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Robert and Lisa Sainsbury fellows

Ji Hye Han

Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow 2023 - 2024

PhD, Sophia University, 2023

Ji Hye Han is an art historian whose work examines photographic representations of the US military in Japan and Korea, two major host countries of US military overseas bases during the Cold War era. She is particularly interested in Japanese and Koreans’ imaginaries, and perceptions of the Americans during the Cold War reflected in those images. She received her Ph.D. from Sophia University in 2023.

At the Sainsbury Institute, she will work on the publication of the major chapters of the dissertation. One of her publications examines the first photobook by Ishiuchi Miyako (1947–), one of the pioneering women photographers of postwar Japan, called Zesshō, Yokosuka Story. In particular, the paper illustrates how Ishiuchi responded to the typical image of Yokosuka, a port city south of Tokyo that had been one of the significant locations of the Imperial Japanese Navy throughout the Meiji period (1868–1912) and the site of huge US naval bases since 1945, produced by some her major predecessors.

Her other publication project investigates the photographic representation of the US military presence in 1960s–80s Korea by Kuwabara Shisei (1936–), one of the most eminent Japanese photojournalists who has worked in Korea since 1964. Through close visual analysis and examination of the pictorial narrative that Kuwabara presents through a collection of USFK images in one of his photobooks, Kankoku gen’ei (Korea 1964–86), the paper explores how Kuwabara’s images tap into the different kinds of Cold War imaginaries from the existing visual iteration of the USFK in more widely circulating mass media, novels, and movies in Korea at the time.

Alongside publications, she will work on further contextualising Ishiuchi’s early career and exploring representations of Yokosuka by other women artists who grew up in or near Yokosuka from the 1930s to the 1960s.