TOM PLATE WRITES — Frustrations come with any occupation, and writing columns about Asia and America, as I have without stop for 25 years, is no exception. Asia is powerful and dynamic, and one size does not fit all. But, for me, no one subject has proven more elusive and…Full Article NORTH-SOUTH DIVIDE: ONLY KOREANS THEMSELVES CAN FIND A WAY OUT OF THE IMPASSE
ALEC FARMER WRITES — Home does not denote a solely physical space. It represents memories, both good and bad. Experiences with family, friends, and passing acquaintances are associated with the place these events occurred in. For this reason, locations are special to someone because of their shared history. This duality between…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: DRAGONFLY EYES (2021) – THE CONNECTIONS OF FAMILY AND SPACE
ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – Consider, for a moment, that food is not simply fuel, but rather each component to a meal contains a piece of living-giving energy. “Each grain [of rice]”, as author and translator Winifred Bird describes, “was thought to have a soul, and for many centuries people believed…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: EATING WILD JAPAN: TRACKING THE CULTURE OF FORAGED FOODS WITH A GUIDE TO PLANTS AND RECIPES (2021) BY WINIFRED BIRD
TOM PLATE WRITES — According to newspaper reports, on arrival in Washington Mr Qin Gang’s public tone seemed sort of chipper; and further, in the wake of his initial greet-and-meet with US officials, there surfaced simmering new communications between the US and China. Given the alarm with which many westerners…Full Article SINO-US RELATIONS: IS THE EUPHORIA OVER CHINA’S NEW WASHINGTON AMBASSADOR JUSTIFIED AMID THE DREARY DIPLOMATIC REALITIES?
ANDREA PLATE WRITES — Forget about Naomi Osaka, for a moment. For all the whining-and-dining out by the press on the tennis superstar’s mental health struggles, and her difficulty facing their not-so-friendly post-game fire, she is, after all, just one international superstar. One. Forget, too, about Britney Spears, if you…Full Article JAPAN, KOREA, AMERICA: CAN YOUNG SUPERSTARS THE WORLD OVER EVER BE HAPPY?
BRIANNA HIRAMI WRITES — Choi Jin-Young’s To The Warm Horizon (2021) captivates its readers by revealing the dark and difficult truth surrounding human nature. However, we come to understand that there is often love and glimpses of hope throughout periods of complete chaos. This page-turning novel starts off by briskly and…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: TO THE WARM HORIZON BY CHOI JIN-YOUNG
ALEC FARMER WRITES — What are the similarities between a revolution and love? In Yan Lianke’s Hard Like Water (2021), Gao Aijun sees these two disparate concepts as one and the same. Aijun is, on the one hand, deeply committed to the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the words of Mao…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: HARD LIKE WATER (2021) – THE CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE AND REVOLUTION
ELLA KELLEHER WRITES — Beijing’s Bell and Drum Towers stand one in front of the other, the Drum Tower in front with red walls and grey tiles and the Bell Tower behind with gray walls and green tiles. These two obelisks have watched over the bustling city for centuries like…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: THE WEDDING PARTY (2021) BY LIU XINWU
TOM PLATE WRITES — The agony in Afghanistan makes for many sorrows. Beyond the scenes of chaos at Kabul airport is the unseen anguish of all those US veterans back home who are dealing with various psychological and physical traumas and are now especially unproud of their country; of families…Full Article AFGHANISTAN AND BEYOND: CHINA MUST LEARN FROM US HUBRIS AND BLUNDERS
BRIANNA HIRAMI WRITES — Cho Nam-Joo’s eye opening novel, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982, displays how South Korea’s demoralizing rules and societal norms negatively affect the lives of Korean women. This straightforward novel wastes no time by jumping right into Kim Jiyoung’s, the protagonist’s, story about how sexism casually dictates the lives…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: KIM JIYOUNG, BORN 1982 (2021) BY CHO NAM-JOO
ALEC FARMER WRITES – Monkey King: Journey to the West (2021) is a translation of one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese Literature. The book has its origin in China’s Ming dynasty from author Wu Cheng’en, and since its inception, the story of Sun Wukong, Tang Sanzang, and…Full Article MONKEY KING: JOURNEY TO THE WEST (2021) – TRANSLATING A CHINESE CLASSIC FOR A CONTEMPORARY AUDIENCE
ELLA KELLEHER WRITES (latest in her review series of new Japanese novels) — Loneliness, a newly standardized leitmotif in Japanese literature, is the driving force behind much of modern Japan’s social dilemmas and Natsuko Imamura’s unnerving novel. Beyond that, the fear over taking risks and forging new relationships frames the narrative…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: THE WOMAN IN THE PURPLE SKIRT (2021) BY NATSUKO IMAMURA
TOM PLATE WRITES — In its quixotic quest for certainty about China – mortal threat or mere robust competitor? – the American consensus now claims to have taken the measure of China and is not in doubt. It would be better if it were. A fictive western mind may be creating…Full Article CHINA: BUT HOW CERTAIN CAN WE BE?
CLAIRE GUTE WRITES — When people think of pirates, they often imagine long ago pirates such as Britain’s West Indies’ Blackbeard, or fictional pirates like Jack Sparrow from the Disney amusement park ride, Pirates of the Caribbean. But the issue of piracy plagues many of the world’s oceans, and the…Full Article SOUTH CHINA SEA: WHERE PIRACY IMPEDES SMOOTH SAILING
TOM PLATE WRITES — Maybe the United Nations – fumbling, hopelessly bureaucratic, partly-corrupt – is in fact beyond redemption. Just forget about it: Let it career down the slippery slope of mediocrity and geopolitical irrelevance and splash ignominiously into New York’s East River — like some waterside condo with a…Full Article UNITED NATIONS: PERHAPS CHINA, NOT THE U.S., CAN SAVE THE WANING ORGANIZATION
AIDAN SMITH-FAGAN WRITES — Japan’s Defense and Deputy Prime Ministers have both recently affirmed their government’s willingness to defend Taiwan in the event of an invasion from the Chinese mainland. Those statements also coincided with a recent report from the Financial Times detailing joint US-Japanese military exercises in the hotly…Full Article DIRE STRAITS: JAPAN, THE U.S. AND THE FUTURE OF TAIWAN