The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 5. 2014    

February 3, 2014    
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In This Issue


Su-kyoung Hwang
South Korea,


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Su-kyoung Hwang
South Korea, the United States and Emergency Powers 
During the Korean Conflict


This essay is a comparative legal study of the use by the United States and South Korea of state of emergency powers before and during the Korean War. Beginning with the violent suppression of the Cheju Uprising in 1948, a succession of states of emergency were proclaimed in South Korea and the United States throughout the Korean conflict (1948-1953). The essay examines the context in which these emergency laws were conceived and their relationship to state-sponsored mass violence against the civilian population. 
Su-kyoung Hwang is a Lecturer in Korean Studies at the University of Sydney. 


Christopher S. Thompson
Are You Coming to the Matsuri?: Tsunami Recovery and Folk Performance Culture on Iwate's Rikuchu Coast 

The study of matsuri "folk festivals" has long been a mainstay of Japanese ethnology and folklore studies. Post 3.11, local matsuri in a coastal Iwate town have become important sites for building mutual trust with coastal residents, delineating their most important priorities, and learning about the powerful historical ties that bind these communities together. This experience contrasts sharply with the historical literature on matsuri, which has often focused on its inherent ritual and belief systems, and considered folk festivities to be a fairly static repository of the national and regional historical beliefs and customs. 

My ethnographic experience in Iwate coastal communities post 3.11 reveals the  dynamic role of local folk festivities as fluid, malleable, reactive, and adaptive constructions - the products of historical precedents but also of contemporary social and cultural values that reveal and reflect the many ongoing sociocultural processes. A closer examination of local matsuri traditions provides important insights that could be utilized to help in the design of a viable regional economic model for the future in the Rikuchu region and beyond.

Christopher S. Thompson is Associate Professor of Japanese Language and Culture and Chair of the Department of Linguistics at Ohio University. He is co-editor of Wearing Cultural Styles In Japan: Concepts of Tradition and Modernity in Practice and numerous articles on Tōhoku culture and traditions. 
Feng Jianyong
Introduced by Joseph W. Esherick and C.X. George Wei
The 1911 Revolution and the Frontier: The "Political Game" and "State-Building" in Outer Mongolia during the 1911 Revolution   


Feng Jianyong explores the impact of the 1911 Revolution on Mongolia using a three-cornered chess-match (boyi) metaphor to analyze the competition for influence in the region among the Chinese central government, Outer Mongolia, and the Russian empire. Feng's analysis rejects prior research that has regarded the Mongols as little more than unwitting tools of meddling Russian imperialists.  Taking seriously the political goals of Mongol princes and lamas, the author explores the links between state-building processes in the early Republic of China and in Outer Mongolia.
Feng Jianyong (冯建勇), Associate Professor at the Research Institute for Chinese Borderland History and Geography, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, holds a PhD in history from the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. His main research areas are Chinese frontier history and theory.