As this issue of the JAS was going into production, the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 was responsible for a global pandemic. Its devastation and disruption have affected the entire world's population. It is a global event with an unknown future that has forced all individuals to question the normative interpretations of our world, as COVID-19 has interfered with every aspect of life. COVID-19 has emerged as the most recent nonhuman subject responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of individuals. It has the capacity to cause many more deaths. Its impact has also been evident in underscoring the disparities and inequities in society: locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. Nation-states are scrambling to limit damage as the coronavirus spreads, triggering lockdowns of millions of people, high unemployment rates, food shortages, a lack of medical supplies, shrinking GDP, and high mortality rates. Late capitalism has suffered a major blow with the disruption of supply chains, and no one can predict when the processes of global commodity exchange will normalize.
Not surprisingly, there has also been a direct impact on the JAS—and Cambridge University Press more generally. Because of public health concerns for the workers who produce and transport the materials for printed copies of the journal, and the fact that global supply chains are unable to function at this unprecedented time, there will be delays in printing the JAS. Please be assured that this issue is now available for all subscribers online as scheduled. Cambridge University Press has stated that it will print and mail copies of the journal as soon as it is possible. On behalf of the editorial board, I thank you for your patience during this challenging period.
The first four articles in this issue center on diverse approaches to the study of literature in Asian studies. Táňa Dluhošová provides a literary history of Taiwanese texts in the 1940s, adopting innovative methods of digital humanities to map the dynamics of modern literary systems. Nandani Ramesh Sankar and Deepsikha Changmai turn to the political representations of B. R. Ambedkar—the architect of India's constitution—in a graphic novel to address themes of politics, literature, art, and the problems of solidarity among subaltern groups in India. The focus of Jae Won Edward Chung's article is the role of reportage, photography, and literature in daily life in South Korea in the aftermath of the Korean War in the contexts of neocolonial and postcolonial framings. Tobias Benedict Zürn turns to an examination of writers of the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) who were involved in an intertextual writing practice in which writing was experienced as weaving.
The final two articles consider the importance of political thought in twentieth-century Japan and its implications for Asian studies. Reto Hofman examines the life and work of Nabeyama Sadachika, exploring how anticommunism was central to the emergence of the Right in Japan's political culture. Joseph Seeley and Aaron Skabelund provide an analysis of zoological gardens as part of the discursive and institutional practices of Japanese colonial power in Seoul and Taipei in the early decades of the twentieth century.