Giants and Toys - reading suggestions

Mitch Cullin fpunk
Tue Sep 9 19:07:38 EDT 2008

Dear Melek,

In terms of something fairly easy to read for your students, you might try Helen Zia's Asian American Dreams (Publisher: FSG) which offers some good insight into North America's anxiety during the growth of Japan's bubble economy--specifically Chapter 3 (Detroit Blues:? 'Because of you motherfuckers') which covers the decline of the US automobile industry and the murder of Vincent Chen who, while being of Chinese descent, was murdered by a laid-off autoworker for nothing more, it seems, than being Asian.? In any case, there are several parts of the book that can be excerpted for easy reading and discussion for your students, and the book's index can certainly direct you to those sections that deal with Japanese relations.

Otherwise, I'll keep thinking of more specific books that might help you.

Mitch Cullin

"As the movie industry becomes more like the merchandising industry, the book business becomes more like the movie industry.  There's more pressure.  I think it's very difficult to be a young writer today.  I fear that young writers, after one or two books, will disappear the way young film directors do."  --Don DeLillo

--- On Tue, 9/9/08, mso1 at <mso1 at> wrote:
From: mso1 at <mso1 at>
Subject: Giants and Toys - reading suggestions
To: KineJapan at
Date: Tuesday, September 9, 2008, 2:03 PM

Hi all,

I am submitting a request for help on a pedagogical matter this time - I am
planning to teach a course on Orientalism next spring, using Japan as a
focus. I am planning to show _Kyojin to gangu_ to illustrate the postwar
pressure for Japan to succeed internationally on the basis of the US
capitalist market model. The film radiates anxiety, and I thought it would
be great to teach in tandem with a literary, social, political and/or
historical text that illustrates the other side: can anyone suggest a
student-friendly reading that captures the subsequent North American or
other Western anxiety regarding Japan's later success? Period, I imagine,
anywhere from the 1970s to the 90s. I would be most grateful! 

Apologies for crossposting; please reply to me off-list.


Melek Ortabasi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
World Literature Program
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Simon Fraser University
Unit 250-13450
102 Ave., Surrey, BC

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