Member Publication: Japan's Castles: Citadels of Modernity in War and Peace (Cambridge, 2019)

Oleg Benesch's picture
Apologies for cross-postings. I'm pleased to announce the publication of Ran Zwigenberg and my new book, Japan's Castles: Citadels of Modernity in War and Peace (Cambridge, 2019). The book is a treatment of the modern history of castles from the 1860s to the present, focusing on the uses of Japan's premodern heritage, and I hope it might be of interest to members of this list. We hope that it might also be of use for teaching, and the book includes 42 black-and-white photographs and illustrations.
There is more information on the CUP website (Japan's Castles: Citadels of Modernity in War and Peace), and a discount of 20% for anyone using the code JC2019 when ordering. There is also a generous sample available on Google Books (
From the publisher:
"An innovative examination of heritage politics in Japan, showing how castles have been used to re-invent and recapture competing versions of the pre-imperial past and project possibilities for Japan's future. Oleg Benesch and Ran Zwigenberg argue that Japan's modern transformations can be traced through its castles. They examine how castle preservation and reconstruction campaigns served as symbolic ways to assert particular views of the past and were crucial in the making of an idealized premodern history. Castles have been used to craft identities, to create and erase memories, and to symbolically join tradition and modernity. Until 1945, they served as physical and symbolic links between the modern military and the nation's premodern martial heritage. After 1945, castles were cleansed of military elements and transformed into public cultural spaces that celebrated both modernity and the pre-imperial past. What were once signs of military power have become symbols of Japan's idealized peaceful past."
Best regards,
Oleg and Ran
Oleg Benesch, PhD FRHistS
Senior Lecturer in East Asian History (Associate Professor)
Chair of the Board of Examiners in History
Department of History | University of York