Remco Breuker and Benjamin Penny
The 37th issue in the run of an academic journal is not typically a time for official noting and celebration. For East Asian History, however, this is a momentous occasion as it marks the transformation of the print journal into its new electronic form. From the earliest discussions about the possibility of East Asian History taking this path, several desiderata were defined: it would be open access and free of charge; rather than simply being a translation of the print version to an online form it would engage with the new medium in creative ways; it would have a downloadable print version that would respect, as far as possible, the exemplary design of its predecessor; and finally, that all the principles and protocols of academic editing would be maintained in the new form.
This issue also marks the first time that an editorial introduction can be entitled an “Editors’ Preface” since the journal is now the responsibility of two co-editors: Remco Breuker joined Benjamin Penny towards the end of 2010 and has been involved from the first in the reformation. This new partnership is paralleled in East Asian History becoming a collaborative project of Leiden University in the Netherlands and the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. Although the two universities could barely be further away from each other on the globe, they share a longstanding commitment both to the study of East Asia and to scholarly rigour. The exigencies of geography aside, the process of transformation has proved to the co-editors, at least, that our collaboration will be close. Another aspect of these new arrangements is the structure of our editorial board that now has six members: Geremie R. Barmé, Katarzyna Cwiertka, Barend ter Haar, Roald Maliangkay, Tessa Morris-Suzuki and Ivo Smits. Three members come from ANU and three from Leiden University, and in each case are scholars of the histories of China, Japan and Korea.
This issue engages with some of the notions East Asian History has always found important. It begins with a thought-provoking meditation by Geremie R. Barmé (drafted at the invitation of the editors) on the condition of scholarly writing in the world of electronic publishing. Barmé, of course, transformed Papers on Far Eastern History into East Asian History, and it is particularly pleasing for the current editors that in this new phase for the journal, its pasts are still clearly visible. Four research articles follow on diverse topics: trademark law in pre-war East Asia, the transnational history of a Harbin hotel, responses to a Chinese art exhibition in New Zealand and oriental Occidentalism in Korean pop music. The issue concludes with an online exhibition of colonial period Korean popular culture. Within the remit of East Asian History, the variety in topics could hardly have been greater. The articles and the exhibition are united, however, in their application of the possibilities East Asian History’s layout has always offered and the added advantages of the new electronic format.
In its new form, East Asian History remains committed to the strengths its readers have come to expect, but seeks also to incorporate what has become possible through publishing digitally. This 37th issue breaks new ground in the creative use of a new medium and in our new editing arrangements, but remains on familiar ground with its interest in a broad interpretation of the proper material for historical investigation, and of the importance of research on East Asia. As always, we welcome any criticisms and suggestions, and encourage colleagues across the world to consider publishing their research in East Asian History.