The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 26. 2014    

June 30, 2014    
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In This Issue
We have ambitious plans for the Journal in the coming year, including a series of special issues in progress at a time when tensions are rising across the Asia-Pacific. To meet the needs of the time, we are expanding our translation service, and carrying out technical upgrades to accommodate Facebook, Twitter and smart phone users. We need your financial support to elevate our work and to keep the journal free to readers around the world. If you would like to help sustain the Journal financially, please go to our site where you can pay using credit card of Paypal. The Asia-Pacific Journal is a 501 (C) organization. Your gift is tax-deductible in the US. Thank you in advance.

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Mary A. Knighton       
The Sloppy Realities of 3.11 in Shiriagari Kotobuki's Manga     

The 2011 disasters of firstearthquake and tsunami, followed by the reactor meltdowns and weeks of aftershocks, continue today due to the lingering crisis at Fukushima Dai-ichi. These events, known as "3.11," compounded the precarity in recessionary Japan - literally displacing the home, and sense of belonging of hundreds of thousands in Tohoku - and deepened a quotidian experience of malaise at a crisis constantly in the news, with no end in sight.

This article explores the work of manga artist Shiriagari Kotobuki, whose commentary emerged at a time of national crisis when many hesitated to speak up. Shiriagari's work: Manga Ever Since: 2011.3.11 (Ano hi kara no manga: 2011.3.11, 2011) first received recognition this past May with the 2014 Medal of Honor for Culture (Purple Ribbon). Manga Ever Since collects manga that, beginning mere days after March 11, 2011, steadily folded the experience of the disaster into readers' everyday lives. Although the title of Shiriagari's collection suggests that his work changed after that fateful day, what really changed was the serious attention his manga garnered when he dared to take the crisis as subject matter for humor and commentary in the immediate wake of the disasters. He has continued to do so "ever since."

Mary A. Knighton is an ACLS/SSRC/NEH Fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Her publications include "'Becoming Insect Woman': Tezuka's Feminist Species," Mechademia Vol. 8, Special Issue on Tezuka Osamu, "Tezuka's Manga Life" (2013): 3-24.
Roger Pulvers  
Architect Kuma Kengo: 'a product of place'

Architect Kuma Kengo is perhaps best known for his deep-seated sense of rebellion that manifests itself in his prolific writing and his work around the world. Kuma's aesthetic is a rebellion against what most people generally consider "modern." In this article, the author engages aKuma's personal letters to re-interpret what motivated the architect to embark on his journey in search of values that might wisely inform a future lifestyle--not only for himself, but also to rescue young people in Japan today who find themselves at sea with no one and nothing to point the way home. 

Roger Pulvers is an American-born Australian author, playwright, theater director and translator. He has published 40 books in Japanese and English including The Dream of Lafcadio Hearn. In 2008, he was awarded the Kenji Miyazawa Prize and in 2013 the Noma Award for the Translation of Japanese Literature for his book on Miyazawa Kenji, "Strong in the Rain": Selected Poems.  
Kimie Hara   
From Cold War Thaws to the Arctic Thaw: The Changing Arctic and Its Security Implications for East Asia

Global climate change is profoundly reshaping the Arctic region, not only physically but also in international politics. Yet Arctic development is of concern to more than the Circumpolar states. The issues are global, and East Asia is no exception. Japan, South Korea and China in particular have been increasingly deepening their involvement in Arctic affairs. The evolving situation of the Arctic region could also have significant impact on political relations and the regional security architecture in East Asia, whether providing new opportunities for cooperation or fueling further conflict.  


This article considers security implications of the Arctic thaw for East Asia, where the structure of the regional Cold War confrontation profoundly shapes the geopolitical order to this day. Just as Cold War thaws did not lead to the collapse of the San Francisco Treaty System, the Arctic thaw alone may not be enough to bring fundamental change to the continuing structure of confrontation in East Asia. The author discusses possible changes that climate change may bring to the Arctic's security environment, pointing to several measures and adjustments which the concerned states can take.


Kimie Hara is the Director of East Asian Studies at Renison University College, the Renison Research Professor and a management team member of the Japan Futures Initiative at the University of Waterloo (Canada), and an Asia-Pacific Journal associate. Her books include Northern Territories, Asia-Pacific Regional Conflicts and the Aland Experience: Untying the Kurillian Knot (with Geoffrey Jukes).   


Philip J. Cunningham   
Border Crossing Into Tiananmen Square; still under lockdown twenty-five years on

What follows is an account of a return visit to Tiananmen Square in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the peaceful demonstrations and violent crackdown that I witnessed in Beijing in 1989.

Philip J Cunningham is the author of Tiananmen Moon, which was recently released by Rowman & Littlefield in a special expanded edition for the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen demonstrations of 1989.

Read more . . .