Member book, Benesch and Zwigenberg, Japan's Castles: Citadels of Modernity in War and Peace

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 University Press, 2019, 376pp, ISBN: 9781108680578).
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.
This book is an 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. We argue that Japan's modern transformations can be traced through its castles. We 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, castles 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.
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 (
Table of Contents:
Introduction 1
Considering Castles and Tenshu 6
Modern Castles on the Margins 9
Overview: “From Feudalism to the Edge of Space” 12
Part I From Feudalism to Empire 15
1 Castles and the Transition to the Imperial State 17
Castles in the Global Early Modern World 20
Castles and the Fall of the Tokugawa 25
Useless Reminders of the Feudal Past 28
Remilitarizing Castles in the Meiji Period 34
Considering Heritage in the Early Meiji Period 42
Castles and the Imperial House 54
Conclusions 59
2 The Discovery of Castles, 1877–1912 61
Making Space Public 64
Civilian Castles and Daimyō Buyback 72
Castles As Sites and Subjects of Exhibitions 81
Civil Society and the Organized Preservation of Castles 88
Conclusions 95
3 Castles, Civil Society, and the Paradoxes of “Taisho Militarism” 96
Building an Urban Military 99
Castles and Military Hard Power 105
Castles and Military Soft Power 110
Challenging the Military 122
The Military and the Public in Osaka 126
The Reconstruction of Heritage in Osaka 131
Conclusions 137
4 Castles in War and Peace: Celebrating Modernity, Empire, and War 140
The Early Development of Castle Studies 143
The Arrival of Castle Studies in Wartime 148
Castles for Town and Country 158
Castles for the Empire 169
Conclusions 179
Part II From Feudalism to the Edge of Space 183
5 Castles in War and Peace II: Kokura, Kanazawa, and the Rehabilitation of the Nation 185
The Imperial Castle and the Transformation of the Center 188
Kanazawa Castle and the Ideals of Progressive Education 197
Losing Our Traditions: Lamenting the Fate of Japanese Heritage 207
Kokura Castle and the Politics of Japanese Identity 214
Conclusions 224
6 Fukkō: Hiroshima Castle Rises from the Ashes 228
Hiroshima Castle: From Castle Road to MacArthur Road and Back 230
Prelude to the Castle: Rebuilding Hiroshima’s Gokoku Shrine 237
Reconstructions: Celebrations of Recovery in Hiroshima 242
Between Modernity and Tradition at the Periphery and on the World Stage 253
The Weight of Meiji: The Imperial General Headquarters in Hiroshima and the Meiji Centenary 258
Conclusions 266
7 Escape from the Center: Castles and the Search for Local Identity 268
Elephants and Castles: Odawara and the Shadow of Tokyo 270
Victims of History I: Aizu-Wakamatsu and the Revival of Grievances 276
Victims of History II: Shimabara Castle and the Enshrinement of Loss 283
Southern Barbarians at the Gates: Kokura Castle’s Struggle with Authenticity 286
Conclusions 292
8 Japan’s New Castle Builders: Recapturing Tradition and Culture 294
Rebuilding the Meijō: (Re)Building Campaigns in Kumamoto and Nagoya 296
No Business Like Castle Business: Castle Architects and Construction Companies 302
Symbols of the People? Conflict and Accommodation in Kumamoto and Nagoya 312
Conclusions 319
Conclusions 321
Bibliography 331
Index 351
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