On the trail of Shiba Ryotaro and Jane Austen: Novels, Heritage, and Contents Tourism in Japan and the UK

Key information

6:15 PM to 8:00 PM
Brunei Gallery
Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

About this event

Prof Philip Seaton (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)
The Jane Austen Festival (Bath)


Japan and the United Kingdom are two leading examples of nations that have converted rich literary heritage into important tourist resources. This talk examines tourism generated by one much-loved novelist from each nation: Shiba Ryotaro and Jane Austen. Discussion of Shiba centres on the way that his epic novel Clouds Above the Hill transformed tourism relating to the Russo-Japanese War. Discussion of Jane Austen centres on the explosion in Austenmania and related tourism since the mid 1990s, particularly in the aftermath of the BBC’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice . What connects these seemingly disparate examples is the role of novels in creating a resonant “narrative world”, which is then expanded via screen and other adaptations into “contents” that induce tourism at heritage sites related to the original novels and adaptations. Using the Japanese concept of “contents tourism” (a variant of the more familiar terms “literary tourism” and “film-induced tourism”), the talk will discuss how and why despite the technological wizardry of the modern film industry, it is still the written word that underpins these and many of the other most successful examples of tourism induced by works of popular culture.


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On the trail of Shiba Ryotaro and Jane Austen: Novels, Heritage, and Contents Tourism in Japan and the UK

The Memorial Ship Mikasa (Yokosuka)

Speaker Biography

Philip Seaton is a professor in the Institute of Japan Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. His main research areas are Japanese war memories and contents tourism relating to historical narratives and heritage sites. He is the author or (co-)editor of four books on these topics, and has guest edited special editions of Japan Forum and Journal of War & Culture Studies . Please see Philip Seaton's website for further information.

We are very grateful for the generous support of Mr Stephen McEnally , which makes the 2019 W.G. Beasley Memorial Lecture possible.

Organiser: SOAS Japan Research Centre

Contact email: centres@soas.ac.uk

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4892/3