:: 3:AM Asia

Four Fragments from the Prince’s Tomb published 06/05/2019

As he approached the end of his task, he found himself filled with doubt, not just about the way in which he had made use of Prince Kim’s notes, but about his own life and his chosen path altogether. He was increasingly aware of the vast divide between the deep intentions which animated the texts, and his personal preoccupations. His meditation practice had almost disappeared in daily activities. He reviewed what had become a little book and doubted that anyone would find it readable, much less comprehensible. And, even though he was strangely confident in the way he had assembled and edited the text, he was not sure that he comprehended it himself.  Completing the last section intensified all his uncertainties.

By Douglas Penick.

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On Yukio Mishima’s Star Being Made Available for The First Time in English published 24/03/2019

Not so in Star,
whose pace is exponential
beginning with quiet humdrum,
breaking [perhaps he will kill himself] toward
rapidity [perhaps he will kill his girlfriend],
and ending when this hero,
very suddenly, kills no one,
returning to the same humdrum
full-circle, through the ensō.

Oscar Mardell reviews Yukio Mishima‘s Star.

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Naming the Dead: Wang Bing’s Dead Souls published 10/01/2019

The question of how this process of naming and recalling of names fits with the wider questions of testimony and silence in Dead Souls is vital for understanding how to approach these events, of what it means to create an archive of such atrocious human actions. Testimony, silendce: the two are in continual contestation throughout Dead Souls and its understanding of the film as archive.

Daniel Fraser reviews Dead Souls.

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Re-Enter the Dragon published 13/11/2018

Apart from soccer players, the two biggest sports stars for kids like me in the UK in the early seventies were the boxing heavyweights Muhammad Ali and Henry Cooper—even if they were eclipsed in my schoolboy milieu by the likes of footballer Bobby Moore. I also used to see a teacher at school who was a black belt in karate practice his katas; unfortunately our Christian fundamentalist headmaster who had been in a Japanese prisoner of war camp— and as a result had an aversion to anything from the east—wouldn’t let Mr Beach teach us how to break bricks with our bare hands! As a kid I watched the Batman TV series so it is probable I was exposed to Bruce Lee’s guest appearances as Kato before I learnt he was the ‘king of kung fu’.

An extract from Stewart Home‘s new book on Bruceploitation. Boom!

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Stewart Home’s Bruceploitation Groove published 13/10/2018

If you look carefully there’s something about all of Home’s work that remains consistent. He’s interested in forms of cultural work that is marginal but marginal for a reason. It’s often a sleazy, porny, low-brow sentimentalism he develops and pivots off, one that appeals to clear-cut psychological gratifications rather than sly rational evidence for whatever. He doesn’t waste time on normative theory for consumption by bourgeoise academics and vanguardists of both left and right. He is trying to work out and understand the mechanisms by which Marxist psychology and epistemology works which entails in part understanding better the Marxist theory of ideology.

Richard Marshall reviews Stewart Home‘s new book on Bruceploitation.

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The Sōseki of Prague published 21/08/2018

This seems to be the pattern; all attempts to research Kafka and Japanese literature suggest influence going in the opposite direction to what one might expect. I only find out about Kafka’s influence on Japanese literature, and mostly post-Second World War literature. Kafka is an influence on Murakami (author of Kafka on the Shore) and on Kobo Abe (who is said to be the “Kafka of Japan”). Nowhere is anyone calling Kafka the “Sōseki of Prague”.

By Duncan Stuart.

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Norkore – Excerpt from See You Again in Pyongyang published 04/06/2018

We know from Dennis Rodman that the Marshal’s two favorite songs are the themes from Rocky and Dallas—tunes that undoubtedly implanted themselves in the young Jong Un’s brain during his own adolescence, growing up in Switzerland—which were played over and over again by an orchestra on the night of their banquet together upon the basketball player’s first visit to Pyongyang. In addition to this stylistic influence, the Moranbong Band has layered electronic beats, dance breaks, and soulful vocal acrobatics that channel Whitney and Mariah. Concerts are replete with synchronized dance moves, laser light shows, and digital video backdrops showing footage of missiles blasting off into the sky, ecstatic marching soldiers, and the biggest rock star of all, the Marshal himself, swarmed with hysterical citizen-fans.

An excerpt from Travis Jeppesen‘s account of life in Kim Jong Un’s North Korea.

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A remarkable woman in remarkable times: Eileen Chang’s Little Reunions published 23/01/2018

Review of Eileen Chang's Little Reunions

Chang’s reputation as one of China’s great modern writers has not translated into a wide appreciation in the English-speaking world, despite many of her Chinese-language novels and short stories being translated into English. Love in a Fallen City, translated by Karen Kingsbury in 2006, is a selection of stories taken from Romances. Meanwhile, in 2007, Ang Lee directed a film adaptation of her novella Lust/Caution. Nevertheless, her fame and appreciation remains centred in China and Taiwan.

Josie Mitchell reviews Little Reunions by Eileen Chang.

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The Narrowing Spectrum of Control published 17/09/2017

This is a well-pool of pea-soup oud, a full-on miasma to try and fight through. I flashback to the Anonymous guy telling me: “You cannot speak to your neighbours”. You cannot trust anyone. The drivers grass – the cleaners – the CEOs. So what do you do? Go with the majority? The fifty percent majority? You keep your head down, hope it’s better by the time your kids have grown up? Shelter yourself between the sheets of being a VPN rebel, writing nothing down, or it will be held against you.

By Kirsty Allison.

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Modern Art: A Game of Three published 22/08/2017

Lives, deaths. The variables. Some come and some go. Then they all go. To the main question. So what if Mishima and Kawabata hadn’t succeeded in killing themselves? What if Kurosawa had been more serious about the razor in his hand? The director dies, the writers live. Which is to say, what if literature had lived but films hadn’t?

By Kyle Coma-Thompson.

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