Japan’s Modern Castles: Reclaiming the Past and Proclaiming the Future

Le Centre de recherhes sur le Japon accueillera Ran Zwigenberg, Professeur à l’Université de Pennsylvania State, pour une conférence exceptionnelle intitulée « Japan’s Modern Castles: Reclaiming the Past and Proclaiming the Future » avec la participation de Caroline Bodolec (CECMC-CCJ), discutante, le 13 juin 2018.

Ran Zwigenberg est l’auteur de l’ouvrage Hiroshima: The Origins of Global Memory Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Mercredi 13 juin 2018, 11h-13h 

EHESS, Salle 7-51, 54 boulevard Raspail 75006 Paris

Both home and abroad, Japan’s castles serve as prominent symbols of local, regional, and national identity. Castles occupy the center of most major Japanese cities and are universally recognizable as sites of heritage and as a link to the nation’s past.  The current prominence of castles obscures their troubled modern history. After the restoration of 1868, castles, no longer of immediate military significance, became symbols of authority, on one hand, and of vaunted tradition on the other.  Castles were major sites of exhibitions, where they were often contrasted with Japan’s achievements in acquiring modern technology, serving as potent illustrations of Wakon-yōsai (Japanese spirit and Western technology). As the specific role castles played changed over time, they became sites of fierce contention. Particularly, castles were a major factor in the militarization of Japanese society before the Second World War and, after 1945, were important tools for demilitarizing Japan both physically and symbolically to turn it into a “nation of peace and culture.” This talk examines Japan’s castles from the late nineteenth century to the present to reconsider narratives of continuity and change in modern Japan; examining the changing role of castles in Japan’s troubled politics of history. 

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Contact: aleksandra.kobiljski@ehess.fr

Yasuko D'Hulst

Ingénieure d'études, documentaliste

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