Thursday, February 26, 2015

Prof. Yang Kuei-hsiang's book on Nan Guan 南管 (Southern Pipe)

Chinese musical history is often neglected in the study of Chinese history. In the seventeenth century, it is still unclear what the role of music was in the process of nation-building and cultural exchange. Prof. Yang Kuei-hsiang 楊桂香 sent her book on Nan Guan (Southern Pipe Opera) in Taiwan. It was a fine book in Japanese. I read it with great interest. I don't know how much the Nan Guan music shares with the Ming dynasty music brought to Japan by Yinyuan's disciple Wei Zhiyan.

The full title of her book is 
台湾の南管 : 南管音楽における演劇性と音楽集団 /
Taiwan no nankan : nankan ongaku ni okeru engekisei to ongaku shūdan.
著者: 楊桂香. ; ; Keikō Yō
出版: 白帝社, Tōkyō : Hakuteisha, 2004.

Table of Content:
1.0 Geography and History
1.1. Content of Nan Guan
1.2. Content of Musical Notations: analysis of "The Yang Pass Trilogy" 陽關三疊
1.3. Content of the Melody: analysis of "Sewing a Lone Bird" 繡成孤鸞
1.4. Content of the Finger Movements: analysis of "Le Rendez-Vous" 共君断约
2.0 Tradition and Taboo of Nan Guan Transmission
2.1 Social Function of Nan Guan

It is a rare edition. Outside Japan, only the library of University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has a copy.

One of the Nan Guan music Prof. Yang studied is called "Le Rendez-Vous" 共君断约. The second video from Youtube listed below was performed by the Taiwan Nan Guan master Cai Xiaoyue 蔡小月.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Prof. Tu Weiming 杜维明 likes my book

Last week, during the Chinese new year, I called my former adviser Tu Weiming 杜维明 to send my wishes. I was flattered to learn that he is reading my book and he liked the conclusion particularly. He said I was able to put all important issues in the seventeenth century together and the argument will have an impact. I am really glad that he liked the ending. Although I did not write too much about Confucianism after I came to the states, the problematik of the intellectual transformation in the Ming-Qing transition has been in my mind for many years because of Prof. Tu's seminars. Thank you Prof. Tu.

The book was developed from one chapter in my 2002 dissertation he supervised. He told me at that time that a dissertation can not have more than five typos. I kept his words in mind for many years, especially when I published my own. Hopefully he didn't catch many typos in this book. Happy new year, Prof. Tu!

photo with Tu Weiming at his Harvard residence, ca. 2002

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Yinyuan and Mount Fuji

I have been exchanging emails with Prof. Yang Kuei-hsiang about Yinyuan and his love of Mount Fuji. I have a whole section in my book Leaving for the Rising Sun (page 159-162) to discuss this interesting connection. Yinyuan even built a miniature Mount Fuji in his court yard to enjoy the imagined landscape in his later years. 

I will write more about this. He wrote quite a few poems about Mount Fuji and here is one of them which I selected to put in my book, which he likened himself to the "white hair" Mount Fuji. I append the Chinese version below as well. 

Us both with white hair and me old besides
facing each other we think the same thought
I would say something deep but have nothing to say
I’m relying on you to keep this going forever
(IGZS 8: 3746) 



Viewing Mount Fuji from my hotel in Shonan 湘南, 2011, Feb. 28-March 5
This hotel is 49.93 miles (80.36 km) from Mount Fuji according to Google Map. I left Japan four days before the great earthquake and tsunami.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sōfukuji 崇福寺 before and now

This is an old photo of the gate of Sōfukuji in Nagasaki, a temple built by Fujian immigrants. Yinyuan moved to this temple after residing in Kōfukuji 興福寺 about a year. Shortly he moved on to Fumonji 普門寺 in today's Tonda 富田, Taketsuki 高槻.
Another old picture of Sofukuji from afar.
Shot by Jiang Wu, 2013.
Here is the temple gate when I visited in August 2013.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ingenmame 隠元豆 painted by Itō Jakuchū 伊藤若冲

I often tested the Japanese I met how to write Ingenmame in kanji. Very few Japanese knew the fact that it was actually named after the Chinese monk Yinyuan who was credited for bringing this kind of bean to Edo Japan. Recently, Prof. Yang Kuei hsiang 楊桂香  taught me there is an upcoming exhibition of the Edo painter Itō Jakuchū 伊藤若冲 (1716-1800) in Tokyo from March to May. I have seen a similar exhibition in Shōkoku-ji 相国寺 two years ago but did not notice his painting of Ingenmame. Prof. Yang also informed me that in Fujian, it was called "vegetable bean" 菜豆 or   "Fujian bean"閩豆. The northerners call it "green bean" 四季豆. It is funny that this kind of bean will become souvenirs for visitors to take home on the first day of this exhibition.

左:玉蜀黍(とうもろこし)図 伊藤若冲    右:隠元豆図 伊藤若冲

「生誕三百年 同い年の天才絵師
若冲と蕪村」展 開催

会場 サントリー美術館
 港区赤坂9-7-4 東京ミッドタウン ガレリア3階
 <最寄り駅>  都営地下鉄大江戸線六本木駅出口8より直結



Sunday, February 1, 2015

Geoffrey Parker's Global Crisis

Prof. Zhang Ying sent me a gift. It is a surprise, a tome by her colleague Geoffrey Parker. It is 871 pages in total. His interpretation of the seventeenth-century crisis will help me frame my thought. A though read.