Nations and Nationalisms: Japanese Perspectives

The post-doctoral research project analyses the use of ecological notions and environmental imagery in nationalist discourse and its impact on protection and management policies. While protection policies appeal to scientific principles and are often grounded on ecological reasoning, they can nevertheless be easily engaged into a political and national agenda because of the historic nature of systemic descriptions.

The present project takes three areas of cultural and natural heritage in Central and North-Western Japan (historical Ohmi, Hida and Fukushima areas in today's Shiga, Toyama and Fukushima prefectures) as a case study and analyses how the ecological notion of sustainability in the traditional agrarian landscapes gets involved in modern Japanese nationalism. The case studies represent the cradle of Japanese rice agribusiness and the focus of pictorial representations of the satoyama ecosystems (Shiga prefecture) on the one hand, and on the other, the mountainous Toyama areas where up to the end of 19th century the economy was based on swidden millet agriculture combined with silk and gunpowder contraband. These two locations that host some emblematic rural heritage sites are compared to the discourse on industrial heritage and Fukushima agriculture, in the light of March 11, 2011 tsunami and nuclear catastrophe. It discusses how nature-based nationalism has emerged during the nation-building process and how natural, cultural and industrial heritage management links to it.

Project leader: Kati Lindström

Supervisors: ,

Funding agency: Wenner-Gren Stiftelserna

Duration: 2014

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Belongs to: Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment
Last changed: Mar 30, 2017