The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 47. 2013    

November 25, 2013    
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What will it take to keep the Asia-Pacific Journal free and vibrant?


Our annual fund-raising campaign is now in its fourth week, with over $5,500 raised with your generous support. Our short-term goal is $10,000, our long-term goal, to place the journal on a firm foundation: $50,000.

We have now had a challenge grant, to match gifts of $50 or more up to $1,000. We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity to maximize your tax-deductible gift.

If we succeed, the journal will remain available at no charge to readers. 12,000 regular readers now receive our work via the Newsletter or Facebook and Twitter, and we are investigating making content available through other electronic channels. Last month, readers in 205 countries accessed more than 120,000 articles. We have created a major archive on Japan's 3.11 triple disaster, the flawed responses, and the creative search for new green energy approaches beyond nuclear power. And our work on US-Japan-Okinawa relations, on territorial conflicts in the Asia-Pacific, and on war and historical memory is now supplemented by a wide range of contributions in the realm of culture . . . film, music, anime, manga and the like in Asia-Pacific perspective. We are reaching out to schools and teachers through our course readers, with ten more to be published shortly. For the first time, The Asia-Pacific Journal is a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service. Contributions are tax deductible. If you wish to support our campaign in the form of a subscription (we recommend $25 or $50; $10 for students and developing countries and hope that those in a position to provide more will do so) please go to the red Sustainer Button on our home page and use Paypal or a credit card. 
We invite authors, publishers and directors to bring their books, films and events on East Asia and the Pacific to the attention of our readers. See the home page for information about presenting relevant books and films at our site and for examples of authors, publishers and filmmakers who are presenting their work at the Journal.

Contact Japan Focus by email at 
Subscription information
The Asia-Pacific Journal is freely available to all. We invite those who wish to support our work by allowing us to make technical upgrades, defray technical, mailing and maintenance fees, and to enable us to expand our output since the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami. Recommended support level: $25 ($10 for students and residents of developing countries); $40 for institutions including libraries, research centers, government offices. If you experience difficulty in subscribing, write to us with the error message at 
Franklin Rausch, The Harbin An Jung-Geun Statue: A Korea/China-Japan Historical Memory Controversy

The Chinese and South Korean governments have recently announced the building of a new monument to An Jung-Geun in Harbin. An is most famous for his 1909 assassination of Itō Hirobumi, a high Japanese official who framed the Meiji constitution, served as prime minister, and is credited with being one of the great modernizers of the Meiji period. Itō also led Japan's colonization of Korea and negotiated the Treaty of Shimonoseki with Li Hongzhang, which concluded the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), giving Japan control over Taiwan, the Kwantung Peninsula, and reparations equal to several times the Qing Empire's annual budget. For these reasons, Itō is widely reviled and An lionized in Korea and China. By contrast, Itō remains an iconic figure in Japan and the Japanese government has responded to the news of the plan to honor the man who killed one of the nation's modern heroes in this way by stating that it would "not be good for their relations and that An was a criminal."  

Franklin Rausch is an assistant professor of history at Lander University (Greenwood, SC, USA). He and Jieun Han (a PhD. candidate in Church History at Yonsei University) are currently translating An Jung-Geun's writings and related historical documents with the support of Yonsei University.



Read More. . .  

Karl Baier, The Formation and Principles of Count Dürckheim's Nazi Worldview and his interpretation of Japanese Spirit and Zen

In Part I of this series on D.T. Suzuki's relationship with the Nazis, (Brian Daizen Victoria, Zen as a Cult of Death in the Wartime Writings of D.T. Suzuki) readers were promised a second part focusing primarily on Suzuki's relationship with one of wartime Japan's most influential Nazis, Count Karlfried Dürckheim (1896 -1988).

However, in the course of writing Part II, I quickly realized that the reader would benefit greatly were it possible to present more than simply Dürckheim's story in wartime Japan. That is to say, I recognized the importance, actually the necessity, of introducing Dürckheim's earlier history in Germany and the events that led to his arrival in Japan, not once but twice.

At this point I had the truly good fortune to come in contact with Professor Karl Baier of the University of Vienna, a specialist in the history of modern Asian-influenced spirituality in Europe and the United States. Prof. Baier graciously agreed to present a picture of Dürckheim within a wartime German political, cultural, and, most importantly, religious context. Although now deceased, Dürckheim continues to command a loyal following among both his disciples and many others whose lives were touched by his voluminous postwar writings. In this respect, his legacy parallels that of D.T. Suzuki.

The final result is that what was originally planned as a two-part article has become a three-part series. Part II, written by Prof. Baier, focuses on Dürckheim in Germany, including his writings about Japan and Zen.

Karl Baier is a professor in the Department for the Study of Religions, University of Vienna. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and an M.A. in Catholic Theology. Major Writings include "Yoga auf dem Weg nach Westen" (1998), a book on the history of Yoga in the West, and his habilitation thesis "Meditation und Moderne" (Meditation and Modernity) that was published in two volumes in 2009. Karl Baier is a member of the European Network of Buddhist Christian Studies. 

Read More. . . 

Gavan McCormack, "Again Okinawa" - Okinawa Special Series - A Postscript
This two part article is a postscript to the Asia-Pacific Journal series on the Henoko base controversy and the fraught relationships between Okianwa, the United States, and Japan. Gavan McCormack introduces the two editorials from the Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Taimusu . 

Gavan McCormack is an emeritus professor of the Australian National University and a coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal. His most recent book, co-authored with Satoko Oka Norimatsu, is Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States, Rowman and Littlefield. He is the author of Client State: Japan in the American Embrace and Target North Korea: Pushing North Korea to the Brink of Nuclear Catastrophe, 2004. 

Read More. . .
Tarique Niazi, The Asia-Pacific in the Eye of Super-storms

Super-storm Haiyan made a devastating landfall in the east-central Philippines on November 8, leaving behind a trail of death and destruction that has draped the whole country in a pall of grief. The Philippines has since been reeling from this disaster. The typhoon buffeted the most vulnerable of Filipinos, 40% of whom live below the poverty line (i.e., $1.25 a day). Many of them fished for living. Their livelihood compelled them to live dangerously close to the shoreline of western Pacific. The highest ground on which some of them found their perch was just one meter above sea level. When the storm swelled, with waves as high as six meters, its poor victims were defenseless. The crashing walls of water swept away all that they possessed. The cumulative losses in lives and livelihoods, homes and hearths, businesses and infrastructure have no parallel in Philippines history, just as Haiyan has no precedent in the annals of meteorology. As of now, 13million Filipinos, of whom 5 million are children, have been scarred by the destructive fury of Haiyan, while 600,000 have been rendered homeless. The number of deaths may climb past 10,000.

The staggering scale of humanitarian crisis that followed Haiyan's landfall was well beyond the capacity to respond of the underresourced and overstretched Philippine government. This article assesses the devastation of Haiyan against the background of super-storms in the Asia-Pacific.

Tarique Niazi, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Environmental Sociology at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Jamie Doucette and Se-Woong Koo, Distorting Democracy: Politics by Public Security in Contemporary South Korea

Although a full year has not elapsed since the election of South Korea's President Park Geun-hye, there are already troubling signs that her term as President is going to be a difficult period for both the health of Korean democracy and for liberal and progressive political forces. In the months since she was elected, significant evidence of political and electoral interference by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and other state agencies has come to light, leading to an expanding series of political scandals, most notably the indictment of former NIS director Won Sei-hoon.

A sitting lawmaker, Lee Seok-ki, has been arrested on suspicion of sedition and plotting a rebellion, as well as charges of violating Korea's National Security Law (NSL). Citing this arrest, the Ministry of Justice has recently moved to disband the United Progressive Party (UPP), of which Lee is a member, charging that the party's 'progressive democracy' platform is based on "the so-called founding ideology of North Korea".

This sequence of events has been accompanied by a broader shift in political discourse.  For the purpose of discrediting its opponents, the broader South Korean right has returned to its cavalier use of the chimerical label chongbuk chwap'a: a term commonly translated as 'pro-North leftists,' encompassing not only suspected proxies of North Korea but anyone seen as deferential to the wishes of the North. This article assesses the implications for South Korean democracy.

Jamie Doucette is Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Manchester. Se-Woong Koo is Rice Family Foundation Visiting Fellow and Lecturer at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University. Along with several other scholars, they helped initiate the Concerned scholars statement on National Intelligence Service interference in South Korea Democracy and signature campaign in early September, 2013.