The USF Center for Asia Pacific Studies welcomes our new Kiriyama Fellow, James Stone Lunde, to campus. Dr. Stone Lunde will be in residence at the center for the 2022-2023 academic year. While here, he will be teaching in the history department, coordinating the center’s new graduate fellows program, and pursuing research on Japanese history. We recently interviewed Dr. Stone Lunde to discover more about what fuels his passion for teaching and research.
Welcome to USF! Could you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is James Stone Lunde, and I’m the new Kiriyama Fellow at the Center for Asia Pacific Studies. I’m also serving as the coordinator for the center’s new Asia Bridge Graduate Fellowship and as the instructor for History 130: East Asian Civilizations. I studied Japanese and Chinese philology at the University of Oxford, and recently received my PhD in Japanese history from the University of California, Berkeley.
Can you tell us about the research issue you will be focusing on while you are in residence at USF?
I’ll be focusing on two separate and relatively independent research projects. Firstly, I’ll be expanding my PhD dissertation, adding a chapter and converting it into a monograph. This project focuses on the experiences of Japanese members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and Chinese Communist Party during and after World War II. It’s a fairly extraordinary story, and I’ve had the good fortune of conducting oral interviews with Japanese ex-members of the CCP and PLA. I intend to expand one of these interviews into a full chapter. Secondly, I’m working on translation and research of the records of the 16th century arrival of the Date samurai Hasekura Rokuemon Tsuneanga and his retinue to Seville (Spain), and their eventual settlement in the nearby village of Coria del Río. As a side-project while in residence, I’ll also working on an upcoming translation of Pedro Arrupe’s memoir of the Hiroshima bombing.
Since you will be teaching a course each semester at USF, can you tell us why you think it’s important to study Asia today?
The cultural power of Asia is formidable, but there are many other reasons that I consider studying Asia to be extremely important. For instance, the center of global economics and geopolitics is increasingly drifting towards Asia, and it’s vital for this phenomenon to be studied and understood.
Asia is also important because many socio political problems that the USA or other Western countries struggle with have been addressed in successful ways. For instance, Japan has a very low crime rate and a very low incarceration rate. As you know, questions of police, penal, and carceral reform are at the forefront of US politics right now, and it seems to me that we would do well to examine how Japan achieves its outcomes. China has successfully networked the majority of its large cities with high-speed railway connections, within the space of a decade Similarly, if you compare Covid-19 deaths between highly densely populated countries like Japan or Korea with the UK and the USA, we see orders of magnitude of difference in death rates.. Many problems that in the USA we think of as inevitable “urban problems”are nonexistent in East Asia. I believe that we should approach these issues open to the possibility that Asia could serve as a model to solve domestic problems, and study East Asian solutions.
How would you describe your class and your teaching style?
I try to cultivate a sense of community in the class, and strongly encourage participation and discussion. I try to get my students to form study groups, if possible – I find that helps them learn, and is more important now than ever, given the social isolation of the past three years.
I also make an effort to include as many primary sources as possible in assigned readings. I find that students rise to the challenge, and historical narratives that center the voices and experiences of the people of the place and period are much livelier than reading secondary textbooks.
Why are students drawn to your course?
Many students have a deep interest in Asian culture. It’s very common for students to have a passion for manga, K-pop, videogames like Pokémon, Genshin Impact or Elden Ring, or anime movies like Miyazaki’s Spirited Away or Shinkai Makoto’s Your Name. Some students have heritage from Asia, and would like to know more about their familial background. Asian culture is extremely influential around the world, and it certainly inspired me as well when I was an undergraduate.
What’s something that people may not know about you?
It probably won’t surprise you, but I have an encyclopedic knowledge of Manga. If you need a recommendation, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I also don’t use any social media whatsoever, so I suppose I’m a ‘method historian’ of sorts. It’s not entirely obvious by the look of me, but I spent most of my life in my hometown of Seville, Spain. I’m perpetually food-homesick for Jamón, manzanilla, Manchego, and all the other delicious things that are tricky to find outside of Andalucía.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Stone Lunde to the University of San Francisco!