Open Seminar

Vol. 76

Nostalgia and fantasy in the making of heritage in Asia

  • Date: Friday, August 5, 2022, 5:30 - 7:30pm (JST, UTC+9)
  • Venue: Online (via Zoom Meeting)
  • Speakers:
    • Johannes Widodo (National University of Singapore)
      'Nostalgia and heritage-making in Asian urban spaces'
    • Ryoko Nakano (Kanazawa University)
      'Meiji Nostalgia in Japan's Heritage Diplomacy'
  • Moderator: Lee Kah Hui and Akira Matsuda (both University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology)
  • Language: English
  • Host: The University of Tokyo Humanities Center


Old stuff is reassessed as heritage when a great number of people identify with it. Nostalgia--by virtue of its capacity to sentimentally affect people--can thus be mobilised in this process for the making of heritage, be it local, national or international. However, nostalgia can also engender fantasy, which omits or distorts certain aspects of the past while idealising it vis-à-vis the present. In this Open Seminar, we discuss how nostalgia works in tandem with fantasy in the making and re-making of heritage in Asia.