April 3, 2017/ 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Royce 314

Promoting and Banning Photographs in Early Meiji

A Colloquium with Maki Fukuoka, Lecturer at Leeds University

On May 25, 1874 (Meiji 7), the city of Tokyo issued an edict to ban the sales of a photograph of Etō Shinpei. The banned photograph is a composite of his severed head and a poem composed by the noted statesman just before his public execution on April 12. Two years prior to his brutal death, Etō himself had introduced the use of photographic portraiture of wanted criminals and prisoners when he was appointed as the first Shihōkyō (Head of the Ministry of Law). It was by a photographic identification that Etō was said to have been captured in Kochi prefecture while he led a part of the Saga Revolt. 

This talk explores these two incidents involving Etō and the uses of photography. It aims to explore the interrelationship between the two, the historical status and function expected of photographic portraiture. Taking the category of portraiture as an object of historical and critical analyses, rather than a self-evident class of objects, I hope to shed light on relationships between text and image, law and commerce, “vulgarity” and “civilization,” and harm and weal in the politics of representation in the early Meiji period.

About the Speaker
Maki Fukuoka received her Ph.D from the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago in 2006. Her first book, The Premise of Fidelity: Science, Visuality, and Representing the Real in Nineteenth-century Japan was published by Stanford University Press in 2012. Her interest in visual histories and materials of Japan is informed by the studies of visual culture, histories of seeing, and of concepts. A tricky relationship with archives, which unwittingly and decisively shapes the processes of her research, plays a significant part in her second monograph, titled Shaping Likeness: Concepts and Practices of Portraiture in Meiji Japan.

Cost : Free and open to the public.

Download file: 4.3-FUKUOKA-FLYER-3i-0ki.pdf