East Asia CenterNewsletter On-line

The University of Virgina
east asia center
September 1999

Tonda Bunraku Troupe Visits UVA

On August 12, the Tonda Bunraku Troupe took the stage in front of a capacity audience at UVA’s Culbreth Theater.  The performance was the troupe’s first in the continental United States.

Professor Martin Holman of Berea College began the evening with a lecture on the tradition of the Japanese puppet theatre known today as Bunraku.  Bunraku began sometime before the year 1600 when puppet manipulation, the tradition of oral narrative, and the music of the shamisen were combined in a dramatic form that came to be the most popular entertainment in Japan.

The early history of the Tonda Puppets is documented by few written sources. According to the story passed down through the years, an itinerant puppet troupe from Awa, in present-day Tokushima Prefecture on the Island of Shikoku, came to Tonda to perform during the winter about the year 1835.  However, the group’s premiere was delayed for several weeks by winter storms, which kept the troupe snowbound in the village. By the time they could move on they were out of money, so they left a large number of puppets and stage equipment with the local people as collateral for a loan to pay their travel expenses back to Shikoku.  After years passed and no one returned to reclaim the collateral, the local people began to try their hand at operating the puppets themselves. When another itinerant puppet troupe came to the area a few years later, the people of Tonda had the visitors teach them the principles of puppet manipulation and the conventions of the theatre. This was the beginning of the Tonda Puppet theatre. Since the 1970s men from outside puppeteering families, as well as women, have been welcomed into the troupe. The Tonda Puppet Troupe is now designated as an Intangible Cultural Treasure, rehearsing and performing in its own theatre built in 1991 by the Shiga Prefectural government.

In Culbreth Theater, the troupe presented three acts taken from well-known Bunraku plays, often ranked among the most important works in the history of Japanese literature.  The first showed a Shinto priest puppet conducting a blessing ritual.  As Professor Holman noted, the blessing was the most common performance done by the Tonda troupe, particularly for weddings.  All eyes were glued on the three puppeteers, clothed in black, who guided the colorful priest puppet through his dancing and chanting.   After the first act, the audience was also shown the different parts of a Bunraku puppet and the role that each puppeteer takes in manipulating the puppet.

The second act was taken from Keisei Awa no Naruto, a renowned Bunraku play, first performed in 1769.  The scene performed involved two female characters, Oyumi and Otsuru.  Professor Holman acted as the puppet master for the lead puppet Oyumi. Onlookers were entranced as the troupe acted out the frustration of a mother unable to identify herself to her long lost daughter.  A musician playing the shamisen, a traditional stringed instrument, accompanied two chanters in giving voice to the characters.  The costuming of the musicians and chanters was especially eye catching.

The final act revolved around a samurai taking a boat journey.  The warrior was unaware that the woman he had scorned was following him in the form of a white serpent demon.  In this act, the Tonda troupe utilized a special “demon” puppet that could be transformed instantly from a beautiful maiden to a horned demon with giant fangs.   Many of the children, in the audience responded with delight at the antics of the puppet diving into the water  to pursue her love.

Following the last act, the Tonda troupe presented a plaque to the University in appreciation of the warm reception they had received while in Charlottesville.  The troop then assembled in the lobby with a number of their showcase puppets, some over 170 years old.  Members of the audience were given the opportunity to touch the puppets and to try manipulating  them.  Many expressed hope that the Tonda Bunraku troupe would return to the University for future performances.

The East Center expresses its thanks its co-sponsors for this event, Alderman Library and the Drama Department, and to Kendon Stubbs, Penny Weiss, Mincer’s Sportwear, Melissa Norris, Paola Sanmiguel, Janet Ikeda, and James and Mary McConnell.

Scenes from the performance and the reception afterwards.


East Asia Center and Related Speakers Fall 1999

Monday, September 13  Faculty “What I Did This Summer” Panel and Reception.  Minor 225, 4:00pm.

Friday, October 1   Robert Linrothe, Skidmore College.  “Picturing Interiority: Entrance Stupas of  Zangskar,”  (Tibetan Art) Campbell 160, 4:00 pm.  Co-sponsored by the Center for South Asian Studies.

Thursday, October 7   Steve Mufson, China Correspondent for the New York Post.  Title,TBA  1:30 pm, Commonwealth Room, Newcomb Hall.

Tuesday, October 12   Anne Clapp, Wellesley College. "The Chinese Garden in Art," Campell 153, 5:30 pm.  Fall 1999 Weedon Lecture in the Arts of Asia.

Friday, October 22   Akiko Hashimoto, University of Pittsburgh. “German and Japanese Moral Recovery Post-World War II, Minor 125, 12:00 pm.  Co-sponsored by the Department of Government and Foreign Affairs.

Friday, October 22   “American Architects in Asia:  Works and Efforts in the Twentieth Century,”  School of Architecture Conference. Co-sponsored by the East Asia Center and the Center for South Asian Studies.

Friday, November 5   Alison Conner, Wilson Center, Washington, DC.  Chinese legal history, title TBA. Commonwealth Room, Newcomb Hall, 3:00pm.

Universalizing the University

The University of Virginia has scheduled a conference for Thursday, October 14 and Friday, October 15 entitled, “New Challenges and Best Practices:  Universalizing the University.”  This conference, inspired by the University’s Virginia 2020:  Agenda for the Third Century initiative (a program focused on strategically planning the University’s path as it approaches its bicentennial), will concentrate on the ramifications of internationalizing the University, as well as the importance of developing a global perspective.  The conference is organized by the International Activities Planning Commission, led by Brantly Womack, Professor of Government and Chair of the Division of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures.  Further information, including details on how to register, can obtained by visiting the conference website at http://faculty.virginia.edu/unitheuni or by contacting Denise Karaoli at (804-924-6748) or Professor Womack (bwomack@virginia.edu).  All students and faculty are encouraged to attend and participation is free for UVA participants.

New Students Join East Asian Studies Master’s Program

William Owen and Burr O’Connor

Burr O’Connor, a 1994 graduate of Kenyon College, is from Upperville, Virginia.  Mr. O’Connor graduated from Kenyon with a major in modern foreign languages, an Asian studies concentration, and a minor in anthropology.  He lived in Shenyang for three years working as a teacher, a consultant for a Chinese software company, and a spokesperson for an American entrepreneurial endeavor.  “I plan to return to China in the near future,” states Mr. O’Connor, “but before I do it is my desire to return to school and to study China at the graduate level. . . .  I believe that graduate studies would allow me the opportunity to do this and in addition would provide me with the necessary tools to eventually return to China and to live and to work there successfully.”

William J. Owen, II graduated from George Mason University in 1999 with a major in international studies and a minor in history, further supplementing his education with an independent study of the Chinese economy through Oxford University’s Centre for Chinese Studies.  He has worked as a clerk for both the Central Intelligence Agency and the United States Agency for International Development in Manila, Philippines.  Mr. Owen remarks, “Once I have finished my formal education I hope to apply what I have learned by devoting my career to promoting continued cultural exchange and understanding between the East and West,” perhaps through a profession in the foreign service or academia.

New East Asia Faculty

The East Asia Center also welcomes Miao-Fen Tseng, who joins the Chinese Department this year as instructor of elementary Chinese.  Professor Tseng is a Ph.D. candidate (Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education) in the Educational Psychology Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She also received an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language in the Division of English as an International Language at the same institution.

New Treasures of Japanese Art
by Dorothy C. Wong
Assistant Professor of East Asian Art
~reprinted with permission from the Newsletter of the Bayly Art Museum~

This spring the Bayly Art Museum received a major gift of Japanese art from the pre-modern to modern era. Consisting of five screens, one scroll painting, and one woodblock print, the gift is a significant addition to the Bayly’s developing Asian collections.

The donation came from a University of Virginia alumnus who received three degrees from the University. The donor, who prefers to remain anonymous, lives in Washington, D.C. Apart from his career as a scientist, he is an art-lover and has been collecting art for several decades, concentrating in modern art and later Japanese art. He has assembled an impressive collection of Japanese decorative screens, scroll paintings and other artworks. When he heard of the University’s fund-raising campaign and about the Bayly Art Museum, he came forward to offer this gift to support the Bayly’s mission in teaching, research, and exhibiting works of art. Furthermore, he offered to establish a conservation fund for the works. Other beneficiaries of this donor’s generosity include the Freer and Sackler Galleries in Washington, DC, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.

In making the gift to the Bayly, the donor was very careful in choosing examples from his collection that were of high artistic quality as well as representative of different subjects and styles. The five Japanese screens span the Edo (1615 - 1868), Meiji (1868 - 1912) and Taisho (1912 - 26) periods. During the Edo period, screen paintings came into vogue. Lavishly produced in workshops employing gold, silver and a colorful palette, folding or sliding screens decorated the interiors of castles, temples, and residences. Two early screens from the group, dating to the seventeenth century, are representative of the diversity in patronage of the early Edo period. Festival Scene, a six-panel screen, is a genre painting which depicts commoners and pilgrims enjoying the festivities associated with village shrines. Festival scenes were popularly depicted in early Edo screens in order to celebrate the peace and prosperity brought about by a new regime after a protracted period of civil war. The screen was probably commissioned by a daimyo, a feudal lord of the ruling warrior class. By contrast, the Tale of Genji, a two-panel screen, was probably made for an aristocratic patron. It portrays a courtly scene in a landscape setting from the romance written by Lady Murasaki Shikibu (c. 978-1016). The static quality of the figures and the use of sprinkled gold reflects the stylistic characteristics of Heian court art (794 - 1185). The Kyoto aristocracy associated with the imperial family, now shorn of power and impoverished under the Tokugawa regime, looked back to the golden age of Japanese classical art and literature of the Heian period as a way to define its artistic identity.

By the middle of the Edo period, a new decorative style called Rimpa emerged. The term Rimpa, literally “[Ko]rin school,” was named after Ogata Korin (1658 - 1716), the school’s chief exponent. This school inherited such classical themes as flowers of the four seasons, and the lavish use of gold and silver from Heian court style. Also, Rimpa artists adopted a much bolder, more flamboyant approach usually associated with the daimyo taste. They transformed subjects from nature into abstract, random and flat patterns. The two-fold screen of Fans, which shows several painted fans scattered across a gold background, is an excellent example of the Rimpa style. The screen probably dates to the eighteenth century. The Rimpa school, one of the most enduring stylistic currents that continued into modern times, is exemplified by two other two-fold screens: Sunset Over Musashino and Maple Tree with Creek, both dating to the early twentieth century. The former is a dramatic scene capturing the sun setting over the plains of Mushashi. The deftly painted grass and flowers in front are set against the red sun and the silver background, evoking the beauty of the place long memorialized in classical poetry. The latter, over six feet high, renders the patterns of maple leaves and swirling waves of the stream into an assemblage of abstract designs in an imposing manner.

The gift also includes a lovely painting of Mandarin Ducks by Goto Koho, an artist of the early twentieth century, and an exquisite woodblock print of Irises by Ando Hiroshige (1797 - 1858). The iris, a motif also associated with classical literature, was one of the most popular subjects in later Japanese art (the Fans screen also features a fan painted with irises). Visiting the room devoted to Van Gogh’s single painting of Irises in the recently opened Getty Museum in Los Angeles, one is reminded of the legacy of Japanese art and its role in the artistic exchanges between East and West in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

This group of Japanese works of art enriches the Bayly’s collection of Chinese and Japanese scroll paintings, albums, and woodblock prints, which consists, in large part, of significant gifts from the Weeden Foundation. The paintings will be on view in the Bayly’s newly renovated Asian art gallery in spring 2000.

Professor Wong recently secured two grants to acquire East Asian Art books for the University.  One grant, from the Weedon Foundation, allows for the purchase of $10,000 of materials over a period of two years.  The other grant, for $5,000, comes from the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies in Tokyo.

Pictured below are two of the gifts of Japanese art received by the Bayly Musuem.  Left:  Fans, Edo period (1615-1868), Rimpa Style, possibly 18th century.  Color and gold on paper, two-panel screen, 61 x 36 ½” each.  Anonymous gift 1999.11.3.  Right:  Maple Tree with Creek, Taisho period (1912-26).  Ink and color on paper, two-panel screen, 70 x 35” each.  Anonymous gift, 1999.11.7.  Images courtesy of the Bayly Art Museum, scanning courtesy of the Digital Media Center, UVA.

Fellowship Deadlines of Special Interest to Students of East Asia

September 22   Fulbright US Student Program due in UVA Graduate Arts & Sciences Office.  (Start this application immediately since this is a particularly tedious application!)

September 30  Association of Teachers of Japanese Bridging Project

September 30  Association of Teachers of Japanese Bridging Project Clearinghouse Bridging Scholarship

October 1  Japan Studies Dissertation Workshop (sponsored by the Japan Foundation and the SSRC)

October 1  Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship (US Dept. of Educ.)

October 15  Academy for International and Area Studies Scholar Program

November 1  Japan Foundation Doctoral Fellowship

November 15  US Institute of Peace- Peace Scholar Fellowship

November 15   SSRC International Dissertation Field Research Fellowship Program

December 1  Vietnam Dissertation Field Research Fellowship

December 6  Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

mid-December  Brookings Institution Fellowship (This is the deadline for departmental nomination; actual application is due in mid-February.)

December 15   National Science Foundation Political Science Program (other social science deadlines dates vary)

January 1  Middlebury Summer Language Schools (students who do not require financial aid may apply as late as March 15)

January 15  National Security Education Program (for area studies)

January 15  Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation (Note that this grant must be applied for jointly by the student and his/her faculty advisor.)

February 14  Institute for the Study of World Politics Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships

February 15  Ellen Bayard Weedon Travel Grant (UVA East Asian Center)

March 1  Korean Foundation Fellowship for Korean Studies

March 15  Hopkins-Nanjing Program Scholarship

April 15   Program for Southeast Asian Studies at Arizona State Foreign Language Area Studies

May 1  School of Oriental and African Studies Scholarship

May 31  Korea Foundation Fellowship for Korean Language Training

Late August  Monbusho Research Scholarship (Start early on this labor-intensive application!)

AMELC Sponsors  New Language House

In the Fall of 2000, University students are likely to have a new option for housing:  a language house specifically for students of Asian languages.  The building as currently proposed will have the capacity to house approximately 40 students and four native language assistants.  The project will provide an immersion-style environment for students of Arabic, Chinese Hindi-Urdu, and Japanese who have completed at least one year of instruction in the target language.  The project is sponsored by the Division of Asian and Middle-Eastern Languages and Cultures (AMELC).  Professor Robert Hueckstedt (Sanskrit, Hindi), is heading  the planning committee which also includes AMELC faculty members Waddah Al-Khatib (Arabic), Helen Shen (Chinese), Griff Chaussee (Hindi-Urdu), and Mako Koyama (Japanese).

The language house is to be located near the Spanish language house, La Casa Bolivar.  Renovations have already begun on the building, and are expected to be completed within the year.  AMELC will provide more information both through a planned website and forthcoming publications. Students interested in the possibility of living in the AMELC house should watch for further information.

Pictured below are designers’ renderings of one plan for the renovated exterior and living floors of the house and a picture of the current state of the building. (Drawings courtesy of Mitchell/Matthews.)

Distinguished UVA Alum Returns to Lecture at the East Asia Center

Bates Gill,  Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies and Director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., came to UVA on April 26, 1999 to speak on “The Troubled U.S.-China Relationship. Dr. Gill received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia’s Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs and has published numerous articles on East Asian foreign policy and politics in scholarly journals such as The China Quarterly, Asian Survey, and Jane’s Defence Weekly, to name but a few.

Dr. Gill had recently returned from a trip to Beijing during which he met with several top P.R.C. leaders to discuss U.S.-China relations.  In his lecture, however, Gill focused in particular on ways in which the U.S. government can improve its chances for creating a more stable bilateral relationship with the People’s Republic.  Gill feels that the rhetoric of an “instructive strategic partnership” initiated by Premier Jiang Zemin and President Bill Clinton during their June 1998 summit has been, and will continue to be, insufficient for mitigating the impact of  potential conflict over issues such as human rights, trade imbalances, and nuclear espionage which tend to emerge on a perennial basis.  Gill advocates going beyond the type of engagement policy that the U.S. administration currently touts: engagement should be “a process, not a policy.”  In particular, Gill detailed what he believes to be the two keystones for developing strong and stable ties between China and the United States. First, it is essential that leaders in Beijing and Washington reach a “hard-headed understanding where their strong interests overlap and where they do not. Second, there needs to be a domestic consensus in the U.S. government regarding China policy. Gill believes that without these understandings such issues as the trade deficit or missile build-up in Fujian Province will presage greater tension between the two sides.

Fall 1999 East Asia Course Offerings

ANTH 363/373 Chinese Family and Religion   Shepherd  TR 1230-1345

ARH 382/582 East-West Architecture    Huang  TR 0930-1045
ARH 586 Sacred Architecture of Asia    Huang    R 1530-1815

Art History
ARTH 363 Introduction to Chinese Painting    Wong  MWF 1000-1050
ARTH 567 Text and Image in Chinese Buddhist Art   Wong W 1530-1800
ARTH 761 Research Problems:  Asian    Ehnbom   TBA
ARTH 762 Research Problems:  Chinese Art   Wong   TBA

CHIN 101 Elementary Chinese - (3)    Tseng   MTWRF 1200-1250/1300-1350/14 00-1450
CHIN 106 Accelerated Elementary Chinese  Shen    MTWRF 1300-1350
CHIN 180 Chinese Calligraphy     Roy    W 1530-1730
CHIN 201 Intermediate Chinese –  (2)    Shen    MWF0900-0950,TR1100-1150/MTWRF1000-1050
CHIN 301/501 Readings in Modern Chinese Literature  Roy  TR 1530-1645
CHIN 581 Media Chinese    Roy   TR 1700-1830
CHIN 583 Topics in Chinese Lit.:  Intro. to Read. Classical Chin. Kinney  TR 1100-1215
CHTR 201 Introduction to Chinese Poetry in Translation  Kinney  TR 0930-1045

Government and Foreign Affairs
GFCP 551 Politics of China     Womack  M 1900-2130
GFCP 553 Japanese Politics     Schoppa  MW 1400-1515
GFIR 424 Southeast Asia in World Affairs  Ba  TR 1100-1215
GFIR 571 China in World Affairs   Ba   TR 1530-1645

HIEA 100A Probing Postwar Japan   Allinson  W1530-1800
HIEA 100B Intellectuals, Students, & Change in Mod. China  Reed   W1530-1800
HIEA 203 Modern China:  The Road to Revolution   Israel  MW 1300-1350 + discussion
HIEA 205 Korean Culture and Institutions    Dimberg   MWF 0900-0950
HIEA 207 Japan, From Susanoo to Sony    Allinson  MWF 0900-0950
HIEA 311/701 Imperial China to the Tenth Century   Reed  MWF 1000-1050
HIEA 401, SCT. A "The Vietnam War"    Israel  T 1530-1800
HIEA 403 Traditional Values in Contemporary East Asia  Dimberg  M 1530-1800
HIEA 701 Traditional East Asian History  Dimberg   MWF 0900-0950

JAPN 101 Elementary Japanese   Koyama   TR 1400-1515 + drill
JAPN 201 Intermediate Japanese   Marshall  TR 1100-1215 + drill
JAPN 301/501 Advanced Reading and Conversation I  Marshall  MWF 1300-1350
JAPN 531 A Cultural Understanding of U.S.-Japan Relations  Wilson  TR 1600-1715
JAPN 583 Advanced Reading and Conversation II   Marshall  MW 1400-1515
JAPN 593 Advanced Reading on Society and Culture   Wilson  W 1500-1730
JPTR 382/582 Modern Japanese Women Writers   Wilson   TR 1230-1345

Religious Studies
RELB 210 Introduction to Buddhism    Lang  MW 1100-1150 + discussion
RELB 255 Buddhist Meditation     Hopkins  TH 1230-1320 + discussion
RELB 300 Mysticism and Rhetoric     Germano  TR 1100-1215
RELB 533 Colloquial Tibetan III     Germano  TR 0900-0950
RELB 535 Literary Tibetan III     Germano  TR 1400-1515
RELB 538 Imperial Tibetan Religion    Germano  T 1530-1800
RELB 542 Colloquial Tibetan V     Germano MW 1100-1150
RELB 547 Literary and Spoken Tibetan V    Hopkins  TR 1400-1515
RELB 820 Literary and Spoken Tibetan VII    Hopkins  TR 1400-1515
RELB 823 Advanced Literary and Spoken Tibetan    Hopkins  TBA
RELB 826  Sexuality and Gender in Tibet    Germano  TBA
RELB 827/828 Colloquial Tibetan VII/IX    Germano  MW 1100-1150