HAA Lecture “Emperor Taishō, Mass Media Monarch: Portraits and Popular Imagery in Twentieth-Century Japan” (Jan. 29, 2020)

The Boston University Department of History of Art & Architecture
invites you to the next lecture in the 2019-2020 HAA Lecture Series

Emperor Taishō, Mass Media Monarch:
Portraits and Popular Imagery
in Twentieth-Century Japan

Prof. Alice Tseng

(Chair and Associate Professor, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Boston Univ.)

Wednesday, January 29, 2020, 6 pm
Boston University College of Arts & Sciences Building
725 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, Room 132


Despite his short life and even shorter tenure on the throne, Emperor Taishō (1879-1926) was the first Japanese emperor to have his full life, from childhood to death, visually documented and disseminated through mass media. Newspapers, magazines, albums, prints, and postcards widely circulated his formal portraits alongside images of people and places he visited, and ceremonies and events he participated in. This talk analyzes the nascent visual ubiquity of the emperor figure in modern Japan, taking into consideration the global phenomenon of using photography and other highly reproducible media to picture royalty as at once inimitable authority and celebrity entertainment.
The HAA Lecture Series brings together historians of art, architecture and material culture specializing in diverse fields and genres. Prominent scholars are invited to share their latest research with the BU community in a lecture followed by Q&A and a light reception. The HAA Lecture Series is organized by a committee of graduate students and faculty from the department.