Asia Pacific War, Japan and Gardens

Thursday 5 December, 2019
6:00pm GMT - 7:30pm GMT

Room 301, 3F, Building 10, Sophia University, 7-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 102-8554, Japan


Professor Toshio Watanabe (Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures)

In this lecture the relationships between Asia Pacific War, Japan and the gardens are explored with a number of specific examples. Cases will be introduced from across the world including Japan. The main focus will be what kind of memory of Asia Pacific War is evoked in each of these gardens. This will also directly relate to the question of memory for whom. Memory itself is always partial. Another issue relating to memory is forgetting, which is the other side of the same coin. First, we will examine what happened during the World War II. One might think a period of war is not a time for creating new gardens, but this is not so. Some are completely forgotten and others have become a place where identities are reinforced through the memory of the gardens created during the war. After the war, many more gardens have been and are still created as a way of remembering the war. When we encounter many of these gardens, it becomes clear that the nature of the memory is very diverse. Some are commemorating victory against Japan, a kind of ‘anti-Japanese’ gardens. Others are emphasising their own victimhood or a push for peace. There are even cases where computer game and manga fans go to gardens with war memories as a pilgrimage. The diversity doesn’t stop with why these gardens were created but also how these gardens are experienced.

About the Speaker

Toshio Watanabe is Professor of Japanese Arts and Cultural Heritage at the University of East Anglia and Emeritus Professor at the University of the Arts London. He received BA from Sophia University and also studied at the University of Tokyo, London, and Basel. Professor Watanabe is founder of the Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN) at the University of Arts London. His most recent book is East Asian Art History in a Transnational Context, (edited with Eriko Tomizawa-Kay), Routledge, 2019.

Lecture in English / No prior registration necessary / This talk is organized by Professor Noriko Murai (FLA) as part of Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series 2019

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