by the focus image, a collaboration between Sekien and his pupils Kitagawa Utamaro and Toriyama Sekichūjo: Utamaro’s children reacting to Sekien’s lion on a painted screen prompts an engaging discussion of “an extended play upon the conceit of copying, representation, and mimesis” (20) which would nevertheless have benefitted from references to studies such as Wu Hung’s The Double Screen.
Chapter 2 focuses on the book The Mirror of Yoshiwara Beauties, Compared (Seirō bijin awase sugata kagami), “designed from the start as a collaborative process” (77) between illustrators Kitao Shigemasa and Katsukawa Shunshō, publishers Tsutaya Jūzaburō and the “brothel owners as possible financial contributors” (91). The book emerges as representative of a “floating world” culture configured by “material distinctions in support of rank and prestige” (102). Davis characterizes these “illustrated books” as “nameable, knowable and visible work, one of many such commodities openly available in the print market” (107). The analysis reveals the social dynamics of the media apparatus of this “economy of pleasure” (61, recalling Lyotard’s “libidinal economy,” often employed for Edo’s prostitution quarters but rarely discussed in-depth).
Chapter 3 explores the exquisite Scroll of the Sleeve (Sode no maki), which poses two tricky issues: it is an erotic scroll, carrying no information on authorship. Instead, “style and production values serve as the indexical markers for designer and publisher” (114), convincingly identified as Torii Kiyonaga and Nishimuraya Yohachi, respectively. This is followed by one of the most significant critical discussions in the book: that of labels for such erotic images. Davis reaches to a larger art-historical discourse when settling for the term “erotica”—all the more commendable since the book had already gone to print by the time the 2013 British Museum exhibition and catalogue “Shunga: Erotic Art in Japan” had materialized. This shows that the discussion of eroticism in Japanese culture is maturing and, more specifically, erotic images are being taken seriously as an integral part of ukiyo-e studies. Davis acknowledges the broad range of readership and audience response, and spells out the logical conclusion of a serious study of erotica: all “floating world” images contain “implicit eroticism” (142).
Chapter 4 unpacks a collaboration between the author Santo Kyōden and the illustrator Kitao Masayoshi: Greatest Sales Guaranteed: Quick-Dye Mind Study (Daikokujō uke aiuri: Shingaku hayasomegusa, 1790). Unlike the previous study cases, this satire of the populist doctrine Shingaku is a non-elite work whose humour depended on historically situated facts often difficult to recover. Research on this challenging genre of yellow-backed novels (kibyōshi) has been the province of literary studies, and the work in question has already been translated into English. However, Davis shows how art historians read such works differently than literary historians, effectively claiming this genre as art-historically relevant: no ukiyo-e specialist can now afford to ignore it. Davis’s unpacking of the visual rhetoric is highly entertaining, and close analysis makes the political satire clear, going against the received view in Japanese scholarship, where such kibyōshi with themes from popular religion are considered apolitical in the wake of late 1780s censorship.

Some observations: while discussing the revenge of the Good Spirit Family on Evil Spirits during the scene of the protagonist’s repentance, Davis states that “Good Spirits … may knock down their enemies but they shall not slay them” (173). However, the illustration clearly shows a Good Spirit slashing an Evil Spirit, blood gushing out. Additionally, Kyōden’s extended creative use of the theme of Good and Evil Spirits would have been worth mentioning: the 1793 Yoninzume nanpen ayatsuri replaces them with devils and Buddhas controlling characters with puppet strings, and in the 1796 Onikoroshi kokoro no tsunodaru various Spirits compete for the characters’ control (both works available on Waseda University Library’s Japanese & Chinese Classics online database). And while Davis mentions “handbills, short books, talismanic images, and chapbooks for children” (150) promoting popular religion, the possibility of kibyōshi referencing these materials, both textually and visually, remains unexplored. Kyōden’s title, for instance, ends with the term “gusa,” which most probably parodies titles of illustrated children’s books such as Wakizaka Gidō’s 1784 and 1793 Yashinaigusa or the 1791 Mutsumajigusa (the latter available on Waseda University Library’s database).

In each chapter, the author’s thorough research is patiently deployed in unpacking the logic of the complex argument which, besides collaborative networks, encompasses formats, subjects, and practices of appreciation. This is a welcome variation from the urgency of journal articles and from Japanese scholarship too often content with classification and vague critical discussions.

Though it has been clear for some time that “the floating world” meant much more than single-sheet prints, this is one of the first studies taking its complexity seriously. It reveals that beyond formats and content, the “floating world” was essentially a network of artistic collaboration. This dense and entertaining book shows the maturity of the field of ukiyo-e studies and reaches towards a syncretic study of the “floating world.”

Radu Leca, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, Norwich, United Kingdom

HERITAGE MANAGEMENT IN KOREA AND JAPAN: The Politics of Antiquity and Identity. Korean Studies of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. By Hyung Il Pai. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2013. xl, 258 pp. (Maps, figures, tables.) US$30.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-295-99305-8.

Hyung il Pai’s new book showcases her scholarly endeavour on a subject that requires extensive research in the fields of archaeology, art history, anthropology, cultural management, and, of course, history. Pai’s previous book and articles have already presented her in-depth analysis on this topic, which has colonial roots but contemporary relevance for Korean archaeology, heritage management, and museum practice, but this book without a doubt elevates the level of discussion by comparing the parallel historical development of heritage management in Japan and South Korea. It is no surprise that archaeological excavations and heritage management systems in and around Japan were fuelled and meticulously guided by the Japanese colonial regime’s eager search to establish the racial superiority of the Japanese people and the authenticity of their culture. The postcolonial adaptation of these colonial remnants in Japan’s former colonies—that is, inheriting both the Japanese colonial structure of heritage management and its categorical perception of ethnicity and race—is a rather inconvenient truth that the author describes as a “culturally sensitive and still politically charged topic” (preface, xxx).

Pai shows that the Japanese archaeological effort on the Korean Peninsula was part of a larger colonial project which aimed to justify the concept of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and an historical narrative explaining the backwardness of Korea. Using Japanese historical sources, she describes the origins of Japanese heritage management in the Meiji period, centred around an effort to account for historical artefacts which supported the imperial history of Japan. In chapter 3, Pai meticulously follows the activities of four individuals who were responsible for categorizing, promoting, and protecting Japanese art. Korean historical heritage was included under this heritage management system with the help of a colonial historical narrative, formulated to justify colonial domination with the logic of a Japanese civilizing mission in East Asia. Further, she explores heritage management on the Korean Peninsula, and based on flyers and information booklets from the colonial period, she traces the promotion of colonial tourism in Japan, which emphasized the role of the Japanese government in the enlightenment and modernization of Korea (263).

The flow of the book is smooth, and the chapters are carefully arranged in historical sequence, covering the institutionalization of the heritage ranking system, the establishment a system for the documentation and categorization of historical artefacts, and the development of heritage tourism.

In the end, what then is the true value of heritage for Pai herself? If there is such a strong history of using a country’s cultural heritage for political purposes and economic ends, is there actually a purely disinterested way of preserving heritage for the future? In the end, Pai’s own viewpoint as an historian seems romantically positivistic, but such a outlook does not invalidate her illuminating research on the myriad ways heritage management is in fact used to remember the past. I highly recommend this book to scholars and graduate students in Korean studies, Asian studies, museum studies, and those interested in post-colonialism in general.

Kyung Hyo Chun, Konkuk University, Seoul, South Korea

NORTH KOREA: Markets and Military Rule. By Hazel Smith. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. xii, 381 pp. (Map.) US$32.99, paper. ISBN 978-0-521-72344-2.

Described by the author as “a long time in the making,” North Korea: Markets and Military Rule stands out as Hazel Smith’s magnus opus. Based on her twenty-five years of research on North Korea, Smith presents an integrated understanding of North Korean politics, economics, and society spanning from the Japanese colonial occupation of Korea to the present. More importantly, Smith narrates a story about internal change, an idea which may be less apparent to those who only follow mainstream media accounts of North Korea. In particular, Smith shows “how and why the society and economics of North Korea changed from a command economy to one that is marketised,” thereby decreasing the legitimacy of the political system (5).

The book is divided into three sections with a total of fifteen chapters. Smith sets the stage in part 1 by “jettisoning caricatures” of North Korea often portrayed in the mainstream news media, and providing a deeper historical context for the North Korean identity, tracing it as far back as the period of the Three Kingdoms. Part 2 focuses on the rise and fall of Kim Il Sungism. It chronicles the rise of the North Korean state following the end of Japanese rule to the onset of the great famine in the 1990s. Part 3 describes the changes which have occurred throughout the country in response to the famine. The ruling regime has reverted to its “military-first” (songbun) policy as elites and ordinary citizens are increasingly resorting to market activity for their very survival. Although the chapters proceed in mostly chronological fashion, the first two parts of the book build momentum for the final, third section of the book.

There is much to applaud about this new volume. The number of books on North Korea have proliferated in recent years, but few will match the depth and breadth of research of North Korea: Markets and Military Rule. Backed with empirical data, Smith speaks with authority on a range of topics including public health, the status of women, the shift in status of North Korean workers, the rise of the nouveau riche, and the marketization of various segments of North Korean rule including the Party, the military, and even the family. Students of North Korea will particularly appreciate the abundance of citations to other secondary and some primary sources.

The lengthy review of the history and politics of North Korea may frustrate some readers who expect to see a book focused primarily on markets, military rule, and recent social transformation, as the title and introduction suggest. To her credit, however, Smith manages to narrate a forward-moving story by building readers’ expectations early on about the onset of internal change. Basic knowledge of the country is therefore integrated with new research outlining how marketization has altered the social and economic landscape of contemporary North Korea, and in particular, state-societal relations.

Readers can appreciate Smith’s balanced and intellectually honest approach to her subject matter. She does not shy away from detailing human rights abuses or the catastrophic impact of the famine, the latter at times described poignantly as the author reveals how individuals ultimately relied on markets and family members for survival. Insights regarding the important role of family, the “only place where … trust-based relationships could thrive” in a heavily policed state were particularly interesting (184). Yet she does not dwell on such horrific events and facts, reminding readers throughout the book that North Korea is not monolithic. For instance, when describing the lives of North Korean youth, Smith writes, “Young people were not involved in organized activity all of the time. Young people, as anywhere in the world, found ways to hang out together, in parks, by the rivers, in sports venues as players and spectators, at the movies and in each other’s homes” (182).

Although Smith remains critical of caricatured portrayals found in the global media, her account of change is consistent with what has appeared in news reports and academic blog posts on North Korea such as NKNews and 38 North, and even more traditional news outlets such as the Washington Post (see foreign correspondent Anna Fifield’s reporting on North Korea). However, North Korea: Markets and Military Rule, leaves readers with a few unanswered questions. For instance, when describing the dissonance between government rhetoric and realities on the ground, Smith states that the “population” began treating the government as “irrelevant” leading to the “embedding of a culture of cynicism about government” and the “degradation of the Party as an institutional power and political authority” (224-25). But to what extent does this cynicism and degradation of political control take place in North Korea? Which segment of the population does Smith refer to? Smith at times suggests that transformative social and economic change has taken place throughout North Korea. At other times, she is more reserved, qualifying that levels of political repression remain high even with significant changes in social and economic structures (293, 327). Clearly change has taken place, but the degree to which marketization has transformed daily life inside North Korea remains less clear based on the available evidence. This is a problem not only for Smith, but other scholars working on research in North Korea.

Nevertheless, North Korea: Markets and Military Rule is a must read for anyone interested in learning more about North Korea, and more generally, transitions from command to market economies. The book is written for a broad audience, but it can be equally appreciated by seasoned observers of North Korea.

Andrew I. Yeo, Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., USA

MAKING PERSONAS: Transnational Film Stardom in Modern Japan. Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series, 79. By Hideaki Fujiki. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2013. xiv, 408 pp. (Figures.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-06569-7.

Making Personas: Transnational Film Stardom in Modern Japan is an impressive, in-depth analysis of the film stardom in Japan during the 1910s and 1920s. As Fujiki notes upfront, the star might be indeed “nothing but [a] product of differentiation,” and I must admit that such an impression was one of the side effects that this monumental book left with me (10). The exhaustive approach taken by the author results in an almost immersive experience of reading through dense accounts of the making of stars. Flipping through 300-plus pages, one will gradually begin to grasp the nonlinear evolution of stardom in early twentieth-century Japan. The question of enlightenment is often present in the background of each chapter, but is not always addressed explicitly. This is especially true of the book’s conclusion, a point which I will return to shortly.

The book traces three main strands of early film stardom in Japan: early Japanese film stars (from the 1910s until the mid-1920s), American film stars (from the mid-1910s onward), and a new type of Japanese film star (after the early 1920s). Though these strands overlap in time, the overall chronological presentation of the formation of each strand fulfills one of the book’s aims: to narrate the larger structural change in institutional and social processes of the production of a star persona rather than presenting in-depth studies of individual stars. By dialectically moving through these strands, Fujiki weaves a transnational history of early film stardom in Japan that does not follow the Hollywood-versus-national-cinemas paradigm. The important dimensions of the transnational operation of film stardom in Japan that the book highlights include: the circulation of American star images in an unprecedented scale that was made possible by the development of print media, the reception of these images by Japanese audiences and critics, and the restructuring of the Japanese film industry and its star system, modeled on Hollywood.

The book’s aim is to maintain a fine balance between the effort to historicize film stardom and the need to underscore the incomplete nature of the process of differentiation as characteristic of stardom, that is, the plasticity of the star persona and the fluidity and multiplicity of meaning attached to the star image. It follows that one of the most engaging chapters is the one on the replacement of the onnagata by actresses. Starting in the early 1920s, the Japanese film industry largely adapted the American production system and established the new star system. The change also less directly, but no less profoundly, affected representations of domestic stars by making direct comparison with American film stars possible. One of the most illustrative transformations brought by this change was the abolishment of the onnagata (female impersonators). Although film actresses appeared in some shinpa films and in rensageki as early as in the 1910s, they were not perceived as comparable to American stars, whose images were already widely circulated and consumed in Japan. Instead, both female performers and critics relied on the existing theatrical model, especially those of the onnagata, and fans and critics centred their aesthetic judgments around gei, the art of acting. One of the important ways in which the onnagata came to be seen as problematic vis-à-vis American film stars is the perceived incongruity between gender and sex that onnagata embodies. Femininity was no longer understood as part of gei, virtuosic mastery of theatrical conventions, but rather as the “natural” capacity of the female performer. While the onnagata survived as a distinctive—“classical” and “national”—form of performing arts, in cinema, medium-specificity arguments were strongly made against the onnagata. Some male audiences exercised a new type of fandom around body-based sexual images of American film actresses. That itself came to be recognized as problematic by many critics, but as Fujiki argues, a heterosexual fan/star relationship was now seen as “normal.” These male fans and critics together formed and practiced a new discourse of sexualized spectatorship.

As Fujiki acknowledges at the onset of the book, the history of early film stardom in Japan remains incomplete without a discussion of stars in comedy among others, male stars in the 1920s, and jidaigeki stars. Nonetheless, one of the accomplishments of the book is to provide a coherent historical narrative of the formation and transformation of film stardom during the 1910s and 1920s without compromising the subtlety and complexity of individual strands. This is particularly remarkable given the extremely limited primary sources available for this area of study. The book is a welcome addition to “early” cinema studies. It has turned historiographical insight into an innovative approach and contributed to broaden our sense of what counts as archival materials for the study of cinema.

The closing discussion of Ri Kōran or Li Xinglang (1920-2014) shows a marked shift in tone, focusing more on the historical development of Japan and the figure of Ri. This conclusion is relatively new to this project: neither Fujiki’s dissertation, on which the book is based, nor the revised Japanese version of his dissertation, which came out six years earlier, contains any discussion of Ri’s stardom. In Stars (British Film Institute, 1998), Richard Dyer defines “star image” as not “an exclusively visual sign, but rather a complex configuration of visual, verbal and aural signs” (34). In the Japanese version, Fujiki refers to this passage to acknowledge the importance of audio sources even for the study of silent cinema. In Making Personas, he contextualizes the passage differently to argue that the star is a media(ted) phenomenon which “appears not only as the ‘image’ […] but also as a persona to which consumers can attach meanings and emotions” (14). The star image of Ri—who was singer and actress—is aural as much as visual, and the transnational stardom of Ri must be addressed against the vibrant audio-visual culture of imperial Japan. We must then “imaginatively consider,” to borrow his phrase, forms of spectatorship that take into account her dynamic star persona (23). The conclusion serves as a deeply suggestive beginning of such an imagination.

Junko Yamazaki, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA

THE CHAOS AND COSMOS OF KUROSAWA TOKIKO: One Woman’s Transit from Tokugawa to Meiji Japan. By Laura Nenzi. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2015. ix, 263 pp. (Figures, maps, tables.) US$48.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3957-4.

This is a fascinating and illuminating account of the travails of a poet, prognosticator, and educator from rural Japan who was compelled by cosmic signs and rational analysis of contemporary events towards extraordinary political activism at a crucial moment towards the end of the Tokugawa (1600–1868) era. The author laudably nuances both our understandings of women’s roles in late Tokugawa loyalism, and rural commoners’ contributions to late Tokugawa ideology and society (3-4).

One of Nenzi’s principal aims is to locate the story of one woman, Kurosawa Tokiko, in the broader context of political and ideological developments in the latter half of nineteenth-century Japan. She intricately weaves Tokiko’s story into discussions of broader themes — such as the negotiation of gender norms and expectations, political activism, expressions of loyalty, and dissent — at a tumultuous moment in modern Japanese history: the fall of the Tokugawa military government and installation of a young emperor as national sovereign.

The book comprises three parts organized around Tokiko’s story, beginning with a framing of organizing principles of the book, including the importance of a specific locale (a village in Mito domain) and connections beyond it. The thread throughout the first and second parts is the analogy of a bird’s flight outlined in the introduction. A second analogy—that of a theatrical performance—is introduced in the second part, which treats Tokiko’s decision to deliver in person an appeal to the emperor in Kyoto, and her journey from Mito that involved illicit travel and covert assistance along the way from people connected by poetry and other networks. The third part treats the telling of Tokiko’s story, both by herself and, after her death, by others. In this section, Nenzi cogently demonstrates that Tokiko’s story lent itself to reconstruction by local officials, memorialists, biographers, novelists, cinematographers, illustrators, and women’s magazine editors, and that the resultant versions reflected particular contemporary political purposes. The historiographical sensitivity that leads Nenzi to refer to the work of other scholars of Japanese history is here carefully deployed to elucidate a multiplicity of accounts spanning the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Kurosawa Tokiko is a gem of a find: as a well-educated and connected poet, not only did she leave ample documentary evidence from which her story could be reconstructed but also she seems to have been a remarkably self-conscious and confident individual. How was it that she determined that she had a role to play in national events? Nenzi is adamant that Tokiko should not be seen as representative of rural women loyalists in the bakumatsu era (1853–1868), comparing her to other women who have attracted scholarly attention. She repeatedly reminds the reader why her story is meaningful—her deployment of divination, encounters with ghosts and appeals to cosmic forces—but this reader would also have appreciated some more direct consideration of what underpinned Tokiko’s self-assuredness and, more broadly, what exceptional figures tell us about particular moments of time. The absence of such a discussion is surprising in view of the emphasis on Tokiko’s exceptional characteristics by historians and local officials when reconstructing her story in the latter half of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century.

Nenzi’s argument about macro- and micro-history is challenging: How do historians ascribe significance to ordinary people, especially at times of radical or revolutionary change? A useful summation of the lessons to be drawn about locating the ordinary individual in “large-scale history,” and a statement on the significance of Tokiko’s story (201) is provided in the conclusion.

Nenzi employs several analogies throughout the book to explain Tokiko’s actions: Tokiko is at times a nesting bird or one in flight, an aspiring playwright, an actor in a theatrical performance. Nenzi seems particularly taken with the idea of performance, variously referring to theatrical and cinematic performances and scripts, spotlights, backdrops, extras, and main actors, and raises significant historical questions such as: How should historians understand the self-consciousness of individual historical figures at what are, in retrospect, particularly significant moments in time?

The analysis is creative but not entirely convincing in places. Nenzi interprets in Tokiko’s creative projects a proprietary concern with her own story and historical legacy, without providing substantive supporting evidence that Tokiko was concerned about her place in history. That Tokiko saw her journey to Kyoto as a pivotal event in her story is a recurring theme in an exegesis of her memoires and poetry (chapter 5), and the basis for a lengthy forensic analysis of the staged self-portrait that is reproduced on the front cover (chapter 8). Perhaps echoing Tokiko, Nenzi also reads significance into coincidence, describing the fact that Tokiko is cross-examined by authorities at about the same time as better-known male loyalists as “a remarkable instance of an extra sharing the spotlight with some of the lead historical actors” (121). Nenzi attributes keen awareness of the nature of political debate and change to her protagonist, and a tenacious determination to negotiate this change in her own favour, while also strategically protesting her insignificance on occasion: Tokiko “reinvented her role as a pivot between community and cosmic forces, between the small and the large scale, in the wake of the 1864 Mito civil war” (120).

The multiple interpretative layers that give so much texture to Nenzi’s account of a complex persona become in some places burdensome. A careful editor may have recommended a judicious selection where multiple analogies overlap, as well as ameliorated occasional inconsistencies in translated poetry (for example, the last line of the first poem on page 132 “yama ni hairu hito” is translated as “go deep into the mountain” but immediately below is described as an allusion to the Shugendō practitioners who “enter the mountains”).

The Chaos and Cosmos of Kurosawa Tokiko is not readily accessible for readers without a basic understanding of the national political developments of mid-nineteenth-century Japan but a careful reading will reward anyone interested in fringe political activism and identity construction (gender, local, national) at a critical juncture in the modern history of an important nation-state.

Vanessa B. Ward, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

EATING KOREAN IN AMERICA: Gastronomic Ethnography of Authenticity. Food in Asia and the Pacific. By Sonia Ryang. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. xi, 138 pp., [8] pp. of plates. (Colored illustrations.) US$39.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3935-2.

Upon receiving this volume, I was unsure of what to expect. The title implied, at least to this reader, that the work would centre on Korean cuisine in the US; however, the subtitle also brought to the fore the ubiquitous buzz word of “authenticity” that seems to pop up everywhere in present scholarly literature. Nonetheless, having written a good deal on the history of Korean food, I was happy to have the opportunity to read something cast in a different light, on a cuisine that my own experiences indicate is at times quite different than what we might find in Korea.

This small volume—less than 140 pages—focuses on just four main dishes as served in primarily four disparate regions of the US. Ryang comments on naengmyŏn in Los Angeles, chŏn in Baltimore, kalbi in Hawaii, and pibimbap in Iowa City. At first glance, my thought was that one would be hard pressed to find four more distinct areas of the US, or, for that matter, four more dissimilar foods. The randomness did have a common thread, though, that being that the author had lived in/researched/visited these spots at some point in her academic career.

Each chapter begins with a brief description of the area, its demographic characteristics and the history of the Korean population residing therein. This I found informative for setting the backdrop. The chapters then follow a pattern of Ryang’s experience with a particular food in that locale and her own experiences or memories of the food elsewhere. There is some historical discussion on the food’s place in Korean history (however, as will be discussed below, this is clearly not the author’s strength), how the local rendition might vary, and then some larger implications about cross-cultural currents that might be drawn from the various developments in the food’s trajectory over both spatial and temporal boundaries.

Ryang’s narrative tends to stray from her discussion at times and brings various episodes relating to her travels into the volume. Thus we learn of her bus commute to the Koreatown in Los Angeles, during which a male bus rider exposed his genitals, her first weeks in Baltimore, and her purchase of, evidently, delicious lilikoi (Hawaiian passionfruit) bread on Hawaii’s Big Island. It is a narrative style that not all readers will appreciate; in this reader’s opinion it detracts from the more consequential aspects of the book and takes away from the focus of her study.

Ryang’s conclusions are sometimes stimulating. While I find the question of “authenticity” to be entirely moot, she does ask the right questions, such as: “Did authentic naengmyeon even exist in the first place?” (107). Frankly, it does not matter and nor does the question of the authority to declare a particular food authentic or take ownership of a tradition. Ryang gives the perfect example concerning the South Korean’s government’s various attempts to “claim the right to determine the authenticity of kimchi” (2, 100-111, 119). Korean cuisine, like all cuisines, has always been in a state of flux and foods have changed greatly over time. Her final arguments concerning the relationship of global capitalism, authenticity, and food are excellent and clearly demonstrate the role of global capitalism in taking “a basic element for the preservation of human life” (120) and using that for profit-making, consequences be damned. This is indeed tragic.

While I was initially not enamoured with the randomness of place and food, as I read through the volume Ryang’s approach grew on me and became more apparent. The connection between places and foods mirrors in many ways the randomness of the development of Korean cuisine over the centuries. Who knows what forces led to garlic making its way from Southeast Asia to the Korean Peninsula, or why chili peppers became so prominent in Korean food after their introduction in the early seventeenth century? Why did Korean, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines develop so differently, despite a great overlap in ingredients and shared knowledge between these cultures? The reason is significantly less important than the result, and this is the same bond I found between Los Angeles, Baltimore, Hawaii, and Iowa City, and the foods described in the volume. The same processes—human movement, cultural adaptation and assimilation, and innovation—that have shaped Korean food in Korea and are in play in the US.

The volume would have benefitted, like so many others nowadays, from a better understanding of history. While I understand this is not the focus of the work, there are some rather glaring misunderstandings. For example, Ryang states that rice was the primary source of carbohydrates in premodern Korea (11). This is not the case, however, as most commoners could only afford to eat rice a few times a year; instead, they ate other grains such as millet and barley. She also questions whether one could find a “science of Korean food” (10) in past times. Indeed we can find numerous works that link various foods to maintaining health and curing disease, the most prominent being the Tongŭi pogam (Exemplar of Eastern Medicine) compiled in the mid-Chosŏn period. The chung’in were not artisans and craftsmen (12), but rather the technocrats of the Chosŏn bureaucracy and served as physicians, accountants, astronomers, jurists, and translators. Like Japan (68), butchers were looked down upon in Chosŏn Korea and considered as part of the outcast group known as the paekchŏng. There are other such examples, but I suppose these are probably minor flaws, if not completely undetectable to readers interested in modern-day Korean foods in the US.

In closing, this is an interesting book and when one considers Ryang’s main argument concerning the flow of food caused by the wars of the past century, immigration and capitalism, it is a compelling work that adds significantly to the discourse on “national” foods in contemporary society.

Michael J. Pettid, Binghamton University, Binghamton, USA

RELIGION AND PSYCHOTHERAPY IN MODERN JAPAN. Routledge Contemporary Japan Series, 54. Edited by Christopher Harding, Iwata Fumiaki, and Yoshinaga Shin’ichi. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xviii, 300 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$155.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-13-877516-9.

This edited volume offers an intriguing collection of articles that manage to address an impressive variety of topics and themes while remaining tightly focused on the volume’s core topic: the interaction between religion and psychotherapy in Japan. All of the individual articles, with the exception of an introductory historical overview provided by one of the editors Christopher Harding, are by Japanese scholars. Consequently, the volume serves not just as a useful compilation of research on this topic but also as a valuable English-language resource for Japanese scholarship on the topic.

Psychotherapy remains a marginal practice in Japan and public surveys repeatedly suggest a similar low priority is accorded to religion. Consequently, focusing on the interaction of these two topics in a Japanese context may seem a very niche endeavour. However, the influence of psychoanalysis and its associated theories reach much further than client numbers might suggest. And similarly, claims of the secular nature of Japan tend to ignore the popularity and prevalence of non-denominational practices and beliefs. As a result, the volume provides insight that is more broadly applicable than would first appear and will be of interest not just to religious scholars and psychoanalysts but also anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and potentially cross-cultural psychologists.

Harding’s introduction provides an excellent orientation to the rest of the volume, succinctly summarizing the key themes and core debates surrounding psycho-religious discourses. He also cautions about the problematic issue of a lack of information concerning the perspectives of dissatisfied customers, or clients more generally, in the volume, an especially pertinent caveat given the number of chapters that focus on the lives and theories of influential founding figures. This general introduction is then supplemented by the first two chapters, which offer a concise chronological review of the changing relationship of psychological disciplines and religion (Harding) with a variety of well-chosen historical illustrations (Hashimoto). These chapters cover a lot of ground and provide ample evidence of how the interactive dynamic between religion and psychotherapy has fluctuated between ambivalence, open antagonism, and endorsement with the adoption of religiously inspired psychoanalytical therapies (for example, Morita and Naikan).

The historical detail in the first half of the book is particularly rich and while this means the chapters occasionally veer into historical minutiae, they also provide a detailed contextual foundation which grounds the later chapters focusing on influential figures (Iwata, Ando, Tarutani), specific therapies (Kondo and Kitanishi, Shimazono, Terao), regional variations (Shiotsuki, Taniyama) and contemporary practices (Horie, Tamiyana).

While the quality of contributions is generally high there are a few chapters that are worth highlighting in particular. Shimazono Susumu’s contribution provides a short but useful overview of the “psycho-religious composite movement” but it is his case study of the religious origins of Yoshimoto Naikan therapy and the charting of its later secular alterations that makes this chapter stand out. Iwata’s chapter detailing the significant Buddhist influence on the pioneering psychoanalyst Kosawa Heisaku and his influential “Ajase complex” theory is also excellent. Iwata’s account of the rejection of this Buddhist spiritual foundation by Kosawa’s well-known students, Doi Takeo and Okonogi Keigo, also offers a microcosmic illustration of the dramatic variation in viewpoints presented throughout the volume. Finally, Horie Norichika’s chapter on contemporary views of reincarnation in Japan provides some much-needed evidence drawn from more recent trends. His analysis of online reincarnation accounts is statistically problematic but the chapter overall illustrates clearly how in the contemporary era there is a multiplicity of reincarnation narratives that variously accord and conflict with more traditional Buddhist accounts.

Half of the articles are translations of previous publications and while this does not detract from their relevance it does result in some rather jarring tonal departures. In particular, the chapter by Kondo and Kitanishi on Morita therapy comes across as an unusually hagiographic account of Morita Masatake, the founder of the practice, and includes some questionable generalizations about the unique “Asian” psychological and philosophical underpinnings of the practice. This is more understandable if one is aware that Kondo and Kitanishi are Morita practitioners offering an “insider analysis”; however, without careful reading of the introductory chapter (14) this fact is likely to be overlooked by readers. Similarly, while Terao’s chapter on Catholic Naikan practices is less indulgent, at times it also seems to cross into implicit endorsement of Catholic perspectives: “The sacrament of Communion, which goes beyond the solace of words, is an experience of being united with the real body and blood of Christ” (174).

By contrast, the final chapter on chaplaincy work in disaster areas, by the Buddhist priest Taniyama, is entirely devoid of such implicit endorsements and instead provides a careful account of how modern religious practitioners in Japan might offer non-intrusive support in the wake of disasters. The personal accounts detailed in this chapter are fascinating and demonstrate the ambiguous and marginal position of religious institutions operating in the public sphere in Japan.

Overall, this volume provides a unique resource for scholars interested in modern Japan and a clear illustration of how the Japanese response to Western-derived psychoanalytical theories was far from passive receptivity. Instead, the contributions to the volume demonstrate diverse and creative interpretations that at times have drawn heavily on the cultural heritage of Japan’s religions. Furthermore, while the volume illustrates that the role of religious institutions in caring for the mentally ill has declined throughout the twentieth century, it also indicates that traditional religious philosophies and introspective practices remain a significant component of contemporary therapy. Similarly, several chapters highlight that there is a continued interest in traditional healers and new “spiritual” groups, as well as ongoing attempts by religious practitioners to reinvigorate their pastoral roles, all of which means that, even as the influence of mainstream religion declines, the interaction between religion and therapeutic practices in Japan remains a relevant topic in the contemporary era.

Christopher M. Kavanagh, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

HOLY GHOSTS: The Christian Century in Modern Japanese Fiction. By Rebecca Suter. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015. x, 194 pp. (Figures.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-4001-3.

Rebecca Suter’s Holy Ghosts: The Christian Century in Modern Japanese Fiction revisits the interpretive trope of Jesuit missions and their influence during the Warring States Period (1567-1603) and the early Edo Period (1603-1868) as the Christian Century, first expounded by C.R. Boxer in The Christian Century in Japan, 1549-1650 (1951) and refined into an explanatory tool for anti-Christian discourse and official institutions and ideology by George Elison in Deus Destroyed: The Image of Christianity in Early Modern Japan (1973). The author repurposes the trope to examine how writers and other cultural producers of modern Japanese fiction employed specific notions of Christianity from that period as a way of registering contemporary anxiety about Japan’s unstable cultural identity. Her two chief topics are the short stories on Christianity, or Kirishitan mono, written by famous prewar writer Akutagawa Ryūnosuke between 1916 and 1926, and books, manga, video games, and so forth from the postwar period (1945-) on the largely Christian peasant uprising in 1637 and 1638 known as the Shimabara Rebellion. She employs Judith Butler’s idea of “mimetic incorporation,” as presented in Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), to explain how representation of foreigners in these works amounted to a constitution of the Japanese self through the projection of the European, Christian Others.

The book is divided into three main parts. In chapter 1, “Contexts,” Suter takes up Elison’s argument that official anti-Christian sentiments played a major role in how Edo Period authorities legitimated their rule and constructed the social order. She also locates the basis for her claims about “the Christian [C]entury in modern Japanese fiction as a metaphor for the cultural negotiations of the Meiji (1868-1912) and postwar periods” in Ideology and Christianity in Japan (2009), in which Kiri Paramore asserts the existence of continuities between Edo and Meiji Period anti-Christian discourse (26). She differentiates herself from these elite-focused approaches by drawing on Higashibaba Ikuo’s Christianity in Early Modern Japan: Kirishitan Belief and Practice (2001) to explain how Christian symbols became associated with sacredness and magic through the processes of local adaptation and syncretization. However, she neither addresses the debate about the usefulness of the trope of the Christian Century nor explains precisely what she considers her own historiographic intervention within this trope to be, focusing instead solely on the trope as an organizing principle in modern Japanese fiction.

In part 2, Suter situates Akutagawa’s Kirishitan mono and other prewar fiction within Meiji Period and Taishō Period (1912-1926) efforts to modernize. Noting the conflicting calls for Westernization and a return to Japanese values, she argues that Christianity provided the Japanese people with “an alternative model for Japanese cultural negotiations with its European Other, which helped critically appraise, and possibly transcend” the numerous binaries based on East/West (42). She employs this concept to explain how by setting his stories in the distant past, Akutagawa upset the spiritual/scientific dichotomy, portraying Christian practices as magical, and traditional Japanese medicine as rationally, scientifically oriented. She also discusses the issue of Communist apostasy, or tenkō, in the wake of government crackdowns in the 1920s and 1930s by analyzing Akutagawa’s stories on Christian martyrs and apostates. For Suter, such stories constituted one of the ways in which the seemingly disengaged Akutagawa made political commentary, “propos[ing] a creative appropriation of recantation as a radical alternative” to disengagement or direct social commitment (76).

Suter’s more ambitious inquiries come in part 3, when she discusses postwar fiction on the leader of the Shimabara Rebellion, Amakusa Shirō. Accounts of the rebellion attribute to him numerous miracles and feats of black magic, depending on whether or not authors were sympathetic to the Kirishitan. The resulting ambiguity proved a bountiful source of creative potential, as authors wrote about his divine and/or demonic resurrection. Yamada Fūtarō’s Makai tenshō (Demonic Resurrection, 1967) provides a particularly critical view of Christianity through an inversion similar to Akutagawa’s, “presenting the Kirishitan as both hypersexual and sexist” (124). Suter tracks this ambiguity through various adaptations of Makai tenshō and other works like the video game series Samurai Spirits (1993-2010), which portray Shirō with ambiguous gender and other characteristics that blur numerous dichotomies, together making him simultaneously “foreign and native, male and female, and good and evil” (137). Suter also locates the shift towards more positive evaluations of Shirō and Christianity as coming from new spiritual movements after the Aum Shinrikyō gas attacks on the Tokyo subways in 1995, citing the time-displaced, female, heroic Shirō of Amakusa 1637 (2001-2006), among others.

Suter makes a good case for the usefulness of the Christian Century as a literary and cultural analytic frame for understanding modern Japanese fiction. Her choice of topics also lets her make a rather clear chronology of the shifting concerns about cultural negotiation; the Kirishitan mono deal with issues of prewar modernization/Westernization, while the Shimabara Rebellion stories deal with the postwar myth of the ethnically and culturally homogenous Japan through the hybrid Amakusa Shirō. Yet it is almost too simple a narrative, as though there were no stories about Shimabara before the war, and there were no other subjects for stories about Christianity. Suter’s book would have been richer if she had situated these two topics within the larger context and trends of contemporary Japanese Christianity.

The book also lacks cohesion, such that the Kirishitan mono and Shimabara Rebellion stories seem entirely unrelated, and Suter’s narrative feels artificial. Her unclear historiographic intervention is similarly indicative of the book’s generally loose argumentative structure. She introduces Marilyn Ivy’s arguments from Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan (1995) in chapter 4 and in the conclusion to discuss how the ontological category of Japan can only exist in relation to the West, in this case specifically Christianity. Her work is clearly heavily influenced by Ivy’s, notably through frequent use of the concept of phantasms of premodernity, which must exist in order for modernity to constitute itself. A greater, more open theoretical reliance on Ivy might have made Holy Ghosts a more sustained engagement with issues of Japanese cultural identity with bolder conclusions about the significance of Japan’s cultural anxiety.

Nonetheless, Holy Ghosts is an interesting foray into a syncretic analysis of different mediums of culture on the popular topic of Christianity in Japan. It helps fill the massive gap in scholarship on manga and anime, and it seeks to provide some answers as to the contemporary matters of cultural hybridity with a historical legacy. Although it might fall short of all its promises, Rebecca Suter’s ambitious project is a step in the right direction.

Alexander Kaplan-Reyes, Columbia University, New York, USA

AN INTRODUCTION TO JAPANESE SOCIETY. By Yoshio Sugimoto. 4th ed. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2014. xi, 382 pp. (Figures, map, tables.) US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-62667-6.

This thorough and wide-ranging book comparatively explores the vast elements that make up Japanese society from what Sugimoto calls a “multicultural approach.” Its aim is to demonstrate how the internal variation within Japanese society can complicate and disavow cultural essentialisms such as the notion that there is a singular, “typical” Japan, and to cast off persistent stereotypes and generalizations about Japanese society. This fourth edition of the book builds on updates from the last, drawing significantly on newer statistical data as recent as mid-2014, and adds a welcome section on the relationship of civil society in Japan to protest movements following the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima in 2011.

Sugimoto takes a two-pronged multicultural approach in his study. On the one hand, he seeks to avoid the pitfalls of scholarship that insists on Japan’s particularity (being “uniquely unique” among advanced nations) such as the much-discredited Nihonjinron discourse, which would only analyze Japan through the lens of Japan-specific concepts (such as Takeo Doi’s term amae, or “dependence”). To do so, he employs a “multicultural research focus that spotlights the domestic stratification and sub-cultural differentiation of Japanese society” (36). On the other hand, so as not to merely apply the theory and concepts of Western social sciences that purport universality to the specificities of Japanese society, Sugimoto utilizes both emic concepts specific to Japanese society (such as honne/tatemae, omote/ura, soto/uchi), and etic concepts that are applicable across national and ethnic boundaries. Put another way, he explores difference and variation within Japan’s many sub-cultures within society while comparing these sub-cultures to those existing elsewhere in the world through theoretical tools that more clearly delineate what is specific to Japan and what is not. This is a compelling methodology precisely because it avoids the trap of a simple comparative study of national societies which, through the act of comparison itself, must treat each society as whole, unitary, and homogeneous.

The book moves through four major themes over the course of its ten chapters, from an overview of class and stratification in Japan, to a discussion of how occupation and education relate to this stratification, then on to stratification based on gender and ethnicity, and finally the interplay of the (political, bureaucratic, and business) establishment and its dissenters within civil society. This organization is sound and reads smoothly, even when various topics of discussion intersect in ways that do not mirror the linearity of the chapter layout.

In chapter 2, the conventional theory that Japanese society is classless and egalitarian gets contradicted by the reality of class divisions as well as the widespread acknowledgement that the predominant middle class has collapsed (if it ever existed in the first place!) and that a kakusa shakai (disparity society) has emerged. Competing methodologies for classifying classes and strata—the Marxian tradition that groups people together based on their location in the organization of economic production versus the non-Marxian (often Weberian) methodologies that classify people according to categories of income, power, and prestige—has led to differing models of classification among researchers in Japan, but Sugimoto navigates the reader through the findings of both, with the unambiguous conclusion that whatever the method employed, “a comprehensive examination of Japanese society can neither ignore nor avoid an analysis of class and stratification and the inequality and disparity of Japan’s distribution of social rewards” (50). The following chapters 3 through 7 deal with the so-called “agents of stratification” that determine an individual’s access to societal resources, such as geography, work, education, gender, and ethnicity, and the institutionalized ways that inequality is reproduced. Factors such as the structural set-up of major corporations and their hierarchical chain of subsidiaries and subcontractors in their keiretsu networks, or the patriarchal and discriminatory practices embedded into the structure of the koseki family registry, are but a few sites where Japan’s institutions reproduce this social inequality.

Sugimoto’s major achievement throughout the book is how he consistently demonstrates the internal variation among the discrete categories, a task he accomplishes through extensive research driven by statistical findings (and what appears to be encyclopedic knowledge), coupled with concise analysis and conclusions. I also found convincing the difficult questions he raises about the nature of “Japaneseness” and the multiple ways it is conceived (nationality, genetics, language competence, etc.) (201), highlighting the arbitrariness with which “Japaneseness” is socially constructed. This discussion may have benefitted from a theorization of race itself and its difference from ethnicity in the context of Japan and its colonial past. Later in the text, Sugimoto’s skepticism towards Cool Japan and its potential to resuscitate monolithic images of Japan reminiscent of Nihonjinron discourse provides an important cautionary note.

An Introduction to Japanese Society is a meticulously organized and thorough analysis of Japanese society that should be of interest to scholars and students of Japan from diverse fields, not simply the social sciences. Although the chapters may be read independently, topics such as the nuclear crisis at Fukushima, and the conditions that enabled it, from chapter 10, greatly benefit from the analysis of chapter 8, in which concepts such as amakudari and other forms of collusion between the national bureaucracy and the private sector are covered. This tendency to build on knowledge from earlier chapters yields value in a cover-to-cover read as well.

Within the past several decades, many publications have sought to address Japan’s multicultural and multiethnic nature, so much so that multicultural studies may be considered a genre within Japanese studies scholarship. Examples include Michael Weiner’s Japan’s Minorities: The Illusion of Homogeneity (1997), Eiji Oguma’s A Genealogy of Japanese Self-Images (2002), Harumi Befu’s Hegemony of Homogeneity: An Anthropological Analysis of Nihonjinron (2001), and Mark Hudson’s Multicultural Japan: Palaeolithic to Postmodern (2001). Yet, while Sugimoto may indeed be a founding member of the field, this text both fits squarely within it and is broad enough to exceed it.

Jeffrey DuBois, College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, St. Joseph, USA

GRASSROOTS FASCISM: The War Experience of the Japanese People. Weatherhead Books on Asia. By Yoshimi Yoshiaki; translated and annotated by Ethan Mark. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. vi, 347 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16568-6.

In Yoshimi Yoshiaki’s Grassroots Fascism: The War Experience of the Japanese People, Japanese soldiers on the battlefields of the Second World War are soaked, stinking, and covered in rashes. Draped in necklaces made of the shriveled pinky fingers of their fallen comrades, they are witnesses to—and participants in—looting, rape, and mass killings of civilians. Their compatriots on the Japanese mainland and dispersed throughout the peripheries of the Japanese empire are absorbed as much in matters of inflation and taxes, rice prices, rations, and draft notices as they are in the rhetoric of patriotism. The strength of Grassroots Fascism is that through Yoshimi’s assiduous collection and transcription of letters, diary entries, memoirs, and opinion polls, we readers are privy to these everyday experiences of Japan at war—the ambivalence, resentment, regret, horror, and apathy—related directly by the common people themselves.

Despite the presence of the word “fascism” in the work’s title, Yoshimi’s study does not attempt to join the scholarly debate about whether or not Japan’s political extremism qualifies as fascism. Neither does Yoshimi seek the roots of Japan’s fanatic popular nationalism in administrative policies, propaganda campaigns, and social structures. Rather, in the vein of the 1960s “people’s history” movement in which Yoshimi himself came of age as a scholar, Grassroots Fascism attempts to provide a history of the Second World War that recognizes the individual subjectivity of ordinary people, to investigate how the Japanese people were simultaneously the victims of radical imperial consciousness and the aggressors perpetuating it. Whereas other histories of militarist Japan may oversimplify the complacency of the Japanese public in swallowing the myths of a holy war waged for the autonomy of the Japanese empire, Yoshimi presents a history that recognizes “the people” as engaged both in the demands of their immediate environment and in the transcendental discourse of honour and sacrifice.

The work’s four chapters sketch the chronological rise and fall of “grassroots fascism” by tracing the tendency of men and women across the Japanese empire to filter their daily work and struggles through the narrative of a righteous war. Chapter 1 presents the voices of soldiers and townspeople during the early stages of the Asia-Pacific War: individuals who increasingly support Japan’s mission in Asia with the hope that the fighting will end quickly. Chapter 2 demonstrates that with Japan’s victories across the Pacific and, eventually, at Pearl Harbor, rising popular support of the war was beginning to take root not only on the Japanese home front but also throughout its growing empire. This chapter in particular shines in its discussion of the spiritual incorporation of members of the Japanese imperial populace often glossed over in scholarship of World War II Japan, such as the Uilta of Karafuto, the Chamorro of Guam, and Korean volunteer soldiers. In chapter 3, the reader is confronted by the horrors and confusion of the battlefield as the imperial military’s withdrawals begin to outnumber its successes, and chapter 4 concludes that despite a trend toward self-preservation and apathy as the promise of a Japanese victory fades, the “fighting spirit” of the populace does not founder until the emperor’s radio announcement of surrender; indeed, the “imperial consciousness” that drove popular support for the war lives on even after defeat.

By introducing the circumstances and musings of soldiers, farmers, teachers, fujinkai volunteers, merchants, and mothers, Grassroots Fascism gives credit to individual feelings and to how these feelings are sorted out on paper. Although translator Ethan Mark generously describes Yoshimi’s presentation of these various personal accounts as “a remarkable array of popular voices deftly assembled” (7), the experience of reading Grassroots Fascism feels more like a visit to a labyrinthine museum exhibition, where we readers press “play” at random in an oral history archive listening booth. Yoshimi provides no methodological explanation for his selection of the entries included, and he makes little effort to connect them thematically. Also almost entirely absent is any critical questioning of the sources in terms of the speakers’ intent, choice of medium for expression, or the individuals’ motivation for putting pen to paper in what was undoubtedly a climate of hyper-surveillance. And yet, even if the voices in Grassroots Fascism are too often disembodied, the effect does surround the reader with the murmurs of an empire at war, reiterating that the individual experience of war is disjointed and disorienting. Readers accustomed to the typical format of contemporary English-language scholarship may also be frustrated by the absence of an overall theoretical argument and of explicit definitions by the author of the key terms he employs (such as what he means by “fascism” and “the people”). Helpfully, the translator’s introduction and extensive notes situate the work by providing details of Yoshimi’s academic influences and methodological foundations.

Originally published in Japanese in 1987, Grassroots Fascism spoke to a readership confronting the failure of the Japanese state to acknowledge war responsibility at the fortieth anniversary of defeat (as West Germany’s president and former chancellor had famously done). The release of its English translation, which coincides with the seventieth anniversary of surrender, will reach a wider audience yet engaged in matters of the legacy of the war. Yoshimi’s study demonstrates that despite what Japanese government officials may have said (or left unsaid) over the past seven decades regarding responsibility for wartime atrocities, the experience of the war on the individual level was a complex jumble of anxiety, grief, and acknowledgement of brutality. In the musings and representations preserved in Grassroots Fascism, we see that non-elite individuals who supported and participated in the war were not simply succumbing blindly to propaganda. Rather, they were motivated by economic realities and the desire for personal advancement, negotiated amid rhetoric of the holy mission of the divinely favoured Japanese race.

A. Carly Buxton, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA

JAPAN’S INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES POLICY: Law, Diplomacy and Politics Governing Resource Security. Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies Series. By Roger D. Smith. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xvii, 216 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-13-877523-7.

It is clear from policies on rice imports and subsidies for farmers that the Japanese government takes the issue of food security very seriously, and is not content to rely only on international trade to meet its food needs. This book explains why, and how concerns about dependence on imports of strategic raw materials have played out in foreign policy, especially since World War II.

Detailed historical research puts into perspective the escalation in territorial conflicts with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) over the Senkaku (Daoyutai) Islands lying between Okinawa and Taiwan. Chinese historians such as Jane Lovell and Yangwen Zheng have explained how the “century of humiliation” following the Opium Wars inflicted by Japan and Western powers on China is one of the factors fuelling contemporary Chinese belligerence over maritime borders. This book then posits historical background for the Japanese side. Smith shows how access to fisheries resources outside Japan’s territorial waters has been a key strategy for food security since the colonial era, through the occupation period when Japan needed to replace the food production that had come from its empire, and which was then whittled away through the implementation of the United Nations Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) enclosing large areas of what had been international waters as national exclusive economic zones in the 1970s and 1980s. Officials have long referred to Japan as a “sea people” or “maritime nation” and been passionate in defense of maritime access and aghast when restrictions have been imposed. These historical factors, combined with the potential energy resources of the area, and the domestic political capital to be gained by both sides in fanning conflict between them, help explain the lengths to which Japan has gone in asserting ownership of these uninhabited rocky outcrops in the sea.

Smith categorizes ocean governance as being made up of: 1) the international legal and political framework for access to maritime areas; 2) national politics and states pushing their own interests; and 3) international diplomacy and conflict over maritime territory under the aegis of international law. The book focuses on Japanese diplomacy relating to codification of international law pertaining to the oceans, and the interplay of foreign policy and domestic politics in shaping Japan’s involvement in various conflicts over a 60-year period from World War II to the present. Some of the important events in addition to the implementation of the UNCLOS covered include the discovery of new petroleum sources and the development of domestic environmental laws.

The main theoretical contribution of the book is on the nature of Japanese foreign policy. Smith weighs into the debate about what kind of foreign policy Japan has, given its postwar lack of international political influence commensurate with its economic power. “Comprehensive security” is the framework used to explain Japanese international fisheries policy, diplomacy, and conflicts arising when the actions of other countries threaten Japan’s access to marine resources. Comprehensive security is described as a unique Japanese defense strategy, involving non-military factors in strategic calculations.

Rather than siding with political commentators who find, along the lines of Karel van Wolferen’s argument, that Japan has no coherent foreign policy direction beyond following the US and making platitudes about peace and prosperity, Smith finds that Japan has had a discernible international oceans policy that it has pursued in an incremental and subtle manner. Although Japan has not taken an overt leadership role for the most part, it has influenced the international system governing marine resources and achieved important goals. A related finding is that policy agendas have been set by self-driven sectoral groupings, in this case the fishing industry in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). In this sense the book complements the scholarship of Aurelia George Mulgan on the role of the MAFF in Japanese politics, with Mulgan’s work focusing on agriculture and Smith’s work on fisheries.

Smith argues that Japan’s policy to secure its food supply has involved both autarky and promoting the international trade in food. Japanese demand for seafood exceeds the productive capacity of its national waters. In the immediate postwar years more fish was a basic need, as the country faced famine. Additional sources of animal protein were sought through the occupying forces, allowing Japanese fishing fleets to once more move out from Japanese waters. This was the era of industrial whaling for national nutritional needs. By the 1970s, seafood consumption had gone beyond filling a basic nutritional need as the population became wealthy, and food culture preferences meant the demand for seafood escalated, and diversified into luxury foods such as sashimi, supplied by Japanese fishing vessels operating around the world. At the same time, however, the progress of the UNCLOS meant the Japanese fleet was no longer to freely access many international fishing grounds. As a response Japanese international fisheries policy was to secure access through creating joint ventures in coastal states, and to espouse food security as a keystone of its multilateral diplomacy through United Nations agencies.

Japan’s International Fisheries Policy is a useful book for scholars and students of Japan’s foreign policy, as well as of its domestic politics relating to food and other marine resources over the decades since World War II. It is also a good reference work for people interested in international ocean governance, where Japan is a key player, as a fishing state, as a major supporter of multilateral measures to promote food security through fisheries, and as a big bilateral aid donor for fisheries in developing countries.

Kate Barclay, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia

BAD WATER: Nature, Pollution, and Politics in Japan, 1870-1950. Asia-Pacific; Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University. By Robert Stolz. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2014. xi, 269 pp. (Table, figures.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5699-8.

The environmental history of Japan has flourished in recent years with a blossoming of strong English-language scholarship from established figures (like Brett Walker) and a younger generation of newcomers to the field (including the author of this volume). Despite all the critical environmental topics and themes as of yet untouched by historians, a great deal of this research has clustered around a relatively limited range of subjects, notably industrial pollution incidents, the idea of nature in Japanese thought, and environmental activism. Robert Stolz’s Bad Water: Nature, Pollution, and Politics in Japan, 1870-1950 is part of this scholarly pile-up on turf already well-trod in Japanese environmental history. Happily, Stolz brings to his study fresh and important perspectives on familiar events, intellectual trends, and individuals as well as introducing heretofore little-known (but significant) thinkers and narratives to the Western scholarship.

At its core, Bad Water is a critical reassessment of the thought and intellectual influence of Tanaka Shōzō (1841-1913), the Meiji politician, journalist, and activist celebrated (and even lionized) in the historiography as Japan’s first conservationist, a principled crusader against an authoritarian state and irresponsible corporations, and an agrarian conscience in a nation (and a landscape) being transformed by rapid industrialization. Tanaka, who was elected to the Diet in Japan’s first general election of 1890, had all the makings of a pioneering and heroic environmentalist: horrified by the widespread devastation caused to farmland and villages by the toxic effluvia washed downstream from the Ashio Copper Mine in his native Tochigi Prefecture, Tanaka was relentless in his efforts to stir public opinion and spur government action. Although he and his fellow protesters were able to win some redress from the corporate owners of the mine and incremental policy concessions from Tokyo, Tanaka eventually despaired of a political solution, resigning his seat in the Diet, withdrawing to live in Yanaka (one of the villages hardest hit by the Ashio pollution), and devoting himself to reflection and writing.

Although often cast as a backward-looking champion of the peasant soul of a Japan already lost to capitalism, industry, and the pursuit of empire, Tanaka emerges in Stolz’s book as a more creative, progressive, and influential thinker. Through a careful and compelling re-reading of Tanaka’s career and writings, Stolz reveals Tanaka as a complicated figure, transformed by the horrors of industrial pollution from an archetypal Meiji liberal (who cherished the abstract vision of an autonomous subject divorced from his/her surroundings) into an impassioned spokesman for a new environmental politics. In what Stolz describes as his “environmental turn,” Tanaka came to recognize the folly of humans’ (and the modern state’s) attempts to control or contain nature; instead, he took as his environmental and social ideal the notion of “flow” (nagare), a liberated and healthy condition for rivers and people alike. Thus, in his mature writings Tanaka not only articulated a profound critique of Meiji political philosophy and the inherent ecological contradictions of capitalism but also crafted a powerful environmental vision of what he called “true civilization.”

Stolz’s book is not simply an intellectual biography of Tanaka, however, as he also explores at length the lives and work of three other Japanese environmental thinkers: Matsumoto Eiko, a radical journalist whose ethnographic work on pollution informed Tanaka’s thought; Ishikawa Sanshirō, an eccentric anarchist and nudist influenced by Tanaka, who proposed an ecological alternative to industrial modernity based on the rhizome; and Kurosawa Torizō, who founded Snow Brand (still one of Japan’s largest milk and cheese companies) and aimed to create a Danish-style community of environmentally sustainable dairy farms in Hokkaidō. In these four unusual individuals, Stolz reveals four potential paths for progressive environmental activists under prewar Japanese authoritarianism: escape (as Matsumoto emigrated to California not long after publishing her work on Ashio), engagement (modelled by Tanaka through his life of protest, community organization, and advocacy), withdrawal (Ishikawa sought self-sufficiency and privacy on a small farm west of Tokyo), and utopianism (in Kurosawa’s quest for a socialist dairy paradise in Japan’s farthest hinterlands). As these cases demonstrate, the options for forward-thinking environmentalists in the highly circumscribed political landscape and inalterably capitalist socio-economic order of imperial Japan were extremely limited.

For all the strengths of Bad Water, the volume is not without its flaws. Frustratingly, especially for a rigorous intellectual historian, Stolz does not define or clearly differentiate the English terms nature, environment, or ecology, nor does he unpack the meanings of ten, a Japanese word he seemingly interchangeably translates as “heaven” and “nature.” At times, Stolz’s narrative reads like a quaint search for “resistance” in Japan before and immediately after World War II, a longstanding project of left-leaning historians that today seems dated and unnecessary. And Stolz’s conclusion, which is the only part of the book too heavy on jargon, is painfully dark, indeed almost nihilistic in its hopelessness for those of us who perforce live in capitalist societies and retain a shred or two of faith in liberal subjectivity. In this regard, Stolz participates in what now seems like a curious “race to the bottom” among historians of the Japanese environment, as scholars like Brett Walker paint Japan’s ecological past, present, and future with almost unremitting bleakness.

Although the conclusion of Bad Water almost assures that readers will finish the book with an anguished frown on their faces, Stolz’s contributions to the environmental and intellectual histories of modern Japan—from his timely reinterpretation of Tanaka Shōzō to his fascinating story of Snow Brand’s trajectory from Danish inspiration to fascist mobilization to recent tainted food scandals—are undeniably substantial.

William M. Tsutsui, Hendrix College, Conway, USA

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BEYOND THE METROPOLIS: Second Cities and Modern Life in Interwar Japan. Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. By Louise Young. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. xiii, 307 pp. (Maps.) US$49.95, cloth . ISBN 978-0-520-27520-1.

In Beyond the Metropolis, Louise Young strives to fill a gap in the scholarship on Japanese modernity, a story, she asserts, that historians have “overwhelmingly told … from the vantage point of Tokyo” (6). Locating her work “at the interstices of social and cultural history” (12), Young focuses her attention on “tracking the discourse on the modern” (7) in four prefectural capitals: Okayama, Niigata, Kanazawa, and Sapporo. She defines those cities in tightly circumscribed terms, viewing each first “as a constellation of institutions” and second “as a set of ideas—a social imaginary” (11). Her broader goal for the work, she states, is to “illuminate … the lived interdisciplinarity of social life” (12) as reflected in these modernizing processes. In a work teeming with urban portraits, sketches of individuals’ life courses, capsule discussions of knotty terms such as kokyō/furusato and ura Nihon, and broad treatments of the ongoing construction of railways, Meiji and Taisho economic evolutions, and twentieth-century inventions of tradition, however, images of lived reality in each of her cities gain and lose resolution page to page.

Young organizes her study in three parts. In the first, “Contexts,” she argues that the economic “boom” brought to Japan by the First World War “ushered in a new age of the city” (6) as wartime affluence “spurred municipalities to expand the range of urban amenities and develop basic infrastructure to accommodate the demands of a surging population and burgeoning local industry” (21). The war years promoted urban growth, but they also brought new social forces: the presence of the narikin, the newly rich who profited from wartime production (23–27), and the threat of the urban crowd that rose to prominence with the 1918 Rice Riots (27–32).

The second part, “Geo-power and Urban-centrism,” begins with an exploration of “a new cultural geography that … defined Japan in terms of Tokyo and its Others” (39). This emphasis on Tokyo, as elsewhere in the work, threatens to derail her central argument. Here, however, after demonstrating through the biographies of prominent intellectuals that “ascension to Tokyo” (jōkyō) for higher education not only “deprived provincial cities of local talent” but also prompted the students to adopt the capital as foundation for a new identity, she offers close readings to argue that “their provincial origins left conspicuous traces in their literary production,” resulting in figures who “located themselves as men of the metropolis, but also in relation to an earlier, provincial identity” (53). Young continues mediating the relationships between the metropolis and these provincial cities by careful analysis of local institutions, particularly schools and the press. While she concludes that “the newspaper provided a critical institutional foundation for local cultural movements” (69), she suggests also that the independence of local culture remained limited, as the local press largely “served as conduits for the import of new ideas and practices from abroad” (70), and an “assertive localism” expressed by provincial literary societies was in fact rooted in “movements that had been heavily influenced by Tokyo writers” (78).

This section’s second chapter reverses the center-Other equation, proposing that in “a time of transformation in the urban-rural relationship,” regional cities assumed a new centrality, “breaking down … old patterns of self-sufficiency and obstacles to demographic mobility … and replacing them with a new dependency on the urban market” (83). Young illustrates these trends through clearly formulated and detailed discussions of the economic and spatial development of her cities: the experience of Okayama, for example, demonstrates the destabilizing effects of railroads on existing patterns of commerce (92–95), while the suburbanization of Sapporo’s surrounding villages offered a “performative fix” against rigid rural–urban dichotomies (135).

The book’s final section, “Modern Times and the City Idea,” first relies on locally produced histories to establish how “urban elites,” perceiving “a crisis of socialization for municipal governments,” responded by “stretch[ing] the meaning of the city, installing [sic] the belief that the rising urban centers … represented natural communities that drew on a shared cultural heritage” (142). This line of argument takes Young to the edges of profound and highly contested dynamics in the historiography of twentieth-century Japan, including activities of local history movements (145–54), the roles of folklorists in reenvisioning the collective past (166, 171), and regionalism as itself an “invented tradition” (143) constructed “within a national frame” (144).

In the book’s final chapter, “The Cult of the New,” Young again leaves the local to focus on “broader intellectual trends that oriented people toward the future” (188). These cultural discourses transcended the local even as they attempted to control, reform, and contain it, and much of what Young cites are nationalist and centralist: “a new mania for government planning,” as well as “a boom in popular science and science fiction … in the service of nationalism,” and “a new faith in the efficacy of measurement and prediction, statistics, and prognostication … in the social sciences, management ideology, and government policy” (188).

Her late emphasis on centralizing discourses highlights two issues that run through the book as a whole. The first is a matter for social history: the definition of the actors who can be linked directly to the dynamics she cites. From the narikin (23) to the “urban crowd” (27), “urban elites” (142) to “prominent public intellectuals” (167), “city leaders” (142), an “urban-based middle class of professionals, technocrats, and managers” (189), and even “scholars and artists” (189), the identification shifts and wavers. The second is cultural, addressing the social imaginary of these times and places. The relentless pull toward the centre reflected throughout Young’s text serves as a constant reminder of the backdrop to all she dramatizes: the steady convergence of nationalist and militarist factions and eventual integration of all social institutions into the centralized state. From the viewpoint of the postwar era, Japan’s interwar modernity must be treated as complicit in those centralizing processes and, local boosters aside, one wonders how that centralization registered with local residents. That the topic is only briefly touched on in the epilogue to Young’s otherwise illuminating work represents a missed opportunity as we try to refine our view of Japan’s modernization.

Peter Siegenthaler, Texas State University, San Marcos, USA

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KINDAI NIHON NO KAKUSHINRON TO AJIA SHUGI: Kita Ikki, Ōkawa Shūmei, Mitsukawa Kametarō ra no Shisō to Kōdō 近代日本の革新論とアジア主義: 北一輝,大川周明,満川亀太郎らの思想と行動. By Christopher W.A. Szpilman (Kurisutofā W.A. Supiruman cho). Tokyo: Ashi Shobō 芦書房, 2014. 351 pp. ISBN 978-4-7556-1274-9.

This book is without a doubt a tour de force for Chris Szpilman, a scholar known for his extensive research into Japanese right-wing kakushin (renovationist) intellectuals of the prewar period, in particular that of the kokkashugi (statist) nationalists such as Kita I’kki and Mitsukawa Kametarō. After years of research, in addition to the extensive use of the personal papers of Mitsukawa which he had a prominent role in uncovering, Szpilman has completed a quality tome that examines the trio—with Ōkawa Shūmei completing the threesome—who formed the infamous kokkashugi (statist) organization Yūzonsha in August 1, 1919. However, the book does not limit its examination to the three; there are additional chapters that provide further insight into the relatively obscure kokusuishugisha (ultranationalist; the extreme form of kokkashugi) Kanokogi Kazunobu, as well as his well-known counterpart, Prime Minister Hiranuma Kiichirō. Wrapping up his examination of the five prominent Japanese kokkashugi/kokusuishugi actors of their time, is a final chapter that adroitly compares pan-Slavism in both Poland and Russia to that of Japan’s ajiashugi (Asianism).

While there is an abundance of literature on Ōkawa, Kita, and Hiranuma, especially in terms of Japanese language sources, there is relatively scant research on Mitsukawa and Kanokogi. Of the two, Szpilman’s detailed treatment of Mitsukawa in particular shines through as he not only makes generous use of the Mitsukawa papers, but also shows his deep understanding of the intellectual thought of the individual who was also the mastermind who brought together Ōkawa and Kita in his quest of pursuing a greater thrust for the “statist” movement in Japan. His grasp of the subject matter clearly manifests itself and is helped by his earlier experiences as co-editor to not only the diaries of Mitsukawa (Ronsōsha, 2010), but also his personal papers (Ronsōsha, 2012) which are now accessible to the public at the Kensei Office of the National Diet Library in Tokyo. However, this book is much more than a biography, as Szpilman’s strength is clearly evident in his meticulous attention to detail, which successfully brings out the innermost intellectual thoughts of his subjects while also delving deep into the various actions that they took in their mission to restructure and reform Japan.

Although an excellent book in many aspects, as with any work, it does have a few minor weaknesses. The first lies with the title as it gives the impression that the book is a whole lot more encompassing than it actually is. If kakushinron (renovationist theory) and ajiashugi (Asianism) are to be thoroughly covered, as the main title suggests, the book needs to expand both its breadth and scope to incorporate relevant individuals in both the Japanese military (active members, unlike Kakonogi who had resigned from the Imperial Japanese Navy) as well as in the bureaucracy. As a matter of fact, such comparisons regarding differences and similarities with the Yūzonsha trio in addition to Kanokogi to their counterparts acting within government—with Hiranuma being the notable exception—would have added a new dimension to our existing understanding of the nature of Japanese Asianism during this period; alas this was not the original intent of the author. Furthermore, as a book that is formed from an anthology of previously published articles, a sense of uniformity and unity is lacking between the chapters. In particular, his final chapter that compares pan-Slavism to Japan’s Asianism, while an important contribution, feels out of place and leads to the impression that it is more of an appendix (there is actually an appendix immediately after the first chapter which also appears awkward). With more strenuous editing in linking and better integrating the various chapters together, this book would have surely attained a much more polished quality. Unfortunately, in its current state, even though the book is written by a single author, it conveys the impression that it is actually a multiple-authored compiled volume.

Finally, one cannot overlook the fact that the overall balance of the book is greatly skewed, with Mitsukawa by far receiving the most attention within the book at nearly 100 pages of text. On the other hand, the other individuals who are part of the book receive on average a mere twenty pages or so. The reason for this is obvious since this is where the author’s heart truly lies; Szpilman’s primary research interest is in Mitsukawa, and the other actors are introduced as a way to provide a basis of comparison in order to bring about contrast to the character, thought, and actions of Mitsukawa. There is no fault in this approach per se, but perhaps more initial strategy was warranted in structuring the book in order to improve its balance. But of course, none of these are serious flaws, and they do not in any way detract from the high quality of Szpilman’s research. Recognition is also due to the contribution of this work to the existing body of scholarship, particularly in its discussion of Mitsukawa.

In sum, contained within these pages is a solid body of research that sheds much more light to our understanding of prewar Japanese right-wing nationalist actors who played a prominent role outside of government (excluding Hiranuma) in their ultimately futile attempt to alter the shape and course of Japan. Packed with a wealth of information, this book comes in at a hefty 351 pages. But this should not deter any potential reader as the book is well written and thus is very readable. Finally, one should also not forget the present-day relevance of this book as Japan readdresses the Pacific War during the 70th anniversary of the conclusion of the war. The failure and responsibility of Japan’s kokkashugi/kosuishugi intellectuals should not be forgotten. In midst of Japan’s current debate about normalizing its stance over issues relating to national security, what Szpilman’s groundbreaking work makes readily apparent is that Japan’s prewar intellectual roots have truly been severed from its past.

Tosh Minohara, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan

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ON THE MARGINS OF EMPIRE: Buraku and Korean Identity in Prewar and Wartime Japan. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 349. By Jeffrey Paul Bayliss. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2013. xii, 437 pp. (Tables.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-06668-7.

This book examines the identity formation of the Buraku and Korean communities in Japan from the Meiji era to the end of World War Two. It compares the experiences of these groups at the social and political margins of the Japanese empire and their responses to the condition of marginalization at different levels. It argues that while divergent historical origins and political contexts shaped their struggles in different ways, the Burakumin and Koreans, the largest minority groups in Japan, were both victims of Japanese imperialism and modernity. Their political and social struggles in the empire not only mirrored each other but also intertwined through inter-ethnic cooperation and conflict.

The bulk of the book is composed of seven chapters, organized chronologically and thematically. Chapter 1 examines how images of Burakumin and Koreans were respectively marginalized in the Meiji era. While in both cases social and ideological systems in the Tokugawa era played a role, the categorization of these two groups as inferior was a product of Japanese imperialism in the modern era. Chapter 2 probes the similar positions of Buraku bourgeois and Korean students in Japan, the elites of the two groups at the beginning of the twentieth century, when Japanese nationalism swelled following the Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War. Both considered themselves to be the natural leaders of their communities, fighting against discrimination from mainstream Japanese society on the one hand, and partially applying such discrimination to the lower classes of their own communities on the other. Chapters 3 and 4 discuss the dynamics between the inclusive ideologies and policies of assimilation (dōka) and conciliation (yūwa) and how different members of these two communities responded in different ways in the interwar period, a flourishing time for democratic and liberalist movements in the Japanese empire. Buraku and Korean leaders believed that capitalist exploitation was at the root of all discrimination, and therefore sought an ultimate solution through inter-ethnic collaboration with the Japanese working class. On the other hand, the less educated members in both communities stuck to their ethnic identity for self-empowerment, in order to combat the ubiquitous racism they experienced in their daily lives. The dynamics between the two communities and the discourse of inclusion in the imperial state in the era of total war are examined in chapters 5 and 6. In order to maximize all possible resources for war, the empire promised equal treatment to both communities under the principle of impartiality and equal favour (isshi dōjin); however, in reality, they were treated with mistrust in almost all aspects. As in the interwar period, Buraku or Korean communities responded to the discourse of inclusion uniformly. Burakumin were generally more responsive to the state’s war mobilization efforts; however, in both communities the elites’ passionate support of the war was contrasted by the indifference of the masses. Chapter 7, the final chapter, reveals the complicated relationship between the two communities, an important but insufficiently studied topic in existing literature. Both Buraku-Korean collaborations and their discrimination against each other, as Bayliss convincingly argues, should be understood in the context of Japanese imperialism and the logic of Japanese racism.

Based on thorough examinations of primary sources such as journals, newspapers, and interview records, and scholarly works mainly in Japanese and English, this book enhances our understanding of racial struggles in the Japanese empire in different ways. Joining the growing literature on racial identity in the Japanese empire in recent years, this book makes an important contribution to the deconstruction of the myth of Japan as mono-ethnic nation and empire. It illustrates the ever-changing and at times contradictory racial policies and ideologies of the state toward minority groups, and also brings nuance to our understanding of the two communities’ layers of responses to the state.

Perhaps the most important contribution of the book is the approach of examining the experiences of Burakumin and Koreans in Japan together. This innovative perspective allows us to probe racial identity formation in the Japanese empire beyond the boundaries of individual ethnic groups and the categories of colonial subjects and ethnic minorities. It not only brings scholarly studies on these two types of racism into the conversation but also demonstrates how the racial struggles of the two communities converged: their ethnic identities were both products of Japanese imperialism and objects of the state’s policies of racial inclusion, and they also at times replicated the logic of Japanese racism for self-empowerment by differentiating themselves from each other.

Such a path-breaking approach also inspires readers to ask new questions. To what extent are the historical experiences of Burakumin and Koreans in Japan separable and to what extent are they not? How will our understanding of the Japanese empire be changed by comparing and connecting the experiences of Burakumin and Koreans? Can the experiences of other minority groups, such as Okinawans and Ainus, be included in the comparison? This is a well-researched book, with eye-opening comparisons and rich details. It brings the scholarly inquiry of identity formation and racial relations in the Japanese empire to a new level. It will be welcomed by historians of the Japanese empire and scholars who are interested in the issue of ethnic minorities in modern Japan.

Sidney Xu Lu, Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA

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THE REAL MODERN: Literary Modernism and the Crisis of Representation in Colonial Korea. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 357. By Christopher P. Hanscom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2013. ix, 235 pp. US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-07326-5.

It was not until the late 1990s or early 2000s that the obstinate dichotomy that saw Korean modernization during the colonial era only in terms of nationalism/anti-nationalism began to break up. According to this dichotomy Korean modernity and its culture could be understood and evaluated only from the perspective of resistance—rather, direct resistance—to Japanese imperialism. Simply put, all the lives and cultural products of colonial Korea had value only insofar as they directly and effectively manifested such resistance. These superficial binaries—of nation vs. anti-nation, resistance vs. collaboration, and anti-Japan vs. pro-Japan—had constituted the Korean imagining of the colonial period.

Our understanding of Korean literature of this period has also been based upon a binary outlook, with scholars viewing Korean colonial literature through such schemata as realism vs. modernism, content vs. form, the real vs. the aesthetic, etc., with literary history narrated on the assumption of the former’s superiority over the latter. Such an approach also began to collapse only in the late 1990s.

Freed from such binary schemata and a methodology that had worked so well, scholars were then faced with two salient characteristics of modernity itself: contradiction and irony. Since the 2000s, this irony has resulted in ample achievements in the study of colonial Korean literature. Korean scholars were better able to understand the complexity and multi-layered character of the colonial period, which in turn allowed them to reflect more deeply on the idea of modernity itself.

Christopher Hanscom’s book, The Real Modern: Literary Modernism and the Crisis of Representation in Colonial Korea, reflects such a tendency in Korean studies. What Hanscom first suggests from his meticulous, elaborate reading of the works of Pak T’aewŏn, Kim Yujong, and Yi T’aejun, representative authors of Korean modernist fiction, is a strong and valid anti-thesis to the schema of realism vs. modernism and the assumption of the former’s superiority over the latter. According to Hanscom, these authors reveal “the distrust of a positive basis for both perceiving and representing the ‘real’ of a predetermining actuality” (15). This distrust makes their works “more real than real” as a sort of “hyperrealism” (15). He defines the literary-historical situation of colonial Korea in the 1930s as a time “when the transparency of language itself, the unproblematic correlation of signifier and reference that arguably compromised the basis of both realist and formalist aesthetic practices, came into question” (80). By doing so, he lifts the stigma placed on these authors, such as “escape from the real” and “art-for-art’s sake,” and redefines their literary works and practices as “a response to the loss of faith in language as a ‘crisis of representation’ prevalent in Seoul literary circles in the 1930s” (13).

Above all, Hanscom attempts to move beyond the long-held dichotomy of universality vs. particularity regarding the colonial era by reading their modernist works as recognition of the crisis of representation and a reflection on the impossibility of linguistic communication in the 1930s. If we follow this dichotomy, we cannot but choose between universality and particularity. If we understand colonial thought and culture only in terms of universality, it may lead to our approval of European hegemony and collaboration with imperialism. On the other hand, if we insist on the so-called colonial particularity, it may mean ignoring the universality of world history, ending with either self-contempt or narcissism through the privileging a local particularity. This conundrum often found in the study of colonial modernity is a major problem that no scholar of colonialism can escape. As Hanscom clarifies, the first aim of this book is “to rethink Korean literary history in relation to a redefinition of modernism outside the Eurocentric/native binary” (17). In other words, Hanscom attempts in his book “to retain an attentiveness to the literary and historical context while also reaching beyond a model of ‘European diffusionism’ that understands non-Western cultural products as either radically different from or as derivative of the West” (17). In my view, this is one of the most significant achievements of his work. His theoretical approach is very effective in abolishing the old-fashioned, comparative perspective which continues to frame the study of colonial as well as contemporary literature. Ultimately, Hanscom’s approach will lead us to acquire a transnational perspective from which we can newly understand world history and culture, replacing the old perspectives of nationalism as well as its extension, internationalism.

Chul Kim, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea

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JAPANESE NEW YORK: Migrant Artists and Self-reinvention on the World Stage. By Olga Kanzaki Sooudi. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. ix, 253 pp. US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3942-0.

New York City is to aspiring members of Japan’s creative class today what Paris was to foreign artists in the interwar years: a place where dreams of recognition and success can come true. At any given time among the estimated 100,000 Japanese staying legally or otherwise in New York, there is a sizeable minority that left Japan in order to re-invent themselves, hoping to make it as painters, musicians, installation artists, fashion designers, or as practitioners of similar professions that offer opportunities for self-realization.

But just as Ernest Hemmingway and Gertrude Stein chose Paris and not Lyons, so Japan’s present-day émigrés head for New York and not Los Angeles or San Francisco. For creative Japanese, New York has taken on magic qualities associated with no other urban centre in the world. Among the scores of works to be found on New York City in bookstores in Japan today, several contain the word mahō (magic) in their titles. To Japanese fans of New York, the city is imbued with the capacity to transform.

To say that there is a cult of New York in Japan today might be only a slight exaggeration. More than 600 Japanese-language blogs can be found with subject lines containing the words New York. Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, has been carrying regular weekly TV programming focusing primarily on fashion, the arts, and pop culture exclusively from New York. NHK does this for no other city.

It is the attraction of New York and the motivation of a small but significant group of adventurous and ambitious Japanese who go there to seek self-realization that is the subject of anthropologist Olga Kanzaki Sooudi’s excellent, and highly readable, ethnography of Japanese expatriate bohemian life.

The fabric of Japanese New York consists of an intertwining of several different strands. It is first and foremost an ethnography that examines the goals and values of members of a distinct group defined by language, national origin, and area of professional activity. In choosing to focus on an expatriate community, even though its members insist that they do not constitute an identifiable group, the work ventures into the field of migration studies. By delving into her subjects’ search for an “authentic experience” outside Japan, Sooudi explores identity issues and takes her work into the realm of philosophy, specifically modernity discourse. While Japanese New York is ultimately an academic work, it is also a good read. Sooudi is an accomplished storyteller.

However, Japanese New York is unlike other works on migration because the phenomenon it describes is unique. Sooudi’s Japanese subjects are neither refugees nor immigrants. They do not leave Japan intending never to return. In their preference for Japanese food, their concern for Japanese identity, and in how they relate to other Japanese, they take Japan with them. Moreover, the artists do not seek to make a new life in America in the hopes of earning more money than they might in Japan. Most gladly accept serious financial hardship for years after arrival. Although some choose to leave Japan because opportunities for young artists in Japan—in fact for young people in general—are limited, the majority go for positive reasons: to pursue a dream, to become successful artists, but failing that, to prove to themselves that they can survive living astride boundaries of language and culture.

Although Sooudi locates Japanese New York on the map of Manhattan in a rapidly gentrifying part of the East Village, she explains that the group cannot be defined in physical terms since unlike immigrant communities, members of Japan’s émigré creative class are united not by where they live or even where they work but by their goals and values. While one of its few successful members can be found in her own handbag boutique in a better part of downtown Manhattan, another who is down on his luck as a flamenco guitarist stacks boxes of canned food in the basement of a Japanese grocery store at the south end of Broadway.

What unites these Japanese émigrés is that they came to New York to pursue a dream, or as Sooudi quotes several of them as saying, to succeed on the world sutēji (stage). They come in search of the elusive goal of “authenticity,” what one Japanese jazz musician describes as the nama (raw, meaning real or genuine) experience. For this artist hearing jazz in New York was an entirely different experience than in Japan. In the former it was real while in Japan it was mere imitation. Although Sooudi is generally sympathetic to her subjects, she sees an inconsistency in the authenticity argument. She notes that in their search for validation in New York they implicitly locate the authentically modern outside Japan. Though they cling to a Japanese identity they seek validation outside of Japan. Sooudi’s conclusions would seem to indicate that the perceived tension between what is Japanese and what is modern, a relic of prewar Japanese intellectual discourse continues to haunt Japanese artists seeking to maintain their identity as Japanese abroad.

Adding greatly to the pleasure of reading Japanese New York is a constant flow of characters and stories. We meet Yuka, a visual artist, who says, “When I think of the city, the painful part comes to mind first.” But she adds that it “has a big heart because no matter where you come from you are welcome.” She is impatient with those who hate the city “because they can’t accept differences”(86). Yuka is a case of successful transformation both from a career and a personal perspective. The majority of Japanese artist émigrés, however, do not do so well. We encounter waitresses at a Japanese restaurant, cashiers at a Japanese grocery who do menial jobs while waiting for breaks in creative careers. Naoko is among these and at first glance she appears to be a failure. An industrial designer who spends five years in the United States, mostly in New York obtaining a second university degree, submitting to an unpaid internship and finally giving it all up to return to Japan where she faces corporate HR staff who attach negative value to the time she spent away from Japan. And yet at the end of the book, Naoko tells Sooudi: “I would do it all over again if I had the option. Because I feel I get more depth in my life … . It’s like a movie. No one wants to see a movie with just happy people. You want complicated feelings.” Japanese New York provides plenty of those.

Andrew Horvat, Josai International University, Chiba, Japan

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PROTEST POLITICS AND THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF SOUTH KOREA: Strategies and Roles of Women. By Youngtae Shin. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015. xxii, 161 pp. (B&W illustrations.) US$80.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-7391-9025-8.

Youngtae Shin, a political scientist at the University of Central Oklahoma, conducts a social movement analysis of “secondary agents” in the democratization movement of South Korea (1970s-2000s). This focus permits Shin to move behind the front lines of primary agents (social movement activists and dissidents) and investigate the role played by wives and mothers in the care, support, and protection of primary agents. While these “Mothers of the Movement” initially engaged in the traditional role of family caretaker, they soon underwent transformations into political activists based on their encounters with the military state. Shin uses these encounters to challenge some assumptions within the social movement literature, as well as to provide a cultural and gender analysis of protest politics.

Based on over a decade of participant observations, interviews, opinion surveys, and primary document analyses, Shin examines two social movement organizations (SMOs) founded by women (the Association of the Families of Democratic Movement and the Association of the Families of the Bereaved). Shin’s representation of these famous and anonymous “Mothers” provides an empirical voice that challenges two claims in the literature, namely that people join SMOs due to political beliefs, and that effective SMOs require professional organizers. In this case, most of the Mothers began their political activism seeking the recovery of their husbands or sons from jail or prison. Through meeting one another through these sites, the Mothers soon developed a political perspective on their family members’ arrests. While the Mothers often lacked formal education or professional expertise, they nonetheless formed SMOs that would engage in political activism for democratization and human rights.

In analyzing their stories, Shin argues the Mothers could conduct protest politics due to their capacity to wield the cultural armour of middle-aged motherhood. The Mothers applied moral pressure against state agents (police officers, prison guards, government officials) through cultural shaming. Rather than violate social and cultural norms against mother figures, many state agents complied or consented to their demands. When this form of moral pressure failed, the Mothers were not immune to using verbal, emotional, and physical power, as well. These moral and emotional strategies also worked with civil society in mobilizing resources for their SMOs. This cultural analysis of atypical political actors helps current scholars understand what can be gained when the research focus moves beyond “bean counting.”

While Shin’s findings represent a substantive contribution to the field, the monograph could have used additional editorial and peer review. Awkward sentence constructions and repetitive phrasings make for a rough read, while the attempt to blend three Romanization systems gives rise to numerous inconsistencies between Korean references in the text and bibliography. In chapter 7, “Mothers’ Stories,” Shin presents the written narratives of the Mothers divided by temporal divisions (1970s, 1980s, and 1990s). While one could argue the merit in letting the Mothers tell their stories across time, an academic audience expects some analysis beyond the diachronic presentation of raw data. Finally, more comparative attention to recent works focusing on women’s SMOs and political activism from Argentina to Palestine would have helped qualify some of her larger claims.

Twenty-eight years after the summer of 1987 and the overthrow of the Chun Doo-hwan military regime, Shin has added another layer to the events, moving beyond the public display of tear gas barrages and Molotov cocktails to the private networks of care and support that enabled the drive for democratization. This contribution provides social scientists a qualitative resource in analyzing how participants join, organize, and maintain SMOs based on cultural and relational networks. It also directs our attention to the emotional and cultural practices that enable non-traditional political actors to enact social change, even in the face of strong-arm states.

William Hayes, Gonzaga University, Spokane, USA

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JAPAN’S RELATIONS WITH NORTH KOREA AND THE RECALIBRATION OF RISK. Sheffield Centre for Japanese Studies/Routledge Series, 48. By Ra Mason. Abingdon, UK; New York: Routledge, 2014. xx, 196 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-72883-6.

Since the early 1990s, a growing body of scholarship has disputed the robustness and trajectory of Japan’s postwar security institutions. Japan’s deadlocked relationship with North Korea has been a recurrent theme in this analysis. Here, North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, and the past kidnapping of Japanese citizens are deemed critical in explaining Japan’s introduction of new military technology, or the strengthening of the US-Japan security alliance. However, many studies stop short of illustrating the causal pathway which links Japan’s exposure to new security challenges and Tokyo’s alleged departure from its postwar pacifism. Thus, providing fresh empirical and theoretical knowledge, Ra Mason’s Japan’s Relations with North Korea and the Recalibration of Risk disentangles the complex dynamics by which these policy changes have unfolded.

As Mason states, the aim of this book is not to show “positivist causal relations or indisputable conclusions” (xv), but to overcome crude explanations of Japan’s response to North Korea which often relinquish policy change to either external (that is, US-induced) pressure or domestic factors. Rooted in a constructivist view on foreign policy, this book employs a risk perspective and untwists the complexity which surrounds concepts of risk, threat, or harm in the field of international relations. Applying the sociological literature on risk most prominently articulated by the late Ulrich Beck’s “risk society,”,Mason’s case study of Japan-North Korea relations illustrates how specific challenges at the international level are framed (or recalibrated) in order to create new domestic discourses and thus to open pathways for policy change. He thus offers a perspective that links political, economic, and societal actors as they attempt to influence the framing of North Korea-related public perceptions in Japan.

Theoretical discussion of the risk concept in international relations (chapter 1) is followed by an outline of Japan’s North Korea policy in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War (chapter 2). During this period, Tokyo’s “conciliatory and all-embracing” (49) response to North Korea’s 1993 Nodong missile launch reveals a low-risk calibration of North Korean threats in Japan. While the Nodong missile was capable of targeting Japan, North Korea did not function as a “source of almost absolute evil […] but was painted more as unknown” (53). This changed dramatically with the North’s launch of the long-range Taepodong 1 missile in 1998 which unleashed a new framing of North Korea illustrated in an outflow in media coverage and Diet statements. As such, the events of 1998 have propelled a shift towards a high-risk calibration of North Korea in Japan. Mason argues that the negative framing of North Korea has served as the background for the diffusion of an “anti-North Koreanism” norm (82), adding to the portfolio of norms affecting Japan’s foreign policy such as constitutional pacifism in the form of Article 9 and US-focused security bilateralism. This norm surfaces in the form of a nationalism which targets North Korea-related ethnic Koreans and their organizations in Japan (most prominently Chongryon) and has propelled security policy change. The norm consolidated as a result of North Korean “spy-boat” intrusions in 1999 and 2001, the unfolding of the abduction issue in 2002 (discussed in chapter 4), and the North’s missile and nuclear tests in 2006 as outlined in chapter 5. Japan has introduced new military technology such as satellite surveillance and the US-sponsored ballistic missile defense system in response. As North Korea has gained high-profile media coverage, Tokyo’s risk calibration in response to events such as the 2009 nuclear test has remained stable at a high level as a hawkish policy coalition—most prominently represented by the rise of Abe Shinzō—accumulated influence and the resolution of the abduction issue became a bipartisan policy objective (as discussed in chapters 6 and 7). In this form, even the change in government in 2009 did not result in a new framing of North Korea but instead in the application of a “fixed framing” (146), which resulted in a continuation of Japan’s hardline policy approach towards North Korea, including the continuation of economic sanctions. Thus, the interaction of market, political, and societal actors in Japan has created an “equilibrium” (163) which has not only resulted in diplomatic deadlock between Tokyo and Pyongyang but in which Japan’s responses to North Korea’s military campaigns such as the 2010 sinking of the Cheonan and the shelling of the Yeonpyeong Island, or the long-range missile test in 2012 (chapter 8) are “standardised” (170) and thus predicable.

This book employs a mix-method approach combining quantitative and qualitative sources. Thus, in-depth interviews with stakeholders in Japan’s North Korea policy community and contents analysis of Diet minutes are paired with public opinion surveys. In addition, Mason extensively draws on newspaper coverage mainly derived from the liberal Asahi Shimbun, which serves as a feasible litmus test to plot the emergence of a new risk calibration vis-à-vis North Korea which has shifted from a low-risk framing in the early 1990s to a high-risk narrative since 1998. However, several problems remain: first, the attempt to trace the process of risk recalibration as the result of the complex interaction between state, market, and societal actors requires further investigation of the strategic calculations based upon which these actors operate. As constructivist scholars have pointed out, the emergence of new norms is often the result of strategic choices. Second, further debate on the conditions under which new risk framings are likely to generate policy change is required. Thus, how have new forms of media communication and factors such as prolonged economic recession and perceptions of social insecurity since the 1990s, institutional change in the form of a reformed electoral system and the bureaucracy and the decline of the political left affected Japan’s recalibration of risk vis-à-vis North Korea? Avoiding think-theory, an analysis of policy change that extends the focus to other cases such as Japan’s response to risks affiliated with China’s rise or the public’s perception of the safety of nuclear energy in post-Fukushima Japan, may further help to distill critical conditions under which processes of risk recalibration generate policy change. Thus, while this book is required reading for those interested in Japan’s North Korea policy, these critical remarks illustrate how Mason’s risk analysis offers itself to a broader audience willing to apply this innovative approach beyond the field of Japanese studies and national security.

Sebastian Maslow, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

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JAPAN’S MARITIME SECURITY STRATEGY: The Japan Coast Guard and Maritime Outlaws. Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific. By Lindsay Black. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. xii, 221 pp. (Graphs.) US$105.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-38554-3.

In the field of international security, Japanese behaviour is pre-eminently explained as the product of one of two different attitudes. A core of realist scholars considers Japanese governments to have a preference for strategies seeking to avoid major responsibilities in dealing with major security issues. Others, including constructivist writers, understand that Japanese behaviour is trapped between an inability to “normalize” and the tendency to conform to international norms. In particular, the combination of the engrained nature of what Thomas Berger defined as Japan’s culture of anti-militarism, and the legacy of the imperial military past, have continuously constrained the scope of Japanese actions in international security.

Lindsay Black disagrees with this view. In this carefully constructed book, he argues that this literature has failed to capture Japan’s “innovative contribution to the maintenance of international order since the late 1990s” (7). Black looks at Japanese responses to maritime security threats to show how, in this branch of international security, authorities in Tokyo have not merely followed other international actors, nor have they just sought to do as little as possible. On the contrary, they took a frontline role in tackling maritime outlaws, from terrorist groups and pirates to criminal organizations. Indeed, Black argues, Japanese authorities displayed a degree of entrepreneurship, devising innovative policies that contributed to the capacity building of law-enforcement agencies and the financing of multilateral institutions from Southeast Asia to the Gulf of Aden. This is no trifling achievement since, in so doing, Japanese authorities balanced self-perceptions about anti-militarist norms and the legacy of the imperial past against the need to address a serious security challenge.

Black’s choice to focus on maritime security is no coincidence. No aspect of international security is more relevant to explore the evolving nature of Japanese behaviour, and few areas of international security have gained the same level of attention in East Asia over the past decade and a half. As a maritime nation, Japan depends upon unfettered access to shipping routes for its economic survival. From a security perspective, the sea represents both a crucial factor of vulnerability and a platform from where the defence of national borders is exercised. Thus, changes to the international maritime security order require Japanese authorities to act and, in a fast-changing East Asian maritime landscape, Black had no lack of examples to investigate the subject. The intellectual framework underscoring the book’s analysis draws upon the English School of International Relations, which the author mobilizes with great mastery to conceptualize both the boundaries of the Japanese identity as a member of the international society, and the nature of the challenge presented by state and non-state maritime outlaws. The first half of the book is used to adapt this theoretical framework to the maritime context—an exercise that is particularly successful.

The second part of the book focuses instead on examining Japanese policy reactions in relation to three sets of issues: North Korea’s incursions into Japanese waters in 1999 and 2001, piracy in Southeast Asia and in the Gulf of Aden, and counterterrorism and anti-proliferation initiatives. The chapter analysis of the Japanese policy-making process vis-à-vis maritime piracy in Southeast Asia is particularly compelling. In it, the lengthy theoretical discussions of the previous chapters find a clear empirical application. The book convincingly reviews the Japanese choice to see the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) promoting cooperation with counterparts in ASEAN, offering advice through personnel exchanges and thematic seminars, and hosting and contributing to exercises. As the chapter shows, Japan’s self-perceived identity informed by anti-militarism and the legacy of the imperial past shaped the process, favouring the use of the JCG instead of the navy, known as the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF). On the other hand, this self-perception did not prevent innovative action to ensure the maintenance of regional order, with the Japanese active promotion of a Singapore-based Information Sharing Centre, established in 2004.

Notwithstanding the title (and the cover picture), however, this book is not really about maritime strategy, nor about the Japan Coast Guard (JCG). Practitioners or specialists of maritime affairs will find no intellectual reference in the theoretical chapters to the classic works of Alfred Mahan and Sir Julian Corbett or to more modern authors like Ken Booth and Geoffrey Till, nor practical explanation as to how the JCG operates or how it interacts with the JMSDF. This has two implications. The first is that the book lacks a basic understanding of maritime operations, leading the author to overstate the case of the JCG. For example, in the Gulf of Aden, the JCG maintained a mere eight officers on board of a JMSDF task force of three warships and two P-3C aircraft based in Djibouti. Contrary to what is suggested in the book, the navy deployed its own special boarding unit for the mission and maintained a firm operational control in patrols, inspections, boarding, convoying, and coordination with other navies. The JCG had a supporting role in monitoring the compliance to law enforcement; this state of affairs makes it hard to support the notion that the Japanese government perceived piracy as “falling within the purview of a civilian police authority” (138). The second implication is that what the author calls Japan’s “dual” maritime security strategy, is actually a maritime security policy aimed at deploying the coast guard or the navy (or both of them in tandem) depending on the nature of the challenge. Indeed, from a maritime perspective the examples referred to in this book—most notably that of North Korea’s incursions—undermine the very existence of “two” strategies. These events have in fact been driving the development of manuals and practices for coordinated actions between the two organizations. Like other state actors with significant maritime interests, Japan seems to have one strategy and coordinated maritime policies to employ its coast guard and navy to maximum effect.

In all, these considerations leave the door open for further research as to what is the balance between identity and operational requirements in the shaping of Japan’s responses to maritime security. Is the entrepreneurial behaviour displayed by Japan in tackling maritime outlaws during the 1990s and early 2000s a sign of the emergence of a different international security actor with a tendency to favour civilian actions as opposed to military ones? Or, are the examples cited by Black just the expression of an initial cautious engagement that is now seeing the navy taking a stronger role alongside with the JCG? Recent Japanese naval exercises with NATO as part of the anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden and increasing defence engagements in Southeast Asia would suggest that the latter interpretation stands at least on equal footing with the former. The debate is open and this book deserves credit for setting forth a strong theoretical framework in support of one of the possible answers.

Alessio Patalano, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom

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SOUTH KOREA’S RISE: Economic Development, Power, and Foreign Relations. By Uk Heo and Terence Roehrig. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. xi, 215 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$29.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-107-69053-0.

South Korea’s Rise: Economic Development, Power, and Foreign Relations begins by identifying the relative paucity of attention in the existing literature to the issue of how economic development affects a country’s foreign relations. As countries undergo the structural transition that marks development, the question itself certainly has applicability outside of South Korea’s experiences to other “rising powers,” as the authors note (10). The book claims to present a “theory on how economic development affects foreign relations” (3), with South Korea as a case study, focusing on security relations, economic and political ties to major powers, and increasing involvement in areas outside of Northeast Asia.

A brief introduction is followed by chapter 2, which outlines the “theory.” Succeeding chapters are organized around South Korea’s relations with individual or a group of countries. To wit, Chapter 3 focuses on inter-Korean relations, chapter 4 relations with the US chapter 5 Russia and China, chapter 6 Japan, chapter 7 the EU, chapter 8 India, and chapter 9 with the developing world: Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Chapter 10 describes South Korea’s contributions to multilateral agreements and international organizations such as UN Peacekeeping Operations, the OECD and Official Development Assistance programs. This is followed by a short conclusion.

In empirical terms, the most useful element of the book is that there are compact and clear descriptions of South Korea’s foreign relations. However, specialists expecting new empirical information will be disappointed. Newspaper articles and a sampling of some relevant works in English are used, but nothing in the way of archives or interviews. Further, the absence of any engagement with several touchstone works in English on Korea’s history of development, such as books by Robert Wade or Alice Amsden, means a missed opportunity to point out the paucity of analyses of externalities of the developmental state, or explain how this book might differ from previous work on state power and development. Also, only a couple of published academic articles in Korean are cited despite the voluminous and increasing body of work on a range of related subjects that has been published in the last ten years alone.

Some of the passages are compact to the point of distortion. For example, the authors claim that South Korea was unable to become an official member of the United Nations (UN) prior to 1991 due to the vetoes exercised by Moscow and Beijing (173). In actuality, the relevant Korean archives and published debates of the 1980s indicate there was constant lobbying to win votes by both Seoul and Pyongyang from the 1960s onwards to be allowed entry into the UN. In addition, there was intense domestic debate within South Korea about the desirability of being recognized prior to unification either jointly or separately, as some argued that the division of the peninsula would become legally recognized within the UN and by South Korea itself as an indirect result, regardless of the conditions of entry into the UN. Another case is the mistaken assertion that the Japanese government claims that “it made restitution” for the colonial past under the terms of the 1965 Normalization Treaty (102). In fact, Japan’s official position is that past claims were “settled”; the difference is crucial. The Japanese government has deliberately avoided using the terms “restitution” or “compensation” in any portion of the treaty itself or in comments about it after.

In analytical terms, the argument is dulled by some questionable assertions and puzzling elisions of literature. The authors argue that because development leads to democratization, new elites emerge, the government gains more transparency and responsiveness, resulting in a stronger sense of national pride and identity. This in turn attracts more FDI, generating improvements in infrastructure, outward FDI and ODA, and, ultimately, greater international influence (10-26). While some of the propositions are useful to use as tests in analyzing long-term changes in Korea’s foreign relations, the actual causal mechanisms outlined in chapter 2 are not applied in any of the body chapters. There are simply descriptions, followed by a short claim in each chapter that the arguments apply. The linear causal dynamics that invoke 1960s modernization theory instead of more contemporary frameworks in international political economy also mean that there is no attempt to explain why historical issues stemming from the colonial period have not been resolved between Japan and Korea despite the improvement in Korea’s economic performance, which, according to this book, should simply result in better relations. Nor is there an attempt to account for the rapid growth in exports and overall growth rates under the authoritarian presidency of Chun Doo-Hwan from 1981 to 1986, and the challenges this posed the US government in its handling of the bilateral relationship. Similarly, there is no discussion of negative production externalities, such as how industrial pollution, produced through economic development or overfishing, might affect foreign relations. There are various other conceptual issues, such as the lack of clear distinctions between effects of development as opposed to growth on foreign relations, or the claim that the size of trade flows makes other countries desire more relations (21). The latter point is not cogent without specification regarding whether trade balances (as opposed to just scale) or types of exports (high end, primary goods) matter or not.

Moreover, the engagement with the existing theories of economic diplomacy and international political economy is uneven. The authors refer to the applicability of their “theory” to “rising economic powers” (10) without even referring to the existing literature in international relations on “middle powers,” even though this concept had been applied to analyses of Korea when it co-hosted the G20 meetings during 2010 with Canada. Other scholars whose work readers might expect to be engaged with, such as John Ruggie, Robert Cox, or John Ravenhill, are entirely missing from the footnotes. Puzzlingly, books by Robert Gilpin that are more directly connected to international political economy, such as The Challenge of Global Capitalism (Princeton University Press, 2010), and The Political Economy of International Relations (Princeton University Press, 1987), are not cited at all, while another of his works with more tenuous relevance, War and Change in World Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1981), is.

The book never claims to contribute new empirical information, but the fact that the analytical framework is hampered by limited engagement with the relevant theoretical literature, and that it is not consistently applied in any of the body chapters limits its appeal for specialists of Korea and international political economy. The book, however, provides compact descriptions of South Korea’s foreign relations with a wide range of countries, making some of the chapters potentially useful as a textbook.

Hyung-Gu Lynn, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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JAPANESE AND KOREAN POLITICS: Alone and Apart from Each Other. Asia Today. Edited by Takashi Inoguchi. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. x, 295 pp. (Figure, tables.) US $100.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-48830-5.

This book, edited by Takashi Inoguchi on the fiftieth anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea, is a timely culmination of joint efforts by academics of both countries to examine domestic politics and foreign policies in order to understand how the current “unfriendly relationship has come about” (ix).

The contributors are authoritative scholars based in East Asia and many possess track 1 or 1.5 experience. The book, therefore, emphasizes government-focused analyses and Inoguchi is clear about the adopted level-of-analysis: “the states governing the population in a certain territory with sovereign power are the major actors” (260).

The book is organized into three parts: the first two analyze Japan and South Korea’s macro-economic policies and party politics separately, while the last part deals with bilateral relations more directly. Instead of the contributors solely analyzing their countries of origin, each section balances the writers’ nationalities.

In part 1, Inoguchi explains how the current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policies of “Abenomics” (quantitative easing) and “Abegeopolitics” (proactive pacifism and pursuing revisions to the Peace Constitution) have fared (chapter 1). He concludes that many Japanese regard Abenomics as satisfactory, but that Abe’s goal of turning Japan into his version of a “beautiful country” is still contingent upon alleviating important neighbours’ concerns about Abegeopolitics. Yutaka Harada expands on the Abenomics analysis and explains why the Bank of Japan (BOJ) did not adopt an expansionary monetary policy earlier. By providing an overview of the nature of the BOJ’s relations with political parties and the bureaucracy, he argues that only a politician with a popular mandate to end deflation could push for reform, and that Abe should be given credit for achieving it.

The latter two chapters of part 1 focus on Japanese party politics. Cheol Hee Park argues in chapter 3 that the return of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) under Abe in 2012 was possible because of the incapability of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and other opposition parties. Park predicts that Japan’s single-member district system will eventually force the “opposition parties to reshuffle themselves to pose challenges against the LDP” (68). Seung-won Suh in chapter 4 examines bilateral relations through the lens of Japanese party realignment. Before losing power, the DPJ tried to improve relations with South Korea, but, as a result of nationalist identity politics on both sides, the attempt did not bear fruit. Suh argues that the use of the “other-nation-blame card” has crossed party boundaries in Japan and has impacted cooperation with Korea, which, in turn, also uses the card in abundance.

Part 2 focuses on Korean macro-economic policies and party politics. Jongryn Mo explains President Park Geun-hye’s dilemma in implementing her “Geun-hye-nomics.” Her goal is to improve welfare spending and the “democratic” foundation of economic growth, while still relying on export promotion based on a developmental state model. Mo predicts that public expectations about Park’s reforms will be disappointed, because making Korean capitalism more democratic requires holding economically powerful actors accountable, but export entails close ties between the government and the chaebols—the supposed target of Park’s “discipline” (chapter 6). In chapter 5, Won-Taek Kang argues that Korea’s party politics are in crisis. Citizens are dissatisfied with a two-party-dominated system that is frozen in ideological divide and regional rivalry, but alternative candidates have not been able to break in.

Part 3 deals with foreign policies at the bilateral level. Kazuhiko Togo provides an overview of Abe’s foreign policy from his second prime ministership onward. Chung-In Moon and Seung-Chan Boo explain how South Korea’s strategic calculation to maintain harmonious relations with both the United States and China affects South Korea-Japan relations. The concluding chapter by Inoguchi reiterates the importance of international monetary flows in East Asian politics.

The book is insightful for emphasizing how party politics and macro-economic/monetary policies—two areas that many security-focused books overlook—are closely linked to bilateral interactions. For example, regarding Korean anxiety about Japanese constitutional revision, Park deduces that the current party alignments provide more options for the LDP in choosing potential coalition partners, thus undermining the bargaining power of the New Komei Party, which is cautious of the revision. The book also introduces arguments that are rare in English-speaking academia: Yuki Asaba argues that the immobility of Japanese politics—caused by the bicameral parliamentary system in which the House of Councillors is dominated by a foot-dragging oppositionis comparable to the identical system in Korean politics before the military coup in 1961 (173-175); and Harada talks about “Galapagosization of Japanese intellectuals” to explain how the problematic BOJ policy of tightened monetary control had been legitimized by scholars who supported bureaucrats with theories that were only applicable to Japan (41).

The book’s greatest strength is the way that it highlights Japan and South Korea’s diverging strategies in facing the United States-China rivalry, and explaining this as one of the most serious sources of bilateral deadlock. According to Suh, it comes down to “a failure of bridging geopolitical imaginations” between the two states (86): Japan emphasizes an “alliance of democracy” to counter China’s rise, while South Korea’s complex position pursues a harmonious relationship with both in order to be a “gateway” to “bridge the maritime realm and the continental realm,” all while maintaining its traditional alliance with the United States (87-88, 244).

However, not all chapters engage directly with the book’s initial question. In this regard, it would be a rewarding and thought-provoking exercise to thematically connect all the knowledge gained by reading the book and seek the answers oneself. For those interested in understanding the cultural/ideational aspects of Korea-Japan relations, The Japan South Korea Identity Clash: East Asian Security and the United States by Brad Glosserman and Scott A. Snyder (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015) could be a worthwhile complementary reading.

Seung Hyok Lee, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada

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CONFIGURATIONS OF FAMILY IN CONTEMPORARY JAPAN. Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies. Edited by Tomoko Aoyama, Laura Dales, Romit Dasgupta. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xvi, 179 pp. US$145.00, cloth . ISBN 978-0-415-71765-6.

We can notice the continued centrality of family in contemporary Japan through any number of measures. From politicians’ rhetoric that links perceived threats to family risk, to omnipresent worries about Japan’s falling birth rates and its attendant problems, to deeply personal decisions about who to marry, when to divorce, and what children need to thrive, families remain a key symbol in contemporary Japan. This centrality seems to be reinforced through three interlocking platforms. First, as Carol Gluck and others have convincingly argued, the modern Japanese nation was created partially through the ideological force of “national family” (kazoku koka), when Meiji politicians built unity through constructed claims that all citizens should be figurative kin. Second, families matter in practice because, as in many other cultural contexts, Japanese people often understand their own families as vitally important in their own lives and they put tremendous resources into building, sustaining, and reformulating them. Third, and perhaps less visibly, families remain a key force of political economy because, throughout the postwar period, particular family structures worked in synergy with labour markets to create tremendous profit made by loyal salarymen who, in turn, required housewives to sustain them. Despite all this, academics and the Japanese public are still struggling to acknowledge, measure, and judge the particular shifts that have overtaken families in the last twenty years. In light of falling birth rates, later marriage, and shifting models for how romance should fit within nuclear or extended families, there are open questions about how family norms might be changing, and what implications such change might bring.

Within that context, Configurations of Family in Contemporary Japan, edited by Tomoko Aoyama, Laura Dales, and Romit Dasgupta, offers new examples and analysis of how family continues to matter. Because this analysis comes in chapters written within a range of disciplines and research methodologies, the volume enables the reader to trace how contested family norms might translate from, say, literature to television to people’s individual experiences. The book rightly pushes against any idea of a singular Japanese family and suggests the multi-vocal perspectives or positions within families that continue to tell us something broader about Japan. I understand a particular strength of this volume to be how such interdisciplinary work intersects with visual culture; many chapters, including those written by ethnographers, directly engage popular films or television. Therefore in addition to the convincing analysis included in the chapters, the collection offers a veritable “to watch” list for anyone interested in these themes.

After a brief introduction, the volume is divided into four sections, the first of which explores “Family and Companionship.” Romit Dasgupta analyzes two films, Tokyo Sonata and Hush! The former tells the story of mini disasters wrought in a middle-class family when the husband/father is laid off, while the second represents the tensions surrounding two men and one woman who contemplate building what might seem like a queer family. Laura Dales’ chapter analyzes how single women are represented in Japanese television dramas (dorama) compared with how actual single women understand themselves and their choices. Although she focuses on women, she convincingly argues that singlehood might be more problematic for men after a certain age. In a chapter exploring how LGBTI people plan for, and experience, older age, Leonie Stickland successfully tackles one of the most visible problems (aging society) within a diverse group often given less attention.

In the volume’s second section, “Old Age, Women, and Storytelling,” the chapters engage directly with literary and filmic representations of older women. Using lovely examples from manga, Tomoko Aoyama lays out a typology of how older women tend to be represented in Japanese fiction, from the fairy godmother, to the mountain witch (yamanba), or the “super-active and self-centered old woman” (55), to highlight slippages between young girls and older women that might offer representations of new social formations. Lucy Fraser’s chapter contrasts the Japanese folktale of “The Old Woman’s Skin” (Ubakawa), the 1986 British novel Howl’s Moving Castle, and the Studio Ghibli animated version of the same story released in 2004. Working in conjunction with the previous chapter, Fraser’s work argues that these iterations of similar tales demonstrate shifting anxieties about family life and aging, particularly for women.

The volume’s third section, “Contemporary Parenting,” includes two chapters suggesting that parenting might be both a hotbed of anxiety and a scapegoat for more generalized troubles. In her chapter, Tomoko Nakamatsu describes the vast difference between the ways Japanese-Brazilian parents are described in Brazil and Japan. In the former, they are often represented as model minorities who bring up highly successful children; in the latter, Brazilian-Japanese parents are instead represented as likely failing their own children and hurting society more generally. Kayoko Hashimoto’s chapter traces the power of discourse about “monster parents,” so-called because they make unreasonable demands of schools, teachers, and staff. She convincingly concludes that this discourse demonstrates a breakdown in respect between families and the education system.

The final section of the volume, “Transnational Families,” sheds needed light on the experiences of Japanese people abroad within the families they build. Leng Leng Thang and Mika Toyota explore Japanese women who have married and stayed in Bali. The women who marry and stay are usually women who aged out of the marriage market within Japan (not to say this is the reason they made such a choice) and now have to deal with the expectations put upon daughters-in-law in Balinese culture. In the next chapter, Sachiko Sone and Leng Leng Thang analyze Japanese women who make families in western Australia, describing such patterns as rendered more important in the years since 1999, a period in which more Japanese women than men have permanently left Japan (121). In Jared Denman’s description of how Japanese migrants to Australia understand their own filial piety, he finds a range of beliefs and practices but all suggest a continuing presence of the idea of the stem family (ie) system and the piety supposedly within it. The volume concludes with a powerful epilogue by Vera Mackie analyzing how families—and the discourse surrounding them—have changed in recent decades.

Overall this volume provides compelling literary and ethnographic examples for scholars interested in debates surrounding families in contemporary Japan. I imagine the analysis of media representations will be particularly helpful for those looking to get a sense of how people debate what families should be and why they continue to matter.

Allison Alexy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

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WORKING SKIN: Making Leather, Making a Multicultural Japan. Asia Pacific Modern, 13. By Joseph D. Hankins. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2014. xxii, 277 pp. (Figures.) US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28329-9.

Working Skin is a highly original treatise which explores one of the primary tensions pertaining to the contemporary Buraku problem in Japan: “that multicultural forms of political argument that authorize labor as a category of Buraku marginalization are gaining traction at the precise moment the labor that renders people stigmatized as Buraku is disappearing” (240). Based on the author’s extensive engagement in broad-ranging fieldwork activities including working in the Buraku-affiliated NGO International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) and a Tokyo leather tannery, the book offers perhaps the most theoretically sophisticated and ethnographically reflexive attempt by any scholar to date to wrestle with issues of contemporary Buraku liberation within the broader context of liberal multiculturalism and globalization.

As the introduction makes plain, multiculturalism is viewed as a liberal discourse employed by both Burakumin and non-Burakumin alike in recent decades to construct and manage issues pertaining to difference. Working Skin offers a study of what is termed “the labor of multiculturalism,” making sense of the differing, gendered conditions under which such multicultural signification takes place, the kinds of labour employed in the constitutive process, the bodies of content entailed in the production process, and the transformative power of that labour. Multiculturalism in the book is interpreted as a discourse that “disciplines and dominates the lives of people both at the margins and at the center of the nation-state” (17).

Chapter 1 analyzes and contrasts the different kinds of labour engaged in by employees in both the IMADR and a leather processing plant in Tokyo. The chapter shows how the different labour undertaken in both settings, which is both gendered and shaped historically by divergent practices of economic production, works to produce different bodies of Buraku subjects ultimately brought together under the same label. Chapter 2 focuses on the problem of the “non-production of signs of being Buraku” and the question of “how this non-production troubles the Buraku political movement” (62). Defining the desire of people not to want to identify as Burakumin “Ushimatsu” (based on the leading protagonist in Shimazaki Tōson’s novel Hakai), and identifying this tendency at various scales including both the individual and the geographical collective level, Hankins demonstrates the tensions this kind of ideology has for the Buraku Liberation League in its search for “complete liberation” (69), and establishes via a historical argument the ways in which such an idea has emerged in conjunction with a (neo)liberal politics that advocates multiculturalism.

Chapter 3 marks the commencement of a new section which shifts the focus of the book away from the production and non-production of Buraku signs to the kinds of content produced and the forms of labour undertaken to draw public attention to this difference. Here the focus is first on understanding the transformations in the criteria that have physically and conceptually determined Buraku identity (occupation, residence, and kinship), an analysis that is conducted through (among other things) the intriguing lenses of environmental critique and private detective investigations. Chapter 4 then moves on to introduce how attention to the signs of Buraku difference is constituted in two public settings important for the Buraku liberation movement: human rights seminars and denunciation campaigns. By focusing on the figure of the “sleeper” within a human rights seminar setting (members of the public allegedly in attendance of their own volition), and contrasting these figures alongside a public that needs to be forced to admit to both direct and indirect acts of Buraku discrimination, the chapter convincingly shows that rather than seeing both figures as mutually opposed or chronologically consecutive moments in a process of liberation, they can be productively understood as twin processes designed to constitute and discipline a Buraku public.

Chapter 5 marks the beginning of a third section in the book dealing with the transnational aspects of Buraku liberation and the attempts to create a basis for international solidarity. The chapter specifically focuses on the attempt by the Buraku Liberation League to develop international partnerships with various overseas groups by fostering a sense of the corresponding nature of their experiences of discrimination. The chapter offers an analysis of “Discrimination Based on Work and Descent,” a now officially recognized category of discrimination which emerged as the result of the political collaborations of various international partner groups including the Buraku Liberation League, and examines the kinds of labour undertaken in this project to create a universally recognizable subject suffering a unique form of discrimination. The chapter further explores the interpretative problems such a project poses, and the ways in which such an undertaking is both connected to and generated by broader liberal concerns.

Chapter 6 deals with a particular instance of what Hankins terms the “transnational solidarity project” (200) wherein a group with Buraku ties in Tokyo, through the English language tutelage and then interpreting efforts of the author, prepared for and embarked upon a journey to Tamil Nadu to strengthen ties with Dalit organizations experiencing what was projected by participants to be similar forms of discrimination. This chapter also looks to examine the kinds of labour undertaken to articulate a particular form of “wounded” subjecthood transnationally, the different forms such labour takes and the tensions they produce, as well as the work engaged in to forge solidarity between groups whose experiences of discrimination and movements towards liberation are at times jarringly different. The conclusion then seeks to tie the various sections of the book together by addressing important questions about why the labour of multiculturalism has gained traction and support from funding bodies in recent times and how it has worked to transform the Buraku subjects who engage in it.

Working Skin offers powerful insights into the nature of the contemporary Buraku liberation movement as well as addressing broader issues pertaining to constructing and managing difference in Japan. By asking original questions and then developing investigative methods and interpretative strategies that permit highly suggestive answers, the book sets a new gold standard for both studies of Burakumin and multiculturalism in Japan. The work’s exciting theoretical underpinnings and powerful conclusions suggest that it will also have a much broader appeal for scholars and students working further afield both in the disciplines of anthropology and history as well as in the various locations where they intersect.

Timothy D. Amos, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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WHEN THE FUTURE DISAPPEARS: The Modernist Imagination in Late Colonial Korea. Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University. By Janet Poole. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. xi, 286 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$60.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16518-1.

When the Future Disappears: The Modernist Imagination in Late Colonial Korea by Janet Poole is a contemplative and immersive piece of scholarship. In it, Poole demands that we approach the fiction of the late colonial period with eyes and ears that are attuned to the shifts in language policies and concepts of time, and that we remain mindful of the dramatic changes in the social and political fabric that structured late colonial narratives. Her book urges us to better attend to and appreciate the kind of choices writers faced as Korea became increasingly implicated in Japan’s oppressive mobilization policies of the 1930s and 1940s.

As the title indicates, the interrogative impulse in each chapter is driven by Poole’s main argument: that late 1930s modernist fiction and philosophical writing was shaped by the sense of a disappearing future, borne out of the disheartening conviction that Japan’s imperialization, war mobilization and language policies had sealed the fate of the Korean language and nation. Her purpose, then, is to map out the varied responses of writers to this crisis, and to better understand the significance of their work—not with the advantage of hindsight but on their own terms, as heartfelt responses to what would have been a profound apprehension of a foreclosed future.

According to Poole, this sense of a disappearing future originates partly in the reordering of temporal concepts. She finds that the idea of progressive time, so endemic to modernity, to be one of the more egregious symptoms of the late colonial period. In her reading, the walls of time were closing in; Korea was being launched forward, but was facing a future that was at best unclear, at worst an unambiguous finale marked by Korea’s full absorption into Japan, not just territorially but also culturally and linguistically. She identifies two main responses to this crisis in fiction: a focus on the “unruly detail” of the everyday (Ch’oe Myŏngik, Kim Namchŏn); and the turn toward a private sphere or liminal space (Yi T’aejun, Sŏ Insik, Pak T’aewŏn, Ch’oe Chaesŏ) whose in-between nature produced an effect of “double exposure” that, by capturing multiple temporal layers, also challenged the seemingly inevitable momentum underwritten by colonial fascism.

This engrossing monograph is all the more fascinating when put in conversation with recent publications in the field of colonial literature by Chris Hanscom and Sunyoung Park. These scholars have written about the same time frame and authors, and each has come up with a different explanation for the responses of colonial fiction and non-fiction to the crises of assimilation, wartime mobilization and censorship. Productive questions arise from reading them side-by-side, such as: can modernist writing be best explained through the understanding of the period as a crisis of representation symbolized by the colonial “double bind” (Chris Hanscom, The Real Modern : Literary Modernism and the Crisis of Representation in Colonial Korea, Harvard University Asia Center, 2013) or by a disappearing future (Poole)? Was Kim Namch’ŏn’s focus on the mundane objects and routines of the everyday driven by his desire to “resist the excesses of dogmatic socialism and the utopian visions of the pan-Asianist ideology” (863) with the purpose of illuminating the totality of the everyday (Sunyoung Park, “Everyday Life as Critique in Late Colonial Korea: Kim Namch’ŏn’s Literary Experiments, 1934–43,” The Journal of Asian Studies 68.03, 2009: 861–893)? Or was Kim Namch’ŏn and Ch’oe Myŏngik’s focus on the everyday an impulse that served to privilege a scientific, objective gaze that could give unmediated access to the world and thus intervene in the “contentious realm of colonial representation” (29) and conjure up a heterogeneous time that allowed for a personal negotiation of the experiences of modernity?

Poole’s overriding argument—that the sense of a foreclosed future is what shaped the fiction and non-fiction of the wartime mobilization period—is compelling, all the more because it demands that the contemporary reader consider the choices that writers who wished to continue their creative lives faced in this period. She pleads that we bear in mind that these writers did not have the privilege of knowing that everything would change after August 15, 1945, and that we remember that “what was believed possible at one moment also matters” (207). Yet while the idea that the future was disappearing is captivating, one wonders if the sense of a disappearing future was the only driving force of creative writing in this period. For example, Hyŏn Tŏk (1909-?) published a series of linked stories in 1938-39 in the Sonyǒn Chosǒn Ilbo that explores the way a society of children navigate the world around them, first by imitating adults and then by inventing creative solutions to issues of economic inequality and gender discrimination in a delightful and optimistic manner. Indeed, the very persistence of children’s fiction written in Korean up until 1940 suggests that not all writers had given up on the impulse to reflect, anticipate and shape the experience of the future generation with what was a decidedly forward-looking gaze.

Ultimately, however, Poole’s book is arresting and deeply thought-provoking. She crafts her narrative in a lyrical style that is very moving, and she offers a model of close reading with an attentiveness to language, content and form that serves as a reminder that the ultimate satisfaction from reading can only emerge with painstaking re-reading. Another strength of Poole’s lies in the manner in which she finds sympathetic resonance to her argument in a range of scholarship on colonial literatures and modernities; she invites the reader familiar with Korea to consider the ways in which the conundrum of the colonized as been worked out in other contexts. Lastly, her inclusion of Korean literature in the Japanese language revisits the perennial question of collaboration, and her ability to discuss these works sheds light in the darkest corners of the canon and begs a consideration of how literary histories of Korean may expand through a consideration of Korea’s excised and excluded voices.

Dafna Zur, Stanford University, Stanford, USA

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ENERGY SECURITY IN JAPAN: Challenges After Fukushima. Transforming Environmental Politics and Policy. By Vlado Vivoda. Farnham, Surrey, Eng.; Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2014. xv, 231 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$119.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4094-5530-1.

Assessing the past, present and future of Japanese energy policy has become a boom industry. In Energy Security in Japan, Vlado Vivoda joins the fray with the objective of assessing the challenges posed by the March 2011 nuclear disaster (“3.11”) for energy security, defined as “the availability of energy at all times in various forms, in sufficient quantities and at affordable prices, without unacceptable or irreversible impact on the economy and the environment” (5). As a consequence of 3.11, Japanese citizens and businesses are paying more for energy (resulting in the country’s first annual trade deficit since 1980), the supply of which is less secure owing to increased reliance on imported fossil fuels, a preponderance of which originates in politically unstable regions. In addition to stoking regional competition for energy imports and inducing higher world prices, burning more fossil fuels increases emissions and works at cross purposes with Japan’s professed aim of contributing to the global campaign to combat climate change.

Vivoda’s central argument is that Japan’s energy future is embedded in a historically rooted political, economic and social context, that is further constrained by sunk investment in the existing energy system and affected by changes in the global energy system. The chief sources of this “path dependency” are institutions, interests and ideas. Vivoda argues that energy policy is dominated by “a genuine iron triangle of politics, bureaucracy, and industry” (18). In this arrangement—which has remained remarkably stable for nearly four decades—the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is the “energy policy-making hub,” while ten regional utility monopolies along with their nuclear- and fossil fuel-friendly corporate allies speak for the private sector (13). The almost perpetually ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which is linked by ties of mutual self-interest to METI and the private-sector powerbrokers, completes the triadic elite. With a vice-like grip on the levers of power, these “vested interests” that lord over Japan’s energy policy making are in a position to deny anything more than a sidelines role to citizens’ groups, experts, local governments and the mass media. In response to those who believe that 3.11 will dictate dramatic changes in policy, Vivoda maintains that energy transitions are protracted affairs that represent another source of path dependency (13). Yet, just a few pages later, he leaves readers scratching their heads in observing that “the discovery of superior sources of energy has sometimes resulted in a relatively rapid transition to a new energy source, as in the case of coal and oil” (21).

The book’s greatest contribution is found in six core chapters that trace the historical evolution, current challenges and future prospects of oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, renewables and electricity generation in the country’s energy supply. For empirical support, Vivoda draws upon the scholarly secondary literature, media reports and interviews with policy experts, most of which seem to have been conducted during a 12-day Japan Foundation-sponsored study tour during May 2011. These case studies are full of information. For example, readers are reminded that Japan ranks in the top three of the world’s largest importers of liquefied natural gas, coal and oil. And, despite increased reliance on LNG and nuclear energy following the 1973 OPEC embargo, continued reliance on petroleum has led policy makers to repeatedly try—but fail—to achieve targets for increasing the supply of self-developed “equity oil.” Although Vivoda is keen to point out that Japan’s hefty thirst for imported fossil fuels is at the heart of an expanding resource rivalry with China, he neglects to factor in South Korea, another regional competitor with a similar addiction to energy imports. He explains how Japanese policy makers have portrayed nuclear power as a carbon-neutral, semi-indigenous form of energy supply, and predicts that the “revitalization of Japan’s nuclear power industry is likely once public sensitivities over the Fukushima crisis have died down” (142). Even though renewables represent a potentially sustainable, disaster-proof energy source, Vivoda is convinced that, barring a technological breakthrough that drastically reduces the cost of renewable energy, this option will continue to play a marginal role in the energy mix.

Energy Security in Japan aims to enhance our understanding of the country’s energy security, energy policy and mode of crisis response. While Vivoda invokes “neo-institutionalist” concepts (e.g., Douglass North’s approach to institutions), he does not devote much effort to vanquishing rival theories, testing hypotheses or solving a central “puzzle.” It would be useful to know, for example, how Vivoda’s argument squares with those of other major contributors such as Richard Samuels, Kent Calder, Laura Hein and Raymond Vernon. Also, in employing a broad-mouthed analytic framework that seeks to discern the path dependence-inducing effects of institutions and interests and ideas—each of which derive from an expansive literature—Vivoda runs the risk of violating Occam’s razor. Vivoda’s thesis would be clearer and more compelling had he chosen to access the shaping effect of whichever one of this triad of elements would appear to offer the greatest analytic yield. Furthermore, while Vivoda argues for the primary importance of domestic factors, he concedes that the global energy system also plays a role. Yet he does not seize the opportunity to explain when, why and how domestic and international forces interact to shape Japanese energy policy. Finally, despite arguing that Japanese policy makers must restart the country’s idled nuclear reactors to avert economic crisis, Vivoda suggests that the “control of public discourse and policy and regulatory processes” by an iron triangle of bureaucrats, business leaders, and politicians “suggests that Japan is not a true liberal democracy” (190). This is a rather apocalyptic conclusion to draw from a narrowly focused study of Japan’s post-3.11 energy challenges.

Despite some blemishes, Energy Security in Japan is worthwhile reading for those interested in an assessment of the country’s changing energy mix. While the book is generally well written, readers should be forewarned of a number of misspelled words, grammatical errors and at least one fugitive bibliographic reference. Nevertheless, it could serve as a textbook in a course on comparative energy policy or as a primer on Japanese energy security.

Brian Woodall, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA
Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan

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JAPANESE EDUCATION IN AN ERA OF GLOBALIZATION: Culture, Politics, and Equity. Edited by Gary DeCoker, Christopher Bjork; foreword by James J. Shields. New York: Teachers College Press, 2013. xiv, 206 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$49.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8077-5423-8.

Nearly 40 years ago the world began taking notice of the Japanese education system, asking questions about its role in the spectacular success of the Japanese economy, which at the time was poised to take over the world. Or so it seemed. We all know now in retrospect that this was an incomplete picture, missing key elements at work in both Japanese society, which was far more complex than the characterizations of the 1980s, and the world economy, on the verge then of what we have loosely come to call “globalization.” The latter of course ironically replaced Japan as a target of fear-mongering after the 1980s. The reality for both the Japanese education system and for globalization has turned out to be something more prosaic. And, in fact, more interesting.

Gary DeCoker and Christopher Bjork, long scholars of Japanese society and Japanese education, have been among a range of contributors to our understanding of the intricate workings of a system that makes a good deal of sense on its own terms and that has had its ups and downs but, in the end, is still consistently one of the highest achieving educational societies in the world. They have assembled a stellar cast of 16 scholars of Japanese education for this volume: Japanese, American, women and men. All are critical researchers with long histories of engagement with Japan and its educational system. Many of them are provocative, original thinkers whom policy makers would do well to listen to during their deliberations on this key institution for global societies.

The book is divided into four sections, revealing an important agenda for the editors and their authors: progressive education and equality/inequality in a global context. As such, the book can be a mirror for researchers working with other national school systems. This is critical in an era of parochialism and an ever-narrowing trend toward metrics, which threaten to undermine the deeply complex value of comparative education for all of us: the discovery and understanding of how others do education well or badly, the promises and possibilities from other educational efforts as examples for our own educational system, and the question of which ideas and practices might best be adopted or avoided.

A short but hard-hitting volume of 206 pages, the book begins with a dedication to Thomas Rohlen, followed by a foreword by James J. Shields titled “Genesis and Goals,” which touches on Herbert Passin, Isaac Kandel, and John Dewey, all influential early comparative educators, and an eloquent testimonial to a passing of the torch. The first section of the book frames the discussion, as the section title announces, with Gary DeCoker arguing for enduring historical issues in new contexts, and Diane Hoffman speaking in counterpoint for enduring tensions and emerging challenges. DeCoker speaks of five themes that emerged from the work of the team of authors and editors: global interactions, changing societal context, the diminishing role of the Ministry of Education and grassroots change, equity, and minorities. Hoffman brings her anthropological expertise to a series of binary observations on cultural versus structural effects, the individual versus the collective, education for belonging or transformation, and homogeneity/diversity, all reflections of “culture, power, and difference in reading Japanese education” (26).

There have been many descriptions of Japanese education “on-the-ground” over the years, but the three chapters in the second section of the book shed new light on preschools (Akiko Hayashi and Joseph Tobin), school guidance in middle schools (Christopher Bjork and Rebecca Erwin Fukuzawa), and student-teacher relationships in the context of ijime, bullying (Motoko Akiba and Kazuhiko Shimizu). The subtitle of this section alludes to context, change and global perceptions, although I am not sure the last was really covered and wondered about this description.

In the third section of the book, Kaori Okano, Christopher Frey and June Gordon concern themselves with stories that have largely been invisible, at least to mainstream Japanese, North Americans, Europeans, and others. Okano shares observations on ethnic schools, with a larger comment on multiculturalism in Japan. Christopher Frey examines an unusual topic, Ainu schooling, and its relation to what he terms “self-determination and globalization.” June Gordon discusses Japan’s “enduring cultural inequalities” through the lens of the Nikkei, those Brazilians who came to Japan from the 1990s, many of them of ethnic Japanese origin. Gordon draws on a strong research base, which enhances her presentation.

The fourth section, “The Outcome of Educational Reform,” might have been titled in the plural, yet the subtitle, “Evaluating policies introduced to mitigate inequality and expand opportunity,” puts a hopeful gloss on what is certainly read differently by sociologists of Japan, notably in the substantive reviews of Kariya Takehiko. The four authors make a case, as has Kariya in other contexts, for the increase of both inequality and privilege. It is not a pretty picture. Hyunjoon Park and Yeon-Jin Lee argue for the increase of educational inequality, a front-page topic in Japanese media in the 2000s, while Tomoaki Nomi gives us a clearer picture of the relationship of government spending and socioeconomic background to academic achievement in the capital city, Tokyo, where much of what is best and worst about the system appears most clearly. Finally, Ryoko Tsuneyoshi, an incisive commentator on Japan in comparative perspective, caustically evaluates “the advantages and cost of privilege” through the examination system.

The book closes with the remarks of one of the deans of Japanese education, Victor Kobayashi, in his afterword, “Change upon Change: Whither Japan, Whither Japanese Education?” In his closing remarks, Kobayashi provides not only an insightful review of each previous chapter but a thoughtful meditation on the state of Japan following the horrific disasters of 3-11. He ends on a note of hope, emphasizing Japan’s resiliency and how education conserves and advances “the best of world traditions.” A strong text for Japan Studies and Comparative Education classrooms, DeCoker and Bjork’s Japanese Education in an Era of Globalization addresses critical cultural, national and international issues for Japan and indeed for the world.

David Blake Willis, Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, USA
Soai University, Osaka, Japan

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LOST AND FOUND: Recovering Regional Identity in Imperial Japan. Harvard East Asian Monographs, no. 364. By Hiraku Shimoda. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2014. viii, 159 pp. (Illustration, map.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-49201-1.

The cover photograph on the jacket of Lost and Found: Recovering Regional Identity in Imperial Japan is of Tsuruga Castle, headquarters of Aizu domain and daimyō Matsudaira Katamori, soon after the “pro-imperial” forces of Satsuma and Choshu defeated the rebellious domain that stubbornly refused to surrender even after the Tokugawa regime capitulated. Tsuruga Castle was torn down soon afterwards. Ninety years later, a concrete replica of the main structure of the castle was built on the site and serves as a museum to Aizu’s proud warrior tradition. Hiraku Shimoda’s monograph demonstrates that it did not take as long to rebuild, revise and incorporate a replica of Aizu’s historical identity in Japan’s national consciousness.

The connection between Aizu domain and the Tokugawa regime began in the early seventeenth century when Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shogun, appointed his half-brother Hoshina Masayuki as daimyō of Aizu in 1643. Hoshina proved to be a very capable leader of the domain and was later appointed guardian to the youthful shogun Ietsuna upon Iemitsu’s death. When serious difficulties, both internal and foreign, weakened the Tokugawa shogunate in the 1850s and early 1860s, there was little doubt that Matsudaira Katamori and his Aizu warriors would support their ally in the battles against the “pro-imperial” forces led by Choshu, soon to be joined by Satsuma. But when Satsuma, Choshu and their allies defeated the Tokugawa regime and then defeated Aizu in the Boshin War, Matsudaira Katamori and Aizu lost their identity as loyal servants of shogun and became rebels and traitors to the new imperial Meiji government.

Using government documents, memoirs and local histories, Shimoda narrates and analyzes a gradual progression of Aizu leaders convincing officials of the Meiji government to understand and have respect for Aizu, starting with the handling and burial of Aizu’s warriors who died on the field of battle. Aizu warriors and families who were sent to begin an agricultural community in Tonami, which proved to be a disaster and led to many deaths due to starvation and malnutrition, were allowed to return to Aizu. Moreover, Aizu’s people convinced themselves they had fought the Boshin War not against the Emperor and not necessarily for the Tokugawa regime, but for the defense of their lord and their land. They exemplified the loyal and dutiful qualities of Aizuppo, or “sons of Aizu,” combined with the psychic unity of martial valour and historical traditions of “the Aizu spirit.” The tragic and melodramatic story of sixteen, then nineteen teenage boys of the Byakkotai (White Tiger) Brigade committing suicide by seppuku on Mount Iimori during the Boshin War became emblematic of this refashioned “Aizu spirit.” In this way, Aizu revised and recovered its distinct regional identity, while the Meiji government simultaneously sought to incorporate the provinces and domains into one united country of Imperial Japan. Aizu’s recovery and revision of its regional identity and incorporation into the imperial polity was completed even before Matsudaira Katamori’s granddaughter, Setsuko, married Prince Chichibu, Emperor Meiji’s grandson and younger brother of Emperor Showa, in 1928.

Lost and Found: Recovering Regional Identity in Imperial Japan is a well-written and well-researched study of how Aizu, a major “loser” of the overthrow of the Tokugawa regime, recovered its identity and became incorporated into the national polity during the Meiji era. Nevertheless, I believe there are a couple of topics that should have been included in this study. Although the discovery of letters from Emperor Komei (Emperor Meiji’s father) thanking Matsudaira Katamori played a role in Aizu’s incorporation into the national polity, the author could have included more description and analysis of the years Matsudaira and some of his Aizu warriors served as the Tokugawa regime’s handpicked police force in the imperial capital of Kyoto. While Shimoda discusses the issue of proper burial for Aizu’s warriors in Aizu, there is no mention of the Aizu warriors who died at the Battle of Toba-Fushimi and are buried on the grounds of Kurodani Temple in Kyoto. Did the burials of these Aizu (and Kuwana) warriors become an issue that was negotiated by the new Meiji leaders, as did the burials of the warriors who died fighting a few months later in Aizu? Saigo Takamori’s pardon and rehabilitation into the imperial polity after his battles against the new Meiji government in 1876-77 is noted in Lost and Found, but it seems to this reviewer there is more potential comparison and connection to Aizu’s rehabilitation than is indicated in this study. Finally, neither the title nor subtitle of the book indicates that this informative and, again, well-researched study is specifically about Aizu.

Despite the concerns about omissions in the previous paragraph, Hiraku Shimoda’s Lost and Found: Recovering Regional Identity in Imperial Japan is an important study of a major region of Japan that suffered the indignity of being known as “rebellious” with the defeat of the Tokugawa regime, but gradually recovered and revised its identity to fit with the new polity of imperial Japan. Scholars of Meiji-era Japan will find Lost and Found especially useful, while scholars of regional and national identity formation will find this to be a valuable case study.

John E. Van Sant, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, USA

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CAPTURING CONTEMPORARY JAPAN: Differentiation and Uncertainty. Edited by Satsuki Kawano, Glenda S. Roberts, Susan Orpett Long. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2014. viii, 360 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-8248-3869-0.

“Capturing Contemporary Japan” consists of thirteen papers by prominent anthropologists of Japan. While fully “capturing” any contemporary society as a whole may be an improbable task, the volume comes close by offering a range of distinct ethnographic studies of contemporary life. The volume wrestles with the social ramifications of a host of destabilizing forces that Japan encountered as it entered the new millennium. Some of these dynamics include a slow recovery from the economic recession in the 1990s, the Lehman shock of 2008, the triple disaster in 2011, growing economic inequalities, a restructured labour market, and demographic decline. The editors suggest that these influences have had the effect of creating “differentiation” and “uncertainty.” They have organized the chapters into a remarkably coherent narrative that speaks to many of the key challenges facing the nation.

The volume has five sections. The first part has two articles that explore long-term changes. In the first, Glenda Roberts presents an extended case study of a blue-collar family’s working experiences over three decades. She contrasts the experiences of the parents, who benefitted by coming of age in a period of strong economic growth, with the challenges their children face in seeking financial independence. The second chapter, by Gordon Matthews, investigates how masculinities have transformed through the experiences of a group of middle-aged and retired men. Men who once fulfilled their gender roles by contributing financially to their families now feel pressure to contribute emotionally, in part because they have lost their sole breadwinner role as their primary means of constructing their identities within the family.

The second section consists of three articles that focus on the conditions and experiences of work in the 2000s. Sawa Kurotani provides a chapter describing some of the pressures on full-time female workers who entered the workforce during the bubble economy. Nancy Rosenberger addresses alternative lifestyles through organic farmers. Gavin Hamilton Whitelaw delves into the challenges convenience-store franchise owners face in relation to waste and low profit margins.

The third section investigates roles and identities that have received minimal attention in Japan. Lynne Nakano recounts how single women adapt to the pressures of competing in marriage and employment markets. Susan Orpett Long examines how the meaning of grandchildren has changed for grandparents, given longer lifespans and lower birthrates. Karen Nakamura’s article draws attention to public debates and different forms of advocacy around the recognition of the sexual rights of the disabled.

The fourth section provides two examples of the reinforcement of social ties. Satsuki Kawano offers a study of children’s drop-in play centres in Tokyo as a space for mothers with small children to build relationships and share information with other women in their urban neighbourhoods. Laura Miller studies the popularity of the divination arts among schoolgirls and women as a means of both entertainment and social bonding.

The fifth section surveys some enduring patterns that have persisted despite pressures to transform. Peter Cave addresses efforts to reform public education over the last quarter century as a means to enhance “internationalization” and foster autonomous and creative learning. Joshua Hotaka Roth scrutinizes the enduring gender discrepancies evident in the marketing and consumption practices of small compact “K-cars” aimed at women drivers. Satsuki Kawano investigates changing mortuary customs.

Each anthropologist included in the volume provides a solid ethnographic study, taking the reader into a wide variety of contemporary areas of Japanese life. They all situate their individual studies vis-à-vis the anthropology of Japan and the more broadly defined area of Japanese Studies. Each highlights how historical, social and cultural influences intersect within their field sites. Japan specialists will find this volume rich in ethnographic depth and detail.

If the volume has a deficiency, it’s that it lacks anchoring in broader theoretical debates animating the field of anthropology at large. The subtitle refers to“differentiation” and “uncertainty”: these two terms pervade the volume and accurately capture the mood of contemporary Japan, providing an effective through line for the volume. But they are more descriptive than theoretical, here. Non-Japan specialists will lack a shared theoretical language with which to engage with the book.

Nonetheless, the volume is an excellence resource and significant contribution to the anthropology of Japan. I am using the collection in my undergraduate seminar in Japanese society with great success. Instructors might assign chapters individually in conjunction with any number of thematic topics to undergraduate and graduate-level students. In fact, the editors provide a list of key terms for each chapter for precisely this purpose (19-20). Instructors will find the collection’s broad selection of fresh ethnographic examples particularly valuable for courses on contemporary Japanese society and culture. Moreover, the ethnographic depth of each chapter will certainly spark lively debate and discussion among more senior graduate students and scholars as we all grapple with how best to interpret and explain the differentiation and uncertainty we all encounter in our own research.

Robin O’Day, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan

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MOBILE SUBJECTS: Boundaries and Identities in the Modern Korean Diaspora. Korean Research Monograph, 36. Edited by Wen-hsin Yeh. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 2013. 231 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$25.00, paper. ISBN 978-1-55729-104-2

The research articles published in Mobile Subjects present historically grounded and theoretically sophisticated accounts of transnational mobility in modern Korea over the long twentieth century. This collection demonstrates how Korean encounters with people, laws and institutions of other nations within and beyond the Korean Peninsula shaped modern ideas of nation and identity. While recognizing the centrality of discourses of Korean ethnic nationalism, the essays detail how ideas of national belonging have been shaped and contested in the context of movement, migration and hierarchies of power between nations. The forces of global capitalism and the managerial state are ever present in detailed accounts of Koreans negotiating Japanese colonialism, maneuvering within United States occupation, and migrating to China for economic opportunities. Koreans are presented as central agents in the radical changes that transformed the nation through accounts that reveal the strategic and at times contradictory actions that took place in borderlands of language, ideology and behaviour.

Koreans were “the most mobile subjects in East Asia” at the beginning of the twentieth century (4) notes editor Wen-hsin Yeh. Yeh situates Korean mobility within the context of modern foreign encounters and the construction of a powerful territorial ideology of ethnic nationalism based on the myth that the Korean Peninsula was the place of origin and natural homeland for a homogenous race of people. While many scholars have examined the strategic uses of territoriality, the essays in this volume foreground the processes of cultural interaction, dislocation and dispossession as critically important to understanding the actual experiences of Koreans and to shaping understandings of the modern nation. The text sets itself apart from other collections on the Korean diaspora by refusing to define diaspora against nation as a solid reference point, but rather demonstrates how Korean modernity itself has been shaped by experiences of transnational movement and foreign encounter.

The individual research articles focus on migrations and engagements between Korea and China, Japan and the United States. The chapters regarding relations with China are primarily concerned with the Korean economic migration within the Sino-Korean border region. Kwangmin Kim’s chapter on Korean migration to Manchuria in the nineteenth century offers a rich account of the negotiated, contentious and shifting relationship between Korean agricultural labourers with local and regional Chinese officials. While Kim’s work focuses on the political contexts that enabled Korean labourers to eventually settle on a long-term basis, Yishi Liu traces the lives of Korean workers in the Yanbian region and their position vis-à-vis the Chinese state through detailed analyses of Korean vernacular architecture. Liu’s descriptions span over a century of vernacular architecture detailing how Korean homes in the region reveal the lifestyles and the status of the Korean population. The border region received a great number of North Korean economic refugees after the fall of the Soviet Union and a series of natural disasters. While many predicted that the regime would fall given its economic collapse and the subsequent mass emigration, Ivo Pilsek explains that the government retained its power through the crisis as refugees functioned as a kind of safety valve for the regime.

Rather than focus strictly on experiences of colonial displacement and dispossession, the essays on Korean experiences of Japanese colonialism highlight the contradictory and differential experiences shaped within colonial institutions and ideologies. As Yeh states, the essays “draw attention to disparities in the hierarchical spatial positions of Korea in nationalistic and colonial discourses” (6). In an essay on Japan’s lucrative opium economy, Miriam Kingsburg details the role of Koreans in distributing and selling opium to Chinese people in Manchuria. Koreans acted as imperial agents who enabled Japanese authorities to avoid the cultural contamination associated with Chinese opium users while enriching themselves through their presumed racial proximity to the Japanese. On the Korean Peninsula, the institution of Japanese family law radically altered the legal interpretations of household claims to inheritance, creating new opportunities for women to claim their rights to divorce and inheritance. Sungyun Lim notes that the figure of the “moving woman” who left her married family to selfishly pursue her own desires became a symbol of anxieties around changing family dynamics and the increased power of some women.

Taejin Hwang and Jane Cho bring rich archival detail to accounts of the United States occupation, revealing how the presence of the United States in Korea shaped Korean institutions, cultural practices and ideologies. Hwang presents American military camptowns as “‘borderlands’ between two sovereign states” that shaped South Korean modernity in the postwar era of the 1950s and 1960s (88). The essay details the essential role of camptowns in shaping economic policy, domestic laws, foreign policy and immigration patterns between South Korea and the United States. Cho focuses on how study abroad in the United States defined an elite class by tracking the institutional and ideological support for such studies. In the postwar years, cultural discourses considered an American education the pinnacle of academic achievement and praised those who succeeded in obtaining advanced degrees in the United States as national heroes.

This collection operates as a source book for those looking to engage in research on cross-border movements, colonial modernities and diaspora in Korea and the Northeast Asian region. As the product of a multi-year project at the University of California Berkeley, this volume demonstrates the generative potential of intensive and extended engagement on a central research question. The essays present a number of approaches to the question of mobility and offer important methodological insights into effective inter-disciplinary engagement. Given the quality of original research presented in this volume, it is clear that the authors will have a lasting impact in the field of Korean Studies.

Rachael M. Joo, Middlebury College, Middlebury, USA

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MEIJI RESTORATION LOSERS: Memory and Tokugawa Supporters in Modern Japan. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 358. By Michael Wert. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2013. viii, 225 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-72670-3.

In his 1951 farewell address to Congress, Douglas MacArthur famously remarked that “old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” As Michael Wert’s Meiji Restoration Losers: Memory and Tokugawa Supporters in Modern Japan shows, the same could not be said of many of the men who fought on the side of the doomed Tokugawa shogunate during the 1868 Meiji Restoration. Like Oguri Tadamasa, the shogunal official at the centre of this study, many Tokugawa loyalists both died—often quite brutally—and faded from popular attention. Whether and on what terms the resurrection of their memories took place often depended on the interplay of politics, historical writing and local activism particular to each case.

Wert’s book follows the narrative fortunes of “Meiji Restoration losers” from the earliest accounts of the Restoration, written in the 1870s, through to twenty-first-century manga. Although Wert touches upon the tumultuous legacies of several of the erstwhile villains of Bakumatsu history, including Ii Naosuke, the Shinsengumi and the northeastern domain of Aizu, the primary focus of this study is the “tortured posthumous history” (1) of Oguri. By choosing a lesser-known figure than Katsu Kaishū or Ii Naosuke, Wert is able to turn Oguri’s relative obscurity into an advantage by using him as the point of entry for a new appraisal of the commemoration of the Meiji Restoration.

Meiji Restoration Losers argues that “local commemorative efforts by memory activists have, over time, changed regional … and national interpretations of the Meiji Restoration” (4). Wert is not merely aiming at the reclamation of a particular silenced memory, but rather at the middle ground of memory, where national narratives and local efforts to commemorate the past shape one another. The analysis is carefully grounded in both scholarship on the Restoration era as well as the wider scholarly literature on memory studies. Wert’s treatment of his primary sources is also impressive, drawing on a wide range of materials that includes documentary sources, histories and biographies, local publications and popular media. His close readings of both the historical and fictionalized narratives of Oguri’s life—such as Ibuse Masuji’s The Priest of Fumon’in Temple (114-118)—are among the book’s highlights.

Wert’s first chapter provides historical background on Oguri’s life, with two main aims: to underline the moments in his career that became reference points for later commentators; and to elucidate Oguri’s relationship with the villagers on his lands, some of whom—inhabitants of Gonda village and their descendants—would go on to become the memory activists behind efforts to rehabilitate his legacy. Chapter 2 explores the treatment of Oguri in the years immediately following the Restoration. Here, Wert focuses on two levels of memory: the national historical discourse, in which critics of the new regime challenged official narratives of the Restoration that painted Oguri as a villain; and in rural Gunma, where Oguri existed primarily in the realm of rumour, and not at all as an object of veneration. The next chapter, which examines commemorations of Oguri between the 1890s and 1940s, is the strongest in the book. Here, Wert shows how efforts to rehabilitate Oguri and other Tokugawa loyalists (particularly Ii Naosuke) required the coordination of a variety of actors. He focuses his analysis on two commemorations: the erection of a bust of Oguri at the Yokosuka Naval Yard—which he had helped build—and the ultimately failed effort to elevate Oguri to court rank. Both of these efforts involved the combined intervention of local activists, local and national politicians, and senior military officers. It is in the detailed accounts of these initiatives that one gets the clearest sense of Wert’s argument in action. Chapter 4 shows how the changed political environment of postwar Japan created new possibilities for the makers of memory to shape narratives of the Meiji Restoration. Here, Wert’s analysis of Marxist historiography, historical fiction (especially the novels of Shiba Ryōtarō), and period films (jidaigeki) is of tremendous value in understanding the roots of many enduring popular narratives of the Restoration era. The final chapter focuses on Oguri’s modest apotheosis in the Heisei (1989–present) era, when he and other Tokugawa loyalists gained a measure of rehabilitation.

Meiji Restoration Losers achieves its aim of revealing the complex processes of commemoration behind the enduring narratives of the Restoration era. Wert makes good use of his primary sources and his analysis is firmly grounded in the relevant scholarship. One minor shortcoming stems from Wert’s decision to structure his analysis around Oguri and incorporate the cases of other Tokugawa loyalists—such as Ii, the Shinsengumi, and the warriors of Aizu—in supplementary fashion. Although this scalpel-sharp focus on a single figure leads to penetrating insights into the way that the processes of commemoration work on the ground, a more sustained treatment of the other “losers” might have given readers a better sense of whether the trajectory of Oguri’s legacy was representative or exceptional. But this rather minor issue does nothing to detract from an otherwise excellent book. Meiji Restoration Losers is essential reading for historians of the Bakumatsu or Restoration eras, and highly recommended for any scholars with an interest in modern Japanese historiography.

D. Colin Jaundrill, Providence College, Providence, USA

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THE GREAT KANTŌ EARTHQUAKE AND THE CHIMERA OF NATIONAL RECONSTRUCTION IN JAPAN. Contemporary Asia in the World. By J. Charles Schencking. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. xxii, 374 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16218-0.

Do putatively natural catastrophes, like the 2011 tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan or the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923, possess the power to spur a fundamental transformation of the societies that experience them? Or do disasters simply reveal–without necessarily altering–the underlying structures of these affected communities? These are overarching questions raised by Charles Schencking’s new book about the 1923 earthquake and the discourses it activated. The Great Kantō Earthquake, which claimed six times as many lives as 3.11 and struck the very heart of a nation, was at the time accorded the status of a civilization up-ending, epoch-making event. Attempting to engage with the fractured terrain of interwar Japan without grappling with this singular seismic calamity might be likened to discussing Europe in the same period but not mentioning the Great War. Yet, it seems that the Kantō quake is only now receiving the sustained critical attention outside of Japan that it deserves, in the form of groundbreaking work including Gennifer Weisenfeld’s recent Imaging Disaster: Tokyo and the Visual Culture of Japan’s Great Earthquake of 1923 (University of California Press, 2012) and Alex Bates’ forthcoming The Culture of the Quake: The Great Kantō Earthquake and Taishō Japan (University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies Press, 2015). Remarkably, Schencking’s study represents the first comprehensive, monograph-length historical examination of the Great Kantō Earthquake and post-quake reconstruction in English. This is an important and necessary book that was well worth the wait.

A central theme of Schencking’s book is that while the earthquake and fires of September 1923 were unquestionably calamitous for the region and its inhabitants, the Great Kantō Earthquake first had to be constructed (interpreted, packaged and communicated) as a national catastrophe and turning point, through the mediated process of imbuing the event with meaning and making it serve grander national purposes. The key players in this process were those political, bureaucratic and cultural elites whom the author dubs “disaster opportunists” (7), who saw the earthquake as a “golden opportunity” to rebuild a truly modern Tokyo and reconstruct the nation according to their preferred visions. Despite their high hopes that the earthquake could serve as an animating force to unite the country and compel the people to change suspect social behaviours, however, Schencking emphasizes that progress toward physical reconstruction and spiritual regeneration was limited by contestation and resistance among elites with competing visions and from a populace hoping to quickly return to pre-quake normalcy.

Yet, before prescriptions for the physical and moral reconstruction of the nation, there was the cataclysm itself. The author begins by synthesizing an extraordinarily vivid and compelling account of the earthquake and fires, which shifts smoothly between bird’s-eye overview of the disaster, complete with hard numbers for casualties and damages, and street-level views of “hell on earth,” reflecting the lived, human experience of those days. Although focused primarily on elite perspectives on the earthquake and aftermath, in documenting how the event was experienced and constructed Schencking assembles a veritable orchestra of disparate voices including government officials, religious leaders, novelists and pop song writers, progressive social reformers, and the ordinary residents affected by the disaster and land readjustment. Horror and mourning quickly gave way to opportunism-tinged optimism for the future that would be built atop the rubble, but what is truly striking is how many of Schencking’s earthquake commentators found common ground in identifying a pernicious rot at the heart of Japanese modernity. Reflections on the disaster can read like a catalogue of largely negative national self-images: the Japanese people are varyingly characterized by commentators as undisciplined, easily panicked (a “national defect” exposed by the murderous, rumour-driven Korean panic of early September), weak, corrupt, materialistic and hedonistic. It may be surprising that the earthquake inspired so few of the kind of comforting affirmations of national strength and resilience seen after 3.11, but the author suggests that “the seismic waves of destruction amplified the sense of anxiety, foreboding, and dislocation” (11) that long predated the quake. Anxieties about the national condition come through most powerfully in the chapter “Admonishment,” which examines the emerging consensus among both religious and non-religious observers that the disaster was “divine punishment” sent as a moral wake-up call for the people to change their decadent ways. Schencking teases out the divide between ideologues who selectively argued that the root sin of 1920s Japan was greed and materialism—and looked approvingly to the destruction of the high-class Ginza neighbourhood as proof—and those who insisted that the problem was the hedonism and frivolity embodied by the decimated Asakusa entertainment district. What might be missing from this discussion are the perspectives of interlocutors who, like satirist Miyatake Gaikotsu, contested the heavenly punishment rhetoric entirely as insulting to the tragedy’s actual victims, or even voices willing to speak in defense of “hedonism.”

One of this book’s key points of interest is the fraught saga of Tokyo’s reconstruction, from 1923 to 1930. Schencking demonstrates how former colonial official Gotō Shinpei’s grandiose and expensive plans to remake the capital along authoritarian high modernist lines were pared down to practical size through the fractious process of determining the national budget. It is significant that the first serious challenges to the very premise that the earthquake represented a “national” (rather than merely regional) disaster emerged amidst competition for finite resources that would demand actual sacrifice. Other cabinet ministers and Imperial Diet representatives were quick to remind the earthquake opportunists that there was more to the nation than its capital—and sectors such as rural Japan and the military also required resources and attention. Earthquake visionaries may, as the author suggests, have been “blinded by desolation” (184-86) to see a blank slate upon which they could project their dreams, where in fact there remained deeply rooted, very local constellations of interests and behaviours resisting radical change. In the end, the transformations attributable to the disaster were modest. Overall, this meticulously researched monograph not only provides a rare picture of how Taishō Japan worked and saw itself, but also casts a sobering light on contemporary expectations that 3.11 will necessarily transform Japan into a stronger, greener and denuclearized country.

Andre Haag, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA

ASSIMILATING SEOUL: Japanese Rule and the Politics of Public Space in Colonial Korea, 1910-1945. Asia Pacific Modern, 12. By Todd A. Henry. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014. xviii, 299 pp. (Figures.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-520-27655-0.

Assimilating Seoul is an example of what Prasenjit Duara called “rescuing history from the nation.” Instead of the commonplace story of Korea under Japanese colonialism—the original annexation, the cruelties of military rule, the 1919 uprising, and the emergence of the Korean left and right—Todd Henry gives us a cityscape full of interactions between residents of neighbourhoods, varieties of acceptance of Japanese influence, and arenas in which ambitious Japanese programs met, and were altered by, Korean resistance. What emerges is a detailed study of Korean and Japanese identity and adaptability in the colonial setting between 1910 and 1945, followed by an insightful epilogue about the long-term influence of the experience on the city and its people ever since.

In Assimilating Seoul, Henry offers studies of different types of engagement: spiritual, civic, and material. He discusses “contact zones,” areas of the city where Koreans and Japanese mixed and affected each other. Always in the background is the hypocrisy of the Japanese intention to assimilate Koreans by declaring them Japanese subjects without ever actually allowing them status as full citizens. Their program in Seoul enables Henry to show how this was done in civic life: for example, via the conversion of Korean palaces into public spaces—a zoo, assorted museums, exhibition halls and fairgrounds—and the invitation to Koreans to interact with Japanese spirits at Shintō shrines.

The effects of Japan’s geographical reorganization of Seoul—the major streets, the imposing new buildings, the transportation system and much else—remain visible today. They were permanent changes, and Henry’s epilogue will delight anyone familiar with what has happened, for example, to the Kyŏngbok Palace, City Hall and the main railroad station. It is still visible in Seoul’s “north-town” (Pukch’on, the district housing Korea’s former elites) and the still-extant landmarks of what once was Japantown (around Honmachi, now renamed Ch’ungmuro), Koganemachi (Ŭlchiro), Meijimachi (Myŏngdong), and Nandaimondori (now the Bank of Korea and Shinsegye, originally the Mitsukoshi Department Store). Beginning with the Japanese planners, the main north-south avenue was widened and straightened from the colonial headquarters/Kyŏngbok Palace all the way past City Hall, South Gate, and up to the Korea Shrine, the headquarters of Japanese spirituality in Korea. This avenue has been enlarged many times and now encompasses a space reminiscent of Tiananmen Square or the Washington Mall. In this way the Japanese purpose of creating great spaces for civic engagement continues as a goal of successive South Korean governments.

Though the details in Assimilating Seoul are fascinating for anyone who knows the city, Todd Henry is interested in mapping the overlapping lives of Koreans and Japanese. He emphasizes the role of Japanese settlers, a population easily neglected in favour of studies about the Japanese regime. Many common Japanese were living in Korea before it became a colony in 1910, and the character of Seoul was much affected by their conflicts and accommodations with Koreans at all levels of colonial society, in markets, schools, the police force, neighbourhoods and even intermarriages.

One of Henry’s major discussions is of Shintō in Korea, namely the construction of the Korea Shrine (Chōsen Jinja) on the slope of Namsan (South Mountain) in 1925. This was a symbol of state Shintō across the city’s central valley from the massive Government-General building, the colonial headquarters occupying the front precincts of the Kyŏngbok Palace. Since 1898 there had been a smaller “Seoul Shrine” for the use of Japanese residents. The opening of the “Korea Shrine” on higher ground created a controversy within the Japanese resident community, since its purpose was to bring in and include Koreans who, as imperial subjects, were now meant to worship there. Analyses of the critical problem of Shintō in Korea have always turned on how it affected Koreans and on the distinction between “sect Shintō,” which was religious, and “state Shintō.” The colonial authorities tried to sell Koreans on the idea that paying respects at Shintō shrines was a civil, not religious, rite: a civic duty. Henry’s point is an interesting one: that Japanese in Korea themselves were conflicted about whether Koreans belonged, or could possibly participate in, Shintō. His chapter on this problem is an important addition to our understanding of the shrine controversy as a political problem in the colony.

The epilogue brings the Shintō problem forward into the postwar era by detailing the near-instantaneous disestablishment of the Seoul and Korea Shrines by both Japanese (seeking to remove them before they could be desecrated by Koreans) and Koreans who then tried to re-sacralize their locations by erecting statues of patriotic Korean figures including An Chung-gŭn and even Syngman Rhee. The main shrine buildings on Namsan, for example, were used by Presbyterians for their theological seminary in the 1950s, and there were massive outdoor Easter sunrise services on the site for several years.

Civic reorganization of Koreans by Japanese included public health measures aimed at reducing the amount of disease rampant in Seoul’s back alleyways and neighbourhoods. Henry refers to the myriad narrow passages that still honeycomb the blocks of the old central city of Seoul as “capillaries,” noting the failure of Japanese efforts to develop the city in the inner neighbourhoods. Hygiene was a laudable goal for the regime as it tried to “civilize” the Koreans. However, apart from the force majeure employed by the government to appropriate private land as it cut fine new thoroughfares through Seoul’s huge city blocks, the effects of Japanese planning were scarcely felt in the back alleys.

Todd Henry’s Assimilating Seoul will be required reading for anyone studying the Japanese colonial period in Korea, for scholars of colonialism in general, and for students wanting to look beyond purely nationalist narratives for understandings of the past.

Donald N. Clark, Trinity University, San Antonio, USA

EMBRACING DIFFERENCES: Transnational Cultural Flows between Japan and the United States. Culture & Theory. By Iris-Aya Laemmerhirt. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag; New York: Columbia University Press [distributor], 2013. 261 pp. US$50.00, paper. ISBN 978-3-8376-2600-1.

On January 5, 2015, the American film production company DreamWorks announced that it had cast Scarlett Johansson in the leading role of a live-action blockbuster adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. The movie is slated for release in 2017. Ghost in the Shell, a globally recognized multimedia franchise originating with a Japanese manga series of the same name by Masamune Shirow, focuses on the action-packed adventures of Motoko Kusanagi, cyborg member of a counterterrorist government agency in a futuristic, alternate-universe Japan. Although rumours of a Hollywood remake have been circulating since 2008, the revelation that a white, fair-haired American woman would be playing the part of a notionally Japanese-ethnic protagonist was, unsurprisingly, controversial. Indeed, it could easily be taken as but the latest in a long history of complicated—and potentially troubling—transnational cultural flows between Japan and the United States.

Enter Iris-Aya Laemmerhirt, currently a lecturer in American Studies and British Studies at Technische Universität Dortmund in Germany. According to her university’s staff profile, she is interested in researching literary and popular culture and transnational cultural flows between Japan and the United States and Japan and Germany. Embracing Differences: Transnational Cultural Flows between Japan and the United States is her first monograph, based upon a PhD thesis completed in 2008 at Ruhr-Universität Bochum and published, in English, by the German academic press Transcript Verlag in 2013.

In Embracing Differences, Laemmerhirt challenges the view that cases such as Scarlett Johansson’s forthcoming star turn as Ghost in the Shell’s Motoko Kusanagi ought to be interpreted as the latest example of American cultural imperialism and argues instead for a more measured, transnational approach: “while globalizing processes may lead to the availability of cultural products outside their original national spheres, a homogenization of cultures is not necessarily implied by these processes. Instead differences can be emphasized and/or goods can be localized in their new surroundings and through these processes new versions of an original are developed” (29-30). Furthermore, she writes, “different cultures should be granted agency in the way they deal with cultural imports” (30). In other words, cultural export does not necessarily imply cultural power of, or domination by, the sending country, and ultimately, consumers have the authority to accept, reject or demand modification of cultural goods.

Drawing upon anthropologist Arjun Appadurai’s theory of “scapes” in Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (University of Minnesota Press, 1996), the book analyzes cultural flows between Japan and the United States across the fantasyscape, the foodscape and the mediascape. After an overview chapter of the history of cultural contact and exchange between the two countries, one chapter is devoted to case studies for each of these scapes in turn. The first is a cultural analysis of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea; the second explores the development and popularization of sushi in America. The third and final empirical chapter provides close readings of three recent Hollywood films set in Japan, The Last Samurai, Lost in Translation and Letters from Iwo Jima.

As implied by the range of cultural content analyzed, the great strength of this book is its thoroughness and breadth. One of the requirements of any PhD is to demonstrate mastery of previously published literature in one’s field of expertise, and Embracing Differences provides an excellent overview of relevant theoretical frameworks related to cultural imperialism, Orientalism, globalization and hybridity, along with careful, exhaustive reviews of the literature on Japanese-US cultural exchange, particularly as these relate to Disney products, food and film. I was particularly impressed by the chapter on Disney in Japan; in the acknowledgements Laemmerhirt confesses to dragging her Japanese aunts on numerous occasions to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, and this extensive fieldwork shows in the vivid richness of her description of the parks.

Unfortunately, this impressive descriptive detail is not paired with any new major finding or theoretical contribution. The book’s method is to read culture and its attendant practices as if it were a text, but it would be a logical fallacy for researchers to infer from their own personal cultural readings about the lived meanings and practices collectively experienced by others. Arguing against the durable power of cultural producers and for the authority and autonomy of cultural consumers cannot work without studying the people themselves, and that this book does not do. The overarching thesis is not, therefore, particularly convincing. After all, just because a Japanese person eats at McDonalds does not mean that people who choose to eat there have complete freedom to choose any one cuisine over another; sometimes McDonalds may just be the least-worst option.

In sum, then, Embracing Differences cannot be considered a particularly good research monograph. It is, however, a superb introductory textbook to its subject, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to undergraduate students and any other scholars seeking a comprehensive overview of the considerable body of literature on transnational cultural flows between the United States and Japan.

Casey Brienza, City University London, London, United Kingdom

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NORTH KOREA-US RELATIONS UNDER KIM JONG II: The Quest for Normalization? By Ramon Pacheco Pardo. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. ix, 162 pp. (Tables.) US$140.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-75039-4.

North Korea remains somewhat of an enigma in international relations, and observers of its foreign policy often try to make sense of its decision-making process. Some view North Korea’s foreign policy making as a mystery, in which Pyongyang’s motivations are inscrutable and its behaviour unpredictable. Others argue that North Korea’s foreign policy is in fact guided by rationality and its actions are geared towards achieving specific objectives that the regime deems important for its survival. While these two perspectives are not mutually exclusive, North Korea-US Relations under Kim Jong Il could arguably fall within the category of the latter group. Using organizational learning theory, author Ramon Pacheco Pardo provides a fresh perspective and a comprehensive account of North Korea’s considerations in its bargaining with the United States under the leadership of Kim Jong Il. This time period spans the US administrations of presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and the first term of Barack Obama.

Pardo establishes the context for his study succinctly in the first chapter. Despite being a nuclear state and possessing one of the biggest armies in the world, North Korea is justifiably a weak power—in both military and economic terms—when compared to its Northeast Asian neighbours and the United States. Given North Korea’s status as a weak state, Pardo identifies three tactics it could use in bargaining with stronger powers: alignment, brinkmanship and participation in international regimes. North Korea selects its tactics based on its learning, which Pardo (7-8) defines as “an active process whereby an actor analyzes its experiences and reconceptualizes its understanding of the world accordingly.” He addresses two types of learning in the book: simple and complex. The former reflects no change in the state’s goals, but an adjustment of the tactics used to achieve the goals. The latter, on the other hand, indicates changes in both the goals and tactics of the state.

North Korea’s fundamental objective in its relations with the United States is to normalize bilateral ties. Pardo highlights that this goal has generally remained constant under the Kim regime, with North Korea adjusting its bargaining tactics based on its understanding of international developments, its past experiences, as well as the actions of other states. Pyongyang’s simple learning is reflected in its decisions on whether or not to align with its Northeast Asian neighbours; whether or not to carry out brinkmanship; and whether or not to participate in international regimes such as the Agreed Framework, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the Six-Party Talks. Following its nuclear test in October 2006, however, North Korea turned its attention to interim goals such as peaceful coexistence with the United States and, subsequently, the conclusion of a peace treaty and the possession of a nuclear deterrent against the United States. The emergence of such interim goals and the consequent change in tactics, Pardo contends, are proof of Pyongyang’s complex learning.

The book’s structure helps to reinforce the clarity of Pardo’s argument. The discussion is organized according to consecutive time periods, in which the start/end point of each time period is marked by a significant event in North Korea-US relations. Within each section, Pardo assesses Pyongyang’s objective(s) and examines in relative detail its employment of the three tactics mentioned above. Overall, Pardo has presented a convincing argument. It is indeed conceivable that North Korea’s bargaining with the United States is affected by what it has learnt from past experiences, and Pardo presents credible evidence for his case.

Two clarifications might help to enhance the book’s strengths. First, in discussing North Korea’s brinkmanship during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, Pardo on occasion mentions different types of brinkmanship, such as verbal, diplomatic or nuclear. At least one account of verbal brinkmanship was considered by the author \ “routine” (115) and thus of little importance in the study of North Korea’s foreign policy. It would be good if these different types of brinkmanship and their significance had been briefly explained at the beginning of the book. This would help readers to understand what Pardo considers brinkmanship by North Korea, as well as which types he views as significant for North Korea-US relations. Second, Pardo identifies two instances where North Korea failed to learn from experience—from January 2001 to March 2003, and from January to May 2009—resulting in its employment of unsuitable tactics. In both cases, North Korea’s learning was said to be limited by the leadership’s “cognitive structures” and “competency traps” (122). However, it could also be argued that in these two instances North Korea was acting in a way that reflected learning from past experience—for example, its brinkmanship in late 2002/early 2003 could be due to the fact that past brinkmanship had eventually led to engagement with the United States. Perhaps, then, one could consider the distinction between the intentions and outcomes of the bargaining tactics.

Nevertheless, the book undoubtedly makes an important contribution to the literature on North Korea-US relations. Pardo’s utilization of organizational learning theory offers a unique analytical lens through which to understand Pyongyang’s foreign policy making with regard to the United States. Significantly, the book has helped to shed light on the considerations of North Korea in its bargaining with the United States. The book’s rich content and the insights it provides into the North Korean and American decision-making processes makes it valuable to anyone seeking to understand the drivers in North Korea-US relations during Kim Jong Il’s leadership. Pardo’s approach could also suggest useful implications for North Korea’s policy towards the United States following Kim’s passing. Ultimately, North Korea wants to normalize bilateral diplomatic relations. It remains to be seen if Kim’s successor, Kim Jong Un, will be able to achieve this goal.

Sarah Teo, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

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DMZ CROSSING: Performing Emotional Citizenship Along the Korean Border. By Suk-Young Kim. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. xiv, 205 pp. (Figures.) US$50.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-231-16482-5.

The Korean demilitarized zone is one of the most heavily armed borders in the world and the most well-known vestige of a war that never officially ended. Despite this (hyper)visibility, as well as a number of popular explorations of its status as a “dangerous” tourist destination and “accidental paradise” teeming with rare species, the DMZ has largely evaded a focused and comprehensive scholarly inquiry. When mentioned, the Korean borderland is usually reduced to a dramatic hook for historical or political investigations of the peninsula that it divides, as if the DMZ were not a dynamic microcosm of these same historical and political forces. Indeed, these blurbs reinforce the popular Cold War imaginary of the DMZ as an impassable borderland frozen in time, obscuring the DMZ’s complexity as a fluid, permeable and multifaceted border that not only exists in its designated location near the thirty-eighth parallel, but also extends into the hearts, minds and bodies of both Koreas as an interpellative force. This idea of the DMZ as both a contained physical space and an uncontainable imaginary lies at the centre of Suk-Youg Kim’s necessary, illuminating and moving interdisciplinary book, DMZ Crossing: Performing Emotional Citizenship Along the Korean Border. By reframing the DMZ as a discursive constellation of separations, reunions, prohibitions, longings, warnings, remembrances, erasures, pain, pleasure, boundary-making and boundary-undoing, Kim expands and deepens the significance of what it means to cross a border that is not meant to be crossed.

Kim, a professor of theater and East Asian studies at the UC Santa Barbara and a noted expert on North Korean cultural production, draws on an impressive range of sources from both Koreas, including documentary and narrative films, theatrical productions, and museum exhibitions to trace the ideological heft, mis/alignments, and effects of such mis/alignments in the crosser and audiences for the crossing. What these multiple border-crossings produce, suggests Kim in her introduction, is “an alternative type of citizenship based on emotional affiliation rather than a constitutional delineation” (4), or “emotional citizenship.” As a transgressive and intimate form of belonging, emotional citizenship “resists the state’s conventional right to define citizenship”—significant since both states have long mobilized their respective citizens’ bodies and emotions to see each other as a perpetual enemy—by articulating an unwieldy and embodied affective grammar. Thus, emotional citizenship carries the potential to dislodge Cold War ideological conditioning and foster shared, rather than segregated, historical and cultural affinities.

Indeed, Kim’s close reading of cultural productions seems to follow a kind of methodology of reunification, of “sameness and difference” (3). Kim threads these principles throughout the following chapters, often comparing cultural productions of the same genre from both Koreas, and noting differences in context and content while emphasizing their similar emotional registers. For example, in the first chapter, Kim offers a close reading of two plays written in 1958—Thus Flows the Han River by South Korean playwright Yu Chi-jin and Ten Years by North Korean playwright Sin Go-song—that stresses the ways in which both plays, despite the oppositional ideological contexts of their emergence, stage similar feelings of danger and frustration of crossing, or the inability to cross, physical and imaginary borders. The second chapter compares two feature films—South Korea’s The DMZ (1965) and North Korea’s The Fates of Geumhui and Eunhui (1975)—in which Kim emphasizes their shared narrative trajectory of familial sameness over a warring difference. The third chapter compares two documentaries, North Korea’s Hail to Lim Su-kyung, the Flower of Unification (1989) and South Korea’s Repatriation (2003). In the former, Kim offers a sharp gendered analysis of the ways in which the documentary, through its elevation of South Korean college student Lim Su-kyung to the status of a revolutionary hero for daring to cross into the North, rendered visible both her Christian identity and her “uninhibited” gender presentation that countered dominant North Korean notions of the ideal body. In the latter, Kim notes the film’s humble tone and first-person perspective of the director, creating an intimate relationship of kinship between himself and the viewer, and between himself and his subjects—long-time unconverted North Korean political prisoners. The fourth chapter compares the 2010 DMZ Special Exhibition at the Korean War Memorial in Seoul and the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang. Kim argues that both employ new technologies of seeing that enhance performative embodiments of memory that forge an emotional affiliation with objects on display, and thus, a transcendent kinesthetic empathy. The last chapter focuses on the odd co-existence of recreational activities, consumptive practices and indelible reminders of national trauma at Imjingak Pavilion Peace Park. Kim convincingly argues that leisure, pleasure and consumption can be understood as meaningful emotional transactions that index a history of loss within a space of limited mobility and seeing.

While impressive in its interdisciplinary acumen, archival scope and analytical depth, certain analytical moments did not go as far as they could have, and certain claims were not as convincing as others. For example, Kim’s claim that the use of a religious framework to immortalize Lim Su-Kyung “backfired” on the North Korean government because it elicited a rethinking of South Korea, disrupted the North Korean government’s grip on its people, and inspired North Koreans to defect to the South lacks substantial supporting evidence and is thus an overreach. The book also could have benefited from a thorough historicization of the DMZ’s establishment and development, which was largely absent. I wonder how a deeper consideration of the DMZ’s materiality could have enriched its cultural analyses. I also felt like the book missed an opportunity to more thoroughly think through the relationships between neoliberalism, war and tourism in her chapter on DMZ tourism. Despite these momentary gaps and generalizations, the book’s nuanced readings of a multitude of cultural productions from both Koreas, interviews with a number of officials and activists, and moving autoethnographic passages sheds enormous insight into a divided peninsula. Hopefully the book will encourage more scholars to consider the DMZ as a worthy object of analysis in its own right.

Terry K. Park, Miami University, Oxford, USA

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KOREAN POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Crisis, Security, and Institutional Rebalancing. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 362. By Jongryn Mo and Barry R. Weingast. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press [distributor], 2013. xi, 218 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$39.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-72674-1.

In this fascinating and engaging book, the authors, Jongryn Mo and Barry Weingast, seek to explain the transitional process of Korean political and economic development by utilizing main concepts such as limited access order, open access order and double balance. This book offers a new perspective on the development by shedding light on the problem of violence. The authors argue that even Max Weber, not to mention theorists backed by standard economic approaches, tends to ignore the effect of violence on the process of development. Many theorists are under the wrong assumption that the state naturally has monopoly on violence. But the reality is much closer to the fact that the satisfaction of the Weberian monopoly-of-violence is fulfilled at the ending stage of the development process. Thus, previous development studies, whether they attend to the problem of violence or not, cannot offer a comprehensive explanation on the origins of the state and its role in the developing countries, where monopoly of violence is understood as a given rather than something that can be formed in a process.

Based upon this insight, the authors divide social orders into limited access and open access order. In the limited access order, where violence potential is distributed and the state’s monopoly on violence does not hold practice, the problem of violence is solved through limited access to rights, privileges, and organization in politics, economics, and society. The limited access and privileges given to specific groups with violence potential tend to motivate them into cooperation while also deterring them from violence through provision of valuable rents. That is, in the limited access order, the rents and privileges solve the problem of distributive violence. On the other hand, the open access order is a social order where the problem of violence is completely eradicated, fostering competition and impersonal exchange with the widely accessible form of rights and rule of law. They are critical components in achieving economic and political development.

It is important to note that the transitional process from limited access to open access order may be explained by the mechanism of double balance. A stable society demonstrates a balance between economic and political openness. An imbalance between them ignites a natural tendency to seek equilibrium. A higher degree of political openness relative to economic openness may lead either to increased economic openness or reduced political openness. Conversely, too much economic openness in relation to political openness could lead to either greater political openness or to a reaction that limits economic openness.

This reexamination of the theoretical framework and concepts is immensely important in correctly analyzing the Korean development process. Among late-developed countries, the development of South Korea is viewed as a successful case demonstrating a process of transformation from a limited access to an open access order. The authors detail three significant turning points experienced in South Korea. First, Korea’s authoritarian government, which took power during the 1961 military coup, expanded economic access and gave big business groups, known as chaebol, excessive privileges and rents as a way of arranging the problem of violence. However, direct opposition to the limited access order, by both the persistent communists and the threatening Americans holding the power to withdraw economic and political support, led to Korea’s decision to provide political officials with incentives to trade off short-term rents for long-term economic growth. Second, with this tradeoff, economic growth accompanied by political repression gave rise to an imbalance between economic and political openness. Thus, together with the democratization in 1987, the second turning point, the political openness had to be heightened to provide balance. However, at the time, a newly introduced democracy had changed the outlook on incentives for political officials; that is, in order to win an election, politicians sought out campaign funds usually offered by the chaebol and this cozy relationship between politicians and conglomerates debased the government’s ability to monitor and discipline the chaebol. In the end, the failure to accomplish double balance and open access order triggered the financial crisis of 1997. Third, the financial crisis in 1997 was critical to the progress towards an open access order both economically and politically, setting off a series of economic and political reforms. However, whether these reforms have succeeded in creating a stable double balance or were sufficient to counterbalance the chaebol remains to be discussed.

During the 1960 and 1970s, the modernization or political development theory struggled to identify general grounds for political development, but failed to give explanation for diverging paths of development in the real world. Since the 1980s, many researchers have focused their research on East Asian development. For instance, the economist approach implemented by the World Bank succeeded in uncovering policies that enabled long-term economic growth in East Asia. The developmental state study was advantageous in explaining why and how political officials in East Asia could choose and sustain those policies. However, previous studies did not provide any insight to the transitional dynamics behind the development process. This book by Mo and Weingast is exceptional in that it provides valuable complexity to this discussion, explaining how the transitional process from limited access to open access order was able to take place and why the dominant coalition had incentives to successfully introduce open access order incrementally in South Korea.

Although the argument is appealing and persuasive, there still remain unclear points that may need development. As shown in the Korean case, the single most important factor to explain the development seems to rest on whether a country can effectively sacrifice short-term natural rents to seek out long-term economic gains. But the theoretical framework in this book implies that the provision of rents and privileges is central to overcoming the problem of violence and open access order is fundamentally free from this issue. It still remains unclear whether a developing country should provide rents and privileges to the groups with violence potential or whether it should bypass this stage for the sake of economic development. Despite this weakness, however, this book with its timely and profound analysis must be included as essential reading for researchers who are interested either in the development issue in general or in the Korean case in particular.

Hyun-Chin Lim, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

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EASTERN LEARNING AND THE HEAVENLY WAY: The Tonghak and Ch’ŏndogyo Movements and the Twilight of Korean Independence. Hawai‘i Studies on Korea. By Carl F. Young. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014. xxiii, 271 pp. (Figures, Table, B&W photos), US$ 49.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3888-1.

The 1894 Tonghak Rebellion and the 1919 March First Movement are widely recognized as significant moments in Korea’s modern history. Carl Young’s Eastern Learning and the Heavenly Way seeks to fill in some gaps between these two events by tracing the organizational and ideological changes that transformed the Tonghak (Eastern Learning) movement into Ch’ŏndogyo (Teaching of the Heavenly Way), a group whose members were significant leaders of the March First Movement.

The story that Young tells is one of change and transformation. There is change in leadership: from the founder of the Tonghak religion, the “Great Divine Teacher” Ch’oe Che-u (1824-1864), to the “Divine Teacher” Ch’oe Si-hyŏng (1827-1898), to the “Leader of the Great Way” Son Pyŏng-hŭi (1861-1922). Son functions as the chief protagonist in Young’s story.

There is change in geography. Tonghak began in the southeast, the home of its founder. Later, a greater number of adherents were found in central and southwestern Korea, which led to the Chŏlla region being the locus for the 1894 Tonghak Rebellion. Still later, the greatest number of adherents were located in the northern provinces of Hwanghae and P’yŏngan.

There is change in doctrinal emphasis and organizational structure. The folk traditions and “superstitions” of Ch’oe Che-u gradually gave way to more codified and sophisticated doctrines and liturgical practices designed to appeal to a more “modern” audience. It was only in this later period that the doctrine of in nae ch’ŏn (humans are heaven) was fully articulated despite the claims of some that it originated with Ch’oe Che-u, if not earlier.

Most remarkable is the change in core focus and political orientation of the group. What began as an amalgamation of Korean folk tradition and Confucian, Buddhist and even Christian elements took on political and social overtones as Tonghak rebels fought against local corruption and foreign, particularly Japanese, imperialism in Korea. However, when Son Pyŏng-hŭi fled Korea for Japan in 1901, he began to refocus Tonghak away from Korean exclusivism and toward a universal religion with worldwide application. Moreover, as Son mingled with other Korean exiles, he also began to adopt what can only be called a pro-Japanese orientation. Not only did he see Japan as an exemplar of “reform and progress,” but he openly supported Japan in the Russo-Japanese War (going so far as to donate ten thousand yen to the war effort in 1904).

This dramatic shift led to Tonghak becoming increasingly enmeshed in Korean politics, first with the sponsorship of the Chinbohoe (Progress Society) in 1904 and then with the merger of the Chinbohoe with the pro-Japanese Ilchinhoe (Advancement Society) later that same year. However, when the Ilchinhoe supported a Japanese protectorate, Son broke with the group, renamed Tonghak Ch’ŏndogyo, and sought to distance his organization from political affairs. This cost the group in resources and membership but ultimately proved vital for Ch’ŏndogyo’s continued existence, as any organization deemed political in nature (including the pro-Japanese Ilchinhoe) was abolished by the Japanese, but religious groups were allowed to continue.

Ch’ŏndogyo generally steered clear of politics from that time forward although some leading figures in the organization participated in educational and political activities. But it was this general focus on religion and the decision of Son and other Ch’ŏndogyo leaders to eschew advocacy of revolution or independence that allowed the organization to continue. Paradoxically this is why Ch’ŏndogyo still existed in 1919 when its leaders changed course once again and openly advocated independence from the Japanese.

Those interested in late-Chosŏn religious and political movements have much to learn from Eastern Learning and the Heavenly Way. Young definitely succeeds in his stated goal of filling in large gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the period between 1894 and 1919. Unfortunately, Young’s account ends in 1910, leaving the reader wondering what additional shifts and transformations might have taken place between 1910 and 1919.

In addition, Young’s seeming reluctance to fully utilize primary and secondary sources above and beyond those directly related to Tonghak/Ch’ŏndogyo makes for some frustrating omissions. For example, Young mentions meetings between Tonghak leaders and a “General Tamura” in which they plotted to jointly overthrow the Korean government. But Young seems remarkably uncurious regarding who this “General Tamura” really was (mostly likely, he was Lieutenant General Tamura Iyozo; 田村怡与造 ), how serious these plans were, etc.

More generally, Young does an excellent job of bringing in secondary literature from further afield, such as his invocation of Benedict Anderson’s “imagined communities,” Timothy Brook’s notion of “collaborationist nationalism,” or the idea of “Protestant Buddhism” in Sri Lanka. These help illuminate themes and trends that Young sees taking place in Korea. However, the book might have benefitted from engaging with a host of secondary literature a bit closer to home. Acknowledging the sizable and growing body of literature on Kwangmu-era Korea (1897-1907) would have probably resulted in a more nuanced depiction of the Korean government rather than Young’s repeated characterization of it simply as “conservative.” “The Japanese,” too, generally come across as static and monolithic, a view that even a cursory examination of classics in the field such as Hilary Conroy’s The Japanese Seizure of Korea (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1960) and Peter Duus’s The Abacus and the Sword (University of California Press, 1995) would serve to dispel.

Perhaps even more unfortunate is the fact that the timing of the book’s publication means that it was likely in the final stages of production when two other works that have much to say about Young’s chosen topic were published: George Kallander’s Salvation Through Dissent (University of Hawaii Press, 2013) and Yumi Moon’s Populist Collaborators (Cornell University Press, 2013). Young does mention both authors’ dissertations but a more robust engagement with the actual monographs, their arguments and sources would likely have greatly enhanced the persuasive power and significance of Young’s work. But Young can hardly be faulted for waiting for these other works to see the light of day. Those interested in late-Chosŏn religion and politics will likely be discussing all three works for some time to come.

Kirk W. Larsen, Brigham Young University, Provo, USA

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K-POP: Popular Music, Cultural Amnesia, and Economic Innovation in South Korea. By John Lie. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015. 241 pp. US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-520-28312-1.

The rapid growth of Korean cultural industries and their exports of cultural products are not new developments in the Asian markets. From television dramas to films and online games, Korea has become one of the most significant local forces in producing and disseminating its own cultural products to not only Asia but also North America and Western Europe. In the 2010s, one particular cultural form, known as K-pop (Korea’s contemporary popular music), has contributed to the global penetration of Korea’s popular culture. Slightly before Psy’s Gangnam Style in 2012, which became a global hit with the help of social media, the Korean music industry had been identified as one of the most successful youth cultures, both nationally and globally. K-Pop: popular music, cultural amnesia, and economic innovation provides a timely and valuable confirmation of this new trend by using storytelling to examine the emergence of K-pop in the context of broader political, economic and cultural milieus. It aptly historicizes and documents the evolution of K-pop, including its origin, the symptoms of cultural amnesia, and the convoluted reasons for the rise of K-pop.

This book consists of six chapters, and it primarily raises and answers three questions. By historicizing the origin of K-pop, the first chapter grounds the reader in the past: traditional Korean music, colonial and postcolonial Japanese influence, and the growing impact of US popular music. The chapter carefully argues that K-pop constitutes a break not just with the traditional Korean music of the past but also with earlier Korean popular music. After discussing several significant historical music genres, it explains how popular music entered people’s everyday life in urban Korea in the mid-1920s as yuhaengga (popular songs). The chapter also tactfully analyzes trot, which many Koreans have enjoyed as Korean popular music since the 1960s, followed by a discussion of the ways in which So Tae-ji wa Aidul (So Tae-ji and the Boys) challenged and ultimately destroyed many conventions of Korean popular music, while introducing American soundscapes in the mid-1990s.

The second chapter, “Interlude,” stresses the etiology and symptoms of cultural amnesia. It identifies several sociocultural changes that have swept through South Korea, which has resulted in the rise of K-pop, such as the decline of Confucian ethics, the South Korean elite’s embrace of American culture, the shift of Korean main culture from the tears of departure and the tacit expressions of han to dynamic urban youth culture and the 1997 financial crisis, which have deepened Korea’s penchant for growth and innovation. It also emphasizes K-pop’s dependence on its external orientation, which embodies South Korea’s innovative spirit.

The third chapter, “Seoul Calling,” discusses how K-pop became popular by analyzing K-pop’s aesthetic appeal. The main topics are the confluence of social change, economic culture, and industrial transformation that sustains the export imperative, and its production and consumption inside and outside South Korea. It classifies K-pop as a conceptual invention that substituted a “K” for the “J” in the term “J-pop,” which in turn was coined in 1998 to identify a new style of music. Therefore, it argues that K-pop is not only chronologically but also musically a post-So Tae-ji wa Aidul phenomenon. The chapter continues to explore the extramusical realm of political economy and global culture in order to explain how K-pop came to be produced for export and why non-Koreans began to consume it.

This book is easily accessible, with rich information and solid discussions. While there are many significant contributions, a few elements highlight the value in understanding the emergence of K-pop in the global soundscape. On the one hand, it is unique in its writing style because the author selects a narrative storytelling technique instead of a formal academic analysis, although it eventually provides some analysis. Due to the large amount of information involved, such as the names of Korean musicians, traditional music genres, and several historical events, the author addresses several key findings in the broader socio-cultural context based on his personal experience and studies, which makes the book readable. On the other hand, the book’s structure deserves readers’ appreciation. This book avoids a formal chapter order by following the form of an orchestral piece, which starts with the prelude and ends with the coda. This stylish structure not only proves the author’s mastery of popular music, but also his dexterity in delving into K-pop—one of the most significant local cultural forms.

While admiring the book’s extensive musical discourse, I also admit to noting a few shortfalls, which perhaps occurred in the process of the generalization and/or the shortage of enough space. The most significant issue is the lack of discussion on the Korean wave, given that the current boom of K-pop is a consequence of the growth of the Korean wave itself. For example, while the book briefly notes that K-pop is a part of the Korean Wave 2.0 it does not analyze the new factors driving the rise of K-pop in the context of Hallyu 2.0, such as the roles of global fans, transnational production, and social media.

In addition, the author makes a hugely controversial argument by identifying the rise of K-pop with the post-So Tae-ji revolution. So Tae-ji wa Aidul certainly symbolizes the change in Korean popular music; however, the group itself is a primary actor in developing contemporary Korean popular music. K-pop technically began ahead of the Korean wave phenomenon that started in 1997 with the surge of American popular music, and therefore, we cannot separate K-pop from previous musicians who contributed to the emergence of K-pop in the mid-1990s.

In general, this book investigates one of the most compelling issues in current transnational cultural flow and production driven by domestic factors. It provides insights into global pop culture by offering rich empirical detail and useful historical milieus surrounding the emergence of K-pop. It is presented as a convincing contribution to a growing body of literature on popular music, the Korean cultural industries and cultural politics. It is highly recommended for a wide range of readers who are interested in K-pop, the Korean wave and popular culture.

Dal Yong Jin, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

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DEATH, MOURNING, AND THE AFTERLIFE IN KOREA: From Ancient to Contemporary Times. Hawai‘i Studies on Korea. Edited by Charlotte Horlyck and Michael J. Pettid. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press; Center for Korean Studies, University of Hawai‘i, 2014. xi, 265 pp. (Figures.) US$48.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8248-3968-0.

Although it may not be a topic we prefer to dwell on, death is an integral part of human life; beliefs and practices related to death and the dead are an important part of any culture. Consequently a rounded view of a culture is impossible if views of mortality and the afterlife are ignored. Yet in spite of this, the editors of this volume note, for Korea there has been no focused treatment of the matter in English, even if the subject inevitably comes up in accounts of Korea’s religions. They aim to rectify this situation and “provide insight into how death was dealt with on the peninsula” and to “offer a comparative platform from which East Asian approaches to death and disposal [of the dead] can be viewed” (2) by presenting nine chapters that deal with historical, anthropological, archaeological and literary aspects of mortuary culture from the seventh century to the present.

The book is not organized by period, but thematically, in four parts. The first part is entitled “The Body” and contains two chapters, “Death and Burial in Medieval Korea, The Buddhist Legacy” by Sem Vermeersch and “Making Death ‘Modern’” by John DiMoia. Vermeersch concludes, unexpectedly, that the introduction of Buddhism did not necessarily result in cremation instead of burial for Buddhist monks. DiMoia examines how in the 1950s American doctors working in Korea contributed to a reappraisal of the body “as a valuable tool for medical learning”(63). He also devotes attention to the emergence in the 1960s of mortuaries at hospitals, which mourners would come to visit, a modernized form of an older tradition. The second part, which might very well have included the chapter by Vermeersch, is about the disposal of the dead body. Here Charlotte Horlyck, on the basis of archeological discoveries, surveys the amazingly varied ways to dispose of a body between the tenth and fourteenth centuries. A completely different approach characterizes the following chapter by Guy Podoler, who analyzes a narrative about the nation in the National Cemetery in present-day Seoul, which by its inclusion of some persons and exclusion of others presents a thinly veiled political statement. In part 3, Michael Pettid examines shamanic rituals in the Chosŏn period (1392-1910), a time when these rituals, which arguably represent the indigenous religion of the peninsula, were heavily criticized by the Confucian elite. Nevertheless they continued to play a role even in the lives of the ruling class, particularly when premature or violent death needed to be dealt with. In a chapter that is rather brief but full of curious detail from Chosŏn sources like a sixteenth-century diary or the obituary of a noble lady, Milan Hejtmanek shows how the Confucian demand that descendants of the elite yangban class perform frequent and laborious rituals for the ancestors of up to four generations and ideally spend three years at the graveside of their parents substantially changed the lives of the yangban. He also points out, however, that enforced idleness during periods of mourning, when men had to withdraw from all official positions, offered opportunities for affirming social ties. Part 4 deals in three chapters with conceptions of the afterlife. The first chapter in this section, again by Michael Pettid, examines representations of ghosts in the Koryŏ (918-1392) and Chosŏn periods, drawing from a variety of sources, including works of fiction. Pettid makes the valid point that the existence of ghosts was recognized by Confucians and Buddhists as well as shamans, but is less attentive to differences in the views that various groups had of those who resided on the other side, with Confucians, for instance, less inclined to believe in a permanent existence after death. Some attention to the theories of Korean Neo-Confucians about the unstable nature of ghosts would have been welcome here. The next chapter, by Gregory Evon, examines Buddhist ideas about death and rebirth in the novel Kuunmong (The Nine Cloud Dream) by Kim Manjung (1637-1692), who as a proper yangban had enjoyed a sound Confucian education, which might have predisposed him negatively toward Buddhism. Recent research has made clear that Kim’s interest in Buddhism was somewhat less unusual among yangban than Evon suggests, but the chapter is an excellent reminder that where attitudes to death in the actual practice of Korean life were concerned one should not strictly compartmentalize Confucianism, Buddhism and shamanism. The final chapter by Franklin Rausch addresses a newcomer on the religious scene, Catholicism, introduced in the Chosŏn period through contacts with missionaries in Beijing, and examines views on heaven and martyrdom of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century converts. Rausch concludes that a “distinctly Catholic vision of the afterlife” emerged that inspired believers to choose to die rather than deny their faith when the government tried to suppress the new religion. (227)

The contributions to the volume are all of high quality and it presents several new insights. As it is the first work in English on the topic, covers a vast time span, and also is rather short, it should not come as a surprise that certain aspects may seem underrepresented. In its totality the book is biased toward the pre-modern period, with only two chapters about the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, offering two radically different approaches and a rather narrow focus. Podoler’s chapter, for instance, might have been accompanied by a chapter on self-immolation as a gesture of protest, of which the most famous example is Chŏn T’aeil’s setting fire to himself in 1970 to draw attention to the miserable conditions in the sweatshops of the Seoul garment industry, a gesture that galvanized an entire generation of dissidents. For the pre-modern period, the extremely popular belief in the Buddhist paradise of Amitābha (which may have facilitated belief in a Christian paradise) is mentioned only tangentially (and the words “rebirth” and “reincarnation” are missing from the index). But that does not detract from the value of the book as a stimulating investigation of an area of human life that is of undeniable salience.

Boudewijn Walraven, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, South Korea

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NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR OPERATIONALITY: Regional Security & Nonproliferation. Edited by Gregory J. Moore; foreword by Graham T. Allison. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. x, 302 pp. (Figures.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4214-1094-4.

Based on this book’s title, its contents would seem to be an argument on the degree of operationality of North Korean nuclear weapons, but since, as the editor clearly writes in the introduction, North Korea “has not achieved nuclear operationality,” the focal point is in fact not the degree of operationality. Rather, the primary question the book poses is: What is at stake for Northeast Asian regional security and for the international nuclear nonproliferation regime if North Korea were to successfully develop nuclear weapons capability and marry this to its missile technology or another potential delivery system, thus achieving nuclear operationality? To this, the authors try to provide answers from political, security, economic and international relations perspectives.

This book consists of an Introduction and three parts, each comprising several chapters, and a conclusion. In the Introduction, the editor addresses North Korea’s present operational status, provides an overview of U.S. policy toward North Korea and describes the path Pyongyang has taken toward nuclear weaponization.

Part 1 is titled “The North Korean Nuclear Dilemma.” In Chapter 1, “Translating North Korea’s Nuclear Threats into Constrained Operational Reality,” Peter Hayes and Scott Bruce point out that North Korea has a number of strategic uses for the nuclear capabilities it already possesses, and they further propose establishing a regional nuclear-free-zone.

In Chapter 2, “North Korean Nuclear Weaponization: A U.S. Policy Failure,” Gregory J. Moore (who is also the volume’s editor) states that the U.S. policy since the first North Korean nuclear crisis in 1994 has been a failure, and suggests that the only way to a solution is preemptive recognition and better relations between the two countries.

Part 2, “What’s at Stake for Northeast Asia?” consists of surveys on the reactions of North Korea’s neighbours—South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia—to the potential of North Korean nuclear operationality and its regional security implications.

In Chapter 3, “The Implications for Seoul of an Operationally Nuclear North Korea,” Jong Kun Choi and Jong-yun Bae argue that since the threat from North Korea’s conventional weapons statically exists for Seoul, North Korean nuclear operationality has limited influence on Seoul as seen in public opinion poll and the South Korean stock price index. They also suggest that if North Korea were to move to operationalize its nuclear capabilities the only option for South Korea would be to engage with North Korea while following a policy of containment.

In Chapter 4, “Beijing’s Problem with an Operationally Nuclear North Korea,” Gregory J. Moore points out that though China is clearly against North Korea’s nuclear policy, it supports the country economically to prevent its collapse, because the collapse would affect China both politically and economically.

In Chapter 5, “Japan’s Response to North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile Tests,” Katsuhisa Furukawa and Hajime Izumi explain why North Korea’s nuclear programs have not pushed Japan toward acquiring its own nuclear weapons, and state that the abduction issue is more important for the Japanese than the nuclear one.

In Chapter 6, “Russia’s De Facto Nuclear Neighbor,” Georgy Toloraya argues that Russia is concerned about its security in the case North Korean nuclear know-how or weapons were to make their way into the hands of terrorists or separatists, and so expects the U.S. to start a new approach rooted in engagement with economic incentives.

In Chapter 7, “Washington’s Response to an Operationally Nuclear North Korea,” David Kang suggests that since China will not put further pressure on Pyongyang, and the military option is not realistic, Washington should pursue economic engagement with Pyongyang.

In Chapter 8, “North Korea’s Nuclear Blackmail,” Andrei Lankov concludes that North Korea will not give up its nuclear program, for it is necessary not only to blackmail the outside world, but also to demonstrate the legitimacy of the “Kim Family Regime” to both the military and civilian population of North Korea. Thus, the world will have to learn how to live with a nuclear North Korea.

Part 3 is titled, “What’s at Stake for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime?” and deals with the implications of an operationally nuclear North Korea for the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

In Chapter 9, “India’s Nuclear Exceptionalism and the North Korean Nuclear Case,” Daniel Twining explains why the U.S. gave its blessing to India’s nuclear operationality in contrast to the North Korean case, and points out two reasons: India never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and India has acceded to the key parts of the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

In Chapter 10, “Global Consequences of an Operationally Nuclear North Korea,” Maria Rost Rublee points out that since different standards are applied to India and Israel, North Korea and Iran do not take nuclear norms seriously, and warns that if North Korea achieves nuclear operationalization without paying any cost for its transgressions, the nuclear nonproliferation regime will be devastated.

In Chapter 11, “DPRK Nuclear Challenges and the Politics of Nonproliferation,” Jing-dong Yuan also warns that the unchallenged operationalization of North Korea’s nuclear capability would seriously harm the Nonproliferation regime, while pointing out North Korea is the first country to have acceded to and then withdrawn from the NPT.

In Conclusion, the editor summarizes the findings of the book and their implications for the security and the nonproliferation regime, and discusses international relations theory, its implications for the North Korean nuclear issue, and insights into the North Korean nuclear issue that international relations theory offers.

This book was published in early 2014, so it covers the period up until the third North Korean nuclear test of February 13, 2013. There have been no notable developments in the North Korean nuclear issue since then, so the circumstances described in this book have not changed much.

As the editor writes in the book’s Conclusion, this study aids at a better understanding of the seriousness of the issue of a nuclear operational North Korea, and offers some fresh thinking on methods for its resolution.

Tomohiko Kawaguchi, Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan

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THE JOY OF NOH: Embodied Learning and Discipline in Urban Japan. By Katrina L. Moore. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2014. xv, 124 pp. (Figures.) US$75.00 cloth. ISBN 978-1-4384-5059-9.

By the end of 2014, 26 percent of Japan’s population was sixty-five or older, making it the oldest of any country in the world. Japanese women have had the unique distinction of holding the record for longest life expectancy for nearly thirty consecutive years; on average a Japanese woman who reaches sixty will live an additional thirty years. This is not the longevity once found in the countryside, where physical work, close social ties, and traditional diet were keys to long life. Today, longevity in Japan is increasingly urban, middle-class, and marked by a life course break between retirement and pursuits of leisure. Anthropologist Katrina Moore’s ethnography of leisure and learning in Tokyo beautifully captures the rich life stories and “serious play” (7) of older Japanese women engaged in what Thomas Rohlen referred to as the “promise of adulthood” found in creativity, personal growth and acceptance (“The Promise of Adulthood in Japanese Spiritualism,” in ed. Erik H. Erikson, W.W. Norton and Company, 1978). By approaching questions of what it means to grow older in Japan from the perspective of this relatively new leisure life stage, Moore’s book moves us beyond simple descriptions (or prescriptions) for “successful aging,” and provides a fresh look at some perennial topics in anthropology (gender, embodiment, community and generation) as well as broader questions of existential meaning, well-being and identity. We have a lot to learn from the women in Moore’s book.

In the first two chapters, Moore introduces us to the setting, including a very brief introduction to the history, aesthetics and pedagogical traditions of Noh. Noh, an ancient form of Japanese theatre revitalized in the early twentieth century through its popularization among women, is the perfect vehicle for drawing together themes of aging, embodiment and identity. Moore’s central argument is that women who take up Noh in their later leisure years are cultivating a new self-awareness, a new sense of the possibilities of the body and of personhood in old age. While John W. Traphagan’s ethnography of gateball clubs in rural Japan examined similar dynamics (Taming Oblivion: Aging Bodies and the Fear of Senility in Japan, State University of New York Press, 2000), Moore’s work is the first ethnography to focus on leisure activities among urban Japanese women (certainly a very large and growing section of the aging population and worthy of attention in their own right). By focusing in on a small group of older amateur Noh practitioners, Moore takes readers inside the processes of dissolution and transformation of selfhood that these women refer to as polishing one’s gei, or “art,” (103) into old age.

Chapters 3 and 4 focus on embodiment, discipline and the transformation of the self. As Moore practices alongside the other novices, the reader acquires a deep sense of the tense, warm, vibrating body as it is shaped and reshaped in the able command of the formidable instructor. Like Liza Dalby’s (University of California Press, 2008) descriptions of intense arts training in Geisha, Moore illustrates the cultural complexity of Noh practice: novices are embodying tradition and transcending it; cultivating femininity and transgressing norms; achieving a means of individual expression; and performing bonds between cohorts and generations. Sometimes these women were more like monks than geisha, describing Noh as a means of achieving “no-mind,” or a non-attached, selfless connection to a deeper sense of being that Moore compares to psychologist Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of “flow” (77).

It is notable here that Moore focuses throughout on the specificity of the ethnographic setting, keeping her phenomenological and psychological discussions grounded in her empirical observations and extensive interviews. The stories of the performers become interwoven with those of the plays themselves. These are often stories of other kinds of transformations, of lifting up into a spiritual layer of experience, one full of emotion and aspiration. Just as these women have played several roles during their lifetimes, they are not reducible to those roles. There is power in this ability to put on and take off these identities, a power shared in the group like a kind of effervescence (63), and Moore treats this with sensitivity and grace.

Although Moore develops her argument about women’s self-development in later life in contrast to theories of leisure as politics (6,104), a thread of empowerment and even resistance runs throughout the book. This empowerment is less about individual agency and self-reliance than it is relational, constituted in the interactions between teacher and novice and the comradery felt between fellow novices. Older women’s dedication to this community and to the traditions it maintains, forms the basis for reassessing wider circles of relationships, especially in the family. Moore beautifully describes both the dissolution of former identities as mothers and housewives, and aspirations for independence, self-satisfaction and even joy. This process of developing transformational relationships is one that takes time, something these older women were keenly aware of. While some conflict (internal and social) was not absent from the narratives, most women seemed to embrace change with determination and grace. Fittingly, the book ends with a sublime, reflective chapter on acceptance, maturity and the capacity to “be with” others; these are poignant lessons not only about age, or fieldwork, but about the tone and texture of the spirit.

The Joy of Noh is an ideal text for instructors looking for a case study exploring aging, selfhood and the arts in contemporary Japan. The book itself is slim, and the chapters are relatively short, clearly written, well-organized and full of memorable ethnographic vignettes well suited to further discussion. Moore avoids burdening the reader with lengthy theoretical discussions or specialist jargon, making this accessible to a variety of readers.

Jason Danely, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK

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NEW POLICIES FOR NEW RESIDENTS: Immigrants, Advocacy, and Governance in Japan and Beyond. By Deborah J. Milly. Ithaca, NY; London: Cornell University Press, 2014. xvi, 260 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$45.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8014-5222-2.

Daily headlines from around the world highlight tension and misunderstanding between immigrants and their host communities. Clearly, the challenges faced by the addition of linguistic, cultural, ethnic and religious “others” call for policy responses that at least facilitate peaceful coexistence between groups and at best foster meaningful inclusion of immigrants. Deboraah J. Milly’s New Policies for New Residents: Immigrants, Advocacy, and Governance in Japan and Beyond is an important contribution to the literature on immigrant integration, providing a new framework for considering the interplay between civil society groups and different levels of government in responding to the challenges created by the reality of immigrant communities.

While the book is focused on the particular case of Japan, it uses a comparative framework to highlight the processes at work in the making of immigrant policy. Milly compares the cases of Japan, Korea, Spain and Italy to examine how multilevel governance affects the pathways to achieving immigrant policies. The choice of these four cases is inspired; all four countries have relatively recently switched from being emigration countries to “countries of immigration” while experiencing decentralizing trends in governance. In another refreshing departure from much of the work in this field, Milly breaks free from the regional limitations that characterize much of the comparative work on immigration.

Milly is interested in the interaction between advocacy and governance, allowing her to look at the issue from a different perspective than is normally seen in the literature. She categorizes Spain and Japan as examples of “advocacy-promoting governance” models, while considering Italy and Korea as characteristic of “advocacy-reinforcing governance” and “advocacy-integrated governance,” respectively. This conceptual framework, though interesting and instructive, is also a bit unwieldy; is there a more elegant way to conceptualize the role of civil society groups in setting and shaping policy?

While chapter 1 focuses on setting up this conceptual framework, Milly quickly moves on to the meat of the book: the comparative examination of immigrant advocacy and policy making in these four countries. Chapters 2 through 6 offer an in-depth look at how immigrant policy is made in light of different governance models, various stages of devolution, and different strategies used by civil society groups. For example, in Spain, regional governments, like Catalonia’s, have been the primary locus for immigrant support programs and policies in areas like education and housing, generating policy ideas while securing the input of civil society advocates. Milly’s primary case of Japan highlights the ways that local governments in immigrant-receiving regions worked around the significant challenges of national party division, bureaucratic segmentation and lack of comprehensive immigration reform to respond to housing, education and health care challenges in their communities. Italy and Korea prove to follow a different path due in part to the existence of national frameworks that include the possibility for lower levels of government (and civil society groups) to play a role in immigrant integration solutions. In areas like housing and healthcare, Italian localities have responded to local challenges of immigrant integration with creative and collaborative solutions that operate within the parameters set by national policy. Likewise, in Korea, the interaction between new laws facilitating collaboration between non-governmental organizations and local governments to respond to immigrant integration needs led to the emergence of support services for foreign workers run by NGOs with government funding. The case studies are the key to illustrating the argument of the book, bringing to life the complex interplay between governance and advocacy that make up the crux of this book’s argument.

The last two chapters of the book contain Milly’s analysis and conclusions about the impact of economic crises on the creation of immigrant policy in these four cases and the implications of these findings for immigrant-receiving communities and countries around the globe. Milly finds that in Japan, as in the other three cases, a downturn in economic conditions does not significantly affect immigrant integration policy, though shifts in public opinion about immigrants may occur. Spain and Japan, the advocacy-reinforcing governance models in Milly’s framework, continued with pre-crisis plans for immigrant support programs while also instituting “assisted return” policies for newly unemployed immigrants. The economic crisis did not result in “assisted return” programs in the Korea and Italy, but was less of a factor than the political changes that had preceded the crisis in those countries.

The implications of this research are interesting for immigrants, immigrant advocacy groups and local governments in immigrant-receiving communities, suggesting that there are ways to use the tools of democracy at both the national and local level to promote inclusion of immigrants in local decision making. While this research demonstrates that there is an opening for civil society groups to play a role in (especially) local government decision making on immigrant policies, one area that is not explored fully here is the possibility that anti-immigrant groups could exploit the same governance structures and pathways to craft policies that move in the opposite direction.

The conclusions presented in this book have potentially far-reaching implications that can help civil society groups to best craft their strategies for promoting conflict-reducing policies and paths for foreign residents’ meaningful inclusion in national communities.

Betsy Brody, Collin College, Plano, USA

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THE POLITICS OF WAR MEMORY IN JAPAN: Progressive Civil Society Groups and the Contestation of Memory of the Asia- Pacific war. Sheffield Centre for Japanese Studies/Routledge Series, 49. By Kamila Szczepanska. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xvi, 233 pp. US$140.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-70771-8.

Who are the main grass-root champions of progressive memory politics in Japan today? How are they organized? What are their goals? What is their relationship with the public, the state and overseas actors? And finally how effective have they been in influencing the Japanese national memory landscape? This book offers answers to these questions. It is original in that it covers five civil society groups that have not yet been examined. It is also timely. It focuses on the latest period of 1990 to 2012 and updates the thus far published literature on this subject.

The five organizations under study—The Center of Research and Documentation on Japan’s War Responsibility, Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21, Violence Against Women in War Network Japan, Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace and POW Research Network Japan—are highly diverse in their structure, size and focus area. What they share, however, is a desire to educate the public and push the Japanese state to assume greater responsibility for the Japanese wartime past. How successful have they been? Not too successful. As the author acknowledges, they have neither been able to stop the conservative onslaught on the positive policies of the early 1990s, nor have they brought any changes to Japan’s redress practices. Nevertheless the author’s overall evaluation seems to be positive. The existence of the groups and their activities are a proof to Szczepanska that Japanese civil society is neither bereft of “civil advocates,” nor politically apathetic or dominated by historical revisionism.

Reading the book, however, one might reach a different conclusion. As is shown, the combined membership of the five associations reaches 7,750. Rival organizations such as the Nihon Izokukai list 1 million members and the Japanese radical right lists approximately 100,000. Anticipating this charge, Szczepanska stresses twice that not numbers but political clout matters in civil activism. Yet, later we learn that none of the five groups have had regular access to Japanese mainstream media or influential political elites (whereas their right-wing opponents do). Moreover, some of the greatest accomplishments of these groups—such as the staging of the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal or the pressure put on the Japanese government through the UN to address the issue of comfort women—were largely ignored in Japan. The same applies to the establishment of the WAM museum, which has so far attracted 2,000 visitors per year (hardly comparable to its rivals such as the Yasukuni’s Yūshūkan Museum with 250,000 visitors annually). In short, more than a vigorous progressive civil society, the evidence presented in this book points to a trend many have been observing since the mid-1990s: a drastic decline in the strength, organizational capability and political relevance of the Japanese Left and its progressive movement.

The book also documents another problem that is often discussed in the literature on Japan: the relative amateurishness with which its civil society actors approach political activism. Here it especially applies to the use of the Internet. The five groups’ websites are inexpert and fragmentary; updates are irregular and mostly in Japanese; English content is limited and Korean and Chinese translations non-existent. Szczepanska explains that this is mainly due to the age of the organizations’ members and their lack of funding and staff. But, it is precisely for this reason that the Internet needs to be their priority. A relatively little effort can significantly improve the groups’ communicative capabilities and help them reach critical target audiences that have thus far eluded them: the Japanese youth and overseas actors. In fact, the Chinese and Koreans (also great potential sources for funding) have shown considerable interest in such contacts in the past but were hampered by a lack of appropriate communication channels. Szczepanska does not discuss this in the book.

Neither is she too critical of the five groups’ unwillingness (or inability?) to seek greater support from Japanese policy makers. In her chapter on the relationship between the two, the scholar mostly analyzes their antagonistic relationship with the Liberal Democratic Party. As for potential partners—the Democratic Party of Japan, Social Democratic Party or the Japanese Communist Party—the activists seem to prefer interdependence over closer endorsement by these parties. They do not display a strong will to spread their message or expand their membership, either. Introduction by existing members is necessary for entry into some of these associations. And much of the groups’ communications remain internal while their publications are for sale only. As such, the citizen groups appear to operate as self-contained units within the limits of what is comfortable. Or, as Szczepanska seems to argue, they are civil advocates doing their best in an increasingly difficult conservative environment. Such a lenient evaluation, however, fails to explain why they have attracted so little attention from the Japanese public—a public which largely agrees with their message as the author herself suggests.

The lack of a more critical analysis of the groups’ activities and achievements is a major shortcoming of this work. It is likely linked to the Szczepanska’s over-reliance on the main sources of this research: the organizations’ publications and interviews with their members. Too often the book simply reads as a report based on the self-reporting of the groups themselves. Moreover, there are many passages, such as chapter 2, that add very little to the overall argument and should have been left out. The book’s coherence and utility would have also greatly improved if each group received a separate chapter treatment rather than being treated in a lump. Last but not least, the author explores civil society activism without ever properly introducing its main protagonists. This is a serious flaw as the reader is not allowed to fully understand the many personal linkages that exist between the groups’ leaders and the fact that their circle is fairly limited. One can also not assess their social position in the larger Japanese society and hence the import of the organizations they represent.

In sum, this is the most up-to-date research on Japanese progressive activism in the area of memory politics in the last decade. Those who are seriously interested in this subject might find useful information in this book. Overall, though, the publication leaves much room for improvement.

Ivo Plsek, University of California, Berkeley, USA

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South Asia


THE ENGAGEMENT OF INDIA: Strategies and Responses. Edited by Ian Hall. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014. x, 217 pp. US$29.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-62616-086-6.

With regular, frequent, well-orchestrated, and reciprocated visits by heads of states, trade, industry, and armies from the four corners of the world, India has graduated from the ranks of the “emerging powers” of the world to the “emerged.” India, no longer the outcast, is now firmly “engaged” and “engaging.” The fine set of essays by Ian Hall, Daniel Twining, H.D.P. Envall, Lavina Lee, Louse Merrington, Harsh Pant, David Brewster, Rajesh Basrur, and Nick Bisley in this handsomely produced and modestly priced volume analyze the consequences of India’s emergence as a major power for global order. The selected cases include countries both large and small, ranging from the United States, Japan, Russia, China, Australia, Vietnam, and Indonesia, to Singapore. Those looking for the general lessons of the “engagement” strategy will find fresh insights in Rajesh Basrur’s “Paradigm Shift: India during and after the Cold War.” Equally interesting is Harsh Pant’s analysis of engagement in its different forms, including the ‘half-hearted” and the simultaneous in his chapter on “China’s Half-hearted Engagement and India’s Proactive Balancing.”

In the introduction, Ian Hall defines engagement “as any strategy that employs positive inducements to influence the behaviour of other states” (2). He adds a further precision. “Exchange strategies” engage the target state through positive inducements such as trade deals or delivery of weapons systems, aimed at obtaining reciprocity, whereas “catalytic” strategies offer specific inducements to “catalyse something bigger, perhaps even wholesale transformation of a target society” (3), such as the creation of an emerging elite cast in the mould of the engager (the integration of post-communist Eastern Europe with the Western world is a case in point) (3). Hall presents the American overtures to China initiated by President Richard Nixon in 1971-1972 as the iconic exemplar of the application of engagement as the core of the new shift in foreign policy towards China. It paid off for both the engager and the engaged. “In the short term, China secured recognition, the UNSC seat, and a tacit ally against the Soviet Union. In return, the United States secured Chinese help in bringing the Vietnam War to a close and a changed Eurasian balance of power” (4).

The successful transition of conference proceedings to a coherent book is an exception rather than the rule. By this criterion the Engagement of India is a model of its genre. The chapters (initially presented at a conference in 2011) effectively apply the core concept of engagement consistently in their analysis of diplomatic, commercial, and political transactions with India and vice versa. However, this exemplary coherence might have been achieved at a cost to the underlying theory of engagement. The choice of cases, each of which illustrates a successful case of engagement, gives an impression of a selection bias. There are no counterfactuals in this study. The book does not include disastrous cases of engagement such as that of Nazi Germany by Chamberlain in the 1930s. Nor does it delve into the issue of non-engagement, such as that of India by Pakistan. In fact, the Pakistani strategy of privileging armaments (nuclearization, matching delivery capacity) rather than engagement of India through the conventional means of trade, tourism, pilgrimage, joint-ventures, and student-exchange, has perhaps been a more effective strategy in terms of gaining parity with the much larger belligerent neighbour.

Another point where one can take issue with the main approach of the book is that it treats relationships between countries as a dyadic, bilateral game. However, the multipolar world, with cross-cutting alliances and conflicting loyalties, rarely allows such pristine purity in relationships. Most relationships tend to be triangular, with the parties jockeying for position as the pivotal power, seeking to balance the other two against one another in order to gain extra room to manoeuver. This strategy has now become the main goal of Indian foreign policy, seeking to off-set the Chinese “string of pearls tactic” by walking the extra mile towards the United States, taking care, however, to remain friends with the United States and not become an ally. Here, India might have taken a leaf out of the Pakistani book of diplomacy, seeking to match the dexterity with which Pakistan has drawn on China to compensate for India’s superior conventional power. The fact remains, therefore, that the decision to engage or not to is a rational choice. In some conditions, non-engagement might be the optimal strategy. With due respect to the liberal-institutionalism that the authors of the Engagement of India appear to share—a value consensus which, in fact, gives this book its enviable coherence—one has to take into account the fact that under some conditions, engagement is the luxury of the rich and powerful whereas non-engagement, aided by a spot of triangulation, might be the preferred choice of the weak.

Finally, why does the engagement of India work? Successful engagement of two rational players must carry a sense of mutuality and incentives. We learn from Engagement how India is able to offer something (but not the same things!) to all in the game: leverage against China to the US, Australia, Japan, and Singapore; a chance to emerge from Latin American isolation and play a role in global politics to Brazil; markets to European powers; to Russia, a chance to become an important pole in the multipolar world; and finally, to China, markets, and a sense of “Asian solidarity” to balance the West. But, will an “engaged India” have enough heft to be a pivot, fulcrum, and bridge, and become “the key swing state” (197) to facilitate the transition towards a just, multi-polar, orderly, and sustainable world, toning down its immediate self-interest on issues such as global warming for the sake of the global commons? The Engagement of India deserves high praise for setting the agenda on this larger question with great force and unsentimental lucidity.

Subrata K. Mitra, ISAS, National University of Singapore, Singapore


POLITICS OF EDUCATION IN COLONIAL INDIA. By Krishna Kumar. London; New Delhi: Routledge, 2014. xii, 248 pp. US$105.00, cloth. ISBN 978-415-72879-9.

First published in 1991 as Political Agenda of Education: A Study of Colonialist and Nationalist Ideas, this third edition is a substantially revised one. Challenging the popular and simplistic view of colonial education—that it was designed by a “twisted mind” (x) to produce clerks to assist colonial administration—Kumar not only details continuities between colonialist and nationalist ideas of education but also analyzes colonial attempts to socialize and train “the native to become a citizen” (14). These processes and their residues continue to shape Indian schooling into the present. While the title refers to colonial “India” the primary focus of this book is the “Hindi region,” that is, the Central and United provinces of British India. Kumar, however, does highlight influences from other parts of India. One of Kumar’s biggest strengths is an engagement with vernacular scholarship in Hindi; he draws liberally from Hindi sources including speeches, autobiographies, fiction, magazines, and other documents. His other source materials include educational reports written by colonial officers and other official documents; works of social reformers and nationalist leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, and Rabindranath Tagore; and scholarly works that examine schooling and experiences of schooling in colonial India.

The book is divided into two parts, Dynamics of Colonization and Dynamics of the Freedom Struggle, each comprised of three chapters. Part 1 begins with Colonial Citizen as an Educational Ideal (chapter 1) and deals with the logic that informed the idea of creating a “little civil society” (26) in India and the role of education in this process. English education produced a civil society in India and simultaneously legitimized and accentuated traditional hierarchies, creating a “collaborating class” that shared in the colonizer’s paternalism towards the masses (31).

In Appropriate Knowledge: Conflict of Curriculum and Culture (chapter 2) Kumar elaborates on zones of “conflict” between the indigenous and colonial educational systems, and how resolutions of these conflicts “moderated the transition from old to new hierarchies” (65). Colonial education transported schools and teachers from community life—both the school and the teacher having been supported by resources drawn from the community—to state control. This impacted curriculum or what was considered “worth learning” (58). Curricular changes necessitated teacher training. It also marked the introduction of the examination system, thereby evolving a “bureaucratic, centralized system of education” (59). Schools thus emerged as a “certifying authority [that] regulated social mobility and moderated the transition from old to new hierarchies” (65).

Meek Dictator: The Paradox of Teacher’s Personality (chapter 3) juxtaposes a teacher’s identity prior to and after the introduction of colonial schooling, in which the teacher, who had once been a well-respected part of the local community, became a meek salaried servant of the government. The teacher’s concerns were no longer the selection, pacing, and transaction of knowledge, but pleasing school inspectors, covering textbook content, and preparing the students for examinations without disrupting the teacher’s authority in the classroom.

In the second part of the book, Kumar focuses on three “quests”—equality, self-identity, and progress—and the ways in which they inspired and inflected educational thought during freedom struggle. In Pursuit of Equality (chapter 5) Kumar takes up discourses on education vis-à-vis the lower castes and girls in colonial India, while being cognizant of regional variations. Nationalistic perspectives view the political awakening of the lower castes as an outcome of the spread of education among the oppressed classes. However, Kumar argues this does not account for the narrow spread of education nor the egalitarian struggles by lower castes. Rather, education “contributed” to these struggles by creating lower-caste elites, who found in the British “an audience and an agency for fighting against Brahmin domination” (103). With regard to girls’ education, Kumar points out that the educated Englishman and the colonial Indian elite were in agreement over socializing girls into becoming “better wives for English-educated Indian men … and more enlightened mothers” (121). While education might have widened the employment opportunities available for women, it “remained incapable of rivaling patriarchy as a socializing force” (122).

Quest for Self-Identity (chapter 6) illustrates that the search for an identity in a colonial society can be rife with conflict, and that education was one of the prominent arenas in which this quest and conflict found expression. For the educated colonial citizen, English education was a vehicle for exposure and social mobility even when it was considered alien and deficient in moral training. In the Hindi region, this conflict found expression in the development of Hindi prose as a language indigenous to India and untainted by external influences unlike Urdu. Through an analysis of Hindi literary history and school textbooks, Kumar illustrates that the entrenchment of Hindi in schools and colleges played a crucial role in the identification of Hindi with “Hindu.” The colonial administration further fuelled the Hindi-Urdu divide.

Meanings of Progress (chapter 7) highlights contestations over nineteenth-century ideals of progress. India’s backwardness was compared to the superior scientific knowledge of Europe, resulting in “ambivalence … in nationalist thought on education” (170). While nationalist leaders concerned with education did not fail to criticize the “alien character” of English education, its narrow curriculum, and its limited spread, they also acknowledged the necessity of this education for India’s material advancement.

To conclude, this book sheds light on the establishment of a “modern” system of state-sponsored schooling in colonial India. Unlike in colonizing countries (see I. Hunter, “Assembling the school,” in A. Barry, T. Osborne, & N. Rose (Eds.), Foucault and political reason: Liberalism, neo-liberalism, and rationalities of government. London, UK: UCL Press, 1996. pp. 143-165), in colonized India, associated transitions were inflected by the bureaucratic and disciplinary concerns of an ontologically exploitative state. Kumar regards the disconnect that colonial education policy wrought between school knowledge and everyday knowledge as “the most negative of all the consequences” (214) and one of the most enduring legacies of colonial education. A “history of ideas,” this seminal work is invaluable for those examining the legacies of pre-colonial, colonial, and nationalist thought on modern schooling in postcolonial societies.

Mary Ann Chacko, Columbia University, New York, USA                                                  


THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF ETHNIC CONFLICT IN SRI LANKA: Economic Liberalization, Mobilizational Resources, and Ethnic Collective Action. Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series. By Nikolaos Biziouras. New York: Routledge, 2014. xii, 226 pp. US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-74233-7.

In The Political Economy of Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka, Nikolaos Biziouras, an associate professor of Political Science at the US Naval Academy, argues that the conventional view posits a linear relationship between economic liberalization and ethnic conflict. In contrast, he seeks to demonstrate that the relationship between economic liberalization and ethnic conflict is non-linear: “I expect to find little, if any, ethnic conflict at low and high levels of economic liberalization, and high levels of ethnic conflict at medium levels of economic liberalization” (15).

Stating that “economic freedom requires … governments to refrain from many activities” (27), Biziouras defines levels of economic liberalization ranging from low to high in relation to the extent of state involvement in the economy, specifically fiscal exposure, trade openness, and regulatory intervention. Notwithstanding references to “measuring and coding,” the book does not provide details on how composite indices on levels of economic liberalization were derived. As a result, the categorization of low, middle, and high levels of liberalization appear vague and arbitrary.

Biziouras seeks to prove his thesis—high levels of ethnic conflict at medium levels of economic liberalization—through a historical case study of economic liberalization and ethnic collective action in Sri Lanka. Fitting the historical facts of the Sri Lankan case into this neat thesis, he attempts to trace ethnic conflict to a singular causal variable, namely economic liberalization.

Biziouras presents the British colonial period in Sri Lanka as characterized by “high economic liberalization” with a prevalence of caste-based as opposed to ethnic-based coalitions: “the market rather than the state determined the chances for upward mobility, and it did so without an emphasis on ethnicity” (40). In reality, however, the very origin and consolidation of the colonial economy, including its legal, fiscal, trade, land, and labour matters, were determined largely by a class of British “planter-officials” who constituted the colonial state rather than by objective market forces (Asoka Bandarage, Colonialism in Sri Lanka: The Political Economy of the Kandyan Highlands, 1833-1886, Mouton, 1983). Again, it was not the market but non-market forces, such as the greater number of English-language schools established by Christian missionaries in the Northern Province, that gave preferential access to Tamil Vellalas over the majority Sinhalese in the colonial administration.

Biziouras attributes the “inter-ethnic peace” between the Sinhala and Tamil elite prior to 1936 to what he says was the maintenance of a high level of economic liberalization by the British (62). But the reason for the unity between the Sinhala and Tamil elite during the first two decades of the twentieth century was due largely to the assumed parity between the “two majority communities” (Asoka Bandarage, The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka: Terrorism, Ethnicity, Political Economy, Routledge, 2009, 33). Despite their much smaller numbers than the Sinhalese, the Tamils were able to gain a politically equal if not a dominant position in the Legislative Council. Again, this was due not so much to market factors as to the Tamil elites’ close cooperation with the British colonial state. It was the threat and eventual disruption of the assumed ethnic parity following electoral democratization, not the “medium level of liberalization,” as argued by Biziouras, that set the stage for the ethnic conflict.

Biziouras’s singular focus on levels of economic liberalization as the determinant of ethnic conflict results in a dismissal of the confluence of geographic, political, ideological, and other factors in ethnically-based political mobilization. The narrow focus on the domestic dimension leads to a neglect of the regional dimension of the Sri Lankan conflict and the role of South India. Separatist Eelamist sentiments were first heard in Sri Lanka when the majority status enjoyed by the Tamils in the Legislative Council was threatened in 1920. Following the break- up of the inter-ethnic Ceylon National Council, Sri Lankan Tamil leader Ponnambalam Arunachalam stated the objective of the Ceylon Tamil League at its inaugural meeting in 1923: “to keep alive and propagate … throughout Ceylon, Southern India and the colonies … the union and solidarity of ‘Tamil akam’, the Tamil Land” (Bandarage, The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka, 35). Arunachalam was influenced by growing Tamil nationalism in South India at the time. He was the first Tamil leader to articulate a sense of Sri Lankan Tamils as an oppressed group and seek refuge in a vision of Tamil Eelam.

Biziouras attributes the increasing ethnic conflict in post-independence Sri Lanka to a “medium level of economic liberalization” and mobilization by both Sinhala and Tamil ethnic political entrepreneurs of their respective critical masses. But, this limited explanation ignores the fact that to a large extent, from the beginning of Sri Lanka’s political independence from the British, Sri Lankan Tamil (as opposed to Indian or “plantation” Tamil) political mobilization was not motivated by upward mobility within the Sri Lankan state as much as by efforts to separate from it. In other words, economic benefit was and is never the sole motive of ethnically based political mobilization, as claimed in the book under review. Sri Lankan Tamil separatism was born irrespective of the level of economic liberalization and well before discriminatory language, university entrance, or employment policies were introduced by Sri Lankan governments to redress the subordination of the Sinhala majority during British colonial rule. The establishment of the Sri Lankan Tamil State Party in 1949 was preceded by calls from the Sri Lankan Tamil elite to the British to create a separate state, as in the case of India, in order to avoid majoritarian dominance following independence.

In attributing the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict solely to an arbitrarily determined “medium level of economic liberalization,” this book fails to grasp the complexity and multi-causal nature of the conflict and to make a useful contribution to the literature on Sri Lanka. The book states that most recent cases of ethnic conflict elsewhere (Yugoslavia, Chechnya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Indonesia) have also occurred at “medium levels of economic liberalization.” However, in failing to provide any comparative information whatsoever on these cases, the book also fails to make a contribution to the broader literature on the political economy of ethnic conflict.

Asoka Bandarage, American University, Washington DC, USA                                                     


CAFÉ CULTURE IN PUNE: Being Young and Middle Class in Urban India. By Teresa Platz Robinson. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014. viii, 284 pp. US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-809943-7.

Robinson’s book, Café Culture in Pune: Being Young and Middle Class in Urban India, marks an important contribution to the literature on youth in India. The book is neatly divided into six chapters which separately deal with various aspects of the lives of young middle-class Puneites. These include public places, clothing, education, friendships, romantic relationships, and family life. In the same vein as Craig Jeffrey’s work on young lower-class men in Uttar Pradesh’s educational institutions, Ritty Lukose’s work on college students in Kerala, Jamie Cross’s work on young working-class men in Andhra Pradesh’s Special Economic Zones and Nicholas Nisbett’s work on young men in Bangalore’s internet cafes, Robinson frames Pune’s coffee shops and night clubs as similar spaces of encounter in which identities, relationships, aspirations, and ideas are constructed, negotiated, and subverted by youth in novel ways.

First, the book’s choice to examine what goes on behind the doors of the franchised coffee shops that have been dotting India’s cities and towns with increasing frequency is an important one given that they are among the most visible symbols of India’s current phase of modernity. Second, the book’s setting, Pune, is one that has been projected by many, much like Bangalore, as a model of development for the rest of India to follow, and so it is interesting to see how the city plays into the urban middle-class youth story. Third, and arguably the book’s most important contribution, is its focus on not only young men, but also young women, who in many ways, because of their class status, share the “café culture” space with their male counterparts as equals. Much of the literature on youth in India has been male-centric yet Robinson’s book achieves a balanced account of both young men’s and women’s stories of navigating a “rapidly changing world in Pune in 2008” (257).

Robinson begins the book by stating the middle- and upper-middle-class backgrounds of her participants. Their affluence can be inferred from the ease with which they are able to access Pune’s high-priced coffee shops and night clubs. However, greater detail could have been provided regarding some of the material aspects of their lives, including the types of possessions they own (although she does cover clothes), their parents’ professions, and the houses and neighbourhoods they live in (which she touches on briefly in the book’s introduction). These would have better located them within the context of India’s multi-layered and constantly shifting class hierarchy.

The constant references to certain practices in the book as “middle class,” lying “between the elite and the poor” (25), are somewhat problematic considering the sheer size of, and diversity within India’s middle class, where those with just enough capital to be considered middle class can be seen as inhabiting completely different worlds from those who are not yet quite rich enough to be considered upper class. The very term “middle class” itself is highly contested and perhaps requires further interrogation. Nevertheless, Robinson’s interpretation of middle class here is less concerned with issues of financial resources or locations within the labour market but rather its metaphorical meanings and imaginings within Indian society. These are evident from the telling interviews recorded by Robinson in which her participants convey their “middle-classness” in a variety of ways, from security and frugality to morality and social attitudes.

The book provides numerous insights into how the categories of middle class and youth intersect to create new practices, separating her participants from those of other age or class groups. For example, Robinson identifies playing football, smoking hookah, dating, and engaging in cross-gender friendships as increasingly common features of contemporary middle-class life among youth, whereas “many amongst the parents’ generation claimed to only have had same-sex friends” (181). She also links the growing individual autonomy of middle-class youth and the increasing amount of time spent outside the home and in the public space to shifting responsibilities and transforming social roles. She characterizes the influence of individualization amongst those she studied as leading to deeper and closer friendships, taking on functions such as “caring, protection, learning and communion” typically performed by the family (184). At the same time, rather than simplifying these friendships as purely resembling parent-child relationships, Robinson fleshes out the deeply layered nature of such friendships. She reveals they are equally rooted in fun, frivolity, and a sense of mutual understanding caused by being similarly aged or experiencing a similar phase of life. Numerous examples are included to illustrate these complexities, including one referring to a form of intimacy between young men that would be hard to find within a family or family-like relationship, as she writes how “in their intoxicated states of mind, they would pour out their hearts to each other about their problems with the ladies” (180).

Robinson argues how young Puneites frequently “transcended the local while domesticating the global” (183), providing an example of a young man who regularly visited the temple whilst at the same time was a DJ. However, the argument could be further developed given the ambiguities surrounding what constitutes the “local” and the “global.” Overall, the book is a powerful portrait of the agency with which Indian youth have negotiated the changes around them. As she details how the flourishing public spaces which form the sites of her study not only reflect rapidly growing markets but are also used by young adults as “tools to make and remake themselves” (79), she helps to dispel the myth that India’s youth are mere consumers of Westernization and liberalization, but rather, are active agents of change engaged in writing a new narrative for themselves of what it means to be Indian in an increasingly global world.

Rahul Advani, King’s College, London, United Kingdom                                                           

THE EVOLUTION OF INDIA’S ISRAEL POLICY: Continuity, Change, and Compromise since 1922. The Oxford International Relations in South Asia Series. By Nicolas Blarel. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015. xv, 411 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$35.00, cloth . ISBN 978-0-19-945062-6.

India’s evolving relations with Israel provide a fascinating window to the hopes and aspirations, constraints and limitations, and diplomatic capacities and resilience to deal with unexpected and persisting challenges facing India’s foreign policy makers. The greatest mystery of this relationship has been the long gap between the recognition of Israel as a sovereign, independent nation by India in 1950 and the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1992. This book is a serious scholarly attempt by the author, Nicolas Blarel, to unravel this mystery of 42 years, and the subsequent developments in India-Israeli relations.

The author divides his subject into five time segments starting from 1922 and ending in 2012. In the first segment (1922–1947), the conflicting roots of Indian and Israeli nationalism are traced for their impact on one country’s approach toward the other. Gandhi and Nehru, who shaped India’s destiny during the initial years of India’s independence, were reluctant to accept the notion of a religious state. They supported the Khilafat movement as a protest movement but insisted on a secular identity for a state. The next two segments of 1948 to 1956, and 1956 to 1974 present detailed and meticulously researched accounts of many occasions when India could establish diplomatic relations with Israel but did not due to a variety of factors and forces, including the role of individuals. The analytical or thematic division between these two segments is a bit blurred and somewhat fragile. Then the author looks closely at a period of eight years, from 1984 to 1992, which is described as “From Estrangement to Engagement” of India with Israel. Finally, the book very systematically analyzes the “Consolidation of India’s New Israel Policy” during the two decades from 1992 to 2012, when establishment of diplomatic relations eventually led to the firming up of a “strategic partnership.” This segment is most informative and well organized and gives relevant and valuable details of emerging economic, defence, and political relations between the two countries. It even presents accounts of the visits of various chief ministers of Indian states to Israel (331–333). The author also compiles a list of India’s arms procurements from Israel, though the authenticity of this information may be debatable at many places in the compilation.

The role played by the “institutional” and “ideational” obstacles deterred the pragmatic approaches of many Indian rulers towards establishing diplomatic relations with Israel until 1992. Obstacles identified by the author include the religious identity of the Israeli state and India’s aversion to this identity, India’s support and sympathy for the Arab countries and the Palestinian people, the consideration of the political preferences and religious sentiments of the sizable Muslim minority within India, and the role of the Cold War and Israel’s aggressive posture towards the Arabs and Palestinians. The change in India’s approach towards Israel occurred as part of a significant shift in India’s foreign policy as a whole at the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the 1990s. Since Narasimha Rao’s coming to power in 1991, India liberalized its economy, opened up to Southeast Asia under its Look-East policy and became increasingly sensitive to international and Jihadi terrorism. Political turbulence, ideological confusion, and a breakdown of solidarity within the Arab world also played a significant role in shaping the change in India’s policy towards Israel. The shift in US attitude towards India, the consequent change in Indo-US relations by the end of the 1990s, and subsequent growth dynamism in the Indian economy certainly gave impetus to India’s cooperation with Israel.

Major policy changes in a country like India do not occur through knee-jerk reactions. The author rightly questions Jeffrey W. Legro’s theory that change occurs only when one “orthodoxy” collapses and another gets consolidated in the realm of policy. In this questioning, the author of this study claims that he was breaking new theoretical ground by demonstrating that within a “sub-system” of policy, like India’s approach towards Israel, change can be both “gradual” and “dynamic” (360). This, however, is not a great theoretical formulation. Most of the changes take place gradually and incrementally, particularly in large, diverse, and complex societies like India. In the course of his discussion, the author also highlights the role of policy “shocks” in inducing the change, but fails to show as to why many such “shocks,” like the Arab failure to support India’s position in the 1962, 1965, and 1971 wars (151), could not deliver the expected change? What in fact the author describes as policy “shocks” were hardly considered to be major “shocks” within the Indian policy portals.

The value of this study lies not in any major theoretical contribution, but in presenting the evolution of Indo-Israeli relations in a historical perspective. It gives us a narrative that is meticulously chronicled and copiously researched. It makes the reader aware of the conflicting claims often made on Indian policy makers on sensitive and critical issues. Its value would have been enhanced if the author had detailed the parallel debate within the Israeli establishments about India. The book gives us a very comprehensive bibliography and an impressive database on the subject. The author’s efforts deserve commendation, as this study can be of immense value to serious scholars, analysts, and commentators, as well as policy makers dealing with India’s foreign policy.

Sukh Deo Muni, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

THE INDEPENDENCE OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN: New Approaches and Reflections. Edited by Ian Talbot. Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press, 2013. vi, 295 pp. (Maps, figures.) US$27.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-906478-6.

This latest work by Britain’s leading historian of the Punjab, the independence movement, and the history of Pakistan is an excellent collection that brings together established as well as young scholars in examining issues old and new regarding the partition of India in 1947. Divided into three parts, “Violence,” “Politics,” and “New History,” it offers a fine introduction which succinctly summarizes the historiography of the subject and the topics developed in the ten chapters that follow.

The “Violence” chapters include a republication of Paul Brass’s 2003 article where he delineates the concept of “retributive genocide” in the Punjab to account for the violence which occurred at the time. He argues that violence, instigated by political leaders, created the conditions for partition in Bengal, where it subsided once Pakistan had been granted, and then to ethnically cleanse various areas of the Punjab. The British categorization of ethnic groups as “Muslims” and “Non-Muslims” made violence targeted toward the “other” “highly likely” (30), especially if a group of people was left out of a category and made vulnerable by being interspersed with others. In the Punjab, the situation was complicated due to the third community, the Sikhs, and the 16 semi-autonomous states scattered around the province. Muslims in the Western part of the Punjab eagerly turned on Sikhs and Hindus, who retaliated in the east as they expelled Muslims, who as refugees in the west brayed for revenge; and so the cycle of violence continued, with all communities guilty. Ilyas Chattha, in an important contribution, looks at some 1,000 First Information Reports lodged at local police stations in Gujranwala, Sialkot, Lahore, and Sheikhupura. Written in Urdu and now almost completely disintegrated, they document everything from petty crimes to large-scale murder and serve to give details, hitherto unknown, about the violence and the means by which it was perpetuated with, for example, one policeman absconding with a rifle and 50 cartridges. Talbot, in a fine contribution, focuses on the city of Sheikhupura, a major communications hub especially prized by both Muslims and Sikhs for its economic and religious value. Some two-thirds of the city’s property and businesses were owned by Hindus and Sikhs and plans were long made by Muslims to ethnically cleanse them to seize their wealth. When Muslim refugees who had been “turned out” by Sikhs arrived from the east, the desire for revenge was overwhelming. His study helps to map the violence in the Punjab and to indicate a “clear connection” (115) between transport nodes and violence hot-spots. Gurharpal Singh examines the role of Sikhs and the causes and consequences of violence, and the theories behind it from a “planned conspiracy,” a “cultural given,” “retributive Genocide,” and a “function of militarization.” He offers six suggestions for further research but calls for the “systematic overview that the subject desperately deserves” (134).

The four chapters in “Politics” are a delight for political historians. Victoria Schofield looks at how Wavell, temperamentally unsuited to be Viceroy, but an astute and knowledgeable observer of India affairs, was never given the authority to negotiate and govern that Mountbatten had. Had he been given the same powers and the same political support as Mountbatten, many believe independence would have occurred without its disastrous consequences. As it was, Wavell, out of favour with Attlee, as he had been with Churchill, was unceremoniously dumped for Mountbatten, who was more keenly attuned, as Talbot rightly points out, to nationalist forces in Southeast Asia, and the need to satisfy them, than many British (and especially French) administrators. Nick Lloyd looks at the role of Sir Evan Jenkins, the staunch supporter of the Unionist Party and the last British governor of united Punjab, and how his warnings about the consequences of Mountbatten’s policies were ignored. Between a rock and a hard place, Jenkins was blamed for the breakdown of law and order by some of the same people who were causing it! Mountbatten is central to the saga of partition and its horrific outcome. He was always lucky that the people who could have offered an alternative narrative, such as Wavell, Sir Evan Jenkins, and the last British commander-in-chief of the Indian Army, Claude Auchinleck, chose not to do so. Schofield’s and Lloyd’s chapters offer ideas for an analysis that helps redress the balance in the narrative. Sten Widalman looks at the role of Kashmir in the events of 1947, critically assessing how it was important to India to establish its secular credentials and to invalidate the demand for Pakistan.

The final section offers two chapters. The first is by Paul Griffin on the Christians of West Punjab (less than 2 percent of the population) who supported the demand for Pakistan as they were attracted by the All-India Muslim League’s minority rights discourse. Many of them attended the Lahore session of the league when the Pakistan Resolution was passed. Many migrated to the cities after partition, where Protestants attended Catholic churches, seeing no problem in doing so. The chapter adds another dimension to the partition story. Ritu Bhagat rounds out the volume by exploring the new field of social memory as part of her innovative project on “Landscape and Memory: Refugee Rehabilitation in Post-Partition Delhi.” In this fragment of her study she examines how food “constituted an important component of the partition migrant’s memory” (260). In doing so, she explains how migrants from the North-West Frontier Province, Punjab, and Sindh established restaurants in Delhi, most notably Moti Mahal and Embassy, that established “Punjabi” cuisine, especially tandoori (clay oven cooking) and butter chicken (chicken cooked with butter and spices), as the most renowned cuisine of north India and the diaspora. “Punjabi” food and restaurants became sites around which migrants maintained communal ties and memories. This chapter, and the entire volume, adds food for thought on partition studies, and is a valuable contribution.

Roger D. Long, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, USA

KEYWORDS FOR MODERN INDIA. By Craig Jeffrey and John Harriss. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. xii, 200 pp. US$34.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-966564-8.

The demand for comprehensive and accessible reviews of modern Indian society and political economy has intensified of late, fuelled by the growing geo-economic significance of the sub-continent. The transitional status of India from a more or less abject object of developmental studies to the more favoured status of an “emerging economy” in neo-liberal parlance has made older and new paradoxes appear both more visible and acute: the co-presence of democratic stability alongside steepening inequality, the persistence of radical social movements alongside a revitalized Hindu right, the widening of systemic corruption alongside a critical moral political economy of state/economy relations. Keywords for Modern India, co-authored by Craig Jeffrey and John Harriss, does not attempt a comprehensive review nor does it offer a critical history of the present. Instead it offers an accessible, well-researched, and often lively portal into modern and contemporary Indian politics, economy, and society via a kind of curated glossary of major concepts and categories of public debate and practice. The explicit inspiration is Raymond Williams’s profoundly innovative 1976 work, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. Attempting to replicate this template, Jeffrey and Harriss offer entries that range across social sectors, temporal spans, and discursive fields, showcasing the research strengths and interpretative gloss of the authors. It encompasses terms with general social-scientific import such as: capitalism, labour, civil society, colonialism, development, secularism, and poverty; others rooted in a specific political sociology or movement such as Coolie, Dalit, OBC (Other Backward Classes), Dowry, Adivasi, Reservations, Green revolution; and some narrowly institutional in origin such as BDO (block development officer), DM (district magistrate), Collector, NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) Three people make the compendium, namely, B.R. Ambedkar, M.K. Gandhi, and Jawaharlal Nehru. Most entries begin with a potted account of the English-language term’s original usage based either on the OED or Raymond Williams’s 1976 work, followed by a thumbnail sketch of their subsequent usage and meaning in Indian studies. Absent throughout is an engagement with the growing historiography on concept formation in colonial and postcolonial India and there is no mention even of prior efforts, for example, the wondrous hybrid of social history and cultural mapping contained in the 1886 Hobson-Johnson dictionary that included vernacular, English, and Anglo-Indian terms. But the entries are broadly speaking judicious, insightful, and incisive. The volume is in this regard a useful resource for new entrants into contemporary and modern Indian studies across the non-historical social sciences as well as for commentators and journalists outside the academy.

But fundamental methodological and conceptual ambiguities remain. All the entries are English-language terms, effectively ignoring not only the “actually existing” linguistic diversity of modern India, but overt issues of class, cultural capital, and spatial politics. For Williams, in contrast, the differential meanings assigned to general terms telescoped the cleft between bourgeois and popular orders, the socially rooted divide between ordinary usage and elite deployments. The absence of such cross-linguistic vernacular keywords as “swadeshi,” “vikaas,” and “goonda” shuts off the socially resonant diverse meanings that they have accumulated across conjunctures. Likewise, the decision to exclude Indian-English terms—especially cross-over social-scientific and popular terms such as “vote-bank” or “time-pass” (bewildering given Jeffrey’s excellent ethnography of unemployed youth)—forecloses an account of the socioeconomic and discursive complexity of transformations in modern India.

Given these significant flaws, the most striking feature of the volume—its explicit modelling of Raymond Williams’s Keywords—begs more questions than it resolves. Williams’s Keywords is justly regarded as a lodestone of British cultural Marxism and more generally, of a new left critical historical sensibility. The culmination of several decades of research, it integrated political, analytical, and aesthetic commitments towards a revitalized historical materialism. The dual analytical and political status of “culture” in Williams’s work was tied to the new left project of envisioning a socialism that encompassed the totality of human relations, one beyond a narrowly construed arena of political economy. It appeared in a moment before Thatcherism held sway, when Marxist and left-historical debates flourished in the British academy and when a radical left ranged across local councils, trade unions, and within the Labour Party. The self-description of Williams’s work as an exercise in “historical semantics” was a robust riposte to the static structuralism that undergirded what later came to be called the “linguistic turn,” setting it apart from formalistic linguistic models. The commitment to historical reflexivity was evinced most overtly in its explicit mapping of the dynamic, variegated, and often contradictory meanings of such keywords as class (the longest entry), masses, equality, private, and welfare, among others. What inoculated Williams’s project from the temptations of scholarly solipsism was its effort to historicize major shifts, hitching mutations in meaning to wider social, economic, and ideological transformations. This buoyant historical materialism placed Williams’s Keywords beyond an ordinary encyclopedia, dictionary, or glossary, setting it apart as well from the kind of “objectivist” philology associated with the conservative German historian Rienhart Koselleck. Jeffrey and Harriss provide a useful glossary to assorted terms in contemporary Indian studies, but its methodological and conceptual flaws are too apparent and numerous to assuage those with a critical historical orientation.

Manu Goswami, New York University, New York, USA

RITUALS OF ETHNICITY: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India. Contemporary Ethnography. By Sara Shneiderman. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. xvi, 305 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$75.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8122-4683-4.

Theoretically informed (but never pompous), attractively and clearly written (but not over-written), ethnographically grounded (but never boring), multi-sited and boundary-crossing, politically aware, engaged, and reflexive, Sara Shneiderman’s ethnographic monograph makes a significant, indeed brilliant, intervention in Himalayan anthropology, one that is (or ought to be) just as relevant for specialists of India as it is for scholars of Nepal.

Shneiderman’s people are the Thangmi/Thami ethnic group, around 40,000 people found principally in Nepal, in a small way just over the border in Tibet (People’s Republic of China), and importantly in Darjeeling, with a satellite settlement in the southeast Nepali border district of Jhapa. Before the work of Shneiderman and her linguistic anthropologist husband, Mark Turin, put them on the map, the Thangmi were as unknown and obscure to scholars as they were to most Nepalis. In the past Thangmis were classic hybrid Zomians—avoiding the control and gaze of the state as much as they could, remaining so far below the radar that even now few have heard of them. Shneiderman’s story focuses on how an entirely new kind of politically assertive identity emerged, focused on literary production, public performance, and making claims on the state. It began in Darjeeling and then moved to Nepal (the activists in the two places crucially being in dialogue and mutual support). Shneiderman’s theoretical bent is to stress how this new form of identity is (when understood more profoundly) in deep continuity with older ways of being Thangmi, not least in its focus on sacred origins and symbols.

Shneiderman traces the history of organized Thangmi/Thami ethnicity in Darjeeling, Jhapa, Dolakha, and Kathmandu, starting in the 1930s. The infamous Piskar incident of 1984, in which policemen shot dead two villagers celebrating a festival, on the grounds that they were singing subversive songs, occurred in a Thangmi village and the victims were all Thangmis, though this was not evident to many people at the time. Shneiderman shows how the build-up to the incident was intimately connected to underground communist organizing in the region. At the same time, very different campaigns were taking off in India, for OBC (Other Backward Class) and ST (Scheduled Tribe) status, which required middle-class activists who no longer spoke Thangmi or had any experience of shamanic traditions to prove the “backwardness” of their group; at one point, in order to prove “primitive traits,” there was a campaign for a “return” to eating mouse meat, a practice that only one leader of the relevant organization in Darjeeling actually claimed to be distinctively Thangmi.

Shneiderman is well aware of, and highlights, the multiple ironies that ensue when activists seek to make public points for a political purpose about cultural practices they are not very familiar with. The second national convention of the Nepal Thami Samaj was held to coincide with the key annual Bhume festival in Dolakha. Shneiderman comments, “The fact that the leadership could schedule [the convention] to conflict with Bhume Jatra, a ritual event that all of their publications proclaimed central to their ethnic identity, demonstrated that the activists had in fact constructed a parallel universe for the ritual production of ethnicity through political action” (167). The activists had timed their convention deliberately: they preferred not to have the ritual gurus present; it was easier to construct their own world, for all that it depended symbolically upon the existence of the gurus and their traditions, without the competition around. Meanwhile, in India, activists both needed the Nepal-based “traditional” Thangmis to provide material for their claims to “primitive traits,” yet simultaneously needed to downplay links to Nepal in order to make their claims as Indian citizens. These same activists are simultaneously proud of their ancestors’ traditions and embarrassed by the associated “primitive traits” (drinking the blood of sacrificed animals, acting as demons in a Devi festival, eating beef).

Yet another irony is that Shneiderman’s description of the Devikot festival, published in 2005, was submitted in evidence as part of the Darjeeling Thangmis’ application for SC status; the article argued, using high-flown theory from Judith Butler, that the Thangmis’ participation, though apparently subordinating, actually transmuted ritual power and asserted the pre-eminence of the Thangmis, thus explaining why Thangmis themselves viewed it as the key ritual defining Thangminess. Just a year after she published the article and submitted it to activists in Darjeeling, the Thangmis back in Dolakha stopped participating in the festival on the grounds that they were being exploited. Shneiderman candidly admits that this sudden decision shook her faith in her ethnographic analysis.

Perhaps because the Thangmi are a relatively small group, Shneiderman seems to have been acquainted with all the activists in every location. This gives her account of ethnogenesis—or better, ethno-transformation—a completeness that most other monographs lack. But, as her account makes clear, this did not mean (as in some even smaller groups) that this work of ethnic creation was accomplished by one man alone. On the contrary, as Shneiderman indicates (even if she does not always go into detail), there were fierce debates and differences on many issues. What is less clear is whether there was a yawning gap (as there certainly is in other larger ethnic groups) between the activists’ perspectives and many of those on whose behalf they claim to speak. Nor does Shneiderman tackle the question—a very difficult one for Janajati activists to face or even admit to—of the relationship between Thangmis and Dalits in Dolakha and Sindhupalchok (the more relaxed situation in Darjeeling is mentioned).

Rituals of Ethnicity is a subtle and important contribution to discussions of ethnicity everywhere. It will be particularly significant for scholars and students of the Himalayas. As such, the University of Pennsylvania Press should make it available in paperback and in an affordable South Asian edition as soon as possible.

David N. Gellner, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

AYYA’S ACCOUNTS: A Ledger of Hope in Modern India. By Anand Pandian & M.P. Mariappan; afterword by Veena Das. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014. xii, 216 pp. (Map, B&W photos.) US$24.00, paper. ISBN 978-0-253-01250-0.

Ayya’s Accounts is a most wonderful product of listening, narrating, and co-writing between Anand Pandian, an anthropologist of Tamil descent born and bred in the US, and his grandfather, Ayya—as he is respectfully called by the family—a merchant whose life story started in colonial Burma and came to fruition in Madurai, South India. The book, which reads as an eminently enjoyable novel, presents an account of Ayya’s life as it was conveyed to Pandian over many conversations between the two of them, several other family members, and much-loved Paati, Ayya’s now deceased wife. The text consists of 27 short chapters, most of which are large chunks of Ayya’s Tamil voice translated into English and interspersed with shorter chapters by Pandian, who offers ongoing reflections on what Ayya’s narratives contain, mean, reveal, and hide as they were told to him over the years.

The title Ayya’s Accounts is intentionally plural. At one level, it refers to the rich accounts of life that Ayya keenly shared with his grandson, an ethnographer of Tamil Nadu. Ayya teasingly prodded him one day, “When are you going to write my story?” Starting with the birth of Ayya in 1919, the account covers a life straddling the twentieth century: from Ayya’s early involvement with the family’s shop in Burma, to a rushed and traumatic overland return to India in late 1941, to adulthood as a respected merchant and husband with eight children back in the village, and finally retired life with a son’s family in Madurai, punctuated by visits to children and grandchildren across the US. But the title also refers to a core aspect of Ayya’s person: his life-long involvement with trade as a respected merchant and his love for—and obsession with—counting numbers, keeping accounts, and maintaining ledgers to record even the smallest of business transactions he concluded. Trade was what Ayya knew, what he was good at, and whose profits enabled him to educate his children in the pursuit of a better life.

While the rich and touching narratives contained in this book cannot be summarized here, three things, among many others, stand out for me. First, in the introductory pages Pandian ponders what the particular quirks of a single life story can tell us about modern India. What can be learned from the stories of a poor Nadar boy who started life running a shop with his brothers in Burma and ended up as a successful fruit merchant in Madurai? The answer is, of course, that such a life story can teach us a great deal, and probably much more than what can be gleaned from grand narratives of independence, freedom, economic development or religious tradition—in Ayya’s village, we learn, they didn’t even realize that Independence had happened until weeks after the event! Ayya’s successes and failures reveal the broader upward struggles of his caste, whose members’ ulaippu (toil) and hardship ultimately translated into economic improvement and social mobility in post-Independence India. Or, as Veena Das summarizes in her afterword, Ayya’s accounts are “a witness to the stupendous changes that took place in the caste to which Ayya belonged, in the political systems of the nations in which he tried to make his home, and to the ways aspirations changed as each generation tried to make a different future for itself” (200).

Second, Ayya’s life story contains unique material to reflect on agency, or what is left of it in a changing world that imposes opportunities and challenges rather than allowing individuals to pick and choose. Indeed, much of Ayya’s life course was not shaped by his own choices or wishes, but forced upon him by other people, other events, and good or bad luck. It was his father who brought him to Burma to work in the family shop, it was war that forced his return to India with his brother, it was his marriage to Paati that landed him in his in-laws’ textile shop, and it was his brother’s fruit trade that eventually made him into a prosperous merchant. Circumstances, one could call them, are what also led to the premature death of his daughter and to several of his adult children leaving the country in search of opportunities elsewhere. Ayya recounts his own story in terms of hard work, moral commitment, honesty and skill—and all of these were undoubtedly his assets. But his accounts also leave a strong trace of coming to terms with the realization that one lacks agency, control, and grip on most of life’s events.

Finally, the accounts provide wonderful insights into the ways in which as humans we confront the uncertainties and anxieties engendered by the unpredictability of life, and how we reconcile them with our aspirations for a “good life” and a “moral life”—topics Pandian has long engaged with in his work. Uncertainty and anxiety about past experiences and unknown futures always abound. For Ayya, Pandian concludes, counting, recording, hard work, and repaying one’s debts constitute practical ways—techniques—of retaining control, of creating some stability amidst the flux of everyday life, and of learning “simply to live with the unexpected” (191).

This book is anything but an ordinary ethnographic account of a life. It is a work of passion: the passion that Pandian holds for his family (reciprocated by them), for the power of listening and telling, for understanding life in contemporary India, and, perhaps most of all, for grasping how ordinary people make sense of what a good and moral life is all about. A book, intended as a tribute to his grandfather, does as much honour to anthropology and to the power of using narrative to convey social and personal lives. Ayya is a man whom I for one would like to meet, and the accounts he and Pandian have left us are ones that I for one will use to help students gain insight into personal lives, aspirations, and social change in India today. It is also highly recommended reading for anyone interested in questions of morality, meaning making, and survival in a rapidly changing world.

Geert De Neve, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom

ANSWER THE CALL: Virtual Migration in Indian Call Centers. By Aimee Carrillo Rowe, Sheena Malhotra, and Kimberlee Pérez. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013. xiv, 242 pp. US$75.00, cloth, ISBN: 978-0-8166-8938-5; US$25.00, paper, ISBN: 978-0-8166-8939-2.

In Answer the Call, Aimee Carrillo Rowe, Sheena Malhotra, and Kimberlee Pérez attempt to situate, and make sense of, Indian call centres in economies of neoliberal outsourcing projects, and the labour and time arbitrage they solicit. They claim that uneven compressions of time and space are always and already unequal and contested relationships that open new modes of access while also furthering forms of exclusion. The title adeptly refers to Althusser’s discussion of “interpellation” (“Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” Monthly Review Press, 1971) to describe the “hailing” of “US power and global capital” ensconced in the phone calls of Americans to customer service centres in India, that materializes call centre agents as particular types of subjects (19). Answer the Call takes particular interest in how “the call” of these neoliberal projects are “answered,” how people negotiate these experiences, and what processes emerge that are defined by, and redefine, these global relationships.

The authors draw from call centre literature and migration studies to trace the impact of call centre labour on workers and suggest new ways of thinking about the categories and geographies naturalized in these discussions. They focus on how the international interactions and virtual movements involved in this labour actually remake workers’ lives, desires, and subjectivities. They pay particular and innovative attention to the ways in which call centre agents reorient their temporal, relational, and material lives towards the United States to serve the demands of a globalized market economy and the often more privileged global subjects calling from across the world. Because of virtual connections to other places, agents’ labour both permits and constrains travel, forming “virtual borderlands” where callers and agents meet but where there remains a conceptual and territorial boundary between national belongings. According to the authors, this sense of movement creates migrant workers who become a diaspora community living inside, rather than outside, the homeland (142).

In chapter 1, Carrillo Rowe, Malhotra, and Pérez develop the concept of “power temporalities” which is central to their theoretical contribution. Time can be structured differently and unevenly and imbalances legitimize particular hegemonic influences. The authors use several American documentaries and reality TV shows on Indian call centres to show how power temporalities are normalized through developmental time structures based on racialized, gendered, and

Westernized narratives of modernity (33). The way these programs portray call centres and workers situate India in a traditional past that is behind the United States in its progress towards modernity. Moreover, white, male narrators are contrasted with brown, Indian femininity, reiterating racial and gendered power relationships that give moral power and authority to America (50). The authors suggest these productions are intended to alleviate anxieties towards perceived threats to America’s identity and global position of power.

Chapter 2 turns to workers’ experiences in order to explore the implications of call centre labour for their sense of embodied self and how it reconfigures their connections and desires. Call centre agents often imagine alternate identities in order to interact with American callers, manipulating their bodies, interests, and communicative practices to perform and embody these identities. Agents also work night shifts to use the time difference between India and the United States. Such processes estrange many employees from relationships and daily life in India, effectively orienting them towards America and preferencing the realities of consumers. While social mobility achieved from good pay and increased confidence does occur, some agents also feel diasporic loss or experience physical sickness as the long hours and stresses of this labour are manifest in the body, testing the limits of global subjectivities (174).

Chapters 3 and 4 discuss the anxiety that these interactions and movements incite, not only in the United States, but also in India, focusing on the politics of citizenship and national identity. In chapter 3 the authors argue that even though market capitalism, globalization, and new forms of entitlements redefine territorialized notions of citizenship, current conceptions still include the national as well as the transnational. Agents are “caught in politics of recognition” where both statements congratulating authentic assimilation as well as overtly racist exclusions (embodied racialization also occurs through aural registers) serve to reify a cohesive concept of “Americanness” that is rearticulated and monitored by callers (31). However, workers also contest national exclusions by asserting their position as global players.

Expressions of national anxiety do not occur only in virtual space, nor are they reserved to American national ideologies. Chapter 4 explores the implications of the “spilling” of American identities into the daily lives of call centre workers, and thus, into Indian society. This process causes concern regarding Indian national identity and its stakes for India’s future. Workers, families, and managers expressed feelings of cultural loss that are often in tension with desires for social mobility and global involvement. Call centre agents are seen as participating in nation building while also disrupting and Westernizing the nation (174).

Answer the Call both challenges space- and place-based geographies and problematizes the universalization of the discourse on globalization and interconnectivity. It shows how such discussions often ignore power relationships inherent in globalized space-time relations that privilege the experiences and time of some people over that of others, silencing the experiences of those whose labour produces and facilitates these connections. It is an important inquiry into how conceptions of national identity, the nation-state, and the borders between them are still present and defended in a globalized context of continual physical and virtual migrations across territorial lines. The authors do crucial work to tie these discussions to the demonstration of how difference, including gender, racial, and sexual difference, is created in a discourse of national belonging. They also take a step forward in addressing the role of technology in those processes.

More attention could be given to the material artifacts and procedures involved in call centres, however, as well as the technologies themselves, which are drawing attention from the bourgeoning field of science and technology studies. Future works addressing the call centre industry would do well to look more closely at how the devices, codes, and production of technology, as well as their underlying ideologies, participate in difference- and similarity-making and are significant mediators and actors in forming the identities of call centre agents and the customers who call them.

Eileen Sleesman, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

THE DURABLE SLUM: Dharavi and the Right to Stay Put in Globalizing Mumbai. Globalization and Community, v. 23. By Liza Weinstein. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014. xvi, 216 pp. (Illus.) US$75.00, cloth, ISBN 978-0-8166-8309-3; US$25.00, paper, ISBN 978-0-8166-8310-9.

Liza Weinstein’s The Durable Slum: Dharavi and the Right to Stay Put in Globalizing Mumbai tells a fascinating story of Dharavi, a settlement that is considered the largest “slum” in Asia. The book contests the notion of totalizing transformations wrought by globalization, such as the flows of global capital, planning ideals, and entrepreneurial models endorsed by global and domestic developers. In contrast, Weinstein’s analytical lens focuses on “stability” and “durability.” As she argues, her project attempts to understand “the relationship between change and stability, ephemerality and entrenchment, in the context of urban development” (7). Drawing on Chester Hartman’s idea of “the right to stay put,” she illustrates that the politics of Dharavi entails attempts to resist displacement due to interventions designed by the state and the developers. According to her, the marginalized in Dharavi navigate party politics, judiciary systems, housing, transnational activism, and planning mechanisms in the city with the modest aim of the “right to stay put” rather than the Lefebvrian revolutionary ideal of the “right to the city.” Addressing the “right to remain in limbo” (20), she emphasizes the struggles necessary to maintain a “precarious stability.” In so doing, she provides a historical account of Dharavi by drawing on planning documents, classic studies, gazettes, and an ethnographic analysis.

Weinstein provides a historical account of the settlement by analyzing migration dynamics, urban planning and land use, population growth, caste- and community-specific occupational and social formation, and industrial development. In this light, she cogently maps the transition of a 535-acre fishing village into an informal settlement defined by working-class housing and unregulated industries. In chapter 1, her key argument highlights the “supportive neglect” on the part of the state and the interaction of the state with various other informal sovereignties and governance structures that shape everyday life in Dharavi. In chapter 2, Weinstein analyzes the interventions that have been targeted at Dharavi, especially once it was deemed Asia’s largest “slum.” She discusses how institutional and political fragmentation, diverse power arrangements, and contestations over the settlement have undermined the planning interventions. As a result, the durability of the settlement has not only meant successful resistance against state-led displacement and interventions, but also the existence of low-quality housing.

In chapter 3, the author maps the neo-liberal impetus behind the Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP). She provides an insightful analysis of deindustrialization and the associated processes of “criminal involvement, violence, and abuses of state power entailed in the city’s emerging political economies of land” (91). In particular, she analyzes how the settlement’s prime location has invited attention for its transformation on the part of profit-minded developers and state bodies. Subsequently, she examines the intricate political and social processes that undermine this entrepreneurial aspiration and contribute to the durability of settlements like Dharavi. In chapter 4, she discusses the inability of Mukesh Mehta— the developer-entrepreneur who envisioned transforming Dharavi in pursuit of capital accumulation—to forge an effective coalition among various stakeholders to push forth his agenda. Mehta not only had to contend with political fragmentation and conflicts with activists but also had to grapple with criticisms regarding lack of public accountability and centralization of authority. As argued in chapter 5, the mobilization of the residents and the constraints of local politics undermined the DRP despite Mehta’s efforts. As Weinstein argues, the institutional and political complexities forced the potential developers to withdraw from the project. The book beautifully illustrates how the obduracy of local resistance against global visions of city-making forecloses the possibility of turning Mumbai into Shanghai. An ensemble of power relations, interests, and contingencies shapes the obduracy of resistance. Thus, resistance against global capital, developers, and profit accumulation is emboldened by the configuration of group interests among various stakeholders. Further, the fragility and unpredictability of resistance is reflective of the weight of capital, developers, and state power.

The strength of the book lies in its analysis of the worldview of the developers (ethnographic vignettes of salesmanship on their part), and the interactions among various stakeholders in the context of the changing political economy of land. However, the book could have gained from further ethnographic details on the everyday negotiation of community leaders and political mediators, and the residents’ mundane struggles for visibility. While Weinstein has done a splendid job of analyzing the diversity and specific community interests in the settlement, one also wonders about the nature of intra- and inter-community conflicts and solidarities among Kolis, Kumbhars, Dalits, and Muslims in the light of planning interventions, given the massive size of the settlement. It is also striking that there is inadequate gender analysis with respect to the language of planning, “political entrepreneurship,” and negotiation and resistance to the developers’ models. Nevertheless, this is a significant contribution to the literature on urban transformations and the durability of low-income residents and their settlements. In particular, the book calls for attention to the need for context-specific analysis of urban planning, the local power dynamics among various stakeholders, and the contingency of resilient politics, all of which have to be understood on a case-by-case basis with the caveat that not all cities may respond to the same globalizing processes to the same degree.

Sanjeev Routray, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

BRIDGING THE SOCIAL GAP: Perspectives on Dalit Empowerment. Edited by Sukhadeo Thorat, Nidhi Sadana Sabharwal. New Delhi; Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publication, 2014. xxvii, 279 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-81-321-1311-9.

In recent years, analysis of the status of disadvantaged groups such as Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in Indian society has emerged as a major area of research in the social sciences, which has created a need for statistical data to understand their socio-economic condition and levels of empowerment. While the issue of discrimination in the social sphere has been well researched, studies on exclusion in the economic sphere have not received as much attention. The volume under review, edited by Sukhadeo Thorat and Nidhi Sadana Sabharwal, attempts to fill these gaps. It was initially conceived as an “alternative” Human Development Report (HDR) that would include variables on exclusion and discrimination to be designated as a Dalit Development Report. But separating HD indicators by caste and ethnic groups of SCs and STs from the general data proved difficult as group-wise data is not available for many indicators, though the same data are available at the aggregate level. Hence, the editors decided to widen the conceptual dimension of the HD perspective by bringing in variables related to group inequalities, which they argue has made their analysis more “distribution-sensitive.” This necessitated disaggregation of the Human Development Index (HDI) and the Human Poverty Index (HPI) by various groups based on class, caste, ethnicity, and religion and second, analysis of the causal factors associated with a lower level of HD among the selected disadvantaged groups.

The adoption of this framework is significant as few countries—Malaysia, Gabon, Nepal, US, Canada, Guatemala, and India—have disaggregated indicators of HD by social groups. The HDRs of 2000 and 2004 prepared by the UNDP have also made some progress in providing data on some dimensions and indicators of exclusion. In India, national HDRs are available since 2001 and 14 states have also published such reports. The state level HDRs provide data on the deprivations suffered by the SC, ST and Other Backward Classes and observe that the HD levels of these groups fall below that of the general population. But they do not estimate the composite index of Human Development or Human Poverty of these groups, they avoid dealing with issues of inter-social disparity, and the indicators used are limited and vary from state to state. Moreover, as the editors point out, in these reports there is inadequate conceptualization, or attempt to develop indicators that capture caste-based exclusion and discrimination and linkages with the human deprivation faced by disadvantaged groups.

Using this framework the volume addresses four interrelated issues. First, based on the prevailing academic literature, it conceptualizes exclusion-linked deprivation and elaborates the concept of social exclusion and of caste, untouchability, and ethnicity-based exclusion of socially disadvantaged groups, namely SCs and STs. Second, it presents the status of these socially disadvantaged groups and their inter-social group inequalities vis-à-vis the general population by constructing an HDI and an HPI using indicators of well-being. Three, it analyzes deprivation among these socially disadvantaged groups in terms of lower levels of access to resources, employment, education, and social needs. Finally, it examines the role of caste discrimination in economic, civil, social, and political spheres, which involves a denial of, or selective restrictions on, the right to development or equal opportunities for socially disadvantaged groups.

While the introduction lays out the conceptual and empirical methodology used, it is the first three chapters that present the above-mentioned issues in detail. The discussion in these chapters indicates that while there have been improvements in the condition of these social groups, there is ample evidence to suggest that exclusionary and discriminatory practices persist in the functioning of public institutions. Societal discrimination and exclusion in multiple spheres, together with violent opposition by upper castes and state institutions, have narrowed the space for SCs and STs to utilize the civil, political, and economic rights and equal opportunities guaranteed by the Constitution. Some strategies and policies—such as legal enforcement of anti-discriminatory laws, reservations and financial schemes under the SC and ST sub-plans, anti-poverty schemes and general empowering policies—have introduced positive changes. However, the rate of improvement has been slow and has not been sufficient to reduce the absolute level of deprivation between them and the non-SC/ST population. A high degree of “exclusion-induced deprivation” continues and socially inclusive policies need to be framed by the state.

Against this backdrop, the remaining chapters examine various seminal aspects of the socio-economic conditions of SCs and STs: levels of consumption, poverty, literacy and educational levels, housing, health, access to resources, and housing. Each chapter, written by a well-known scholar in the field, is well researched, informative, and provides an in-depth analysis of the condition of SCs and STs in the selected field; collectively, they provide an understanding of the disadvantages faced by these two groups and improvements and failures in public policy of the Indian state. While such studies exist, bringing them together in one volume and linking them to exclusion and discrimination make them valuable.

A basic difficulty with the volume is that the statistical data on which the study is based are dated, only including data up to the year 2000. The Indian economy experienced high economic growth in the early 2000s and it would have been useful to know if this has trickled down to disadvantaged groups, or, as alleged by some scholars, due to neo-liberal reforms, poverty and inequality has increased. It is hoped that this drawback will be addressed through an updated version. Despite this shortcoming, the volume makes three theoretical and methodological contributions: it has provided a conceptual framework to study the causes of low HD of excluded and indigenous groups and estimates the inter-group disparities in HDI and HPI; it has constructed the HDI and the HPI at aggregate level and disaggregated it by groups; and it has presented the situation of SCs and STs in comparison with others, with regard to individual indicators. These are valuable contributions and make the volume a tool for future research.

Sudha Pai, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

INDIANS IN SINGAPORE, 1819-1945: Diaspora in the Colonial Port City. By Rajesh Rai. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014. xxix, 325 pp. (Tables.) US$55.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-809929-1.

In this rich volume, readers are treated to an encyclopedic assessment of Indian presence in Singapore. From the Raffles treaty with the Sultan of Johor in 1819, and the more formalized incorporation of the island into British commercial horizons, through to the defeat of Japan in World War Two, the book utilizes an impressive array of primary sources to weave a textured narrative. Much of the tale and its methodological underpinnings are familiar to those engrossed in the now weighty literature on Southeast Asia’s Indian-origin communities and diasporas, but this engaging synthesis should be popular with students and citizens interested in the nation’s historical ethnic tapestry. It may prove slightly less appealing to a wider academic audience hungry for innovative transnational histories of the vibrant, networked Indian Ocean world, of which Singapore was a key node. Still, this attractive book is an admirable piece of scholarship that tells the reader a great deal about the diversity and multi-layered identities of Singapore’s Indian communities.

The book is broken into three chronological parts. Part 1, “Pioneers at the Frontier,” takes the narrative from Raffles to the 1867 transfer of the territory from British East India Company control to Crown Colony. Part 2, “Diasporic Transformations in the Age of Mass Migration,” ups the pace to the 1940s, with the shorter final section focusing on the well-studied period of Japanese Occupation and the Indian National Army. One might quibble that a work subtitled “diaspora in a colonial port city” could have played around with more counter-hegemonic chronologies, but the structure is generally helpful in orientating the reader through the long timeframe. Within its own Singaporean and transnational terms the book soon progresses on a dense and thematically rewarding journey. It summarizes well the changing contexts and historiography of nineteenth-century imperial militarism, colonial labour and independent commerce that brought Singapore into various scales of “Greater India,” “Greater Madras” or even “Greater Punjab,” at the same time as Southeast Asia itself impacted the social, economic, and demographic history of rural India. Rai’s attention to detail is impressive, for example in explaining the stages of linkage between the Madras Presidency and Singapore. He expertly describes the ebb and flow of British anxiety about Indian mobility and agency, especially from the 1860s to the 1920s. Rai is notably strong in evoking a teetering sense of colonial control and its attendant authoritarian turns, which emerge forcefully in his narrative with the 1867 Muharram procession (in the context of Chinese secret society activity) and the 1915 Singapore Mutiny (inflamed by the globalized Indian radicalism of the Ghadr movement).

The volume shines further as it delves into the socio-cultural arena, vividly presenting urban spaces as diverse Indian communities bedded down into agglomerations such as Serangoon Road into the twentieth century. Analysis of the taxonomies of communal difference, as well as trans-ethnic collaboration, is interesting and apt. The most original section is chapter 5, which engages the complexities of Indian associational culture. This fills a scholarly lacuna, even if the short sections and prose dictate a rather staccato style. The connections to Indian nationalist and regional ethnic politics tether nicely to the book’s conceptual ambitions and are informative, even if such Southeast Asian scholarship at large arguably lags behind comparable work on Africa and “Greater India” by scholars such as Isabel Hofmeyr, Jim Brennan, and Sana Aiyer. The final section, “The Japanese Occupation and the Indian National Army,” provides an excellent Singaporean (as opposed to wider Malayan) treatment of this most emotive episode in Singapore’s South Asian history. It is a good first port of call for those interested in the period and underlines Rai’s copious bibliographical industry within canonical and more unusual sources.

“Diaspora” is at the centre of Rai’s analysis, but in some senses, notwithstanding excellent source endeavour and conceptual flourishes book-ending the volume, he does not go far enough in dissecting and theorizing the cacophony of diasporic voices and transnational bonds across the Bay of Bengal. He is astute in consistently seeing the port city as a “porous site of confluence,” flux, and multi-directionality of connection (280-285). Colonial infrastructure intentionally and inadvertently sustained such webs, as well as regulated them, as Rai incisively observes. But for a book so explicitly concerned with “mobility and circulation across nodes spread over vast regions … best understood within the transnational networks frame” (xix), one might have expected deeper methodological liaison with Indian (and other Indian Ocean) sites that produced some of this transnational noise in Singapore, as well as new cutting-edge secondary literature. The excellent monograph cited in the introduction as influential in moving us beyond a “plantation frontier” and “homeland” focus of South Asian mobilities, Claude Markovits’ The Global World of Indian Merchants (Cambridge University Press), is now fifteen years old. Since then an effervescent body of Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian interventions—a driver of the latest avatar of the “transnational turn”—has also been directly preoccupied with Rai’s own task of assessing how dialogues of imperial, Indian, and Indian Ocean worlds in colonial port cities consistently re-negotiated a range of local, transnational, and global identities. With the supple analysis of multivalent print cultures, carceral archipelagos, pilgrimage networks, revolutionary undergrounds, and the permissive global languages of self-determination, scholars such as Sunil Amrith, Clare Anderson, Enseng Ho, Eric Tagliacozzo, Su Lin Lewis, Mark Ravinder Frost, and Tim Harper are building a sophisticated vista of connection, cleavage, and even cosmopolitanism within and beyond Empire. This book is pulling on the same rope and does so with empirical diligence. Its strength is a focus on the peculiarities of Singapore’s transnational porousness, which Rai states has been understudied. Yet, Rai’s diasporic focus would have been enriched conceptually by engaging more deeply and comparatively this newer work on regional connection and wider registers of permeability. As it stands, this fine book on Singaporean exceptionalism and regional relations misses certain historiographical tricks. Nevertheless, this busy synopsis does move us forward in addressing Indian diaspora in Asia. Anyone interested in the contingent ways in which Empire and migration shaped the “elaborate texture” of Singapore should digest its content.

Gerard McCann, University of York, Heslington, United Kingdom

ETHNOGRAPHIES OF SCHOOLING IN CONTEMPORARY INDIA. Edited by Meenakshi Thapan. New Delhi; Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2014. x, 368 pp. US$49.95, cloth. ISBN 978-81-321-1385-0.

Interest in India’s system of education has greatly increased across the world over the last two decades. The opening up of the Indian economy—i.e., its “liberalization”—marks a change in earlier policies, both economic and educational. No new framework of state policy in education has yet evolved, and the recent political developments do not offer much hope that a new policy will be formulated with consensus. In the meantime, the National Policy on Education formulated in 1986 continues to be used as a point of reference by scholars who want to make sense of the bewildering diversity of schools and the systems that govern them. Those interested mainly in studying India’s economic liberalization often raise older, more familiar questions, such as: Is literacy going to remain a public agenda? Can universal schooling coexist with child labour? Such questions have returned because economic development and social change since independence from British colonial rule have not changed the larger picture of India as a country of sharp inequalities and hierarchies. Scholarship in different social sciences has enhanced common awareness of the complexities of this picture, by demonstrating how gender disparity is deeply implicated in older understandings of caste as a key axis of hierarchy and basis of class inequality. The role of religion too is now somewhat more candidly accepted when problems and policies of social justice are discussed. Compared to three decades ago, there is greater global interest now in studying India’s attempt to modernize itself which in turn creates a demand for deeper perspectives and descriptions of the different institutions shaping the socio-economic and political ethos.

For this purpose, the school is a prime institutional site. Meenakshi Thapan’s anthology of six long essays responds to this demand by offering ethnographic accounts of different types of urban schools. Citizenship is a common focus of these essays. The values that constitute citizenship supposedly form the basis of the socialization that takes place at school. The interplay between these values and the wider culture that shapes children’s life at home naturally interests social anthropologists. The scholars whose writings are presented in this volume are especially interested in gender-related values and practices. These scholars follow the ideas and methodological practices now widely appreciated in educational theory, specifically on the matter of observing children in the school setting. The editor and other authors of this volume regard children as participants in the creation of the school ethos. Imparting agency to children is an important decision, given the climate of both society and policy in India wherein children are perceived as objects or targets.

The other emphasis in these studies is on looking at schooling as experience. This is also an important decision, but the writers of this volume could have gone further than they have in defining the term “experience.” This is important because social categories like caste, class, and gender play a major role in shaping a child’s classroom experience. Experience also has to do with learning, both in terms of “what is learned” and “who succeeds in learning.” But schools are not merely venues for teaching; they are also dispensers of opportunity—to proceed beyond the school towards higher institutional and occupational destinations. How this role of the school is shaped by history—of society, community, politics, and policies—does figure in this book but not as much as one might expect. It figures most richly in the essay about a school for Muslim girls in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The three writers of this essay, Tanya Matthan, Anusha Chandana, and Meenakshi Thapan, construct a much larger explanatory framework than the other essays for analyzing the meaning that schooling acquires for the young. This essay fulfills the high expectations that the volume, as a whole, arouses. Here we learn how complex an institution a school is, straddling its traditional role as a social institution, on the one hand, and its modern incarnation as a state institution, or one that the state must “recognize” through codes of legitimacy, on the other.

The title and all the essays in this volume demonstrate the potential of ethnography for delving into the world that schools contain within them. There is plenty of ethnographic literature on education that establishes its scope and potential for application in educational studies. As all six essays included in this volume show, the ethnographer’s contribution to the study of education lies in drawing attention to the culture that life at any school embodies. Schools, however, are not self-contained sites. Life in a school is shaped as much by systemic forces, located in history and the political economy, as by interactivity within its four walls. Some of the authors acknowledge this wider affiliation but do not engage with it. The paper cited earlier stands out because it situates experience in a palpable systemic reality. It also shows why it may be useful to redefine and refurbish anthropological approaches to educational research by making provision for the historical dimension in human affairs.

Citizenship education is a major focus of this volume. Under this focus, the authors note the plurality of practices used in schools to nurture a civic identity and some of the contradictions in these practices. Surprisingly, a major policy shift is ignored. This shift involved the replacement of the old subject, called “Civics,” by “Social and Political Life” in the junior secondary classes. The epistemology of this new curricular area would have provided interesting material for inquiry into teachers’ efforts to negotiate critical pedagogy which was alien to the old subject of civics, but is central to the idea of a politically active citizen that informs recent curricular initiatives. How this new idea copes with wider political changes in the near future will be a matter of interest to those following India’s economic and political fortunes.

Krishna Kumar, University of Delhi, Delhi, India

GLOBALIZATION AND INDIA’S ECONOMIC INTEGRATION. South Asia in World Affairs Series. By Baldev Raj Nayar. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014. xvi, 299 pp. (Tables.) US$69.50 cloth. ISBN 978-1-62616-107-8.

Baldev Raj Nayar has written an account of globalization and economic integration in India which steers a middle course between the Scylla of economic boosterism—the brakes came off the economy in 1991 and a tiger was uncaged—and the Charybdis of anti-globalist pessimism—a discourse wherein overwhelming global forces are made the mainspring of an erosion of state capacity and social cohesion in modern India, not to mention of rising inequalities between social groups and across the Indian space economy. Nayar is clear that economic growth has been stimulated by what he calls “economic liberalization” in post-1991 India. In this respect he lines up closely with commentators like Arvind Panagariya and Jagdish Bhagwati. At the same time, Nayar accepts that economic growth has brought with it widening income inequalities, at least in the short run. Importantly, though, Professor Nayar insists that the national economy in India has not been segmented or excessively dislocated by economic liberalization. Rather, there has been significant consolidation of markets and improved linkages across the space economy as a result of new infrastructural developments and trade and investment flows.

Thus described, Nayar’s book takes its place as a very fine and sensible addition to the vast middle ground of studies of globalization in India, and indeed of globalization more generally. The idea that globalization is wholly new or one-directional was disposed of many years ago by critics including Paul Hirst and Grahame Thompson. Where Nayar’s book adds significant value to these stylized debates is by means of his core empirical chapters. Having set the scene and reviewed the literature in chapter 1, Nayar completes the first section of his book with an overview of the state of India’s economy and economic policy making up to 1991. The second and third parts of the book then deal with “the state after economic liberalization’ and the “market after economic liberalization.” Under the first heading, Nayar deals incisively with issues of fiscal federalism and the slow process of indirect tax reform in India. These are excellent chapters. Under the second heading, Professor Nayar addresses the integration/disintegration dialectic by means of an extended consideration of trade and investment policies, migration, and the rise of a pan-Indian class of capitalists. Again, this is very well done. Statistics are well marshalled and the narrative accounts are consistently well told.

For all its considerable strengths, Nayar’s account of globalization and economic integration in India also has several weaknesses—as is perhaps inevitable when the canvas is so large. First, the account offered here largely treats as unproblematic the idea of 1991 as some kind of Year Zero in India—the year when economic autarky was put to bed and economic reason was unleashed in its place. All the evidence suggests, however, that the Indian economy was turned around a full decade earlier, even if some of the growth in the second half of the 1980s was heavily debt-financed and unsustainable (as was revealed in the 1991 balance of payments crisis). Second, and relatedly, much of the growth that could be observed in the Indian economy in the 1980s, and indeed subsequently, was driven far more by pro-business reforms (favouring incumbents) than by reforms that were more openly pro-market. Atul Kohli has made this argument as well as anyone and I was surprised his work was not engaged with more closely by Professor Nayar. The particular forms of globalization in India have been significantly affected by this underlying political settlement. Third, again relatedly, precisely because globalization in India has been so partial at the level of the productive economy – consider the absence of Thatcher-style privatizations and the very slow reform of the power sector – the impact of economic globalization has been relatively more marked in the lives of ordinary Indians in the sphere of consumption: what is available to them in shopping malls or the marketplace and the effects that new consumption patterns have on the making of a new Indian middle class. This dimension to globalization—which is also linked to the production of new forms of identity politics in India, as elsewhere—is barely mentioned in Nayar’s account of globalization and economic integration, an unfortunate limitation on an otherwise extremely good and thorough study.

In sum, Professor Nayar has written a book that many students of India and of globalization will find useful. It is well organized, well written and generally balanced in its treatments of key issues. Given that no author can be expected to cover all aspects of economic globalization in one text it is perhaps unfair to suggest that Nayar’s book is limited by its reluctance to deal directly with the new logics of economic consumption in India. But this is a limitation, nonetheless.

Stuart Corbridge, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom

THE US-INDIA NUCLEAR AGREEMENT: Diplomacy and Domestic Politics. By Dinshaw Mistry. Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2014. xii, 280 pp. (Figure, tables.) US$79.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-07341-8.

There are two tendencies in the study of nuclear diplomacy: one to reduce the moves and turns to a kind of formulaic game-like calculus, the other to follow one side of the game more closely because the author enjoys an advantage there. Dinshaw Mistry successfully unites his access to and subtle understanding of both the Indian and American sides of this complex story, and avoids reducing it to formulas. He enters deep into the political labyrinths of the American and Indian policy-making environments to show how limited the mandates have been for the negotiating teams. Now at the University of Cincinnati, Mistry has made skillful use of very different sources, including the insight of skilled Indian and US journalists/writers who worked this subject almost every day. A good reason that Mistry’s balanced and detached work is important to Pacific Affairs readers, even those whose interest in nuclear history is slight, is because it is so revealing about the political cultures of both countries. As India’s influence in the rest of the Pacific Affairs region increases, such knowledge is inherently valuable.

The India-US nuclear relationship opened in 1949-1950 when American officials and leaders, alarmed by French moves on India’s huge thorium deposits, agreed to purchase a great deal of beryllium at an exaggerated price in a secret multi-year contract. In 1955 India asked for, and soon received, 20 tons of US heavy water for the new CIRUS reactor commissioned in 1961. The first functioning electrical power reactor was an American-designed light water reactor, commissioned in 1970. But when India tested its first atomic bomb in 1974, cooperation narrowed to the completion of an enriched uranium contract for the US reactor, and official sanctions were placed on further US involvement. Even the spent US fuel at this reactor had to be stored (by India) on site for more than thirty years. Just as these sanctions were unwinding, India tested five bombs (one of them thermonuclear) in 1998, thus attracting new sanctions. So the twentieth-century relationship between India and the US is best described as a history of “managing disappointment.”

When the Bush government realized in 2005 that India was more important to the US, and that most sanctions on India were counter-productive, the relationship entered the twenty-first century. Sanction-lifting had already occurred in September 2001, “but only because they were simultaneously lifted on Pakistan, whose assistance Washington required for its military campaign in Afghanistan” (39). The book skillfully treats the international dimensions of the process, such as India’s continued voting at the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency in favour of Iran’s nuclear program. Senior US officials had to work on nuclear lobbies in other countries (such as Canada, New Zealand, and Japan) to reduce those governments’ interference with the draft agreement. India and the US had tough negotiations with critical partners at both the IAEA and Nuclear Suppliers Group. But rather than standing out alone, with domestic politics subordinated to them, Mistry shows that these multi-national variables had their tangled domestic roots too. That is where his analysis has flourished.

One way to look at Mistry’s excellent book is to see this process as a time of “nuclear learning.” The teams established what Mistry calls “win-sets,” building from lists of issues around which separate negotiation had to occur. The learning occurred, in my view, when the proponents of an agreement realized where they could compromise with each other, and where opponents of the agreement (such as the left parties in India and members of the US Congress) realized the limits of their influence. Mistry says that inclusion of certain items in the win-set of the other country “allows” each of them to accept an arrangement leading to the agreement. He conveniently provides a quantitative scale to each of the options, and their consequences, for each party.

Some of the issues which Mistry examines are:

  1. Separation of military and civil uses of nuclear facilities in India, with “firewalls” between them.
  2. Access to new Indian sites for US electrical power reactor-building corporations, with limited liability in case of accidents and damages. India had not forgotten the 1986 experience with Union Carbide after the accident at its Bhopal fertilizer plant, and established stringent nuclear accident liability regulations. India opposed any IAEA checks on nuclear application of its liability laws.
  3. Restraints on India’s plan to test nuclear weapons, and a schedule for the termination of cooperation after a future Indian nuclear test.
  4. Restraints on India’s exports with weapons-of-mass-destruction potential (chemicals, organisms, equipment, and technology).
  5. Inclusion of India’s breeder reactor on the list for IAEA inspection; among India’s twenty-two reactors (some of them were operating at 50 percent of their capacity), only six were in a safeguarded position in 2005.
  6. Assurances of continuing US enriched fuel supply; India had not forgotten the difficulties and costs caused by US withdrawal of shipments of enriched uranium for Tarapur in 1974-1978.

Mistry contrasts the two country’s decision regimes, saying “the most powerful bureaucratic actors—the president, secretary of state, national security advisor, and under-secretary of state for political affairs—made the final negotiating decisions” for the US. But in India the top nuclear officials often drew the red lines beyond which they did not wish PM Manmohan Singh and/or External Affairs officials to move (14-15).

Mistry assembled evidence on how track-two diplomacy was used, including the roles of think tanks, strategic affairs elites, business associations with lobbying power, and the media. Positions of important individuals (such as Jimmy Carter), and editorials of influential sources like The Hindu are carefully analyzed. Americans were on the ground in India and their president and secretary of state went to meetings and worked the phones on this subject for years. India hired two US public relations firms close to both Republican and Democratic parties. Mistry carefully sifted through testimony before committees, shows how a US Coalition for the Partnership with India actually operated, and shows that the absence of such a coalition in India was not, in the end, a decisive flaw.

No conclusive knock-out punch leading to “yes” is suggested for either side, just a messy cluster of issues which had to be separately negotiated, one interest bumping into another. The business potentials, which had unlocked some American doors in 2005, still remained unfulfilled for the US (and for Russian and French reactor builders too) even seven years after conclusion of the agreement. Mistry curiously confines to a footnote the insight that the US and Indian negotiating styles were different, namely that “while Washington looks for specific answers in talks with India, New Delhi often pursues ‘the art of nondiplomacy’, meaning that it does not say yes or no” (242). This question of negotiating style should be more prominent, because political cultures contain negotiating cultures.

Mistry reminds us that this entire process was not for the nuclear establishments of each country alone. The curious thing about nuclear diplomacy is “the puzzle of why two major powers (that is, the US and India) that had strategic interests in building a partnership found it very difficult to do so” (242). Yes, a most curious thing.

Robert Anderson, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

INDIA’S NORTH-EAST: Identity Movements, State, and Civil Society. By Udayon Misra. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014. viii, 366 pp. US$90.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-19-809911-6.

Northeast India, home to a hundred ethnicities and mutinies, remains highly complex, yet poorly understood. The dearth of good quality writing on the region is only recently beginning to be rectified. This volume, a collection of earlier, mostly published works of the author dealing with ethno-nationalist struggles in Assam and Nagaland states, promises hope, but only just. The puzzle the author seeks to explain is that of “how Assam, with its centuries old relationship with the Indian sub-continent could give rise to a militant movement with distinct secessionist overtones” (viii). The volume is organized into four chapters: Roots of Alienation; Course and Character of Naga Struggle; Assam: Insurgent Movements and Identity Politics; and lastly, State and Civil Society in Northeast India, each containing a number of shorter pieces on the subjects at hand.

The author uses three sites of examination to address his questions. The main arguments are summarized below.

First is the issue of identity politics, which forms the backdrop to much ethno-nationalist contestation. The author shows that these contestations have antecedents in pre-Independence negotiations. It was post-Independence developments, however, that set the stage for the Northeast’s confrontation with the Indian nation-state, whose “initial approach to the region was marked by a highly centrist approach based on security concerns and mono-cultural integrationist discourse” (3). In the case of Assam, the author shows, the key junctures were the discussions around the Cabinet Mission of 1946, and the “grouping plan”. Post-independence, the major sources of upset were: non-inclusion of Assam in the adopted national anthem; the pressure by central leaders on Assamese politicians to open up their doors wider to Bengali refugees from East Pakistan; and later, the central leaders’ perceived indifference to the influx of migrants from Bangladesh into Assam. A lack of financial autonomy further radicalized public opinion, with what was seen as a poor share for the state in revenues deriving from local produce (taxation on tea and petroleum), and poor development of industrial infrastructure (21).

As for Nagaland, the author argues, Nagas have always considered themselves separate from the Indian nation state. Administered lightly and directly by British administrators, the tribal elite from Nagaland and other tribal districts were not party to the national freedom movement. Naga National Council (NNC), the principal Naga political formation had, even before Indian Independence, declared Nagaland’s independence. This, among other factors, led to the deployment of the military in the Naga district of Assam, with the Army given unfettered powers over civilians, embodied in the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) factions picked up from where the NNC left in its armed struggle against the Indian state. Since 1997, a ceasefire has been in effect between security forces and NSCN (Isaac -Muivah), and peace talks have been underway, but without much prospect of a lasting solution.

These dynamics point to the second focus of the author’s examination: the state and its “dual role” of “repression” and “negotiation.” The author argues that “it would … .not be an exaggeration to state that the seeds of the separatist movements … were embedded in the policies and prejudices of the central Congress leadership” (21). What followed further drilled in the problem: the AFSPA and its “normalisation” of the exceptional powers bestowed on armed forces personnel; the negative impact of the deployment of the Army for long durations, with frequent human rights violations such as disappearances, tortures, arrests, ‘fake encounters’ and the like.

The third and perhaps the most fruitful of the author’s examinations is of the civil society in the region, to understand how it has sought to engage as the interlocutor between the state and its armed opponents in an effort at seeking peaceful solutions, and the divergent outcomes in Assam and Nagaland. The author demonstrates that recently, it has been Naga civil society groups, principally Naga Hoho (literally council) and Naga Mothers’ Association that have led efforts at reconciliation between Naga factions (295), and negotiations with the state. “If the peace process in Nagaland continues today despite so many hurdles,” claims the author, “it is largely because of the collective opinion of the Naga people for a peaceful and negotiated settlement is so well articulated by the civil society groups of the state” (307).

In Assam, on the other hand, it is the author’s contention that civil society space has been constantly denuded by populist agitations and armed conflicts. The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and the Asom Sahitya Sabha (Assam Cultural Association), key civil society formations leading the “Assam Agitation,” do not tolerate dissent. And the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), the principal armed outfit, with its militaristic view, has further put off alternative voices, leaving it unable to garner much support among mainstream society (288). The outcome has been poor legitimacy, not just for the ULFA but also for civil society in recent peace talks aimed at the restoration of normality.

The papers in the volume provide a dense description of the antecedents and dynamics of the ethno-nationalist movements, in Assam and Nagaland particularly. Given that the papers are drawn from the author’s writing on the subject over the past three decades, the volume represent a significant tracking of the history of popular movements in the two states under review. It is a pity, then, that there has been no attempt to draw out any lessons from the set of papers; there being a lack of an overarching argument, a framework, or some attempt at developing thoughts on a comparative solution. Moreover, whilst empirical depth is helpful, the absence of any reference to theory, of ethno-nationalism or political theory, among others, whilst trying to understand and explain the phenomenon of ethno-nationalist movements, is a weakness of the work. And barring the section on civil society, nothing has been said here that has not already been said elsewhere, especially on identity movements. In that sense, then, the material presented in the volume only adds to cataloging further evidence of existing understandings of the socio-political scenario of northeastern India.

Sajjad Hassan , Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi, India

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THE FIRST NAXAL: An Authorised Biography of Kanu Sanyal. By Bappaditya Paul. New Delhi: SAGE Publications, 2014. xiv, 249 pp. US$68.00, paper. ISBN 978-81-321-1787-2.

For anyone interested in the radical left in India, Paul Bappaditya’s An Authorised Biography of Kanu Sanyal is an important book. It is not that the book is an accurate history of the Naxalite movement, or that it is a well thought through sociological analysis of Sanyal’s life and works. It is, however, a sincere attempt to portray the emergence of the Naxalite movement as Sanyal wanted it to be seen towards the end of his life. Bappaditya conducted more than 121 interviews with Sanyal over three years but more significantly we are told that Sanyal personally read and cleared all its chapters except for the last one about his death. As such, the biography itself is an important historic artefact of the Naxalite movement.

Bappaditya covers the span of Sanyal’s life beginning with his birth in Kurseong in the Darjeeling hills in 1929 into a middle-class family (his father was a court clerk) and his initial recruitment as a revenue collection clerk. This early history is interlaced with his enchantment with the radical Indian Congress leader Subhas Chandra Bose, then the banned Communist Party which led to his political mobilization, and subsequently, inspired by Charu Mazumdar, giving up his family and becoming a party “whole-timer” in 1951.

His various stints in jail began a year earlier in 1950 and all of them fascinatingly led to Sanyal meeting different incarcerated communist leaders, intense political discussion, and his political formation. There are narrations of much of the organizational work that Sanyal and his co-workers undertook amongst peasants and tea plantation workers in Darjeeling District though sadly we don’t get much of an understanding of those communities themselves and the contradictions and differences between them, the challenges of working with them.

One of the most fascinating accounts of Sanyal’s life history is his trip with three other comrades in 1967 on foot across the Himalayas into China to meet the mystical Chairman Mao, their warm reception by the People’s Liberation Army there, the theoretical and military training they received, and their eventual meeting with the great leader and the advice they received from him. “Forget everything you have learnt here in China. Once back in Naxalbari, formulate your own revolutionary strategies, keeping in mind the ground realities over there” (130), Sanyal recalled Mao to have said.

Perhaps the most overwhelming theme that comes across is an attempt to correct historical representation of the leadership of the Naxalbari uprisings. Usually portrayed as an uprising of peasants and workers in 1967, here the rebellion is traced back to the organizing that Sanyal and other communist leaders undertook amongst tea plantation workers and peasants in Darjeeling District in the decade before. It is Sanyal that is shown as the mastermind and main force of this grassroots organization, challenging conventional accounts which portray Mazumdar as the architect of the Naxalbari uprisings, with Sanyal being his “lieutenant.”

A key rift between Mazumdar and Sanyal, unknown to both their grassroots workers and the “outside” world at the time, is unveiled as having chequered the history of the movement. Mazumdar is argued to have been against nurturing mass organizations, seeing them as “revisionist tools that would weaken the revolutionary zeal of the comrades” (86) and to have focused instead on the formation of small combat groups that would secretly annihilate those they saw as enemies (landlords and high-level state officials). Sanyal, on the other hand, proposed that armed insurrection and annihilation of class enemies should only take place after mass agitations and it is argued that it was this that was crucial to the success of the 1967 uprisings. It is Mazumdar who, however, became seen as the leader of the movement because of the “Historic Eight Documents” he wrote in 1965-1966 against revisionism and because throughout many of the crucial phases of the movement, when Sanyal and others were busy organizing the peasantry “underground,” he was bedridden and therefore easily accessible to the world outside, it is claimed. In Sanyal’s eyes, Mazumdar “exploited” this opportunity to propagate his version of the strategy and “wrongly projected this as the true spirit of Naxalbari movement and for obvious reasons, this got widely publicized in the news media” (105). Although Sanyal is keen to remove the heritage of Naxalbari from those who today are most visibly seen as bearers of its torch, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) (he discredits them as “left adventurists”), in the context of today’s extreme state repression, it is the tension between armed violence and mass organization which plagues today’s revolutionary struggle.

Scattered throughout the book are what appear to be the laments of a bitter old man wanting to correct history by sowing the seeds of doubt about the revolutionary credentials of Mazumdar into the potential Naxalite zealot. Mazumdar is portrayed as a “left adventurist,” a “dogmatic,” someone who willfully ignored and sidelined crucial comrades, and perhaps even had them conveniently jailed in 1966 (this is the suggestion on page 92). Perhaps none of this is entirely out of the ordinary—Sumanta Banerjee’s In the Wake of Naxalbari (Subarnarekha, 1980) has already presented the rift between them—but what is unexpected is that Sanyal wanted this to be the central feature of this biography and that he sought instead to be recognized as the “founder” of the movement. This is surprising because, apart from one exception to which I will return, the narrations of Sanyal’s life suggest that—like many of today’s Naxalites—he had sacrificed himself for the cause. This meant not only giving up his family, but also giving up any desire to be personally recognized or credited for his self-sacrifice, erasing the sense of an ego and replacing any individualism with the contentment and pride of being seen as just a point in the making of history.

Why, then, at the end of his life, the desire to wear the trophy of the “First Naxal”? Is this a consequence of the artistic freedom of the author? Or is it the pressures of a publisher to sell the book with a catchy hook? Or is it because, at the end of his life, Sanyal had finally given up on the revolutionary cause? Though he was seriously unwell, Sanyal is shown to have ended his life with an act which today’s bearers of the Naxalbari struggle see as the opposite of sacrifice, the ultimate act of selfishness, the killing of the revolution as embodied in oneself: suicide. Although the Central Committee of his party do not accept it, Sanyal is said to have hung himself from a ceiling fan at his office and home at Sebdella Jote, Siliguri, in March 2010. The irony is that of course in allowing Paul Bappaditya to author his biography as “The First Naxal,” Sanyal has given oxygen to the embers of the Naxalbari revolution that still live on by generating further interest in its revolutionary cause.

Alpa Shah, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, United Kingdom

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INDIA’S GRAND STRATEGY: History, Theory, Cases. War and International Politics in South Asia. Edited by Kanti Bajpai, Saira Basit, V. Krishnappa. New Delhi: Routledge, 2014. xiv, 582 pp. (Tables.) US$95.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-73965-8.

In 1992, George Tanham, a former RAND analyst with no prior background in South Asian politics, published a monograph Indian Strategic Culture: An Interpretive Essay. In his view, India lacked any intellectual tradition of strategic thought, a shortcoming that he mostly attributed to some putative features of the country’s Hindu cultural ethos.

Within the past decade there has been a renewed interest in India’s grand strategy. Most of these contributions, in the form of monographs, have emerged from think tanks in India. Their arguments and evidence clearly belie the rather bizarre and polemical claim that had undergirded Tanham’s analysis. Among the most recent contributions is the multi-authored Nonalignment 2.0: A Foreign and Strategic Policy for India in the Twenty-First Century. Apart from its somewhat misleading title, as it does not suggest a resurrection of a moribund doctrine, the study is a curious amalgam of ideational and realist analyses. Despite its inherent tensions it did generate a much-needed discussion about the intellectual underpinnings of the future course of India’s foreign policy in a vastly changed post-Cold War world order.

The volume under review, India’s Grand Strategy: History, Theory, Cases, constitutes an attempt to examine both historical and contemporary features of India’s grand strategy. One of the distinguishing and welcome features of this volume is that it departs from the mostly policy-oriented work and instead seeks to provide more rigorous and scholarly analyses. Unfortunately, the volume suffers from two important limitations, both of which are the bane of most edited works. First, the contributions to this volume are uneven in quality. Second, despite the efforts of the editors to deal with historical, theoretical, and substantive issues under specific rubrics, there is little or no connective intellectual tissue between the various chapters.

Commenting on the features of every chapter in this substantial volume is simply beyond the scope of this brief review. However, a discussion of a number of salient chapters can illustrate both of the concerns alluded to above. One of the most perceptive, insightful and perspicacious essays in this volume is Rahul Sagar’s chapter, entitled “Jiski Lathi, Uski Bhains,” loosely translated from the Hindi as “whoever wields a stick owns the buffalo.” In this chapter, Sagar deftly traces the ideological and intellectual roots of the Hindu nationalist worldview through a careful and nuanced reading of the key works of two ideological stalwarts, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar. Central to their views, Sagar persuasively argues, were their pessimistic views about the possibilities of human confraternity and their consequent embrace of a constructed, primordial vision of nationalism.

Similarly, Siddharth Mallavarapu’s chapter, “Securing India: Gandhian Intuitions,” shows considerable sensitivity toward Gandhi’s views about the use of force in international politics. It is also to Mallavarapu’s credit that he effectively demolishes rather self-serving interpretations of Gandhi’s ideas of cowardice and self-defense.

In marked contrast to these analyses, Srinath Raghavan’s chapter in the historical section of the volume, “Liberal Thought and Colonial Military Institutions,” focuses mostly on the historical antecedents of civil-military relations in India from the colonial era onwards. However, he adds pitiably little about liberal ideas that animated a significant segment of the Indian nationalist movement. Parenthetically, he refers to Mohammed Ali Jinnah as a “liberal” owing to his early commitment to constitutional change and democracy. However, this characterization flies in the face of Jinnah’s feckless courtship of the most obscurantist religious authorities as he sought to bolster the claim for Pakistan.

Other chapters also underscore the unevenness of this volume. For example, there is much sound and fury about the need to highlight the existence of a non-Westphalian view of global order in Jayashree Vivekanandan’s “Strategy, Legitimacy and the Imperium: Framing the Mughal Strategic Discourse.” To her credit, she carefully outlines how the Mughal Empire did not enjoy a monopoly of violence in securing and maintaining political order. Instead it relied on various institutional innovations such as mobile durbars, on the co-optation of local potentates, and a degree of religious pluralism emanating from the emperor, Akbar, himself. Some of these governing precepts, especially the commitment to religious pluralism, clearly did not survive Akbar. Furthermore, empires, whatever virtues they may have once embodied, are anachronistic. Consequently, while these governing arrangements may have well served his reign it is difficult to see how they might inform today’s needs for global governance. For good or ill, the Westphalian order has proven to be rather durable and universal.

The case studies in this volume are also of varying quality. Ali Ahmed’s chapter, “Indian Strategic Culture: The Pakistan Dimension,” suggests that there has been a significant doctrinal shift in India’s strategic orientation toward Pakistan since 1971. More to the point, he correctly argues that it has taken on a strong coercive bent, a movement that he clearly laments. Ahmed traces this growing embrace of a more muscular strategy to the forces of cultural nationalism. However, his evidence suggests that the shift cannot be traced merely to an ideological shift in Indian domestic politics. Instead he shows that a series of provocations from Pakistan precipitated changes in India’s strategy.

Other case studies are more promising. Rudra Chaudhuri’s chapter, “Aberrant Conversationalists: India and the United States Since 1947,” reveals a firm grasp of the texture of Indo-US relations since independence. The historical material that he summarizes does not alter any prior understanding of key developments and turning points. However, he does provide a most useful dissection of Indian decision making when asked to provide a military contingent in support of the US-led military intervention in Iraq.

The limitations of this volume notwithstanding it is nevertheless a worthwhile attempt to address multiple dimensions of the grand strategy of a state that may yet play a critical role in shaping the global order in the twenty-first century. Perhaps it will encourage further discussion of the subject to the benefit of both theory and policy.

Sumit Ganguly, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA

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STREET CORNER SECRETS: Sex, Work, and Migration in the City of Mumbai. Next Wave: New Directions in Women’s Studies. By Svati P. Shah. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2014. xviii, 258 pp. (Figures, maps.) US$89.95, cloth, ISBN 978-0-823-5689-9; US$24.95, paper, ISBN 978-0-8223-5698-1.

Mumbai’s Kamathipura, Asia’s largest red-right district, is shrinking in the face of neighbourhood gentrification, and political haggling over prime land to accommodate housing and industrial projects in Mumbai. The area is vulnerable to excessive regulation from the police and interventionist NGOs, as well as to unannounced demolitions instigated by builders and bureaucrats. Daya, a brothel owner, sat with the book’s author, Svati Shah, and pointed to Kamathipura’s Thirteenth Lane. It was early evening, and instead of brightly dressed sex workers waiting for customers, the lane was filled with young men chatting and playing music. An exasperated Daya said: “What do you expect to do for the women now. There are no women. Look at this lane—there are only men, living seventeen to a room” (183). The decline of this red-light district has made the lives of its sex workers unstable in terms of access to housing, water, and social support, which in turn has impacted the kin networks dependent on the women for material sustenance. According to Daya, most dhanda (sex work) now happens in private apartments, five-star hotels and bars, and Mumbai’s infamous red-light district is no longer an alluring site for solicitation. This gripping dialogue is captured eloquently in Svati Shah’s timely book Street Corner Secrets. Daya’s lament illustrates the essence of the author’s journey through multiple spaces in Mumbai, where sex work is intimately related to women’s diminishing access to informal wages and basic infrastructural facilities.

Shah’s critical ethnography, an apt tribute to William Foote Whyte’s Street Corner Societies (1943), analyzes how rural female migrants in the city negotiate sexual services as one of many strategies for gaining a livelihood. These low-caste migrants are from economically deprived and drought-prone districts of India. Most women drift in and out of the urban workforce to escape poverty, caste discrimination, and the unavailability of agricultural work, in the hope of better earnings, schooling, and potable water in the city. Using multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork, Shah persuasively argues that these female migrants turn to a range of legitimized and stigmatized activities while maneuvering through Mumbai’s casual labour sector.

According to Shah, prostitution is produced spatially in this search for economic survival in the city. The author states that “the production of public space in Mumbai must be understood in relation to discourses and histories of the urban geographies of sexual commerce” (4). She focuses on three primary field sites: the brothel, the street, and the wage labour market in Mumbai (known as a naka), where sexual commerce is solicited discreetly alongside other income-generating activities. A naka forms for a period of time in an outdoor space, where 150 to 200 people gather every day to seek contracts for manual labour in construction work. Yet spatial order is maintained within the chaos of vehicular and pedestrian traffic through people sitting in caste, kin, and gendered clusters. Shah observes that solicitation in the naka is less visible than in a brothel or on the street, even though the use of unemployed women from the naka in sex work is common knowledge. The strength of the naka ethnography lies in “the questions of unspeakability” (111) raised by the author. For example, workers use metaphors such as bura kaam (bad work), jawani loot liya (snatched her youth), and faltu baat (offensive language) to refer to women’s immorality. Unlike the brothel, a space historically designated for sex work, a culture of disapproval exists around naka women’s unethical use of public space meant for procuring legitimate work. And this subtle shaming of their transgression is critiqued by women labourers who do sex work to fill their bellies (pet ke liye), and avoid sitting at home hungry with their honour (izzat) intact.

The author creatively unpacks the politics of public space by exploring further the regulation of sex work on a busy street near a commuter railway station, and in Kamathipura. Her study highlights the role of the local police and shop merchants in sporadically harassing street-based sex workers in an effort to keep commercial areas safe for middle-class families. While women in Kamathipura receive important education from HIV prevention drives, they also remain fairly defenseless against aggressive developers, and police raids prompted by anti-trafficking NGOs. The author’s bold allusion to the flow of international researchers with their predictable questionnaires gathering stale data on poverty and sex work is an intriguing slice of life from Kamathipura. Shah argues that erratic policing by both the state, and people with moral and institutional authority against sexual commerce, puts forward a convoluted interpretation of citizenship and criminality. Migrant prostitutes are subsequently characterized as diseased encroachers in the global city. Despite the wide acknowledgement of their vulnerability, they are not recognized as a population to be protected (but rather protected against) within Mumbai’s drive towards unfettered modernity.

Street Corner Secrets rounds off by underlining the significance of representing sex workers through their multiple subjectivities: of migrant, slum dweller, construction worker, and sex worker. This complicates the nature of women’s agency, and the book convincingly contests gender analyses of sex work through choice/force binary frameworks. Shah has an experimental, expressive, and empirical style of writing. But the narratives of the chapters are slightly uneven: they move between a focus on the abstract dialectics of space and complex discourse analysis, and the stark worlds of women sex workers being solicited by drunks. Short and succinct theoretical explanations would have enhanced the fascinating ethnography. I was unsure why several vernacular words like naka were italicized in some paragraphs and not in some others. Overall, this book’s ethnography makes a vibrant contribution to urban anthropology. Crafting an understanding of sexual labour that reflects the intricacies of rural-urban migration, the book sheds light on the management of knowledge around sex work, from secrecy to the rehabilitation of “rescued” prostitutes, and shows how spaces occupied by women sex workers have multiple uses and meanings in Mumbai’s contested urban landscape.

Atreyee Sen, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

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DALIT WOMEN’S EDUCATION IN MODERN INDIA: Double Discrimination. Routledge Research on Gender in Asia Series, 7. By Shailaja Paik. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xiv, 356 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$155.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-49300-0.

This book covers three different subjects: caste, gender, and education. As is evident from its title, it explores educational experiences and trajectories of women from Dalit communities, those who were once treated as untouchables in the Indian caste system and continue to experience exclusion and discrimination, albeit in changed form, even today. The focus on education helps the author raise many questions, ranging from the idea of Indian modernity, nationalism and social reforms to contemporary realities of intersecting social inequalities and discriminations.

Even though we have a fairly good volume of research on each of these subjects, and occasionally also on their intersections, the book shows that there still is a lot that needs to be explored and understood. Another distinction of the book is its disciplinary openness. Even though a historian has written the book, it actively engages with sociological and political questions of the present day, and with scholars from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds.

Renegotiation of gender relations and personal/public life during the colonial period through social reform movements has come to be widely accepted as one of the foundational moments in the history of Indian modernity. Drawn mostly from historical research on colonial Bengal, this common-sense understanding of the gender question concludes that male social reformers reinvented Indian identity through their interaction with colonial modernity. According to this “resolution” of the gender question women were to be assigned the task of cultivating traditional Indian-ness at home while men modernized themselves in order to engage with the outside world of Western materiality. In the process, Indian women came to symbolize a new form of femininity and genteelness, invented by the reformers and the nationalists and cultivated through specific forms of education and training.

Paik questions such a thesis. While this could be true of the new middle-class Calcutta Brahmins, it was not the case for everyone or in every region of the subcontinent. However, this interpretation has tended to prevail. Even when a large volume of historical research has been produced on the subalterns in the colonial period, much of it has remained blind to the realities of caste and its regional diversities.

Paik’s own work focuses on the western region of India, urban Maharashtra, where she looks at the history of education of Dalit women. The category of Dalit is itself a modern construct. Even though it has come to be used across India for the ex-untouchable communities, its history is rather recent, embedded in the social movements in the western region that came up during the late colonial and post-independence period. It was here that, thanks to the efforts of some social reformers and with the opportunities opened up by the colonial policies, a new middle class began to emerge among the erstwhile untouchable groups. B.R. Ambedkar, who went on to become the first law minister of independent India, one of the most well-educated Indians during the later colonial period, has come to symbolize this new mobility among those located at the bottom of the Hindu society. Not only did he become a symbol of “low” caste mobility and political identity, he also emerged as the most vocal and radical critic of the caste system. He re-conceptualized caste and presented it in the language of power and discrimination.

Disagreeing fundamentally with Gandhi and other nationalists who invoked the idea of Indian tradition as a possible source of Indian nationalism, he, along with Jyotiba Phule, advocated the need for radical reform within Hindu society. Education, along with agitation and community mobilization, was a critical instrument of change for him. It was within this perspective that Dalit women began to be educated. Unlike the middle-class Bengali women, education of Dalit women was a clearly modernist political project that was directed against the idea of preserving “tradition.”

However, Paik recognizes that the identity of Dalit women was not weighed down only by their caste but also by their gender. Their experience of going to school was not very pleasant. They encountered strong prejudice and active discrimination, as did Dalit men. Their teachers and fellow students treated them differently, as untouchables, in the classroom as well as in the playground. The experience of education actively reinforced in them both the identities of gender as well as of caste.

However, education was not simply a matter of formal learning. It brought them out of the village, to the urban slum, and occasionally to a middle-class locality. Even though Ambedkar had imagined and hoped that migration to the city and acquisition of modern education would liberate untouchables from their caste disability, it did not happen. But, it did change their identity and worldviews. They became political subjects. Their self-image was no longer that of untouchables, who willingly or unwillingly accepted their positions in the caste hierarchy. Even when modernity did not deliver what it promised, it transformed the Dalit women (and men) quite fundamentally.

It is this journey of gaining a new subjecthood that Paik explores in her book quite successfully. This story of education of Dalit women is fundamentally different from the popular historical narrative on the subject that draws almost entirely from the upper-caste Hindu experience. What seems to be almost missing in her book is a critical analysis of the new patriarchy within middle-class Dalit households in urban India.

Surinder S. Jodhka, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

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ELITE PARTIES, POOR VOTERS: How Social Services Win Votes in India. Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics. By Tariq Thachil. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. xiv, 331 pp. (Illustrations, map.) US$99.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-07008-0.

Why would poor, socially marginalized people vote for a party run by—and for—a deeply entrenched social and economic elite? Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas? (Holt, 2005) asked a version of this question about the United States, where a striking proportion of working-class people supported a Republican Party that systematically advanced the interests of better-off Americans.

An Indian variant of this puzzle is the subject of Tariq Thachil’s Elite Parties and Poor Voters: How Social Services Win Votes in India. Thachil examines how and why the elite-dominated Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has attracted the votes of Dalits and Adivasis. What particularly interests Thachil is a method the BJP has used to cultivate support from these subaltern groups: delivering social services through party-affiliated, yet nominally independent, welfare organizations. Thachil regards the operation of these schools, clinics, and community centres in predominantly Dalit and Adivasi areas as a strategy to broaden the party’s appeal—one with parallels in other countries. He devotes part of a chapter on comparative cases to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which (like the BJP) was founded and dominated by elites, and which (also like the BJP) has developed a robust service-delivery apparatus. Both parties regard serving the poor as a religious obligation. Thachil notes the ideological difference between such “charitable” work and the emancipatory projects pursued by class-oriented parties. The most important distinction he draws, however, is between the work of the BJP’s privately financed service-delivery organizations and two conventional methods for attracting subaltern votes: clientelism (the selective distribution of state benefits to a party’s supporters) and a redistributive policy agenda. Clientelism has been of limited use to the BJP, Thachil claims, because the party has been out of power for most of its existence; a pro-poor policy platform is constrained by the preferences of the BJP’s elite core.

Thachil deserves credit for identifying the private provision of “local public goods” as a party-building strategy, and even more kudos for showing how it works and why it does not always produce the desired results. There is much else to praise in this book. Thachil’s prose is uncluttered, his methodological tastes omnivorous. The empirical material, which includes close scrutiny of welfare organizations in a number of states, is analyzed sensitively. Thachil deftly deploys the personal narratives of service workers to illustrate the subtle ways in which the teachers and health professionals who staff these BJP-linked organizations become opinion-shapers in the localities where they work: these individuals do not officially endorse candidates, but rather suggest to the people they serve which candidate is their own personal preference.

Thachil also makes good analytical use of comparisons between (and within) India’s states. The BJP’s divergent electoral fortunes in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, for instance, demonstrate how the viability of the BJP’s private-welfare-provision strategy is adversely affected by increased social-service expenditure by state governments. Thachil’s comparison between Chhattisgarh, Kerala, and Uttar Pradesh nicely captures how the strategies pursued by the BJP’s state-level rivals influences the party’s approach. He also takes time to explain outliers, such as Gujarat, where the BJP has experienced electoral success despite a relative shortage of party-linked service organizations.

One shortcoming of Thachil’s analysis stems from one of the book’s greatest strengths: the laser-like focus on advancing his claims. This leads Thachil, on occasion, to give short shrift to alternative explanations. He claims, for example, that the division of labour between the BJP and its affiliated service organizations has been dictated by a contradiction between the party’s elite core and the subaltern voters it seeks to attract. But are the BJP’s financial backers, and its largely upper-caste leadership, really so implacably opposed to pursuing elements of a pro-poor agenda? During the 2014 general election that brought it to power, the BJP’s manifesto promised merely to reform, rather than abolish, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), the previous government’s flagship welfare program. Some BJP-run state governments—e.g., Rajasthan in the 1980s and 1990s; Madhya Pradesh in the first two decades of the twenty-first century—pursued high-profile pro-poor programs. BJP stalwarts, in other words, may be more aware of the need to counter the party’s elitist image through programmatic adjustments than Thachil acknowledges. (His impressive review of BJP policy statements cannot, unfortunately, capture the complex reality of how the BJP governed in practice.) The BJP, in this sense, is not hugely dissimilar to the Congress Party, whose more progressive manifesto commitments in recent years have been driven by much the same political motivations. Both the industrialists who provide the bulk of the Congress’s funds, as well as the party’s leadership, itself drawn largely from one or another fragment of India’s variegated elite, have long regarded such policy accommodations as the cost of doing business.

Thachil may also underestimate the degree to which the BJP recruits subalterns through divisive rhetoric and provocative acts that target religious minorities and are designed to unite Hindu voters, regardless of caste, behind the BJP. Communal mobilization of this type—a classic of the BJP’s political repertoire—does not generally work with Dalits, Thachil contends, because subalterns tend to shun ideologies that legitimize and facilitate their oppression. Yet, in places where Dalits compete for jobs, housing, and services with members of religious minorities, or are employed by them, one cannot assume that Dalits are immune to the perceived psychic, and sometimes material, rewards that can accompany the persecution of another subordinated group. Dalits and Adivasis are also reported to have voted for the BJP in parts of Rajasthan as a result of private assurance that, once in power, the party would protect these vulnerable groups from locally dominant land-owning castes (of “intermediate” or “backward” status) that are often the most direct threat to Dalit and Adivasi well-being, including their physical security. The existence of such clientelist political arrangements, which because of their secretive nature are difficult to identify definitively, would undercut Thachil’s claim that private service-delivery, not patronage, was the main technique for luring subaltern voters to the BJP.

These criticisms do not detract from Thachil’s achievement. Indeed, they attest to the book’s ability to stimulate debate. Elite Parties, Poor Voters is a major contribution to our understanding of how India’s parties court the poor, and will be an invaluable resource for researchers examining these questions comparatively.

Rob Jenkins, Hunter College, New York, USA

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BIRTH IN THE AGE OF AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India. By Cecilia Van Hollen. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013. xii, 274 pp. (Illustrations.) US$24.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8047-8423-8.

This book is a ground-breaking investigation into the reproductive lives of HIV-positive women. The ethnographic setting, the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is moreover a very illuminating one for global health. In terms of numbers of people living with HIV, India is second only to South Africa and Nigeria. In Tamil Nadu, the epidemic seems to have escaped its confinement within “high risk groups” and been transmitted to the general population. When Van Hollen began her research in 2004, HIV prevalence in Tamil Nadu was estimated to be 1.1 percent, but in four districts of the state HIV prevalence was at or above 3 percent. Responding quickly to the epidemic, Tamil Nadu became a pioneer state for HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and was reputedly successful in bringing the epidemic down by 50 percent between 2003 and 2007. As part of its battery of interventions, in 2000, Tamil Nadu initiated India’s national program of PPTCT (Prevention of Parent To Child Transmission), offering prenatal testing and a dose of nevirapine at the time of delivery to reduce HIV transmission to the child, from 15 to 40 percent to 8 to 10 percent. Van Hollen’s fieldwork, between 2004 and 2008, was embedded within this PPTCT program. It involved interviews with 70 HIV-positive women whom she recruited through HIV care networks, as well as interviews and ethnographic fieldwork within the hospitals involved in the program. Each chapter of the book tells an important story about the ways in which global health standards and practices are refracted by the state, kinship and gender in Tamil Nadu.

Chapter 3 investigates the institutionalization of prenatal HIV testing and the ways in which the global standards of informed consent and confidentiality were put into place. Pretest counselling was not uniform; many of the women Van Hollen interviewed had been tested unaware. To satisfy health funders’ demands for increased uptake of testing, counsellors tried to make the test more palatable by describing it as “like an immunization,” emphasizing the positive effects on conjugal trust in the event of a negative result, but failing to explore the devastation of a positive result. Chapter 4 shows that the counsellors’ emphasis on married women as the “innocent” victims of the sexual transgressions of their husbands was accepted by the women in the study. Interestingly, the counsellors’ encouragement that the women discuss the test with their husbands, part of an attempt to increase testing among spouses, was interpreted as a request for their husbands’ “permission”—which the women asserted that they did not need. In accepting the HIV test without their husbands’ permission, then, Van Hollen argues that the women were exerting agency. Yet ironically, this led them to being tested before their husbands, allowing their husbands and in-laws to scapegoat them. In chapter 5, she discusses the devastation of a positive HIV test result and the stigma that became the defining characteristic of their lives. Against the anthropological consensus about sexual double standards leading to a greater stigmatization of HIV-positive women than men, Van Hollen shows that gendered processes of stigmatization are highly differentiated. In public discourse, men are condemned more than women, who are cast as the “innocent” victims. In private negotiations, the women narrate being outcast by their in-laws, gossiped about or accused of sexual immorality, whilst their husbands were quietly condoned. Yet Van Hollen unpicks these responses, showing that they derive not only from sexist ideology but also, crucially, stem from economic motivations. The blame was most intense after the death of the husband, when the in-laws were faced with the combined tragedy of losing a son and the thorny question of inheritance to the widow and her children. Further complicating matters are cultural understandings of the female reproductive body, which cast women as harbours of the HIV “worm” (kirumi). Chapter 6 examines women’s decision to keep or abort the pregnancy after a positive HIV test result. Van Hollen stresses here the centrality of motherhood within Tamil constructions of femininity, but within patrilineal and patriarchal kinship structures that pressured women to keep the babies to meet the expectations of their husband or his family. Chapter 7 highlights economic constraints and appalling stigmatization in determining where the women could give birth. Chapter 8 discusses the counselling the women receive about infant feeding, showing it to be highly situational, depending on the counsellors’ understandings of whether the women would be financially capable of replacement feeding with formula milk. She explores the women’s positive understandings of the “immune strength” (ethirppu sakti) carried in their breastmilk and the benefits for their children. From this they derive a related term, “resistance strength” (resistance sakti), to talk about their own empowerment as HIV-positive mothers. Finally, in chapter 9, she shows that HIV activist networks have succeeded in empowering HIV-positive women in two key respects: encouraging them to overcome the taboo against widow remarriage, and encouraging them to claim their inheritance.

The book shows convincingly that HIV in Tamil Nadu “runs along the grooves of kinship and marriage relations that serve at times to protect the dignity and health of these women, and at other times to expose them to public indignities” (168). Van Hollen contributes significantly to debates about the authoritarianism of reproductive medicine and the state in South Asia, and women’s gendered agency in negotiating these structures, as well as the ambivalence and destructive guises of kinship. I would have liked to know more about the caste dynamics involved, given that the majority of her informants were lower-class Dalit women. Were there any interactions between the interpretation of HIV through the lens of sexual immorality, and local discourses about the sexual availability of Dalit women’s bodies? But this is an important and accessible book, and an essential teaching resource for reading lists in medical anthropology and sociology, and global health.

Kaveri Qureshi, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

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PROSTITUTION AND THE ENDS OF EMPIRE: Scale, Governmentalities, and Interwar India. By Stephen Legg. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2014. xi, 281 pp. (Figures, maps, tables.) US$25.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-5773-5.

Stephen Legg’s book, Prostitution and the Ends of Empire: Scale, Governmentalities, and Interwar India, is a smart and original contribution to the expansive literature on colonialism and prostitution. Focused on Delhi, Legg seeks to explain why the regulation of prostitution shifted from segregation to suppression between the two world wars. The innovation of his book lies in its methodological orientations, particularly his emphasis on scale. Centering scale allows Legg to foreground the inter-spatial politics of prostitution as it unfolded at the local, national, imperial and global levels and through the struggles of state/ non-state actors and international organizations. Placing scale at the “heart of its methodology,” the book reveals “how the most intimate spaces of desire and intercourse were forever enframed in broader scales of politics, terminology, and movement” (3).

As a geographer interested in scale, Legg is concerned with near and distant geographies and their concatenation. “Rather than taking a body or event and moving back through time” he begins with “a place (Delhi) and moves out through space” (7). In so doing, he considers the effects of forces outside of the city on the governance of prostitution within it. The regulation of prostitution in Delhi, he argues, was shaped by developments in India and elsewhere. The enactment of the Suppression of Moral Traffic Acts (SITAs) in Rangoon, Bombay and Bengal were especially important, as were the activities of imperial feminists, including Meliscent Shephard.

It is in his discussion of SITAs that Legg’s aptitude to read across scales—the local and the national, the specificities of India and the weight of the global—becomes apparent. “Swathed in the patriarchal language of protection and guardianship,” the SITAs “reinforced the state’s powers over women who chose to satisfy the sexual desires of men and to craft their own space within a masculine, political economy” (95). At the surface, this seems no different than what was occurring in other cities in the British Empire. While the SITAs were directly influenced by efforts to regulate prostitution internationally, Legg shows that in India they drew additional potency through Hindu mythology, most notably the Ramayana. The “acronym ‘SITA’ also presented a gift to legislators and campaigners,” Legg argues. “Sita is one of the most revered Hindu goddesses, abducted by the demon King Ravan, and rescued by Ram, an incarnation of Vishnu. Her rescue thus represents the ideal of the anti-traffickers: the passive and victimized woman, returned to the safety of male trusteeship” (96). Legg reads Sita’s exile in the forest as mirroring “the civil abandonment of prostitutes to an urban existence beyond the center of towns, beyond medical care, and beyond social understanding on the basis of a normative judgment regarding their sexuality” (96). Though SITAs were part of a longer global history of legislative interventions aimed at suppressing the trafficking of women and girls and restricting the sexual desires of women, Legg shows how they gained local and national traction through dominant religious and gendered meanings of sexual chastity and purity.

Legg’s book draws effectively on scale as methodology. He also uses scale to organize the book and to introduce its theoretical stakes and engagements. First, each of the three chapters focuses on the brothel, demonstrating how it became a site of intervention that centered on the body, the city, and the empire. Second, Legg draws from an array of archival sources from Delhi, London and Cambridge, producing a detailed and nuanced account of the politics of prostitution. Finally, the book presents a lively theoretical engagement with Michel Foucault on governmentality and Giorgio Agamben on abandonment. But it is here that his archival and historical narrative begins to separate from the intellectual discussion he introduces at the outset.

Building from his previous book and aware of the critiques made by postcolonial scholars, Legg’s interest is in evaluating “the applicability of Foucault’s concepts and observations to the colonial world” (5). He seeks to expand the governmentality literature in two ways: by focusing on scale and the social and by fusing apparatus and assemblage. For Legg apparatuses are “those governing networks with a strategic function and ordering intent.” Assemblages are “their gatherings, heterogeneous groupings, and emergences” (6). He combines the two skillfully, revealing how the shift from segregation to abolition was influenced by the ongoing political dynamics in the city, the Raj, and the empire. A reevaluation of governmentality, Legg argues, continues “the critical dialogue with Foucault and his Eurocentric blind spots” (4).

Legg’s efforts to interweave archival and theoretical insights—to write across scales—makes Prostitution and the Ends of Empire a bold, exciting and ambitious project. But as I read his book, I wanted to hear more on the significance of Foucault and Agamben for the work at hand. I was left wondering how a study such as this—on the colonial state and the suppression of prostitution in interwar India—might encourage a rethinking and reworking of Foucault and Agamben, not for colonial contexts but through colonial contexts. In other words, how might we revise and extend their respective insights on governmentality and abandonment through the specific dynamics of the Indian colonial rule in India, including the governance of prostitution? As I approached the end of the book, I anticipated a return to these larger theoretical questions. Instead, Legg concludes with the methodological promise of scale, the “new ways of thinking” it generates in the study of “late colonialism, early internationalism, and the persistent civil abandonment of women who work with sex” (246). These are important considerations. Foucault and Agamben will just have to wait.

Renisa Mawani, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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THE POLITICS OF RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT IN SRI LANKA: Transnational Commitments to Social Change. Routledge/Edinburgh South Asian Studies Series. By Eva Gerharz. London; New York: Routledge, 2014. xi, 188 pp. US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-415-58229-2.

The politics of reconstruction and development in Sri Lanka provides a perceptive and astute insight into the fascinating universe of Jaffna peninsula during the 2002 to 2006 interlude of the island’s ethno-separatist war. The ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) opened up the long-besieged and isolated peninsula, and cleared the way for some innovative development brokerage. It is indeed a well-chosen site for studying the politics of development.

Gerharz uses the German government aid agency GTZ as an initial vantage point. This is in itself worthwhile, given that this significant and somewhat atypical development actor is largely invisible in the English-language literature. I hasten to add, though, that Gerharz’ book is not the umpteenth upgraded policy report that managed to turn itself into a book. The author managed to release herself from the institutional and discursive trappings of the aid industry. Her interviews, observations and anecdotes will provide readers unfamiliar with war-time Sri Lanka with a well-illustrated insight into the absurdities and normalities of everyday life during crisis. Those with first-hand experience will probably nod, sigh or chuckle in recognition of some of Gerharz’s observations.

Following two contextual chapters—one on the ethno-political conflict, the other specifically on Jaffna—the empirical core of the book comprises four loosely structured chapters. Chapter 4 discusses the intended and unintended outcomes of GTZ’s repositioning after the 2002 ceasefire. Gerharz places these in the context of the convoluted political order, where Sri Lankan state institutions and the LTTE’s attempt at de facto sovereign rule elbow for legitimacy. She carefully navigates the ambivalent stance of her respondents with regard to insurgent governance. Coercion, brutality and forced recruitment stand side by side with the preservation of order and public morale: low crime and corruption, efficient coordination, and honouring of traditions. This then sets the stage for some of the later contentions around development, order, change and moral anxiety.

Chapter 5 introduces the red thread in Gerharz’s scholarship: transnationalism, more specifically the Tamil diaspora and their role in development efforts. She discusses diaspora projects and contrasts them with Jaffna-based religious initiatives, resulting in some critical reflections around local knowledge, ownership and progress. Diaspora Tamils make a particularly useful contribution through their computer skills and their mastery of English-language development paradigms, we learn in chapter 6. This not only benefits Jaffna’s somewhat archaic NGO scene, but the LTTE as well. Gerharz sheds light on the conundrums around the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), a registered international NGO, but effectively an LTTE outreach mechanism. Chapter 7 engages with some of the cultural clashes and moral panic associated with diaspora return to Jaffna. Grandmothers find themselves astounded at the life style of their family members from Western countries, the girls in particular. The book usefully juxtaposes contentions around governance and development with wider anxieties about cultural purity and tradition. This yields a nuanced multi-layered analysis of community, moral order, gender and othering in a society undergoing rapid transition.

The final two chapters seek to transform this fascinating narrative into some conclusions about the politics of development and reconstruction. The author introduces four conceptual takes on development (external service delivery, spirituality and secularism, social (in)equality and autonomy) and discusses knowledge struggles over development. The final chapter comprises a postwar epilogue, with a nutshell overview of the resumption of war, the defeat of the LTTE, and the militarized postwar developments. Gerharz concludes that the international peace-building agenda disintegrated as Sri Lanka’s new government embraced the war on terror and “home-grown solutions.”

The book’s strengths do not lie in the overall argument. Gerharz aspires to unravel how development is negotiated between local communities, aid workers, state agencies, rebels and diaspora groups. And she does so quite well. But her observations do not result in a larger conceptual move or theoretical claim, other than underlining the complicated, multi-layered, contextualized nature of development. Gerharz adopts an actor-oriented approach to take issue with simplistic policy paradigms: overly instrumental perspectives on the migration-development nexus (diaspora are not one homogeneous actor that can be deployed), the so-called “global peace-building consensus” (peace and development do not simply go hand in hand) and its Sri Lankan variant, the “Kilinochchi consensus” (the idea that development efforts and peace dividends will transform the LTTE is ill-founded). In itself, these are valid points, but they are well established and could have been better embedded in existing scholarship. Engagement with authors such as Mark Duffield, Oliver Richmond, Rajesh Venugopal and Benedikt Korf, to name some authors that remain uncited, would have made sense.

Moreover, the book’s criticism of wider policy agendas lacks the nuance and insight that characterizes the empirical parts of the book. The eye for detail and multiple perspectives, which allows us to see the many layers and dimensions of Jaffna society, seems to fail Gerharz when she reviews the policy landscape. After all, it is highly doubtful that there ever was much of a real consensus in Sri Lanka (or globally) about development and peace-building. Donors struggled all along to close ranks around the peace process: views, interest and positions were rather divergent and this became abundantly clear when the going got tough. Capturing the diversity of actors and perspectives under the label of a global peace-building consensus, only to argue that this outlook is too simplistic, leaves readers with a straw-man argument.

The book’s nuanced empirical chapters deserve better, and it is these chapters that make the book worth the read. Gerharz skilfully weaves together a wide variety of interesting characters into a coherent and readable narrative without forcing them into pre-conceived roles: Christian priests, Australian Tamil idealists and tourists, insurgent bureaucrats, puritan grandmothers, German administrators and innovative refugees. And in doing so, she gives us a skilful glimpse of how development is brokered in the globalized socio-cultural market place that Jaffna is.

Bart Klem, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

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TRANSFORMING INDIA: Challenges to the World’s Largest Democracy. By Sumantra Bose. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. 337 pp. (Illustrations, maps.) US$35.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-05066-2.

There is an old adage that “a week is a long time in politics,” and scholars are understandably rather cautious about predicting future political trends. At the time that this book was written, however, the strong statement made by Sumantra Bose, that “Coalition governments in New Delhi are a certainty for the foreseeable future” (109), would have seemed unexceptional to most observers of Indian politics. The Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance government was mired in corruption scandals, and seemed to lack decisive leadership, but the principal alternative party at the national level, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with leadership problems of its own, had failed to offer convincing opposition. So, looking forward from early-mid 2013 to the general elections of the following year, it appeared more or less certain that the post-election alignments of strongly supported regional political parties would determine the character of the next central government of India, as they had done since the mid-1990s. Bose and others could not have anticipated the dramatic consequences of the BJP’s decision in September 2013 that Narendra Modi would be its candidate for the position of prime minister. Modi led an extraordinary, presidential-style campaign, backed with massive financial resources, and the BJP won an absolute majority in May 2014. Bose’s further strong statement, that “the era of nationwide leaders is definitively in the past” (293) has also been falsified, for Modi continues to dominate Indian national politics in a way matched by no other leader since the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. The general election that followed her death was also the last time that the electorate delivered an absolute majority to a single party.

But does the apparent falsification of his analysis of the political trends that are shaping India today, mean that Bose’s book is now of little value? Almost certainly not, because the regionally based political parties that he believes to underlie the transformation of India’s democracy—the subject of the book—have not gone away as a result of Modi’s great victory. It is not at all unlikely that regional political leaders will once again hold the balance of power at the national level. Bose’s central argument, which draws some inspiration, explicitly and implicitly, from the work of Susanne and Lloyd Rudolph, is that India has become a “decentred democracy.” In his words: “The bottom-up federalization of India’s politics in the post-Congress era—an evolution rooted in the nation’s diversity and driven by the will of its people [through their support for regional parties]—means that the lives of the vast majority of Indians will be shaped by the dominant feature of India’s decentred democracy in the early twenty-first century: regionalization and regionalisms” (109). The argument is developed through an engagingly written account, in the first two chapters of the book, of the history of Indian politics since Independence, focusing especially on the significance of what was going on at the state level. This is followed by three chapters, each one of which stands more or less on its own, taking up specific themes: the history of democracy in the state of West Bengal; the story of the challenge posed to Indian democracy by the Maoists, who are organized in “a loose, possibly unstable federation of regional movements” (222) across a swathe of territory in the centre and east of the country; and finally a chapter on the “Kashmir Question” (on which Bose wrote a fine earlier book, Kashmir: Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003]). A short conclusion looks to the future of India’s democracy as a “full-blooded federation of state-based polities” (296), in which much will depend on how regional leaders perform. Can they provide competent governance? Can they adopt a national perspective when it is needed? Can they together forge consensual decision making (or in a term familiar from Spain and Latin America, realize concertacion)? These are indeed critically important questions for India’s future. The auguries are decidedly mixed. Regional leaders have not so far shown much inclination for concertacion or for taking a national perspective. On the other hand, as Bose says, “the most intelligent of the state-based elected leaders” (293), like Mr. Modi in his earlier avatar as the long-term chief minister of Gujarat, have shown an increasing concern for demonstrating their performance in implementing strategic programs, instead of ruling through patronage.

Transforming India is neither a contemporary history comparable with Ramachandra Guha’s India After Gandhi (London: Pan Macmillan, 2007), nor a thorough-going work of political science such as Atul Kohli’s Poverty Amid Plenty in the New India (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012). It runs the risk, therefore, of falling between two stools. The core argument is an important one, though it seems to this reader, at least, to be somewhat one-sided, paying too little attention to questions of political economy. In this regard Indian federalism remains quite strongly centralized. The “federation of state-based polities” that India is becoming is perhaps less “full-blooded” than Bose suggests. His book is, nonetheless, a stimulating and distinctive addition to the wave of publications about the “new India.”

John Harriss, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

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THE ALL-INDIA MUSLIM LEAGUE, 1906-1947: A Study of Leadership in the Evolution of a Nation. By Mary Louise Becker. Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press, 2013. xlii, 295 pp. US$27.95, cloth . ISBN 978-0-19-906014-6.

Marie Louise Becker was an American scholar-diplomat who, it appears, dedicated much of her life, and a vast amount of intellectual energy, to enhancing the understanding of what Pakistan was, or indeed is, about. Her interest in what has at times been called “the most bizarre country in the world” led her to an intense examination of the concepts of nationalism and of leadership, and how these interacted with each other, finding fruition in the creation of one of the world’s largest nation-states. The book is actually meant to be a study of the Muslim League, in the first four decades of its existence, but this leads naturally into an analysis of the leadership of the Quaid-e-Azam (meaning “the great leader”) Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the intensity of whose ideas, the depth of whose commitments, and the persistence of whose unrelenting endeavours changed the map and the politics of the region and the world. By 1940, when the Muslim League adopted what is called the Pakistan Resolution in Lahore, Jinnah was the party’s undisputed leader.

Born Mahomedali Jinnahbhai in Karachi in 1876, he changed it to a simpler and more anglicized Mohammed Ali Jinnah while in England. Jinnah lived just over seven decades, and died in 1948, not far from where he was born, in Pakistan, in a country he did more than most others to create. Discussing his life, Becker quotes Professor Stanley Wolpert’s slightly hagiographic summary: “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation state. Mohammed Ali Jinnah did all three”(xxii). Intensely secular in lifestyle, habits and behaviour, and deeply fond of most things English, Jinnah used the Western political idiom of the nation-state, and carried forward with incredible passion and against great odds, that the Muslims of India were a separate nation. He gave ideological battle to towering personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, shrugged off the unfriendliness of the British Viceroy Lord Mountbatten, often rode roughshod over opposition in his own camp, and managed to carve out a new country, one for his co-religionists, the Muslims of India. Becker attributes “incorruptibility” and “bravery” to him, and writes that he was an a “lone figure,” he also had “an air of mystery around him”(192). In her words, he was also a “superb showman,” a quality essential to moving masses.

But Jinnah also made mistakes, serious ones, which came to light only two and a half decades following his death; their seeds, however, were sown in his lifetime. One of those was his failure to gauge the sentiments of a large segment of the subcontinental Muslim population, the East Bengali Muslims, who ironically were the great champions of his goal of the creation of Pakistan. Jinnah was unable to foresee the power of language, in addition to religion, as a force of nationalism, and his preference for Urdu over Bengali as the national lingua franca of Pakistan deeply offended the Bengalis, who constituted the majority of the nation’s citizenry. Secondly, his tendency to concentrate all powers in himself failed to lay the foundations of a democratic tradition in Pakistan, which not only led to the bloody separation of Bangladesh in 1971, but to a huge political instability that marks that country’s politics today. These fall outside the purview of the scope of Becker’s work, but nonetheless merit mention, as the causes of these upheavals were to be found in the time-period that the author covered, ie, 1906 to 1947.

The book is an interesting study of nationalism, which Becker describes as “an infinitely complex, dynamic and emotional phenomenon most accurately considered by subjective rather than objective criteria”(xiv). She goes on to define a nation as being “not based upon what outsiders determine, but upon what a specific group of people feels and believes itself to be”(xiv). The author also discusses how three principal and necessary ingredients were present during the rise of Pakistan: “an integrated community possessing distinctive and group characteristics; a particular set of circumstances under which the community would respond to the call of nationalism; and the national leadership which has coordinated the first two to produce a self-conscious nation seeking an independent political existence in a national state”(vii). The book tells the story of how all these conditions were brought together.

The author narrates the tale in a manner reflecting deep research. Becker recounts the gradual rise in Muslim consciousness through the “Muslim Renaissance in India” (leading personalities were Nawab Abdul Latif, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan of the Aligarh Movement fame, Chirag Ali, Nawab Mohsinul Mulk, and the poet Shibli Nomani); the establishment of the All India Muslim League on 30 December 1906 in Dhaka (present-day Bangladesh) under the stewardship of Nawab Sir Salimullah, the Aga Khan et al.; the conflict between the League and the Indian National Congress; Jinnah’s shift in role from the “Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity” to being the champion of Muslim separatism, cheered on by the philosopher Sir Mohammed Iqbal and leading to the nascence of the “promised land” (Pakistan) for the Muslims. Certain minor errors, however, seem to have crept into the volume. On page 41 for instance, Pherozeshah Mehta, a Congress leader, is described as a “moderate Hindu,” when in reality he was a Parsi, a distinctly different religious persuasion. Another issue that editorial tightening should have addressed is the confusing impression an unwary reader may face in thinking that “the Honourable Syed Amir Ali” (69) and Amir Ali (53) are two different persons, when actually, they are the same (author of The Spirit of Islam).

In contemporary times, great interest should be expected in a work such as this, for the following reason: The creation of Pakistan was the product of the Westphalian logic of sovereign states for separate nations, albeit in a non-Western milieu; this can be perceived as an acceptable counter-narrative to the current Islamist notion , espoused by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) of a single Islamic ‘caliphate’ spanning across many nation-states with Muslim-majority populations.The author, Marie Louise Becker is sadly no longer with us, having passed on in 2012 at the age of 84, but her scholarship marks an important and still relevant contribution to the literature on nationalism.

Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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MEDIATING THE GLOBAL: Expatria’s Forms and Consequences in Kathmandu. By Heather Hindman. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013. viii, 277 pp. (Map, B&W photos.) US$40.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8651-5

Who mediates neoliberalism, and how are those individuals’ own lives transformed in the process? Heather Hindman’s Mediating the Global: Expatria’s Forms and Consequences in Kathmandu is a poignant investigation of this question through an ethnography of expatriate lives in Nepal’s capital city in the 1990s and 2000s. In this important contribution to the anthropologies of development and work—as well as to development studies, international business, human resources and South Asian studies—Hindman offers an incisive yet sympathetic account of the intimate challenges that “global middlemen” face in their daily lives.

The book is not a kneejerk critique of international aid or global capitalism, but rather a view into the family dramas, consumption practices and subjectivities of those who are “asked to be implementers of neoliberalism and also find themselves its objects” (217). Hindman asks us to consider how those tasked with implementing such agendas, through both governmental and non-governmental agencies, often suffer the negative consequences of their own policies at a personal level. This perspective takes us beyond the “dyad of originating site and destination site” (219) in studies of globalization to explore the crucial role of mediation and mediators.

The location of the study in Kathmandu is in some ways incidental to the author’s portrayal of “Expatria” as a deterritorialized polity that “shared many of the characteristics of a small town” (9). Expatria’s inhabitants are linked through “postings” across the globe, from Mali to Peru, Indonesia to Oman. But Hindman is clear that this is not a book written in the “simple language of flows and exchange” (219) between disparate locations. Rather, it is a sited, historically contextualized ethnography that tells us much about Nepal’s position in the current global conjuncture. Through the experiences of its expatriate inhabitants, we come to understand how Nepal has been shaped by the economic and geopolitical forces that have deposited these often unlikely residents in Kathmandu. In this way, although the book is not about Nepalis themselves—except in cameo appearances as household help or elite international women’s group members—it begins to suggest how Nepali lives are increasingly mediated by the global.

With an introduction, six chapters and a conclusion, the book explores expatriate life from several angles. Chapter 1 considers whether contemporary expatriates in Nepal can be compared with British colonials elsewhere. The answer is “not really.” This is both because Nepal was never formally colonized and so the postcolonial optic that shapes much scholarship on South Asia does not fully apply, but perhaps more importantly because “the widespread aspiration to the status of ‘being global’” (40) is a recent phenomenon, dating to the late twentieth century.

Chapters 2 and 3, “Families that Fail” and “Market Basket Economics,” constitute the ethnographic heart of the book. Here we meet several expat couples and families in the 1990s, whose experiences either exemplify corporate and governmental expectations of “success,” or illustrate the embarrassment of failure. Hindman shows how a heteronormative family with children that relies upon the uncompensated labour of a (usually female) spouse was long the unquestioned kinship model at the heart of expatriate “packages” used to compensate international employees. Of course many real families deviated in some way, but the pressure to conform could tear them apart.

In one of the book’s most poignant ethnographic moments, Hindman describes how a group of expat women forego serving rice at a planned party because the foreigner-oriented supermarket is out of boxed Uncle Ben’s rice, without even considering the possibility of buying rice in bulk from a local shop (100). This example shows how expats must negotiate between consumption practices intended to replicate “home,” as dictated by idealized compensation categories promoted by their home governments and companies, and the reality of Nepali markets and their fluctuations. For Hindman, this day-to-day “labor of producing normalcy” (79) is an often misrecognized element of expat livelihoods that demands better analysis—rather than derision—from anthropologists.

The remaining three chapters take us further behind the scenes to show how structural transformations began to render the “package expatriates” described in chapters 2 and 3 obsolete by the early 2000s. Corporate investment in “cross-cultural training” (chapter 5) gave way to new communication technologies (chapter 6) and an emergent ideal of the flexible, unattached single worker (chapter 4). These changes were driven by economic downturns in the “Global North” as well as new corporate paradigms of “flexibility” that transformed “displacement from a source of concern to a job benefit” (134). At the same time, Nepal’s Maoist-state civil conflict (1996-2006) accelerated, making it seem a less than ideal posting for families with children. Single, short-term contractors began to take their place, in turn shaping the commodities and services—and therefore employment—available in Kathmandu.

This confluence between global labour paradigms and national political scenarios takes us to the heart of Kathmandu’s ongoing transformation. The scaling back of expatriate consumption has been paralleled by the entry of ever greater numbers of Nepalis onto the city’s increasingly conspicuous landscape of consumption. Fuelled by remittances earned by the approximately 25 percent of Nepal’s workforce employed outside the country—many of whom left directly or indirectly due to the conflict—it is now primarily Nepalis who populate the restaurants and supermarkets that Hindman describes as the province of expatriates in decades past. The iconic landmark that was once Mike’s Breakfast—the restaurant pictured on the Hindman’s cover—has now become a bar catering to young Nepalis. Their experiences as construction workers in the Gulf, university students in North America, or hotel receptionists in Korea, and the ways their earnings and shifts in consciousness are changing Kathmandu demand new research. Heather Hindman is already ahead of the curve, with recent articles focusing on Nepali experiences of the language exam required to work in Korea, and the political views of city youth returned from abroad. Understanding these eminently Nepali experiences of global mediation is a welcome next step that nicely complements Hindman’s excellent first monograph.

Sara Shneiderman, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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RIGHTEOUS REPUBLIC: The Political Foundations of Modern India. By Ananya Vajpeyi. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012. xxiv, 342 pp. (Map, illus.) C$157.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-674-04895-9.

The Righteous Republic is an ambitious book. Through an exploration of the category of swaraj (commonly translated as self-rule), it seeks to understand what constitutes the “self” for five “founders” of India. That four of the five founders are Mohandas Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Jawaharlal Nehru and Bhim Rao Ambedkar is not surprising. The fifth—artist Abanindranath Tagore—is a somewhat surprising inclusion. Vajpeyi argues that each of the founders experienced a “crisis in the self” (xiv) and that each of them turned to Indian or Indic traditions to overcome it. Vajpeyi’s aim is to tell the story of the “quest of the five founders for an Indian selfhood hitherto obscured by foreign domination” (10). She also refers to “Muslim traditions of inquiry into self and sovereignty in the making of India” (33), but admits that she does not have the wherewithal to understand the intellectual antecedents of thinkers like Sayyid Ahmed Khan, Mohammed Iqbal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Maulana Azad.

While swaraj is the “master category” of the book, Vajpeyi’s major innovation is to isolate one category to frame the thoughts of each of the five founders. So for Gandhi the relevant category is ahimsa (non-violence), for Rabindranath viraha (longing), for Abanindranath samvega (shock), for Nehru dharma (law/order) and for Ambedkar duhkha (suffering). She explicates each category by interrogating the relationship between the founders and key texts in their lives. While no one can doubt that ahimsa defined Gandhi’s thinking and action, the other categories do not have the same kind of resonance for the other founders. It then becomes a box in which Vajpeyi is forced to categorize each founder’s thinking. It also seems that the founders, except for Gandhi, themselves rarely used the categories employed by Vajpeyi.

This is particularly true for Ambedkar and the category of duhkha. Vajpeyi points out in the chapter on Ambedkar that he repudiated the “Four Noble Truths” of the Buddha, which included duhkha, duhkha samudaya, duhkha nirodha and nirvana. The centrepiece of the chapter is an interesting analysis of Amebdkar’s conversion to Buddhism along with nearly 400,000 of his followers in 1956, which remains a bit of a puzzle to this day. But the analysis—which among other things rightly says that Ambedkar “attempted to disassociate himself and his people from the humiliating roles assigned to them in the narratives so dear to the Hindus” (225)—does not convincingly establish the centrality of duhkha in Ambedkar’s thought.

The analysis of Tagore’s thought through his engagement with the fifth century Sanskrit poet Kalidasa’s long poem, Meghaduta (The Cloud Messenger), is unusual. While it could plausibly be argued that Rabindranath develops the category of viraha in his Meghaduta corpus (five poems written over fifty years), whether viraha defines the entire body of his work could be contested. The same could be said for the centrality of samvega in Abanindranath’s paintings. But Vajpeyi is right when she says, “The Tagores sought more than India’s liberation from British rule. They sought self-knowledge in the harness of poetry, in the protocols of painting, in the strains of music, in the intimations of a tradition that for thousands of years had pursued nothing if not to know that, the very One that knows” (167).

Vajpeyi is on surer ground in her analysis of Gandhi, partly because Gandhi himself had much to say on ahimsa. Vajpeyi makes the Bhagavad Gita central to Gandhi’s conception of ahimsa. She argues that Gandhi understood the Gita very differently from his contemporaries, reading it as a “text of ahimsa.” She writes that for Gandhi, “the Gita was the best possible guide to self-knowledge, ethical action, psychic discipline, and transcendental freedom in any circumstance, every single day throughout one’s life, and not just a dramatization of moral crisis and its resolution within a political framework” (75-76).

In her chapter on Nehru, Vajpeyi captures the inherent tensions in Nehru’s thought through the binary of dharma and artha. She does this by examining Nehru’s TheDiscovery of India, his adoption of Buddhist symbols for the Indian state and, as India’s first prime minister, his Letters to Chief Ministers. She describes Nehru’s dilemma eloquently: “The Janus-faced modern state provides a key to the split between Nehru’s dharma-oriented and artha-oriented tendencies: one the one hand, a massively popular freedom writer—passionate, ardent, eloquent, and principled—and on the other, a beleaguered elected administrator—scientific, systematic, deliberative, and compromising” (172).

The Righteous Republic is an impressive intellectual history of modern India. Vajpeyi seeks to correct the neglect of Indian intellectual traditions in constructing the lives and ideologies of India’s founders. As Vajpeyi points out the founders drew their understandings of selfhood from “Hindu and Buddhist texts, from Buddhist and Mughal artifacts, from traditions that were classical and vernacular, living and dying, ancient and recent” (xxiii). She successfully excavates some of these intellectual traditions though at the cost of positing what seems too rigid a dichotomy between Indian and Western traditions and the imposition of one category to frame the thought of each of her five founders of India.

Ronojoy Sen, National University of Singapore, Singapore

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NATION AND FAMILY: Personal Law, Cultural Pluralism, and Gendered Citizenship in India. By Narendra Subramanian. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. xvii, 377 pp. (Tables, figures.) US$65.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-8047-8878-6.

The making of modern India has been defined by a tension between a vision of a secular Indian republic based on the equal rights of individuals as citizens, and claims for recognition of group rights based on custom, tradition and religion. Key sites of contestation have been personal law, family, and gender. This has been the case since the early nineteenth century, which marked not just the beginnings of modern ideas of nationhood, individual rights and development, but also that of reinvented tradition and recasting of women. This contestation continues into the second decade of the twenty-first century India, visible in the 2014 General Elections and their aftermath. Personal law remains a contentious issue and is seen as a marker dividing religious communities rather than being about women’s rights. This has been grounds for misunderstandings between different social groups in India and between the state and community leaders, as is clearly seen in the Shah Bano and Deorala Sati cases in the 1980s, or more recently in the Khap Panchayats’ statements regarding honour killings and demands for change in the Hindu law. Personal laws are often posited as necessarily backward vis a vis more liberal codified laws. The Hindus are likewise deemed as more modern than the Muslims. The history of codification of law and reforms within communities is more complex.

Narendra Subramanian’s book is important in such a context. It is a scholarly, painstakingly researched work that delves into the complex ways that state-society relations and discourses of community have developed through interaction leading to a particular kind of nation formation, recognition and family law (46). The six chapters that constitute the book begin with a focus on Indian personal law in chapter 1, but importantly with a comparative perspective that provides an excellent overview of the varied experiences of many colonial states in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Americas and the Pacific Islands in negotiating the tension between recognition, equality and liberty. The focus on diverse state policies in such countries as Tunisia and Turkey, which prioritized “the promotion of their visions of modernity,” the pursuit of traditions that “upheld lineage authority” in Lebanon, Algeria and Syria and a mix of the modern and traditional in South Asia where “ruling elites were allied with modernist urban elites, as well as with traditionalist religious, ethnic and kin leaders,” allows the reader to locate the Indian story in a broader framework. Chapter 2 develops the comparison forward within a theoretical framework that looks at the way nations are imagined and at approaches to family life. The analysis breaks from the dominant postcolonial understanding in western academia of the persistence of colonial forms of knowledge and poststructuralist emphasis on how discursive practices shape state projects. As someone whose early work was on a related area, I am in complete agreement that such conclusions are based on lack of empirical investigation coupled with a theoretical failure to pay attention to the dynamics of state strategies and social movements that did offer and push alternative models (Chaudhuri Maitrayee, The Indian Women’s Movement: Reform and Revival, Radiant, Delhi, 1993)

Chapter 3, with its focus on official nationalism and majoritarian citizen-making, explores the changes in Hindu law since the 1960s. These are further detailed in chapter 4 on recasting the normative national family, while chapter 5 discusses the experiences pertaining to the laws governing India’s two largest religious minorities, the Muslims and Christians before moving on to the concluding chapter 6 which returns to the core theme of nationalism, multiculturalism and personal law.

A comparative perspective allows the author to push an important argument that the traditions of many cultural and religious groups provide for extensive reforms that enhance women’s rights and individual liberties (286). But states have used this to a very limited extent. An important comparison that the book draws upon here is that between reforms in India and Indonesia. Many religious scholars and policy elites in Indonesia incorporated in their construction of indigenous Islam certain customs that were shared by the members of different religious communities. Unlike in India, personal laws of minorities in Indonesia therefore saw greater reforms. For India this is a significant point. The decline of syncretic tradition and consolidation of what is deemed ‘pure’ Hindu’ and ‘classical’ Islam has been extensively documented. Importantly, this was in part linked to colonial state policy. The book concludes with the important observation that although culturally grounded initiatives for personal reform were present among both Muslims and Hindus, the focus after independence shifted to Hindu law. In the author’s words, the story may have been different “if governing elites had operated with different understandings of the nation and its traditions” (275). A curious absence in the book is the tragic and violent outcome of Partition that may have had long-term implications for postcolonial legal reform of personal law.

This book stands out for a couple of reasons. For one, its scholarship and empirical details and the body of literature and archival sources that it marshals which would be of immense use to students; second, its historical perspective and comparative analysis opens up the issue in a very different manner than has played out in India’s dominant public discourse; third, it deploys key social science categories such as institutions, ideas, interests and social movements to understand the detours that personal law debates take. In doing so, this study breaks from the theoretical trend that has dominated academia in the last two decades or more, namely one that has paid disproportionate attention to textual analysis with a focus on specific texts and discourses to the neglect of empirical study of how groups of people act in resistance or domination, negotiation and alliance.

Maitrayee Chaudhuri, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

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PAKISTAN’S NUCLEAR POLICY: A Minimum Credible Deterrence. Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series, 84. By Zafar Khan. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xix, 178 pp. (Figures, tables.), US$125.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-13-877879-5.

This book gives an overview of the conceptual logic presumed to underlie Pakistan’s military nuclear doctrines, though it has less to say about a possible logic of deployment and practice. It has little to say about how the nuclear program is embedded in the dominant Pakistan army.

Zafar Khan based this book on his PhD dissertation at the University of Hull, UK. If this book is to add to the substantial writing on this subject by H. Nizamani (2000 and onward), B. Chakma (2009), Z.I. Cheema (2010), H.F. Khan (2012), M.V. Ramana (2013), P. Hoodbhoy (2013) and others, then Zafar Khan has to penetrate the nuke-speak and logic of people who populate the agencies and ministries to which he had access. He accomplished this, collegially enough, through numerous strategic studies institutes in Pakistan and he was enabled by the government’s own Strategic Plans Division in Rawalpindi.

Khan provides a short review of the standard Pakistan narrative going back to Bhutto’s 1965 signal remark about a nuclear bomb “even if we have to eat grass,” and the famed nuclear meeting in Multan, attended by noted physicist Abdus Salam, after the collapse of the Pakistan forces in Bangladesh in 1971. He describes briefly the notorious metallurgist A.Q. Khan’s activities in quietly transferring nuclear technologies to other countries, mentioning how foreign payments for those technologies and services were used to supplement the budgets of the nuclear agencies in Pakistan. What is new is Khan’s account of interviews during 2012–13 (and before) with a number of very well-placed nuclear experts both within and outside government circles.

What is the use-value of nuclear weapons to a divided state like Pakistan? No neighbour has ever really threatened it since 1971, though India and Pakistan have occasionally fought for weeks on their highland borders. Pakistan has basically been a military-guided system since 1947, punctuated occasionally by the outbreak of party-politics and elections. In contrast to India, Pakistan’s nuclear program has usually been supervised by senior military officers.

This book charts a shift in official nuclear posture after the 1998 bomb tests by India and Pakistan from an objective of “minimum deterrence” to “minimum credible deterrence.” These nuclear experts in Pakistan can only guess at how credible their opponents think the deterrence is. Behind these questions lie accountants who have been asking “what amount can we spend which will be just sufficient to deter India, and not a rupee more than necessary?” Pakistan’s public answer has always been “we don’t really know [what the amount is], but we have to build up our costly systems, and watch our opponent like a hawk.” So there are perhaps two senses of “minimum,” one of which is minimum cost.

Pakistan must try to determine whether its assertion of the right to a first strike (which Khan says is now well-established) is having an impact in India. Is the projection of a nuclear force profile the right one for the opponent? As one Pakistani analyst told Khan in a classic understatement, the nuclear posture “is not very static.” How could it be?

This work has a careful tone, as if the text was to be read not just read by a publisher’s editor, but also by someone else with an official eye. It should be essential reading for advanced administrative staff, as it describes in an orderly fashion the structures and flows of command and control. What such trainees might make of the uncertainty at the heart of Pakistan’s language of “strategic ambiguity” Khan does not say. He does however repeat that ambiguity is at the heart of the posture, and that perhaps saves him from examining what a “credible” deterrent really means.

But we the readers long for Khan’s evidence of disagreements among these experts and decision makers, revealing who in Pakistan interprets what ambiguity means, and when do those interpretations really matter. Such disagreements might explain why a small weapons state like Pakistan thinks it nevertheless needs a number of interpretations by closely available officials in agencies and experts in institutes, all focused on the same question: is Pakistan maintaining a minimum deterrence that is credible? And how do we measure credibility?

Pakistan’s nuclear posture and the use of the first strike option is a very important subject for Pakistan and all its neighbours, although Iran is not even mentioned here. Pakistan wanted to appear more modern in the 1970s, to resemble other militarizing states, and to enjoy a prestigious counter-balance to its otherwise growing yet unfortunately dysfunctional reputation. It also had the advantage of occupying a location for which more powerful states were prepared to pay heavily over the decades, in order to have a strong ally at that very location, and with the same strategic goals.

Khan makes no reference to nuclear energy and reactors, and none to the technologies which must be assembled and well-operated if weapons are to be built, maintained and continuously upgraded for readiness to delivery. But he also explains that a number of positive agreements have been negotiated which are intended to build confidence between Pakistan and India, such as agreement to forewarn each other of military exercises, not to attack each other’s nuclear facilities, etc. The nuclear establishment would be worried if the top leaders found a less expensive method by which to minimize the risk of a nuclear attack in South Asia. Without this risk-perception it is hard to see why the cost is sustained, unless it is also essential for prestige and self-confidence. But so far no less expensive method, except these limited types of agreement, has appeared.

This interesting book thus unintentionally gives a rather good picture of the slightly sealed-off quality of nuclear strategy thinking in Pakistan. It is left to the reader to fit this secluded enclave into the military organization and wider socio-economic structure.

Robert Anderson, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

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Southeast Asia


OPPOSING THE RULE OF LAW: How Myanmar’s Courts Make Law and Order. Cambridge Studies in Law and Society. By Nick Cheesman. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 317 pp. US$99.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-107-08318-9.

Nick Cheesman, a research fellow in the Australian National University’s Department of Political and Social Change, provides an excellent study of a complex issue of particular interest to students of Myanmar’s modern history and its prospects for the future. Reflecting years of research and multiple visits, his work includes a review of a vast documentation in both Burmese and English of law reports from colonial times to the present. Facilitated by access to Myanmar legal experts, he has studied hundreds of criminal cases from courts at various levels. The book consists of an introduction, nine chapters, an appendix, glossary, bibliography (fascinating by itself), and index. Chapter 1 sets down the key dichotomy between “rule of law” and “law and order.” Here, the rule of law (taya ubade somoye) is linked to the ancient theme of dharma or universal law, roughly described as “what ought to be,” as apart from law and order (ngyeinwut-pibyaye), essentially a political ideal associated with commands and directives that seek “stillness,” the opposite of anarchy. These concepts are “intertwined in history as well as in current usage” (27), so that in Burmese jurisprudence today, they are often used synonymously. Chapter 2 reviews the legal legacy of the British colonial period (1824-1948), the ongoing remnants in Myanmar of the Indian Penal Code of 1865 and 1898, and how rule of law and law and order were seen to be competing ideas long before independence. The discussion in chapter 3 on “re-ordering law” in the contemporary era provides a cogent historical synopsis of government in Myanmar up to 1988. An initial chaotic period led directly to Gen. Ne Win’s 1962 coup, the introduction of a “mass party designed to suit the army’s purpose,” and a “sliding decline in the rule of law” (77). The appointment of Maung Maung as chief justice ensured that law and order, and the socialist claim to a monopoly on truth, became the central focus of what passed for the legal system, a development which ironically kept intact many colonial laws and structure adapted to suit the junta’s purposes. A fourth chapter continues the saga of military rule from the uprising in 1988 to the present. The new government’s nomenclature as the State Law and Order Restoration Council was unambiguous, and although “legal principles” were still part of the “official language,” they were rendered entirely subordinate to administrative aims, including the total reconfiguration of citizenship and its rights. Cheesman addresses the concept of Burmese “sovereign cetana,” a legal notion which gained added prominence in the Ne Win era. A traditional Pali term for volition (and thus loaded with Buddhist implications), its usage has been redirected to reflect the “positive mental process of someone in authority” (109). Thus the “public enemy” is the one from whom “sovereign cetana” has been withdrawn. This can refer to ordinary criminals, but as early as 1964 it became the basis for rendering hundreds of thousands of non-Bamar people stateless, a practice reinforced with Myanmar’s 1982 citizenship law that currently discriminates against the indigenous Rohingya. The chapter further reflects on the innate authority of the policeman, “who physically represents the rule of law and order far more powerfully than the judge” (124). Chapter 5 expands on the whole question of so-called judicial torture, w