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Garden Books

长乐路325号,近陕西南路

325 Changle Rd, Near Shaanxi South Rd


'I, on my part, feel a certain kinship with Korea, given the fact that it is recorded in the Chronicles of Japan that the mother of Emperor Kammu [737–806] was of the line of King Muryong of Paekche.'

Former Japanese Emperor Akihito at his 68th birthday commemoration speech, 23 December 2001.


The myth that the Japanese imperial line, and hence the Japanese people, descend from a sun goddess, Amaterasu, is by far the better known of Japan's two foundation stories. The other concerns Xu Fu, a Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BCE) sorcerer from China who captained a fleet with a manifest that included thousands of virginal boys and girls, seeking Penglai, an East Asian version of a mashup of the Fountain of Youth and Camelot. The legend of Xu Fu has the feature of aligning with history, a history Akihito referenced on his 68th birthday. This legend has become something of a backwater in Japanese origin mythology, while the myth that is obviously the type of fanciful creation typical of early modern human cultures thrives …


Join us on 18 February for a talk and discussion about these two Japanese foundation myths, and consider how leaders on both sides of the East China Sea – Akihito as above, joined by Deng Xiaoping among others – have tried to revive the Xu Fu/Jofuku foundation myth, for its power and promise in addressing today's tensions in the region.


Zoom participants will receive meeting details after registration.

On-site participants receive a Garden Books drink coupon.

Author Bio

Resident of Tokyo for all of the 1990s, and of China since, Van Fleet published his first book in 2015, Tales of Old Tokyo, a scrapbook tour of the city's history from 1853 to 1964. Found in the Myths of Time is a chapter from a larger project, Quarreling Cousins: China and Japan from Antiquity to 2022, which will become a multimedia endeavor (essays, podcasts, book). Various media in the region, including The Diplomat, The Asian Review of Books and the Royal Asiatic Society China Journal, have already published sections of it.

Serving since 2003 as adjunct faculty and Director, Corporate Globalization at the Antai College of Economic and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Van Fleet is extensively published on broader aspects of business, history and society in the East Asia region, with essays having appeared (in addition to the above) in Caixin, CGTN, Xinhua News (Chinese edition) and the China Economic Review.

In addition to an MBA, Van Fleet holds a bachelor's degree in literature from the University of Southern California, where he minored in Japanese.

Tickets

  • RAS members: Online ticket

    Free

    Member Price

    Online on Zoom. Attendees will receive a Zoom link upon registering.

    Reserve Ticket
  • RAS Members: In person at Garden Books

    RMB 50

    Member Price

    Includes a Garden Books drink ticket.

    Buy Ticket
  • Non-members: Online ticket

    RMB 50

    Public Price

    Online on Zoom. Attendees will receive a Zoom link upon registering.

    Buy Ticket
  • Non-members: In person at Garden Books

    RMB 100

    Public Price

    Includes a drink ticket.

    Buy Ticket
  • Friends of the RAS (registered PRC donors only): Online ticket

    Free

    Public Price

    Online on Zoom. Attendees will receive a Zoom link upon registering.

    Reserve Ticket
  • Friends of the RAS: In person at Garden Books

    RMB 50

    Public Price

    Includes a Garden Books drink ticket.

    Buy Ticket
  • RAS joint/family members: Online ticket

    Free

    Public Price

    Online on Zoom. Attendees will receive a Zoom link upon registering.
    For RAS members who signed up under the joint/family option.

    Reserve Ticket
  • RAS Joint/Family Members: In person ticket at Garden Books

    RMB 50

    Public Price

    Includes a Garden Books drink ticket.

    Buy Ticket
  • Members of other RAS branches (Beijing, Hong Kong, Korea, etc.): Online ticket

    Free

    Public Price

    Online on Zoom. Attendees will receive a Zoom link upon registering.

    For members of other RAS branches and chapters.
    You may be asked to provide proof of membership.

    Reserve Ticket