Border-Crossing in the East Asian Cultural Sphere

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This one-day interdisciplinary symposium explores how the language systems and art forms of East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, among others) reflect multiple and intertwined paths of cultural flow. Invited specialists from a range of humanities fields will present on how ideas and inspirations from East Asia traveled across and beyond spatial, linguistic, and national borders to flourish in new dynamic forms of multiculturalism.


9:00am-9:50am          Registration and breakfast

9:50am-10:00am        Opening remarks

10:00am-12:00pm      Panel 1: East Asia, Shared Linguistic Space


Professors Miok Pak, Takae Tsujioka, and Hang Zhang will discuss similarities and differences between Korean, Japanese, and Chinese.


Professor Hongyuan Dong's talk is on the origins of the modern languages in East Asia, in which he will discuss similar obstacles that these three East Asian languages faced during the transition to modernity through interpretation of archival materials related to language reforms.


Professor John Whitman discusses the use of 訓讀 (C. xundu, J. kundoku, K. hundok) or vernacular reading of Chinese texts, which until recently was believed to be a practice limited to Japan, as a cultural linchpin in East Asia.


Comments by Professor Young-Key Kim-Renaud and public discussion

12:00pm-1:00pm       Catered lunch

1:00pm-2:45pm         Panel 2: Cross-Cultural Literary Exchanges in the Early Modern to Modern Eras


Professor Jonathan Chaves will examine the ways in which selected Japanese poets of the Edo period used Chinese-language poetry (kanshi) to express uniquely Japanese scenes and experiences.


Professor John Phan will investigate the development of "Chữ Nôm" vernacular poetry (Vietnamese vernacular poetry written in a sinographic character system called Chữ Nôm, which was replaced by the alphabet in the 1920s), which occurred over the 18th and 19th centuries. 


Professor Satoru Hashimoto will examine transwar works by writers from Taiwan, Korea, and Japan and consider the temporalities of their narratives where they reflected upon the wartime and projected the postwar futures, thereby exploring conceptual possibilities of examining these works from a transregional comparative perspective.


Comments by Professor Anri Yasuda and public discussion

2:45pm-3:00pm         Break

3:00pm-4:45pm         Panel 3: Transnational Currents: Films, Television and Theatre


Professor Liang Luo will examine Chaoxian fengyun (The Story of Korea), which is a spoken drama (huaju) written by 20th-century Chinese playwright Tian Han (1898-1968). The presentation will show how understanding the difference between self and cultural others was achieved by way of negotiating the cultural other’s myth and history through theatre.


Professor Yu Min Claire Chen will examine some popular TV dramas from China, Japan and Korea that are usually adapted from popular novels or have rewritten historical events for use as their basis. Whether it is to question the possibility of rewriting national or personal history, to examine identity in parallel universes, to trace the beginning and ending of the butterfly effect, or to find true love across time, these dramas distinguish themselves from other popular dramas because of the philosophical questions related to temporality and existence that they delve into.


Professor Ping Fu will discuss the influence of Japanese Cinema and TV drama on Chinese film production in the 1980’s and examine how the Japanese cinematic heroism reformulated the Chinese cinematic aesthetics and narratives of the period.


Comments by Professor Yu Zhang and public discussion