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How is it possible to write down the Japanese language exclusively in Chinese characters? And how are we then able to determine the language behind the veil of the Chinese script as Japanese? The history of writing in Japan presents us with a fascinating variety of writing styles ranging from phonography to morphography and all shades in between.
In Japanese Morphography: Deconstructing hentai kanbun, Gordian Schreiber shows that texts traditionally labelled as “hentai kanbun” or “variant Chinese” are, in fact, morphographically written Japanese texts instead and not just the result of an underdeveloped skill in Chinese. The study fosters our understanding of writing system typology beyond phonographic writing.
A Traditional Song Text from Guangxi in Southern China
Editors / Translators: David Holm and Yuanyao Meng
This is an annotated edition of a traditional song text, written in the Zhuang character script. The Brigands’ Song is part of a living tradition, sung antiphonally by two male and two female singers. The song is probably unique in presenting the experiences of ordinary men and women during wartime in pre-modern China. The narrative relates how the men are sent off to war, fighting as native troops on behalf of the Chinese imperial armies. The song dates from the Ming dynasty and touches on many topics of historical significance, such as the use of firearms and other operational details.
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In: European Journal of East Asian Studies
In: European Journal of East Asian Studies
In: European Journal of East Asian Studies
By examining the life and thought of self-exiled Chinese intellectuals after 1949 by placing them in the context of the global Cold War, Kenneth Kai-chung Yung argues that Chinese intellectuals living in Hong Kong, Taiwan and overseas Chinese communities in the 1950s could not escape from the global anti-utopian Cold War currents. Each of them responded to such currents quite differently. Yung also examines different models of nation-building advocated by the émigré intellectuals and argues in his book that these émigré intellectuals inherited directly the multifaceted Chinese liberal tradition that was well developed in the Republican era (1911–1949). Contrary to existing literature that focus mostly on the New Confucians or the liberals, this study highlights that moderate socialists cannot be ignored as an important group of Chinese émigré intellectuals in the first two decades of the Cold War era. This book will inspire readers who are concerned about the prospects for democracy in contemporary China by painting a picture of the Chinese self-exiles’ experiences in the 1950s and 1960s.

Abstract

Our article analyzes how Chinese capital inflows in the Philippines shape the self-identification of Filipino Chinese. Through a discursive analysis of five Filipino Chinese social media groups, which comprise at least 25,000 members, we argue that comment writers in Filipino Chinese groups readily interpreted Chinese capital in the Philippines, particularly in relation to the South China Sea disputes, Rodrigo Duterte’s rapprochement with China, Xi Jinping’s Philippine visit, and the rise of online gambling, through the prism of culture-based idioms. We find three contradictory discourses. First, there is a discourse of Sinicization that defines Filipino Chinese through a singular definition of Chineseness. Second, a discourse of brokerage has emerged, wherein Filipino Chinese positionality is represented by a synthesis of Chinese, Filipino, and Western identities. Finally, a discourse of distinction has also grown, framing Filipino Chinese as different from the mainland Chinese and the Filipinos.

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In: Translocal Chinese: East Asian Perspectives
Author: Richard T. Chu

Abstract

The Chinese in Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, and Panama have had long histories of migration dating back to the nineteenth century, when British and Spanish colonial powers started to bring them to the Caribbean and Latin America from Guangdong province. The primary goal was to provide labor for the sugar cane, guano, bird nest, gold and silver mining, and other industries. In the 1870s, Havana could boast of having the largest Chinatown in the Caribbean, with more than 10,000 Chinese. Today, it has fewer than 100 Chinese Cubans. Trinidad and Tobago’s population of Chinese waned after the nineteenth century, but many Trinidadians have some Chinese ancestry, while Panama currently has the highest percentage (7 percent) of Chinese among Latin American countries. What stories, approaches, and lessons can be learned by comparing their histories to that of the Chinese in the Philippines? More specifically, how are the experiences of the Chinese in these three countries, whether citizen or recent immigrant, similar to those in the Philippines? What can we learn from the scholarship on the Chinese in the Caribbean that can help shape our own research agenda in studying the Chinese in the Philippines? Through a combination of historical and ethnographic research, this essay discusses the ways in which the identities of each Chinese diasporic community are being shaped by local and external forces, including China’s increasing presence in the region. This essay hopes to serve as a guidepost to Chinese diaspora scholars interested in examining further the transhemispheric connections between the Caribbean and Southeast Asia.

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In: Translocal Chinese: East Asian Perspectives