Maison Franco-japonaise: 日仏会館 Institut français de recherche sur le Japon à la Maison franco-japonaise (Umifre 19, MEAE-CNRS)

Langue:JA / FR


Pasts of the present: Iconicity and authentication at two reconstructed heritage sites in Japan

en anglais sans traduction
Date lundi 04 décembre 2023 / 18:30-20:00
Lieu Room 601
Conférencier Jens SEJRUP (Assistant Professor, University of Copenhagen)

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In light of the ongoing global boom in landmark architecture, urban megaprojects and the reconstruction of cultural heritage buildings, this presentation analyses two large-scale reconstruction projects at iconic historical locations in Japan: the Heijō Palace in Nara and Dejima in Nagasaki. Since the 1990s, the two projects have recreated long-lost built environments, gradually transforming the sites, turning them into museums and exhibition spaces and leading to the thorough reform of the surrounding urban fabric. In this talk, I trace the involved agents' motivations to engage in historical reconstruction, from early-phase experimental efforts to legitimise both sites' protected status, to present-day politico-economic mobilisations of important historical locations as a way to boost each city's attraction values. In this way, I link the two unfolding projects in Nara and Nagasaki to issues of urban boosterism, heritage production and the facilitation and commodification of past realities as a tourist experience. Approaching the reconstructions as contemporary heritage in traditional guise, I argue that both sites revolve materially, spatially and thematically around the master-metaphors of flow, growth and intercultural connectivity that characterise the present age. Elucidating processes of authentication and intersections of ideological and economic interests in and around the two sites, my presentation asks in what ways Japanese cities exploit lost iconic localities and reconstructed heritage under post-industrial conditions marked by globalisation and intense cultural-economic competition.

Jens Sejrup-l.jpg

Jens SEJRUP is Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Copenhagen, dually appointed by the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies and the Department of Anthropology. His research interests include contemporary Japanese museum exhibitions and architecture, cultural heritage and present-day instrumentalisations of the historical past. He co-authored and co-edited the book Global Art in Local Art Worlds: Changing Hierarchies of Value (Routledge, 2023) and guest edited a special issue of the Journal of Transcultural Studies (2020). Among his other publications are single-authored research articles in the International Journal of Cultural Studies, Pacific Affairs, Museum History Journal, Social Science Japan Journal, Public Relations Inquiry, and a book chapter in Japanese Taiwan: Colonial Rule and its Contested Legacy (Bloomsbury, 2015). 

Speaker: Jens SEJRUP (Assistant Professor, University of Copenhagen)
Moderator: Delphine VOMSCHEID (FRIJ-MFJ)
Organization: FRIJ-MFJ

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