Beyond Japan Ep. #46: Gardens of War Memory with Prof Toshio Watanabe

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For the series finale, this week we are joined by Toshio Watanabe, Professor of Japanese Art and Cultural Heritage at the Sainsbury Institute, to discuss gardens of war memory, going over his latest project of transnational gardens across the Pacific with ties to the Asia-Pacific War (1937-45). Toshio invites us to consider gardens as spaces of memory and healing, but also as reminders of colonialism past and present across former territories of the Japanese empire throughout Asia. We also look at gardens as peopled places, looking at the motives for visitors coming to these places: do they come for the memories or just to enjoy nature?

For a comprehensive list of Japanese time periods, please see Japanese History: A Timeline of Periods and Events

Toshio’s recommendations for Japanese gardens:

War in Japan

  • Yasukuni gardens dedicated to Japanese military war dead, Tokyo
  • Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery for Japanese war dead, both military & civilian, Tokyo
  • Kaiten Memorial Museum, Ōzushima

Peace in Japan

  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki Peace Parks
  • Aoto Peace Park, Tokyo
  • Fukuchiyama Peace Park, Kyoto Prefecture

War memory of a place still under colonial conditions

  • Various parks of Okinawa

Image and audio credits

Intro audio: hase-dera, kamakura, japan – garden path by OR poiesis

Outro audio: jasonszklarek / MotionElements.com

[L]“Ainu group dancing tutorial (11)” by avlxyz is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

[R]“Espaço Tokyo 2020” by Secretaria Especial do Esporte is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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