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The book investigates China’s relations to the outside world between ca. 100 BCE and 1800 AD. In contrast to most histories of the Silk Roads, the focus of this book clearly lies on the maritime Silk Road and on the period between Tang and high Qing, selecting aspects that have so far been neglected in research on the history of China’s relations with the outside world. The author examines, for example, the power alliance between the Tang and the Arabs during Tang times, the specific role of fanbing 蕃兵 (frontier tribal troops) during Song times, the interrelationship between maritime commerce, military expansion, and environmental factors during the Yuan, the question of whether or not early Ming China can be considered a (proto-)colonialist country, the role force and violence played during the Zheng He expeditions, and what role of the Asia-Pacific world played for late Ming and early Qing rulers.
Mobilities, Meanings, Manoeuvrings
This volume explores how the city and the sea converse and converge in creating new forms of everyday urbanity in archipelagic and island Southeast Asia. Drawing inspiration from case studies spanning Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and New Caledonia, the volume rethinks the place of the sea in coastal cities, through a mobility-inspired understanding of urbanity itself. How might conceptualisations of contemporary coastal urbanisms be approached from the sea, in ways that complicate singularly terrestrial, fixed framings of the city? What connections, contradictions, and dissonances can be found between sea change and urban change? While addressing these questions, the authors re-centre more marginal voices of those who dwell and work in islanded metropoles, offering new insights on the futures and contested nature(s) of littoral urban transformation.
Editor / Translator: Stuart Robson
Contributor: Hadi Sidomulyo
Javanese, a major language of Southeast Asia, possesses a little-known literature, occurring in various phases, Old, Middle and Modern. This publication presents a remarkable example, from the poetical literature of Middle Javanese, in an edited text with English translation and an extensive commentary. The aim is to acquaint a wider audience with this literature, in the hope of drawing attention to its fascinating qualities. Set principally in the Singhasari area of East Java, the narrative follows the journey of the lovers, Pañji Margasmara and Ken Candrasari, offering a glimpse of the beauty of the Javanese landscape in the 15th century. The cultural, historical and archaeological details preserved in the text help to shed light on the closing years of Majapahit, a largely unexplored period in Javanese history, before the age of Islam.
Globalized Fisheries, Nutritional Unequal Exchange and Asian Hunger
East, South and Southeast Asia are home to two-thirds of the world’s hungry people, but they produce more than three-quarters of the world’s fish and nearly half of other foods. Through integration into the world food system, these Asian fisheries export their most nutritious foods and import less healthy substitutes. Worldwide, their exports sell cheap because women, the hungriest Asians, provide unpaid subsidies to production processes. In the 21st century, Asian peasants produce more than 60 percent of the regional food supply, but their survival is threatened by hunger, public depreasantization policies, climate change, land grabbing, urbanization and debt bondage.
The Hadhrami Arabs in the Netherlands East Indies and Indonesia (1900-1950)
Author: Huub de Jonge
In In Search of Identity: The Hadhrami Arabs in the Netherlands East Indies and Indonesia (1900-1950) Huub de Jonge discusses changes in social, economic, cultural and national identity of Arabs originating from Hadhramaut (Yemen) in the Netherlands East Indies and Indonesia. Within the relatively isolated and traditionally oriented Hadhrami community, all sorts of rifts and divisions arose under the influence of segregating colonial policies, the rise of Indonesian nationalism, the Japanese occupation, and the colonial war. The internal turmoil, hardly noticed by the outside world, led to the flourishing of new ideas, orientations, loyalties and ambitions, while traditional values, customs, and beliefs were called into question.
In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations

Abstract

British Commonwealth archives constitite a rich and often under-utilized source of material for understanding the international history of the 20th and 21st centuries. From the late 19th Century onward, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand each enjoyed close and confidential relations with not just Britain, but with each other and increasingly, too, with the United States. They also participated in major international organizations at both an official and non-governmental level. Although or perhaps because each was a “middle” rather than “great” power, as each country developed its own diplomatic bureaucracy, their representatives often had informal and even intimate insights into the policies of a wide range of countries. This article introduces the highlights of each nation’s major archival repositories for materials relating to international affairs. While the holdings of the Library and Archives of Canada in Ottawa, the National Archives of Australia and the National Library of Australia in Canberra, and the National Archives of New Zealand in Wellington all feature prominently, the author casts a wider net and draw researchers’ attention to additional important and often under-utilized collections scattered across the different countries.

In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations

Abstract

While access to library and archival collections in mainland China remains unclear due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and increasing government scrutiny, past experiences in Chinese archives are still relevant for scholars going forward, in the event that the People’s Republic of China reopens the doors to these collections. In surveying the digital, print publication, and manuscript collections pertaining to the Chinese history of World War ii, this article shows how access to new kinds of sources redefined the pre-pandemic state of the field. In particular, curated volumes that emphasized perspectives from the Chinese Communist Party and leftist intellectuals gradually have given way to a more representative collection of the documentary evidence, and Taiwanese collections continue to be important to the historiography. The article begins with coverage of well-known guides and published catalogues of mainland and Taiwanese collections. It then covers some military documents that Chinese scholars occasionally have referenced. It emphasizes the richness of accessible material on the social and cultural history of the war era as part of a call to colleagues and future students to expand the scope of what is traditionally thought to be “military history.” There is ample opportunity for major interventions into our understanding of wartime China, which shaped the course of modern history overall, and major innovations in historiography that scholars usually make from the dusty reading rooms of the libraries and archives.

Open Access
In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations
In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations
Author: Peter Mauch

Abstract

This essay introduces readers to the recent discovery of the personal papers of Grand Steward Tajima Michiji. These documents capture the post-surrender reflections of Hirohito, Japan’s Shōwa Emperor, and record him speaking on such issues as his war responsibility, as well as the culpability of prewar politicians such as Konoe Fumimaro and General Tōjō Hideki. In August 2019, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) (nhk) announced that it had gained privileged access to the papers. Acting on advice from scholars, it then released extracts from Tajima’s audience records. Drawing not on the Tajima papers themselves, but on what the nhk has made available, the documents demonstrate that Hirohito, after Japan’s surrender, experienced anguish and over the war and its outcome. He continued as emperor because he accepted “moral responsibility” for the war that required him to help his nation and its people endure occupation and reconstruction. This article also describes Hirohito’s postwar reflections on several issues, such as Japanese field officers and subordinates in the 1930s initiating without authorization acts of aggression, the Rape of Nanjing, and Japan’s postwar rearmament. While the Tajima papers will not resolve the ongoing debate over the emperor’s responsibility for Japan’s path of aggression before 1945, they do provide valuable insights about his role in and reaction to events before, during, and after World War ii.

Open Access
In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations