Note to Readers

Wen-hsin Yeh, University of California, Berkeley
Sungtaek Cho, Korea University
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December 2015

Dear Cross-Currents readers,

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

The December 2015 issue features research articles by Maggie Greene of Montana State University (“The Game People Played: Mahjong in Modern Chinese Society and Culture”);

Inhye Han of Ewha Womans University (“The Afterlives of Korean An Chunggŭn in Republican China: From Sinocentric Appropriation to a Rupture in Nationalism”); Karen M. Teoh of Stonehill College (“Domesticating Hybridity: Straits Chinese Cultural Heritage Projects in Malaysia and Singapore”); and Tommy Tran of the University of California, Los Angeles (“Imagining Urban Community: Contested Geographies and Parallax Urban Dreams on Cheju Island, South Korea”).

This issue also features two review essays. In the first, Kyu Hyun Kim (University of California, Davis) discusses Emer O’Dwyer’s Settler Colonialism and Japan’s Urban Empire in Manchuria (Harvard University Press, 2015) and Nayoung Aimee Kwon’s Intimate Empire: Collaboration and Colonial Modernity in Korea and Japan (Duke University Press, 2015), two new works that “not only chart and navigate new territories in their respective scholarly subfields—late colonial Korean literature and Japanese colonial experiences in Northeast China—but also showcase new levels of sophisticated and thoughtful engagement with Korean- and Japanese-language historiography.”

In the second book review, Philip Thai (Northeastern University) discusses Catherine L. Phipps’s Empires on the Waterfront: Japan’s Ports and Power, 1858–1899 (Harvard University Press, 2015) and Noell Wilson’s Defensive Positions: The Politics of Maritime Security in Tokugawa Japan (Harvard University Press, 2015). Thai writes that these new books, which bookend the Tokugawa and Meiji periods, “offer compelling cases for the centrality of maritime relations in understanding core issues in Japanese history.” 

This issue’s photo essay—“The Relics of Modern Japan’s First Foreign War in Colonial and Postcolonial Taiwan, 1874–2015”—explores a cluster of related historical sites in southern Taiwan’s Hengchun Peninsula that preserve the memories and relics of events surrounding the Japanese occupation of that area in 1874. In his accompanying curator’s statement, Paul D. Barclay (Lafayette College) explains that the memorials that dot southern Taiwan’s Highway 199 have been subject to alteration, contestation, reconstruction, reconceptualization, and vandalism for 140 years. “The historical vicissitudes of this mnemonic landscape have,” he writes, “responded to local and individual initiatives, while also echoing the tectonic shifts in East Asian history.”

This issue’s “Readings from Asia” essay by Tomiyama Ichirō (Doshisha University)—“The Question of Self-Governance”—presents for English-language readers Toriyama Atsushi’s Okinawa: Kichishakai no kigen to sōkoku 沖縄:基地社会の起源と相克 [Okinawa: Origin and conflict in a military base society] (Keisō Shobō, 2013). Tomiyama writes that Toriyama “does not retrace the history of the reversion movement or the history of the Okinawa struggle; rather, he views this period as contemporaneous history that rejects historicity. That is to say, a different beginning is embedded in this period.”

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.

Wen-hsin Yeh and Sungtaek Cho