UW-Madison professor presents “Tokyo Tower and Japanese Kitsch”
University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Steven Ridgely will present a talk on Japanese culture at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13 in Niemann Media Theatre. Prof. Ridgely is an associate professor of East Asian Studies and Literature at UW-Madison. His field of research encompasses modern Japanese literature, film, and popular culture.
The talk is titled “Tokyo Tower and Japanese Kitsch.” Tokyo Tower, completed in 1958, presents as perfect evidence of Japan’s imitation problem—a near-replica of Eiffel but slightly taller, made of steel, and painted bright orange. However, a close look at the cultural discourse in Japan on the tower reveals a more complex story. This study tracks the shifting signification of Tokyo Tower from an engineering triumph in the ’50s, to a target of attack in monster movies and an icon of kitsch in the ’70s, to a symbol of melancholia and decline in recent years.
Refreshments will be provided.