Tuesday, May 02, 2006

MIT Japanese Propaganda Controversy

Posted to H-Asia, more on the print exhibition that "caused" a controversy. The terrifying thing is that university bent to this coordinated hate campaign. These people have flexed their muscles, and felt their power. What will "offend" them next?


May 1, 2006

Controversy over Japanese Block prints of Sino-Japanese war; MIT Courseware "Visualizing Culture" withdrawn after protests by Chinese students and others.

From: Frank Conlon

Todays _Inside Higher Ed_ e-journal brings news of a controversy at MIT
http://insidehighered.com/news/2006/05/01/mit involving an online courseware "Visualizing Cultures" by John W. Dower and Shigeru Miyagawa: http://www.blackshipsandsamurai.com/spotlight/vc_spotlight.html

This was part of an MIT initiative, several years in development, which shared course materials freely.

Late last month a coordinated e-mail campaign attacked the Dower-Miyagawa materials for inclusion of wood block prints of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95. The captions clearly indicated critically the derision of the Chinese and arrogant representation of the 'old Asia' (China" and the 'new Asia' (Japan.) One set of blocks, "Illustration of the Deapitation of Violent Chinese Soldiers" was circulated (without the captions) on the internet, leading to protests, particularly from a group of MIT graduate students, mostly from the People's Republic of China the Chinese Students and Scholars Association http://cssa.mit.edu/new/new/, complaining of the 'hurtful' nature of these illustrations which they characterized as graphic and racist. Dower and Miyagawa decided to take down the unit and work on a solution--one suggestion being multi-language captions.

The CSSA official letter was measured and open to seeking solutions, but the matter has stirred considerably controversy involving academic freedom, cultural ensitivities, the global reach of the internet, what some call 'political correctness' and the general malaise that fills so much of our present days.

Frank F. Conlon
Professor Emeritus
University of Washington
Co-editor, H-ASIA


Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

Hoe are you? This is Mindy who is a Taiwanese and studying political science on public policy in USA. I found your blog when I am googleing some information about the comparison of political and economic development in east asia countuies. So...you live in Taiwan now? When I saw the pics on your web, I am thinking of my families there....it's so nice to meet you here! Have a good day!

Mindy Jen

Anonymous said...

Huh. I just love all these PRC citizens who feel free to organise co-ordinated protests in the US and expect to have some influence, when at the same time any Western criticism of China is ignored.
The PRC protestors should be firmly told to f*** off, and get their own country in order first.

Anonymous said...

To the first anomymous,

Watch your mouth! As a chinese from P.R.China in the U.S., I paid my tax no less than you! I deserve a right to express my own feeling towards the wood-block affair in MIT.

It's shameful if one have no passion for his or her nation. What's your thought if you face picutures with "brave" terrorists and the "cowardly" americans falling from the world trade center?

Anonymous said...

I am sorry! It shoud be the second anomymous.

Michael Turton said...

Thanks, Mindy! Yes, I am in Taiwan.