Note to Readers

John Lie, University of California, Berkeley
Sungtaek Cho, Korea University

March 2015

Dear Cross-Currents readers,

We are pleased to present you with the fourteenth quarterly issue of the Cross-Currents e-journal.

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the division of the Korean peninsula at the end of World War II. In recognition of this fact, the research articles in the March 2015 issue, guest edited by Suzy Kim (Rutgers U), explore the theme “(De)Memorializing the Korean War: A Critical Intervention.” Bracketed by an introduction by Kim and an epilogue by Bruce Cumings (U Chicago), the issue includes six articles by scholars from South Korea, the United States, and Canada who are engaged in critical analysis of the memorialization of the Korean War among the chief participants—the two Koreas, the United States, and China—in order to, in Kim’s words, “disrupt monolithic understandings of [the war’s] origins, consequences, and experiences.” By bringing divergent public memorials in conversation with one another, the guest editor and contributors—Sunghoon Han and Seunghei Clara Hong (Yonsei U), Keun-Sik Jung (Seoul National U), Daniel Y. Kim (Brown U), and Brendan Wright (U British Columbia)—view their work as a necessary step toward reconciliation.

The March 2015 issue also features two review essays. In the first, Kelly Y. Jeong (UC Riverside) reads Steven Chung’s Split Screen Korea: Shin Sang-ok and Postwar Cinema (Minnesota, 2014) and Young-a Park’s Unexpected Alliances: Independent Filmmakers, the State, and the Film Industry in Postauthoritarian South Korea (Stanford, 2014) with an eye to highlighting the increasingly nuanced scholarship in Korean studies that “critiques and questions the projection of a cultural, artistic, or historical coherence when it is not actually present.”

In the second book review, Catherine L. Phipps (U Memphis) teases out interesting connections between Joshua A. Fogel’s Maiden Voyage: The Senzaimaru and the Creation of Modern Sino-Japanese Relations (UC Press, 2014) and Eric C. Han’s Rise of a Japanese Chinatown: Yokohama, 1894–1972 (Harvard, 2014), two recent contributions to the growing Western-language literature on the history of Sino-Japanese relations. Phipps concludes that Fogel and Han—with their “common tendency to emphasize porous identities, collective concerns, and self-interested cooperation”—offer sympathetic portrayals that “allow [readers] to see mutual understanding and the intricate and contingent nature of constructing self and other.”

This issue’s photo essay—“Picturing Science in Modern China”—features images of Chinese ink brush paintings selected by curator Lisa Claypool (U Alberta), whose statement and extensive captions reveal how the artists created pictures that “encouraged their viewers to cross the boundaries and binaries that would come to define guohua, or “national painting”: East versus West, oil versus ink, modernity versus tradition, painting versus graphic arts, and elite versus folk.” Claypool is especially interested in the artists’ engagement with the emerging sciences of ethnography, zoology, and entomology, a theme that is further explored in her research article in this issue, titled “Beggars, Black Bears, and Butterflies: The Scientific Gaze and Ink Painting in Modern China.”

This issue’s “Readings from Asia” essay by Cross-Currents acting co-editor John Lie (UC Berkeley) is titled “The Rise and Fall of Japanology: Recollections of Ronald Dore.” The essay’s immediate inspiration comes from the recent publication of Genmetsu [Disillusionment] (Fujiwara Shoten, 2014) by British sociologist Ronald P. Dore. Lie follows the trajectory of Dore’s half-century career, and his shifting sentiments toward Japan, in order to track “the rise and fall of Japan and Japan studies.”

We hope you enjoy reading this issue. As always, we look forward to receiving your feedback. Be sure to register here on our website in order to leave comments for our contributors and join the conversation.


John Lie and Sungtaek Cho