[J-Master] Modern Japan History Workshop

Le Modern Japan History Workshop est un des lieux incontournable de la recherche sur le Japon à Tokyo, rassemblant de nombreux étudiants, doctorants et chercheurs de sciences humaines présents sur le terrain japonais. Du fait de la situation sanitaire et de sa poursuite par le biais de conférences en ligne, les étudiants et membres du CRJ peuvent exceptionnellement accéder à ces séances depuis chez eux.

Please join us for the next meeting of the Modern Japan History Workshop on Friday, May 22nd at 6 pm JST (11 am Paris time). This months’ presenter will be Ayelet Zohar (Tel Aviv University), who will present her work on war memory, nationalism, and gender performance.

Morimura Yasuma’s Gift of Sea (2010): Reenacting The Raising the Flag in Iwo Jima, Between Gender, Nationalism and War Memory in Japan and the USA

Abstract:
In my presentation I shall discuss Morimura Yasumasa (森村泰昌b. 1951)single-channel video projection Gift of Sea (海の幸2012), a piece which is based on a reenactment of Joe Rosenthal’s iconic photograph of Raising the Flag on Iwojima. In my analysis of Morimura’s video I read through the multiple implications of reenactment in contemporary art, gender performance, the ideas of history and memory, victory and defeat and their relative position concerning the change of point of view and passage of time. In this vein, I look into various works of art that either share the title or the image with Morimura’s video: beginning with Rudyard Kipling’s The Gift of Sea (1890), Aoki Shigeru (青木繁 1882-1911) oil painting Gift of Sea (海の幸1904), Sakamoto Hanjirō (坂本繁二郎1882-1969) oil painting of the Three Human Bullets (肉弾三勇士, 1935), and the National Cemetery in Arlington Marine Corps War Memorial monument (1954) by Felix de Weldon (1907-2003). Finally, I read Morimura’s work also in the context of cinema, including John Wayne’s Sands of Iwojima (1936) and Clint Eastwood’s double feature Flags of Our Fathers (2006), and Letters from Iwojima (2006). All in all, my suggestion is to understand Morimura’s project as a complex signifier which destabilises accepted values of gender roles, victory and defeat, bravery and cowardice, nationalism and individuality. The lecture goes through a collection of visual signifiers that are used in an elaborated mode for understanding war memory in Japan today.

IMPORTANT: Morimura Yasumasa’s Gift of Sea, the video art piece to be discussed during Friday’s workshop, has kindly been made available at the following link: https://vimeo.com/418213247 (Password: morimura2010).  The video will be available until Monday, June 1st, 2020.

To access the conference room us the following link: https://zoom.us/j/99908973955

The password for the meeting will be posted on the home page of the MJHW website from May 18th onwards.

The workshop is open to all, and no prior registration is required.

Please direct any questions to Joelle Tapas at tapas@fas.harvard.edu.