Publications Program

The Asia Center Publications Program is one of the world’s most widely respected publishers of scholarly books in East Asian Studies, publishing about 15 new titles per year. The program has published nearly 500 titles since its founding in the 1950s; it became part of the Asia Center in 1998. In the past decade, books published by the Asia Center have won more than a dozen major awards in their respective fields.

About   |   Information for Prospective Authors   |   Awards   |  Staff

List of Publications

Publications

Confluence and Conflict: Reading Transwar Japanese Literature and Thought

Brian Hurley
Writers and intellectuals in modern Japan have long forged dialogues across the boundaries separating the spheres of literature and thought. This book explores some of their most intellectually and aesthetically provocative connections in the volatile transwar years of the 1920s to 1950s. Reading philosophical texts alongside literary writings, the study links the intellectual side of literature to the literary dimensions of thought in contexts ranging from middlebrow writing to avant-garde modernism, and from the wartime left to the postwar right.Chapters trace these dynamics through the novelist Tanizaki Jun’ichirō’s collaboration with the nativist linguist Yamada Yoshio on a modern translation of The Tale of Genji; the modernist writer Yokomitsu Riichi’s dialogue with Kyoto School philosophers around the question of “worldliness”; the Marxist poet Nakano Shigeharu’s and the philosopher Tosaka Jun’s thinking about prosaic everyday language; and the postwar rumination on liberal society that surrounded the scholar Edwin McClellan while he translated Natsume Sōseki’s classic 1914 novel Kokoro as a graduate student in the United States working with the famed economist Friedrich Hayek. Revealing unexpected intersections of literature, ideas, and politics in a global transwar context, the book concludes by turning to Murakami Haruki and the resonances of those intersections in a time closer to our own.

Making the Gods Speak: The Ritual Production of Revelation in Chinese Religious History

Vincent Goossaert
For two millennia, Chinese society has been producing divine revelations on an unparalleled scale, in multifarious genres and formats. This book is the first comprehensive attempt at accounting for the processes of such production. It builds a typology of the various ritual techniques used to make gods present and allow them to speak or write, and it follows the historical development of these types and the revealed teachings they made possible.Within the large array of visionary, mediumistic, and mystical techniques, Vincent Goossaert devotes the bulk of his analysis to spirit-writing, a family of rites that appeared around the eleventh century and gradually came to account for the largest numbers of books and tracts ascribed to the gods. In doing so, he shows that the practice of spirit-writing must be placed within the framework of techniques used by ritual specialists to control human communications with gods and spirits for healing, divining, and self-divinization, among other purposes. Making the Gods Speak thus offers a ritual-centered framework to study revelation in Chinese cultural history and comparatively with the revelatory practices of other religious traditions.

Transmedial Landscapes and Modern Chinese Painting

Juliane Noth
Chinese ink painters of the Republican period (1911–1949) creatively engaged with a range of art forms in addition to ink, such as oil painting, drawing, photography, and woodblock prints. They transformed their medium of choice in innovative ways, reinterpreting both its history and its theoretical foundations. Juliane Noth offers a new understanding of these compelling experiments in Chinese painting by studying them as transmedial practice, at once shaped by and integral to the modern global art world.Transmedial Landscapes and Modern Chinese Painting shines a spotlight on the mid-1930s, a period of intense productivity in which Chinese artists created an enormous number of artworks and theoretical texts. The book focuses on the works of three seminal artists, Huang Binhong, He Tianjian, and Yu Jianhua, facilitating fresh insights into this formative stage of their careers and into their collaborations in artworks and publications. In a nuanced reading of paintings, photographs, and literary and theoretical texts, Noth shows how artworks and discussions about the future of ink painting were intimately linked to the reshaping of the country through infrastructure development and tourism, thus leading to the creation of a uniquely modern Chinese landscape imagery.This book is also available in paperback.

Cine-Mobility: Twentieth-Century Transformations in Korea’s Film and Transportation

Han Sang Kim
In 1916, a group of Korean farmers and their children gathered to watch a film depicting the enthronement of the Japanese emperor. For this screening, a unit of the colonial government’s news agency brought a projector and generator by train to their remote rural town. Before the formation of commercial moviegoing culture for colonial audiences in rural Korean towns, many films were sent to such towns and villages as propaganda. The colonial authorities, as well as later South Korean postcolonial state authorities, saw film as the most effective medium for disseminating their political messages. In Cine-Mobility, Han Sang Kim argues that the force of propaganda films in Korea was derived primarily not from their messages but from the new mobility of the viewing position.From the first film shot in Korea in 1901 through early internet screen cultures in late 1990s South Korea, Cine-Mobility explores the association between cinematic media and transportation mobility, not only in diverse and discrete forms such as railroads, motorways, automobiles, automation, and digital technologies, but also in connection with the newly established rules and restrictions and the new culture of mobility, including changes in gender dynamics, that accompanied it.

Chinese History, Volume 1: A New Manual, Enlarged Sixth Edition (Fiftieth Anniversary Edition)

Endymion Wilkinson
Endymion Wilkinson’s bestselling Chinese History: A New Manual has been continuously in print for fifty years. It has achieved this unusual distinction because the author expanded its scope with each new edition. In the process it has grown from a modest research guide to Chinese imperial history into an encyclopedic, 1.7-million-word introduction to Chinese civilization and the primary and secondary resources and research problems for all periods of Chinese history. In recognition of its unique value, the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (France) awarded the third edition the Stanislas Julien Prize, and in 2016, Peking University Press published the entire Manual in a three-volume Chinese edition.The sixth edition of the Manual has been revised and expanded throughout to include the latest developments in digital tools and the two dozen ancillary disciplines essential for work on Chinese history. In addition, its temporal coverage has been extended to the death of Chairman Mao.In celebration of a half century of continuous publication, the enlarged sixth edition consists of two volumes. Volume 1 covers topics ranging from Language, Education, and the Arts to Science, Technology, and the Environment. Volume 2 presents primary and secondary sources chronologically by period from the Neolithic to 1976.This book is also available in paperback.

Chinese History, Volume 2: A New Manual, Enlarged Sixth Edition (Fiftieth Anniversary Edition)

Endymion Wilkinson
Endymion Wilkinson’s bestselling Chinese History: A New Manual has been continuously in print for fifty years. It has achieved this unusual distinction because the author expanded its scope with each new edition. In the process it has grown from a modest research guide to Chinese imperial history into an encyclopedic, 1.7-million-word introduction to Chinese civilization and the primary and secondary resources and research problems for all periods of Chinese history. In recognition of its unique value, the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (France) awarded the third edition the Stanislas Julien Prize, and in 2016, Peking University Press published the entire Manual in a three-volume Chinese edition.The sixth edition of the Manual has been revised and expanded throughout to include the latest developments in digital tools and the two dozen ancillary disciplines essential for work on Chinese history. In addition, its temporal coverage has been extended to the death of Chairman Mao.In celebration of a half century of continuous publication, the enlarged sixth edition consists of two volumes. Volume 1 covers topics ranging from Language, Education, and the Arts to Science, Technology, and the Environment. Volume 2 presents primary and secondary sources chronologically by period from the Neolithic to 1976.This book is also available in paperback.

Localizing Learning: The Literati Enterprise in Wuzhou, 1100–1600

Peter K. Bol
As the first intellectual history of Song, Yuan, and Ming China written from a local perspective, Localizing Learning shows how literati learning in Wuzhou came to encompass examination studies, Neo-Confucian moral philosophy, historical and Classical scholarship, encyclopedic learnedness, and literary writing, and traces how debates over the relative value of moral cultivation, cultural accomplishment, and political service unfolded locally.The book is set in one locality, Wuzhou (later Jinhua), a prefecture in China’s Zhejiang province, from the twelfth through the sixteenth century. Its main actors are literati of the Song, Yuan, and Ming, who created a local tradition of learning as a means of cementing their common identity and their claim to moral, political, and cultural leadership. Close readings of philosophical and literary texts with quantitative analysis of social and kinship networks consider why and how the local literati enterprise was built.By treating learning as the subject, it broadens our perspective, going beyond a history of ideas to investigate the social practices and networks of kinship and collegiality with which literati defined themselves in local, regional, and national contexts.

Legal Scholars and Scholarship in the People's Republic of China: The First Generation, 1949-1992

Nongji Zhang
Law is a moving system of rules that changes according to a nation’s political and socioeconomic development. To understand the law of the People’s Republic of China today, it is imperative to learn the history and philosophy of the law when it was first shaped. This is a comprehensive introduction to Chinese legal scholarship and the prominent scholars who developed it during the initial decades of the PRC, when the old Chinese legal system was abolished by the newly established Communist government. With responsibilities for full-scale recovery and reconstruction, while cultivating entirely new disciplines and branches of legal studies, the thirty-three leading legal scholars featured herein became the creators, pioneers, and teachers of the new Communist legal system. Through their scholarship, we can see where the field of Chinese legal studies came from, and where it is going.Nongji Zhang reveals the stories of the most prominent PRC legal scholars, including their backgrounds, scholarly contributions, and important works. This essential tool and resource for the study of Chinese law will be of great use to faculty, students, scholars, librarians, and anyone interested in the field.

The Afterlife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi: Historical Fiction and Popular Culture in Japan

Susan Westhafer Furukawa
Popular representations of the past are everywhere in Japan, from cell phone charms to manga, from television dramas to video games to young people dressed as their favorite historical figures hanging out in the hip Harajuku district. But how does this mass consumption of the past affect the way consumers think about history and what it means to be Japanese?By analyzing representations of the famous sixteenth-century samurai leader Toyotomi Hideyoshi in historical fiction based on Taikōki, the original biography of him, this book explores how and why Hideyoshi has had a continued and ever-changing presence in popular culture in twentieth- and twenty-first-century Japan. The multiple fictionalized histories of Hideyoshi published as serial novels and novellas before, during, and after World War II demonstrate how imaginative re-presentations of Japan’s past have been used by various actors throughout the modern era.Using close reading of several novels and short stories as well as the analysis of various other texts and paratextual materials, Susan Furukawa discovers a Hideyoshi who is always changing to meet the needs of the current era, and in the process expands our understanding of the powerful role that historical narratives play in Japan.This book is also available in paperback.

Du Fu Transforms: Tradition and Ethics amid Societal Collapse

Lucas Rambo Bender
Often considered China’s greatest poet, Du Fu (712–770) came of age at the height of the Tang dynasty, in an era marked by confidence that the accumulated wisdom of the precedent cultural tradition would guarantee civilization’s continued stability and prosperity. When his society collapsed into civil war in 755, however, he began to question contemporary assumptions about the role that tradition should play in making sense of experience and defining human flourishing.In this book, Lucas Bender argues that Du Fu’s reconsideration of the nature and importance of tradition has played a pivotal role in the transformation of Chinese poetic understanding over the last millennium. In reimagining his relationship to tradition, Du Fu anticipated important philosophical transitions from the late-medieval into the early-modern period and laid the template for a new and perduring paradigm of poetry’s relationship to ethics. He also looked forward to the transformations his own poetry would undergo as it was elevated to the pinnacle of the Chinese poetic pantheon.

Harvard University's Asia-Related Resources