Northeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

2 - Territories Intervened: Art and Contested Historic Sites in East Asia

Friday, July 6
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Kadamba, Lower Ground Floor

Over recent decades, the modern history of East Asia has been an increasingly controversial subject in many fields of inquiry. How to understand and interpret the colonial historiography of imperial Japan is, to be sure, a particularly significant issue that East Asia is now facing. Various historic sites in the region, which give witness to the past injustice or bear the traces of inhumane wrongdoings, have been at the forefront of political and academic debates concerning the area’s history of war and colonization. They include, for instance, the Yasukuni Shrine commemorating those who died in service of the Empire of Japan, the Tanba Manganese Mine where Koreans were forced to work during WWII, and the Yokoamicho Park accommodating the monument to the victims of the Great Kanto Earthquake. The religious facilities built in Taiwan under Japanese rule, also evidence a number of colonial policies exercised by Japan to assimilate the vanquished culturally. My presentation examines how contemporary Japanese artists addressed these contentious places in their works, intending to elucidate the singular and diverse ways that art opens up an unacknowledged possibility of the landscapes encapsulating contested histories. The case studies of this talk include Takamine Tadasu’s A Lover from Korea (2003), Shitamichi Motoyuki’s ‘torii’ project (2006-2012), and Koizumi Meiro’s Today My Empire Sings (2016).

Hiroki Yamamoto

University of the Arts London, Japan

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