[S2E1] 👂 Reinterpreting Difficult Heritage: Mimizuka, “Hill of Ears” with Oliver Moxham

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Welcome back to the second series of Beyond Japan! This week the tables are turned as Professor Simon Kaner, Director of the Sainsbury Institute, interviews host Oliver Moxham on the topic of his recently completed master’s thesis, Reinterpreting Difficult Heritage. The case study of Oliver’s research is Mimizuka, the Hill of Ears, a burial mound containing tens of thousands of pickled ears and noses taken from Joseon Korean and Ming Chinese soldiers in Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s 16th century invasion of Korea, the Imjin War. Located in a tourist hub of Kyoto, Higashiyama district, his research explored how the language barrier limits international engagement at the site and how analysing multilingual Google Maps reviews reveals how tourist stakeholders in its war history engage with it and their desire, or lack of, for it to be interpreted by others. Oliver also talks to Simon about the challenges and benefits of taking a digital approach to ethnographic research, and offers some reflections on the first series of Beyond Japan.

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


Image and audio credits

Intro-outro audio: jasonszklarek / MotionElements.com

[L] A man dressed in traditional Korean clothing performs in front of Mimizuka’s mound. Source: Noriyasu Hagimoto

[R] Excerpt from an extreme Japanese-language Google Maps review on Mimizuka. Source: 湯浅洋一

Copyright © 2021 Oliver Moxham, ℗ 2021 Oliver Moxham. May be freely distributed in a classroom setting.

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