At the Crossroads: Challenges and Solutions in Cross Cultural East Asia

Title: 1192 | At the Crossroads: Challenges and Solutions in Cross Cultural East Asia
Area: Border Crossing and Inter-Area
Stream: History
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Bianca Yin-ki Cheung, Lingnan University, Hong Kong (organizer, presenter, chair)
Di Mao, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, China (presenter)
Kaori Abe, The University of Hull, United Kingdom (presenter)
Raymond Rohne, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong (discussant, presenter)
Longlong Zhang, Waseda University, Japan (presenter)


Every person plays a role in a string of cultural and social encounters. From the grassroot to national leaders, in modern and contemporary East Asian history, such role is all about facing challenges and finding solutions. In this respect, families, medical practitioners, politicians, are all the same – every individual is a problem-solver. This panel weaves together five diverse themes in social and cultural issues that are related to challenges and solutions.

The panel begins with Bianca Cheung’s “woman problem” during wartime Guangzhou (1940-1945). How did educated women respond to the singular notion of "ideal womanhood?" Mao Di’s paper centers on one challenge in health issues: the problem of death management in wartime Macau (1941-1945). Mao shows us how the government and local elites work together and overcome the "burial crisis". Similarly, Kaori Abe examines health crisis in the South China Sea during 1880s-1910s. How did the common people manage the confusions when health, religion and medicine intertwine? The panel then move forward to the more contemporary scene. Zhang Longlong’s paper focuses on second generation Japanese war orphan who immigrated to Japan in the 1990s. How did they adapt to the Japanese society which was foreign to them? Finally Raymond Rohne discusses the challenges of global integration through the eyes of Chinese and American contemporary art collectors.

This panel hopes to generate discussions on questions of modernity, including the idea of identity and diversity, when individuals and societies have been facing various challenges in the age of globalization.

Panel Abstracts:
Disobedience in Disguise: Discourse Analysis on “Wise Wives and Good Mothers” under the Collaborationist Regime in Guangzhou (1940-1945)
In East Asia, social expectations on women being “wise wives and good mothers” are still gaining currency, as reflected in movies and TV dramas like “A Home on the Slope” (Japanese, 2019), “Kim Ji-young: Born 1982” (South Korean, 2019) and “The First Half of My Life” (Chinese, 2017). These stories reflect the unresolved tensions between women’s traditional gender roles and self-aspirations in East Asia nowadays. Discussions on women’s “proper” roles ushered in the wake of nationalism and modernization in China during the early 20th century and continued throughout the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945). Existing wartime literature focuses on the women’s movements led by the Nationalist government and the Chinese Communist Party. Women’s issues in the co-existing collaborationist regime remain a relatively underexplored area. This study fills this gap by examining Wang Jingwei’s official rhetoric on women’s liberation in Guangzhou, which urged women to emulate the Japanese “wise wives and good mothers.” However, many educated women questioned and subtly reinterpreted this norm with their personal experiences to resist such an encompassing and singular “ideal womanhood.” Their voices lend us insights on exploring diversity and plurality of gender norms within the East Asian context in the age of globalization.

Deaths at the Crossroads: Chinese Burial Management in Wartime Macau (1941-1945)
During the Pacific War, Macau was not occupied by Japan and was a neutral area when Portugal declared its neutrality. The influx of refugees, the shortage of supplies and the spread of diseases led to the highest mortality in Macau in historical records. Facing challenges brought by the War, how did the Portuguese colonial government and the Chinese elites cope with the dead in Macau? This study examines management and practices of the Portuguese colonial government and the Chinese social organizations towards burial issues during the Pacific War. The article also aims to show the negotiations and cooperation between the Portuguese colonial government and the Chinese society in wartime Macau settings, especially the interaction between death management and the Chinese burial traditions. It argues that the temporary modification of death management policies during wartime, as well as the revival of the Chinese burial traditions after the end of the Pacific War, were both promoted by the Chinese elites and their social organizations (Qiao Tuan, 侨团). In the process, the Portuguese colonial government acted as an active cooperator and supporter of the Chinese community.

Health Crisis in Hub Cities: Medicine, Religion and Epidemics in the South China Sea, 1880s–1910s
Recurrent epidemics of plague and cholera not only entailed health problems but also the circulation of religious beliefs in South China and South East Asia during the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. In Hong Kong, plague was a leading cause of death from the 1890s to the 1920s. In Singapore, Chinese communities were severely affected by cholera in the same period. The wider and faster spread of these infectious diseases were due to the globalisation took place in the nineteenth century. New transportation technology, especially steamships, stretched the trade and migration routes of Chinese workers and merchants. However, it also accelerated the spread of infectious diseases via sea routes in the region. How did Chinese people deal with the health crisis during that time? Chinese and foreign elites, as well as practitioners of Western and traditional Chinese medicine discussed and promoted their own ideas and approaches for containing the epidemics. Furthermore, in the midst of epidemics, folk religious groups increased their influence among the common populace throughout promulgating handbills, pamphlets and books. Hence, this paper highlights the intertwined relationship between health, religion and medicine in the South China Sea at the turn of the century by examining the cases in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and the Straits Settlements.

Transfiguration of the Art Collector: Constructing an Identity and History in the United States and China through the Practice of Collecting Contemporary Art and Implications
The past twenty years have represented a radical shift in the way the world has viewed collectors of contemporary art. With globalization collectors from around the world are now linked in shared platforms that were never available in the past, such as art fairs, biennales, and exhibition events which has enabled collectors to advocate and promote their individual and national contemporary memory and culture through their collections. This is especially true for collectors of contemporary art in United States and China. Many of them now aim to create a contemporary history and cosmopolitan culture that reflects the challenges of today, coupled with a vision for tomorrow. What makes these collections remarkable is their ability to integrate global content into a narrative of individuality and tolerance in the countries in which they live. (e.g. U.S. social issues and China post-WTO) This presentation focuses on American and Chinese collectors of contemporary art, as a case study of how their collections and institutions have and will continue to mold a new contemporary history and cultural identity in both their national and global context. This presentation will take a systematic approach in defining the historical role of a collector in both the American and Chinese example, building a narrative on the influences and dialogue between the two regions collectors, with the crux of the study illustrating how collectors within the contemporary art community have changed the cultural landscape and argue they are major players in the creation of a contemporary cultural history and dialogue.

Immigration and the Early Adaptation Experience of Japanese War Orphans' Children in the 1990s: Cross Cultural and Social Encounters
This study investigates Japanese war orphans’ children who immigrated to Japan in the 1990s and reveals their immigration and early adaptation process. The study analyzes data from 30 Japanese war orphans’ children. The Japanese government has implemented a relief policy for the immigration of Japanese war orphans’ children, yet the policy is only applied to those who are under the age of 20. Most of the children were over 20 years old in the late 1980s and they couldn’t immigrate to Japan together with their parents who were Japanese war orphans. Especially for the unmarried ones, they chose to get married before their parents’ immigration as a family strategy. In order to reunite with their parents, they moved to Japan at their own expenses a few years after their parents’ immigration.After immigration, they experienced a decade of economic recession, and their employment was extremely difficult. After ten years of immigration, their life was still unstable. Especially for men, they were suffering from stresses of poverty and furthermore felt isolated from the mainstream Japanese society. As a result, individual behaviors took precedence over the needs of the family, and gambling, domestic violence, unchastity, obscenity, theft occurred among them

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