Filipino readers can now savor Professor Shimizu’s fascinating ethnography and model of doing anthropology that is hard to find in the literature from the West. Shimizu immersed himself in a reforestation and cultural revival movement in Hapao, a village in the Municipality of Hungduan in Ifugao Province. Hapao has been at the crosscurrents of global forces for centuries: it is the village where, toward the end of the Second World War, General Yamashita retreated to make his last stand. After the control of the New People’s Army (NPA) ended in the early 1990s, the villagers began to reinvent their traditions, even as some residents, starting in the 1980s, began to migrate and work overseas. In the mid-1990s Hapao witnessed the beginnings of the Ifugao Global Forest City Movement founded by Lopez Nauyac, an indigenous intellectual. Seeking to decolonize his soul, Kidlat Tahimik, the renowned independent filmmaker, documented the movement as a disciple of Nauyac. While doing fieldwork, Shimizu, in practicing an anthropology of response-ability, helped Nauyac obtain funds from Japan and, in the process, became an “extreme” participant observer and movement collaborator—yielding this multilayered account of field entanglements over a span of sixteen years.
The original Japanese book that appeared in 2013 received the Japan Academy Prize in 2017, the most prestigious academic publication prize in Japan. It was the first time that the prize was given to a cultural anthropologist. The book was also honored as the eleventh recipient of the Japanese Society for Cultural Anthropology Award in 2016.
—Filomeno V. Aguilar Jr, Department of History, Ateneo de Manila University
Published in 2019.