Cultural Preservation at the Grass Roots: How Have Citizens, Local Politicians, Artisans, Artists, and Academics Engaged with Heritage Sites, Objects, and Practices in Postwar Japan?

Tuesday 2 Jul 2013 | 8.45am - 5pm

Seminar Room, Sainsbury Institute
Norwich NR1 4DH

About the Lecture

Cultural preservation in postwar Japan has been marked by notable innovations that set it apart from prewar and wartime patterns: broader structures for involving local citizens in preservation work, the expansion of designations to include vernacular building styles, folk crafts, and popular cultural practices, and the establishment of a new classification termed intangible heritage. Over the years, each of these innovations has been justified by reference to the ‘democratization’ of cultural heritage. But how democratic is the new system of historic preservation introduced in the decades since 1945? How might we try to assess the ‘democratic’ character of interactions between non-specialists and the current heritage preservation system? This workshop brings together scholars in the fields of history, art history, archaeology, sociology, and heritage studies to explore the contours, limits, and possibilities of grass-roots involvement in postwar Japanese cultural preservation. Looking at the lived experience of cultural properties protection from the bottom up, the participants will present and reflect on the perspectives non-experts, non-officials, and non-bureaucrats, as well as the academic and cultural professionals who have represented and counseled them, have brought to the processes of designation and management of cultural properties in Japan in the postwar era.

Workshop Flyer


8.30am: Doors open
8.45–9am: Welcome by Peter Siegenthaler

Session A
Prewar Legacy in the Postwar System for the Protection of Ancient Burial Mounds in Japan
Akira Matsuda
Sainsbury Institute; University of East Anglia

Cultural Itineraries, Cultural Identities in 1950s Toyama
Peter Siegenthaler
Sainsbury Institute; Texas State University, San Marcos

10-10.30am: Discussion
10.30-10.45am: Break

Session B
Townscape Preservation at the Grassroots: Who Are the Preservationists?
Saburō Horikawa
Hōsei University

Nostalgia for the Re-imagined ‘Other’ Imperial: Taiwan’s Japanese Heritage
Mike Robinson
Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage; University of Birmingham

11.45am-12.15pm: Discussion
12.15-1.45pm: Lunch

Session C
On the Trail of the Flame Pots: Art, Heritage, and the Creation of Place Along the Shinano River
Simon Kaner
Sainsbury Institute; University of East Anglia

The Disappearing Role of Museums as Keepers of Tangible Heritage: Five Extreme Cases of Private Ethnological Museums in Southern Okinawa
Amanda Mayer Stinchecum
Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies, Harvard University

2.45-3.15pm: Discussion
3.15-3.30pm: Break

Session D
Crop Art in Inakadate: Spectacle as Cultural Preservation
Christine Guth (Royal College of Art and Victoria and Albert Museum)

Working the Coalface: Manufacturing Heritage along the Japanese Periphery
Christopher Gerteis (SOAS, University of London)

4.30-5pm: Discussion
5pm: Closing remarks


Please contact the Sainsbury Institute to book your place:
T: 01603 597 507
E: [email protected]