April 30

Book review on Japanese television

Micky Lee has published a book review entitled “Television as a site, place, and space”.  It has been published in the International Journal of Communication (the pdf file can be downloaded here).  One of the books reviewed is Scripted Affects, Branded Selves: Television, Subjectivity, and Capitalism in 1990s Japan, written by Gabriella Lukacs, an anthropologist at the University of Pittsburgh.  Here is an excerpt on how the book fills in a void in media studies on Japanese culture:

Japanese popular media and culture is an understudied area. When it is studied, scholars (comprised of academics and journalists) focus on some quintessential Japanese genres, such as anime, manga, and samurai film, rather than media, such as television and magazines. An illustrative case is the “100 books for understanding contemporary Japan” program sponsored by the Nippon Foundation. The 100 books include those on anime (Napier, 2005), manga (Gravett, 2004; Schodt, 1996), and film (Mes & Sharp, 2004; Schilling, 1999); none of them is on television or magazines. Given the proliferation of Japanese popular media, its influence on youth culture in other Asian countries, and its cult following in Western countries, it is puzzling why scholars do not pay much attention to Japanese television and magazines.

April 5

Ron’s interview with Reuters Japan

In March I was interviewed by Reuters Japan on the topic of Post-Fukushima Japan; What Will Be Japan’s Future? I expressed the idea that in the future Japan might become the Switzerland of Asia.  Switzerland is a good place to live, because its society is orderly, efficient, and the standard of living is high.

On the other hand, Switzerland is not known as a dynamic or creative force in world culture, it does not play a determining role on the international stage, and it does not have a powerful military force.

The editors decided to highlight this aspect of the interview.  As the editor recently wrote to me: Your remarks gained close to 100 facebook “likes” in the last few weeks, one of the largest among contributors. And readers are particularly interested in the third point you mentioned (the forecast that Japan would become Switzerland of Asia seems to be coming true, and a sort of Kamakura Japan will take place).

Ron’s interview with Reuters Japan

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April 4

Chinese name pronunciation workshop

On 3rd April, Chris Dakin (Humanities) gave a CTE workshop titled “Is it He or Ho? A simple introduction on how to pronounce difficult names” to a group of interested faculty and administrative staff.

(Hint: He and Ho are both spellings of the Chinese last name 何)

Some of the highlights that I got from the workshop are:
1. There is a limited number of Chinese last names, and most people will have these 30 names.
2. How a Chinese character is spelt depends on where one comes from.  For example, a name like Wong shows that one comes from Southern China, and it can be either the character 王 or 黃.  However, if that person comes from another part of China, the name will be Wang for 王and Huang for 黃.
3. The last name comes first, and then the first name.  The Chinese name “Chan Kong-sang” shows that the last name is Chan, and the first name is Kong-sang.  However, most students observe the American convention and write their first name before the last one, such as “Kong-sang Chan”.
4. Sometimes students collapse the two characters into one: so Chan Kong-sang can also be written as Kongsang.  Sometimes they will write KongSang to denote there are two characters.
5. Some Chinese last names have two characters: Sima (司马, 司馬), Zhuge (诸葛, 諸葛), Ouyang/Auyeung (欧阳, 歐陽).  However, those last names are rare.
6. It is usual for a Chinese to have a two-character first name.  For example, in my case, my Chinese name is Pui Yin (沛然).  So Pui is not the first name, and Yin is not the middle name.  There is no middle name for Chinese.
7. It is also rather odd to call Chinese students by their Chinese first names because the first names are reserved for people who are close, such as parents, spouses, and very close friends.
8. It is not too formal to address a Chinese by his/her full name.  In terms of formality, Micky Lee is the most formal, then Lee Pui Yin (李沛然) then Micky, and I’d rather not want colleagues to call me Pui Yin (沛然).
9. For students from Hong Kong, it is very usual for them to have an English name.  It is not a name that we adopt when we come to the US, we have had this name since we were born or since we were in kindergarten.
10. A good thing to remember though is that we can always ask students how they like to be called.  (An example given in the workshop is that a student wants to be called Piggy).
11. Chinese women do not change their names after married.  So a married woman with the maiden name Lee is called Ms. Lee.  If her husband is a Chen, then she can also be called Mrs. Chen.  Very rarely, they will add their husband’s last name in front of theirs, such as Chen Lee Pui Yin.

Useful links to online resources for the minds that want to be challenged:
Online resource for pronouncing Mandarin Chinese:
1. http://mandarin.about.com/od/pronunciation/a/How-To-Pronounce-Mandarin-Chinese.htm
– this is a good basic starting point for a quick listen to the initials and finals.
– put this in your favorites tab for quick reference.

Resources on Chinese names:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_name
– this is a good overview of the background and history of names in Chinese culture. It also has a decent explanation of pseudonyms and other interesting facts that might help in figuring out names.
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_common_Chinese_surnames
– This is a very concise and usable resource. Keep this handy.
3. http://www.monash.edu.au/lls/China/teaching/names.xml
– Monash University in Australia has some good resources for many topics related to Asian studies. The following link is specifically related to names.

Here are some studious learners:

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April 4

Prof. Cosgrove in Taiwan

Our colleague Kenneth Cosgrove of the Government Department was in Taiwan teaching at Tamkang University which has a partnership agreement with Suffolk.  Here is his news:

I was teaching an intensive class on political marketing at the graduate level at Tamkang University in Taipei, Taiwan. I arrived there on the 1st of March and was in Taiwan until the 18th. The students had to do research, write papers, take a test and make oral presentations. Topics included branding, segmentation, market research, targeting, narrowcasting and an overall examination of the impact of consumerism on democratic values.

I was excited to come to Tamkang and Taipei given my prior travels in the PRC. It is very useful to see how these two places resemble and differ from each other. I learned a great deal about Taiwan during my short stay and hope to return in the future.
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April 4

Prof. Yang’s lecture

On March 27, Yang Liu, visiting professor from Northwestern University in China, gave a lecture on Lishan Laomu, a popular Daoist goddess. In addition to Suffolk students, there were some interested faculty and friends in the audience. After the lecture, Prof. Yang answered a number of questions.

Professor Janet Scott introducing Prof. Yang Liu

Prof. Yang speaking about Lishan Laomu

Prof. C. Gopinath of Sawyer School of Business asking questions

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