Brewed in Japan
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May 7, 2015
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Bridging the Pacific

2013 Events Archive

Wednesday — November 20, 2013 — 5:00 PM
USF Main Campus, Fromm Hall, Xavier Room

Shadow Woman: The Extraordinary Career of Pauline Benton
A talk by Grant Hayter-Menzies, Author

Princess PingyangIn 1920s Beijing, Kansas-born Pauline Benton (1898-1974) discovered shadow theatre piyingxi), a performance art where translucent painted puppets are manipulated by highly trained masters to cast colored shadows against an illuminated screen. Mastering the male-dominated art form in China, Benton believed she could save this thousand-year-old forerunner of motion pictures by taking it to America. Enchanting audiences eager for the exotic during the Great Depression, Pauline’s touring company was lauded by theatre and art critics alike and even played the White House. Grant Hayter-Menzies traces Benton’s performance history and her efforts to preserve shadow theatre as a global cultural treasure by drawing on her unpublished writings, the recollections of her colleagues, the testimonies of shadow masters who survived China’s Cultural Revolution, as well as young innovators who have carried on Benton’s pioneering work.

Wednesday — October 23, 2013 — 5:00 PM
USF Main Campus, Cowell Hall Room 106

Power and Authority on Display: Court Paintings of Late Joseon Korea
A talk by Chin-Sung Chang, Professor, Seoul National University

Korea JoseonThe late Joseon period witnessed the large production of court paintings. Within the palace, many paintings were utilized primarily to meet the symbolic and ritual needs of the king and his family in official and private life. Painters at the Bureau of Painting created numerous paintings documenting all court rituals and ceremonies and important government projects. Confucian ceremonies, palace banquets, royal processions, and the king’s and queen’s birthday celebrations are vividly portrayed in court paintings that provide magnificent pictorial records of pomp and pageantry. The folding screens on monumental scale and in exquisite detail show the lavish grandeur of court life. Court painters also produced various screens such as the “Sun, Moon, and Five Peaks”. This talk will explore how court paintings were made and used and how they served to glorify the Joseon king’s rulership.

Tuesday — October 1, 2013 — 5:00 PM
USF Main Campus, Fromm Hall, Berman Room

Eating Bitterness: Stories from the Front Lines of China’s Great Urban Migration
A talk by award-winning journalist Michelle Dammon Loyalka

Eating BitternessEvery year well over 200 million farmers flock to China’s urban centers, providing a profusion of cheap labor that helps fuel the country’s staggering economic growth. In Eating Bitterness: Stories from the Front Lines of China’s Great Urban Migration, award-winning journalist Michelle Dammon Loyalka follows the trials and triumphs of eight such migrants. At the heart of the book lies each person’s ability to “eat bitterness”—a term that roughly means to endure hardships, overcome difficulties, and forge ahead. The stories told in Eating Bitterness not only offer an inside look at the pain, self-sacrifice, and tenacity underlying China’s dramatic national transformation, but also demonstrate how the issues migrants face constitute one of China’s most pressing domestic challenges.


Tuesday — September 10, 2013 — 5:00 PM
USF Main Campus, Fromm Hall Berman Room

Japan’s “Professional” Housewives: Postwar Ideal and Present Strains
A talk by Steven Vogel, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and Chair, Center for Japanese Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Japan FamilyThe role of the “professional” housewife (sengyou shufu) constrained Japanese women, and yet it empowered them as well. The professional housewife ideal locked women into specified roles regardless of their preferences or abilities. But Japan’s postwar professional housewives were also the true masters of their home and family; they garnered confidence and security from having a clear role and mission; and they were exceptional mothers to generations of Japanese. Professor Vogel will review the life stories of three ordinary yet extraordinary housewives, and discuss changes in Japanese family life and mental health fro the 1950s through the present.

Thursday — September 5, 2013 — 5:00 PM
USF Main Campus, Fromm Hall, Xavier Room

Monkey Business ~ New Writing from Japan
Writers Masatsuga Ono, Yoko Hayasuke, joined by editors Roland Kelts, Ted Goossen, and Motoyuki Shibata

Monkey BusinessTwo Japanese writers visit the Bay Area to discuss their writing, Japanese culture, and what it feels like to live in post-tsunami Japan. They will be joined by Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica, Ted Goossen and Motoyuki Shibata, the editors of Monkey Business, the only English-language journal focused on Japanese literature, manga, and poetry. There will be readings, discussions, and a Q & A session.

Tuesday — September 3, 2013 — 5:00 PM
USF Main Campus, McLaren Center Room 250

Film as Soft Power and Hard Currency: The Sino-Hollywood Courtship
A talk by Ying Zhu, Chair, Department of Media Culture, College of Staten Island-CUNY

Sino Hollywood picThe story of Sino-Hollywood courtship is one of competing cultural and capital values and development models, as well as nationalism and exceptionalism, both American and Chinese. The ups and downs of this courtship is an intrigue of blockbuster scale—a scandal-ridden roller-coaster ride that promises endless entertainment, much like Hollywood itself. Ying Zhu will discuss the complex commercial logic and cultural dynamics that make the Sino-Hollywood courtship a case study of political, cultural, and economic clash and co-optation on a global scale.


Thursday — August 29, 2013 — 5:00 PM
USF Lone Mountain Campus, Room 100

Inside “In the Moment”: a curator’s view of the Larry Ellison Collection
A talk by Laura Allen, Ph.D., Curator of Japanese Art, Asian Art Museum

Dr. Allen, curator of the exhibition, offers an insider’s look at “In the Moment: Japanese Art from the Larry Ellison Collection,” on view at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco from June 28 through September 22. Spanning over 1,100 years of Japanese history, the Ellison Collection includes 64 objects in an array of media: religious sculpture, hanging scrolls and folding screens, lacquer, armor and metalwork. These objects are used in Ellison’s Japanese-style home on a rotating basis, inspiring the exhibition’s major theme: how awareness of change shapes the display of art in traditional Japanese settings.

Tuesday — August 27, 2013 — 5:00 PM
USF Main Campus, Fromm Hall, Maraschi Room

Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe: How an American Acrobat Introduced Circus to Japan—and Japan to the West
A talk by Frederick L. Schodt, Author

RisleyOn New Year’s Eve, 1866, Professor Risley arrived in San Francisco from Yokohama, Japan. He was accompanied by the Imperial Japanese Troupe of acrobats and performers, who under his direction would amaze not only the residents of San Francisco, but also huge audiences on the East Coast and in Europe.

Risley was a famous acrobat in his own right, and the story of how he introduced circus to Japan, and how he triggered a craze in Japanese performers in the West, is part of a fasci¬nating lost-but-recently-uncovered history. In a presentation heavily illustrated with photographs and drawings, award-winning author Frederik L. Schodt will reveal the story of Risley and his troupe, who gave the world one of its first glimpses of Japanese popular culture.

Frederik L. Schodt is a translator, interpreter, and award-winning author of numerous books. He specializes in currents of thought flowing between Japan and the United States, and especially popular culture and history. In 2009 the emperor of Japan awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his work.


Thursday & Friday - April 18-29, 2013 
USF Main Campus, McLaren Center Room 252 
Enter from Golden Gate, Fulton or Parker

The Imperial Court in China, Japan, and Korea: Women, Servants, and the Emperor's Household (1600 to early 1900s)
For complete schedule and details, visit the symposium website.

courtjapanThis symposium will provide a forum for the examination and comparison of the imperial courts and court life in China, Japan, and Korea through the lens of women, servants, and those who managed the households of the Emperor and Empress from the 1600s through early 1900s.  Themes to be discussed include but are not limited to: women, servants, and household managers with a particular focus on aspects of court life, relations of power, issues of gender, cultural identity, art, medicine, and theatre. 

Thursday - April 18, 2013 - 5:15 PM 
USF Main Campus, McLaren Center Room 252 
Enter from Golden Gate, Fulton or Parker

Domestic Diplomacy: the Empress Dowager Cixi, Sarah Pike Conger, and the Chinese Butler Who Brought Them Together
A talk by Grant Hayter-MenziesAuthor, The Empress and Mrs Conger: The Uncommon Friendship of Two Women and Two Worlds

congerMiddle-aged Iowan Sarah Conger came to China in 1898 as the wife of the American ambassador, knowing nothing of China's people or its culture, its temples or its halls of power. Yet in 1902, a survivor of the Boxer Uprising in Beijing, she joined hands in friendship with the former concubine and legendary tyrant Empress Dowager Cixi, blamed for the Uprising and still considered, as then, one of China's worst rulers.

When Sarah left for America three years later, she did so as one of China's and Cixi's most sympathetic defenders, bringing to its women and to the Empress Dowager forbidden foreign aspirations toward education, autonomy and international sisterhood. Together, Sarah and Cixi formed a bridge between cultures in the face of criticism, warfare, and the fractious politics of the men who tried to control them. Yet they may never have reached out to one another at all but for a humble man named Wang, the sensitive and loyal Chinese butler at the American Legation, and a teenaged Manchu girl named Der Ling, Paris-educated translator at the court of the Empress Dowager.

In his keynote address, "Domestic Diplomacy" given as part of the "Imperial Court  in China, Japan, and Korea" symposium on April 18 and 19, Grant Hayter-Menzies, biographer of Sarah Conger and Princess Der Ling, will speak not just about the controversial relationship of the Empress Dowager and Mrs. Conger but about how a butler and a lady-in-waiting were uniquely qualified to prepare each woman for a friendship that would shock both Chinese and Americans of the day but which bears in our era the hallmark of modern diplomacy.

Tuesday - March 26, 2013 - 5:45 PM 
USF Main Campus, McLaren Center Room 250 
Enter from Golden Gate, Fulton or Parker

China's Terracotta Warriors:  The First Emperor's Legacy
At talk by Michael Knight, Ph.D., Senior Curator of Chinese Art, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

terraThe Center is pleased to host Michael Knight, Senior Curator of Chinese Art at the Asian Art Museum, for an illustrated talk on the museum's current exhibit, "China's Terracotta Warriors:  The First Emperor's Legacy (Feb. 22 - May 27, 2013). Along with more than 100 rare artifacts unearthed from the tomb of China's First Emperor, the Asian Art Museum presents some of the finest generals, archers, and infantrymen from the life-sized terracotta army.  The exhibition paints the backdrop for the warriors' creation:  the First Emperor's rise to power, his quest for immortality, and his complex legacy.  Dr. Knight will present us with a survey of the objects in the exhibition and discuss some of the themes that are explored.

Tuesday - March 5, 2013 - 5:45 PM 
USF Main Campus, Fromm Hall, Berman Room
Enter from Parker Street between Golden Gate & Fulton

A Hundred Flowers: Reading and Book Signing with Bay Area Author Gail Tsukiyama

gailIn her new novel, A Hundred Flowers (2012), local author Gail Tsukiyama presents her readers with an ordinary family facing extraordinary times during the early years of the Cultural Revolution in China. Join us for a book reading and signing where she will speak about the new book, her writing process and provide details about the how and why the book came to be.  Her prior novels include Women of the Silk (1991), The Samurai's Garden (1995), Night of Many Dreams (1998), The Language of Threads (1999), Dreaming Water (2002), and Street of a Thousand Blossoms (2007).  She is the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Award and the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award.

Wednesday - February 20, 2013 - 5:45 PM 
USF Lone Mountain Campus, Room 100 
Enter from Turk Street between Chabot and Parker

levineBohemian Buddha: A Colossal Buddha in the Bay Area, 1892
A talk by Dr. Gregory Levine, Associate Professor, Art and Architecture of Japan, and Buddhist Visual Cultures, University of California, Berkeley

In 1892, the San Francisco Bohemian Club held its Midsummer Encampment in what is now Muir Woods. The Club's revels included a "Pageant of the Myriad Leaves" held before a colossal Buddha statue. Gregory Levine will reflect on the statue in relation to white American perceptions of Asia and Buddhism and anti-Chinese xenophobia in late nineteenth-century California.

Tuesday - February 12, 2013 - 5:45 PM 
USF Main Campus, Fromm Hall 
Enter from Parker Street between Golden Gate & Fulton

melodyCelebrating Chinese New Year: A Musical Performance by "Melody of China"

Join us as we celebrate the year of the snake with a musical performance by "Melody of China." Melody of China is a San Francisco based Chinese music ensemble that performs both traditional and contemporary music as well as new commissioned works. Cosponsored by the USF Asian Studies Program, the USF Chinese Studies Program, and the Chinese Historical Society of America.

WATCH THE VIDEO of this event.


Thursday - January 31, 2013 - 5:45 PM 
USF Main Campus, Fromm Hall 
Enter from Parker Street between Golden Gate & Fulton

citiesIn the Shadow of the World Class City
A talk by Dr. Tony Samara, Associate Professor of Sociology, George Mason University

The rapid growth of Shanghai and New Delhi over the past twenty years highlights the promise and peril of urbanization for Asia. Both cities face rising inequality and deepening social conflict, fueled by market-driven development and narrow visions of modernization. Dr. Samara presents a comparative examination of these two mega-cities, revealing important challenges to building sustainable and just cities in Asia and beyond.

WATCH THE VIDEO of this event.