Title of Paper

War-related Tourism in Japan: Constructing Sites, Constructing Narratives

Presenter Information

Philip SeatonFollow

Presenter Bios (50 Words)

Philip Seaton is a professor in the Institute of Japan Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. He is the author/editor of four books and editor of two journal special editions on war memories and contents tourism. His website is www.philipseaton.net

Abstract (150 Words)

This Ideas Fair presentation asks how, when and under what circumstances war and historical violence produce heritage/dark sites, and how these transform into sites of entertainment and leisure over time. Depictions of war in popular culture (particularly cinema, dramas, and novels) are vital within the process of generating a “usable set of historical contents” that both enables a touristification process and sustains a war-related tourism industry. These questions will be discussed with reference to three well-known historical figures who appear repeatedly in Japanese war-related popular culture: Hijikata Toshizō (1835-1869), Nogi Maresuke (1849-1912), and Tōjō Hideki (1884-1948). By juxtaposing the micro (the individuals’ usability as “characters”) and the macro (the broader usability of the Boshin War, Russo-Japanese War and Asia-Pacific War respectively), and by presenting some of the tourist sites/events related to these characters/wars, the temporal, political and cultural circumstances under which war-related contents tourism may flourish will be discussed.

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War-related Tourism in Japan: Constructing Sites, Constructing Narratives

This Ideas Fair presentation asks how, when and under what circumstances war and historical violence produce heritage/dark sites, and how these transform into sites of entertainment and leisure over time. Depictions of war in popular culture (particularly cinema, dramas, and novels) are vital within the process of generating a “usable set of historical contents” that both enables a touristification process and sustains a war-related tourism industry. These questions will be discussed with reference to three well-known historical figures who appear repeatedly in Japanese war-related popular culture: Hijikata Toshizō (1835-1869), Nogi Maresuke (1849-1912), and Tōjō Hideki (1884-1948). By juxtaposing the micro (the individuals’ usability as “characters”) and the macro (the broader usability of the Boshin War, Russo-Japanese War and Asia-Pacific War respectively), and by presenting some of the tourist sites/events related to these characters/wars, the temporal, political and cultural circumstances under which war-related contents tourism may flourish will be discussed.