Saturday, March 31, 2007

Assocation for Asian American Studies in NYC

In New York City at the Park Avenue Grand Hyatt, April 4-8, 2007, the AAAS annual meeting will attract Asian Americanists from all disciplines and different regions of the country. The annual meeting will highlight current scholarly research and developments within the field and bring together experts and professionals with an interest in the field. The theme of the 2007 AAAS Conference is “Crosstown Connections: Asian American Urbanism and Interracial Encounters”.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ramayana Across Asia at UM

The Ramayana, or Rama’s Journey, is a foundational epic tale in many South and Southeast Asian cultures. Over two thousand years old, the story spread along trade routes throughout the South Asian subcontinent and on to Southeast Asian empires, where it was carved into the reliefs of temple complexes such as Angkor Wat. But the story is not a relic; it remains vibrant and widely known across Asia today. This series explores and presents the Ramayana from diverse cultural and performance traditions in India, Thailand and Indonesia. Includes performances (gamelan concert, classical and contemporary dance, contemporary theatre, more), lectures, and demonstrations. All events are free and open to the public. For tickets and/or more information, please email or call 734.764.0352. Check out the University of Michigan Center for Southeast Asian Studies for schedule, March 28 to April 14, 2007, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Follow up on Coalition 121 "Comfort Women" Resolution Action

This is from one of the organizers:

Based on preliminary analyses by the organizers, Coalition 121's lobby day, a number of U.S. legislators appear to be favorably viewing Congressman Mike Honda's resolution calling on Japan to recognize and apologize to former WWII "Comfort Women". During the Coalition's lobbying day on March 23, activists and volunteers visited some 130 offices on Capitol Hill to urge legislators to support the resolution by signing or cosponsoring it.

The Coalition reports that four representatives -- James McGovern, Jesse Jackson, Linda Sanchez, and Bobby Rush -- have already confirmed their cosponsorships of the resolution.


Also, in an only somewhat related item, we've posted a new Secret Asian Man strip, "The Abe Interview," by cartoon satirist Tak Toyshima, a fresh take on the issue for this year's Women's History Month.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bright Sheng’s Threnody for Pipa and Orchestra, "Nanking! Nanking!"

The University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies presents as part of the Arts on Earth Initiative and China Theme Year:

Bright Sheng’s Threnody for Pipa and Orchestra, NANKING! NANKING!
Panel Discussion with Video and Film Viewing
Friday, March 30, 2007, 4:00pm
Schorling Auditorium, School of Education (SEB)
610 E. University, Ann Arbor, Michigan

U-M MacArthur awarding-winning composer and music director Bright Sheng’s symphony Nanking! Nanking! was created in memory of Chinese victims of the 1937 massacre during the Sino-Japanese War. The composer tells the story “through the ‘eyes’ of one person (the pipa) who is not only a victim, but a witness and survivor… it is also a story of humanity’s spirit…” Why have issues of Japanese war nationalism and denial surfaced in this 70th anniversary of the Nanking Massacre in Japan, China, and the United States at a time when these nations reflect on issues of war and war memory? The NM is one of the most explosive metaphors for the still contested Pacific War, and the nationalist ambitions that drive that war and contemporary wars.

Historian Mark Selden of Cornell University will begin the session with an overview of the Nanjing Massacre (40 min), followed by a DVD viewing of Bright Sheng’s Nanking! Nanking! score played by the U-M Symphony Orchestra (18 min), and a panel discussion with Bright Sheng, Mark Selden, music critic Sheila Melvin, and Stanford University conductor Cai Jindong. Nicholas Howson, U-M School of Law, will moderate the panel (50 min). The History Channel’s “Rape of Nanking” documentary film will conclude the program--please note that the video contains graphic film footage of the conflict in Nanking.

A related lecture by Mark Selden is scheduled for Thursday, March 29, entitled “Bombing and the American Way of War: From the Pacific War to Iraq” at 1014 Tisch Hall at 4:00.

Bright Sheng, Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor of Composition, University of Michigan
Cai Jindong, Director of Orchestral Studies, Stanford University
Sheila Melvin, music journalist and a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times
Mark Selden, Research Associate, East Asia Program, Cornell University
Moderator: Nicholas C. Howson, University of Michigan School of Law

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Statement by 121 Coalition Supporting H.Res. 121

Call to Action from 121 Coalition

About H.Res. 121

Japan's Imperial Army enslaved 200,000 girls and women of Asia during WWII and exploited them as "comfort women."

But there was no comfort and many were not yet sixteen.

These girls and women were victims of gang rape and brutal torture organized by the Japanese military that resulted in death, dehumanization and disease.

It's terrible enough that this atrocity was committed, but the suffering continues because despite testimonies from survivors and official documentation, Japan has not fully acknowledged responsibility for the crime. Their past attempts at apologies were equivocal and vague. And the truth is not taught in schools.

In fact, Prime Minister Abe and the Japanese government are now denying that the government played any role in raping of these women. Now they want to maintain that these girls were well-paid prostitutes at brothels. These women have evidence on their bodies: the knife wounds, broken bones, the diseases, removed uteruses. This is a moral outrage and a threat to global peace.

H.Res. 121, proposed by Congressman Mike Honda, calls upon the Japanese government to make an unequivocal and official apology for committing this war crime. Support H.Res. 121 and stand on the side of human rights, women's rights, global peace, truth and reconciliation.

For a list of organizations in our coalition, to join, or to learn about events and actions, go to:

Take action now!


For more info:
House Resolution 121 :
Mike Honda's statement at the Feb. 15th hearing:
Mindly Kotler's testimony:
Dr. Ok Cha Soh's testimony:
Testimony of comfort woman, Lee Yong-Soo:
Testimony of comfort woman, Kim Koon-Ja:
Testimony by comfort woman, Jan Ruff O'Herne:
Dai Sil Kim-Gibson: Silence Broken film and book
Japanese War Crimes:
Comfort Women News Archive:

Also: On "Comfort Women" by Secret Asian Man

While we're at it -- looking at Mike Honda's Resolution and the Japanese PM's response, that is:

We dug this out of the archives from a previous Asian-American Village Women's History Month edition. By the wildly popular, ever-controversial Secret Asian Man creator Tak Toyoshima, the strip tackled a similar theme a couple of years back -- this one in reference to the positioning of "voluntary comfort women" in Japanese school textbooks. We called the strip, "Why Japan Needs a Women's History Month".

Yul Kwon weighs in on Comfort Women

Reality TV star Yul Kwon has joined in the movement in support of CA Rep. Mike Honda's call for Japan to accept responsibility for the wartime treatment of "comfort women".

Kwon, who won the competition on last season's Survivor: Cook Islands, is featured in a new video by filmmaker and frequent Asian-American Village contributor Eric Byler now circulating on YouTube, Yul Kwon Supports Resolution Calling on Japan to Apologize.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe remains dug-in in his insistence that there was no forced recruitment of Asian sex slaves by the Japanese military during World War II. The growing clamor on this side of the Pacific, as well as by members of the opposition, is certainly embarrassing to the PM.

Check out the Yul Kwon video

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Chinese politician wins in N. Ireland

A fitting story following up on International Women's Day, and for our Women's History Month edition, moving toward St. Patty's Day -- this reported by By SHAWN POGATCHNIK of the Associated Press:

Chinese politician wins in N. Ireland

Anna Lo being called the first Chinese elected lawmaker in Europe

"Lo, a Hong Kong native who has lived in Northern Ireland for 32 years, on
Friday became the first ethnic minority to be elected to political office in
this almost exclusively white British territory. Chinese media reports also
described her as the first Chinese person to be elected as a lawmaker anywhere
in Europe."

and this...

"Lo, the 56-year-old chief executive of the Chinese Welfare Association in
Belfast, said many of the approximately 10,000 Cantonese-speaking residents of
Northern Ireland have lived here for more than three decades — and had never
voted before her candidacy."

Friday, March 09, 2007

Featured Job with JACL - Japanese American Citizens League

It's come to our attention that our friends at JACL posted a job in our job bank looking for someone to direct Development activities in their San Francisco headquarters. The position was posted on Jan 13, and will expire soon. But if you or someone you know might be interested in working with JACL in its civil rights mission, please check it out and make a copy of the posting right away. So far, JACL has not removed the posting to indicate that the search is closed, but check with them directly.

Membership/Fund Development Director
Japanese American Citizens League - San Francisco, CA

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A/PIA High School Conference at University of Michigan

Each year, the University of Michigan United Asian American Organizations (UAAO) is proud to present the Asian Pacific Islander American (A/PIA) High School Conference, a daylong event of learning, empowerment, and action. Historically, over 200 high school students come from different Detroit and metro-Detroit area high schools to participate in the conference, which features A/PIA-issue workshops, small group sessions, special guest speakers, and performances. The planning and execution of the conference is a collaborative effort from University of Michigan undergraduate students, faculty and staff, graduate/medical/law students, and members of the A/PIA community. Through careful budgeting and planning, this conference is offered completely free to the high school students.

This year's conference, to be held on March 24, 2007 at the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, will journey through the Asian/Pacific Islander Americans' identities by exploring issues in a multicultural world. "Completing the Puzzle" addresses our cross-cultural identities through workshops that tackle issues of representation in the media, pop culture, history, gender and sexuality, and much more.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Japanese Pop Culture Experts on BBC

On Friday, March 9, 2007, you can hear Frances Kai-Hwa Wang’s daughters, Margot and Hao Hao, interviewed on “The World,” a BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) radio program. The BBC was interviewing Roland Kelts, the hapa author of JapanAmerica—How Japanese Pop Culture has Invaded the US, and some other Japanese pop culture experts at a bookstore in Boston, and there were the girls, sitting on the floor, reading a stack of manga as tall as they were. The BBC asked them what they liked about manga. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know what they said. I’ll be listening too.

Annual Asian American Village Women's History Month

The Editors have begun our annual updates to both our Women's History Month archive section and our longstanding annual feature, the Villager-nominated Asian Pacific American Women's Wall of Fame.

As always, the archive will be updated throughout the month with features, news and miscellany on the theme. A few items of interest posted recently or upcoming:

  • Update: PepsiCo Elects CEO Indra K. Nooyi as Chairman - after hitting the #1 spot on Fortune's list of the powerful women in business, Nooyi's rapid rise continues past President, then CEO, then CEO and Chair of the mega-company, Pepsico announced in February.

  • Series: New Essays by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang focus on beauty standards, self-image and aging in her customary, deeply personal and unique voice. We'll be posting a new essay by Wang every week, starting with her piece, APA Grrrlfriends, which finds the author searching for love and women's friendships in an APA Sex and the City

  • News: We'll also be keeping an eye on developments surrounding the outrage over the Japanese Prime Minister's comments about WWII "comorfot women" aka sex slaves, and growing efforts worldwide to bring justice for the surviving victims.
Additionally, we're looking for and will give a shout to events and organizations of note. Just for a couple of examples:

NEW YORK (2 dates)
Friday, March 30, 2007 (Opening Night):
7:00 PM – The
Vagina Monologues (in English & Tagalog)

Saturday, April 14,
2:30 PM – The Vagina Monologues (English)
7:00 PM – Usaping Puki
(in Tagalog, no subtitles)

Saturday., March 24,
2:30 PM – The Vagina Monologues (English)
7:30 PM – Usaping Puki
(in Tagalog, no subtitles)

More to come. Meanwhile, stop by during Women's History Month and drop us your nominations t0 the Wall of Fame.

-- Eds