Staging the Emperor in Modern Kyoto: Enthronements, Exhibitions, and More

Ceremony at the Shishinden Viewed from the Shomei Gate, 1928; color lithograph; ink on card stock; 8.9 x 14 cm; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Alice Tseng
Chair and Associate Professor of Art History, Boston University
Thursday, November 7, 2019, 6:00–7:00 pm

807 Schermerhorn Hall

The enthronements of the modern emperors Meiji, Taishō, and Shōwa took place in Kyoto. The continuous connection of Kyoto to the central government in Tokyo and to the evolving imperial house required large-scale new construction and historical preservation to stage the city as the emperor’s ceremonial home. Competing narratives of timelessness and timeliness guided the physical transformation and the visual representation of modern Kyoto as an eternal imperial city, even without an emperor in residence.