Honors Projects for Asian Studies

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    Image and Identity: Japan’s Adoption of Little Black Sambo and Hip-Hop
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2015-08) Fagan, Joanna ; Satsuma, Gay ; Asian Studies
    American Post-Emancipation and Reconstruction Era imagery constructs of African Americans in print and media assumed stereotypical inferences that facilitated racist identity classifications of Blacks. From the 19th century, Japan’s racial identity within the global context was transformed by Western influence. The 1899 children’s book by Helen Bannerman, Little Black Sambo, was introduced and reprinted into the stereotypical depictions, marking one of many racist African American image constructs to cross to Japan. In Japan, this stereotypical image rendering has been perpetuated for 60 years, amidst protests and changes in U.S. depictions of the book. Little Black Sambo and Japanese reprint, Chibikuro Sanbo (1953), has seen a revival in Japanese culture in recent years. Comparatively, the transference of Black image constructs through the hip-hop/rap genre to Japan, has led to the replication and fusion – with Japanese aesthetics – of “blackness.” Over the years, hip-hop culture has become a lucrative business enterprise; in the U.S. the commoditization of rap has been the main vehicle used to reach not only American White audiences but a global audience as well. Notably though, Japan does not have the context of American slavery and racial suppression to identify with the political, social, and cultural connotations of hip-hop’s origins. Thus, through films, music, and literature, the Japanese saw the African American through American hegemonic media sources. This project’s aim is to study the possible restructuring and reinforcement of old negative image characterizations of African Americans in America and subsequently in Japan.
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    Twilight Lives: The Representation of Autism in Japanese Millennial Media
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-09-26) Pitts, Emily ; Yano, Christine ; Asian Studies
    The alien has a remarkable ability to take numerous varying forms within the imaginations of many individuals; living as both a being and a state of being even within the same mind. When my research first began, my greatest interest was in discovering how the alien was formed in art and in the media and why it took on certain characteristics, particularly within the Japanese culture. However, the concept’s permeability made it quite difficult to capture and cut down into something manageable for that specific topic. After months of frustration and misdirection, attempting to narrow down such a large idea into a genre or theme, I took a moment to step back and understand the pull I felt toward the research. I needed to expand the issue until the larger picture was readily visible. That picture was social alienation.
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    Unraveling the Knot: An Analysis of Vietnamese/Cambodian Relations 1970-1979
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-01-15) Shepard, Jeffrey ; Asian Studies
    Scholar David Elliot refers to the causes and consequences of the Third Indochinese War (1978-1979) as a "tangled knot" in that "finding definitive answers to the fundamental questions of causation is not an easy task". After researching Vietnamese/Cambodian relations from the year 1970 to 1979, I have also come to the conclusion that relations between the two Indochinese nations was indeed a "tangled knot". The Communist parties of both Vietnam and Cambodia begun this decade as apparent allies, but by 1978 they would become engaged in the first war between Communist nations. This thesis will attempt to examine the web of historical and political factors which led to this conflict.
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    The Soto Mission of Hawaii: Continuities and Change within a Zen Sect of Buddhism
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-01-15) Rhodes, Robert ; Asian Studies
    Sunday morning. The Hawaiian sunshine bathes the Soto Zen Mission on Nuuanu Avenue. It is a few minutes before nine. Two large vans bearing the name of the Soto Mission roar into the parking lot and dis- charge a number of laughing children, all Japanese-American sansei or yonsei. Some stay outside in the bright sun talking with their friendsr others disappear into the temple.
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    Popular Culture as a Reflection of Society: Comparing the Japanese Manga to the American Comic Book
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-01-15) Yoshinaga, Ida ; Asian Studies
    Until recently, scholars viewed popular culture as fast food for satisfying society's palate: cheap, mass-produced, mindlessly consumed, superficially appealing, and, ultimately, bad for the health.