Chapter 1 Introduction: Heritage Sites and Borders of Memory

In: Heritage, Contested Sites, and Borders of Memory in the Asia Pacific
Edward Boyle
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Steven Ivings
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This introduction describes the heritage boom that has gripped Asia and the Pacific in recent decades, a result of socio-political change, globalization, and cycles of economic expansion and decline. In this region, too, the rise to prominence of heritage has brought to the fore local, national, and global contestations over the historical narratives and memories which inhere to heritage sites and practices. The intersection of varied actors, networks, and scales of governance at individual sites gives rise to a heritage cut through by borders of memory, which emerge and are redefined over the course of contestation which arises at specific heritage sites, and the larger narratives through which their meaning is made. Drawing on insights from the interdisciplinary border studies field, this introduction asserts the importance of reflecting on heritage as a process within which borders are demarcated, constituted, produced, and policed between different social actors and memory communities. The editors then outline and contextualize the contributions of the individual chapters that make up this volume, which collectively look to interrogate how the significance of heritage sites and practices comes to be contested along their borders of memory.

In 2001, the Japan Times carried an article that highlighted the ‘heritage boom’ beginning to grip Asia. Coming soon after the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the article trenchantly asserted that the recent attention Asian states and societies placed on heritage represented a cultural reaction to modernity. A greater focus on the preservation and conservation of their ‘traditional’ built environment was indicative of people’s desire to retain some sense of cultural identity and authenticity in the face of a rapidly globalizing world (Mansfield 2001). The growth of heritage, in this interpretation, emerges as a social response to the dislocations of contemporary life, with certain material and cultural legacies of the past serving as a nostalgic antidote to the pressures induced by itself modernity. Viewed two decades later, the article appears remarkably prescient in its attention to the ‘boom’ within Asia to conserve and preserve aspects of the past. The chapters in this collection trace out the processes by which sites within Asia have been designated as heritage, and in doing so, shed light on the contested politics of heritage production in the region.

Shining a spotlight upon the politics of heritage formation is a necessary endeavour, as the two decades since the article was written have not seen any abatement in this explosion of heritage. In this introduction, we set out the significance of Asia’s ongoing ‘heritage boom’ and seek to position the work showcased here in relation to previous studies of heritage. We then move on to explain the concept of borders of memory, applied by many of the chapters in order to make sense of the growing significance of heritage to the region. The concept builds on innovations within the interdisciplinary field of border studies in order to explicate the complex, multiscalar realities that attend to how sites of heritage are understood today.

Recent advances in the study of borders have emphasized that they should be understood as ongoing processes of division rather than as static, linear demarcations of tangible difference exclusively drawn and associated with the state. The focus has switched to borders as ‘mechanisms,’ ‘structural entities [which] can generate different effects in different circumstances. They can enclose as well as relate; they can form barriers as much as frontiers; they can facilitate their crossing as well as enclose and divide’ (Piliavsky 2013, 41; also cited in Sidaway 2015). Borders of memory draws on this processual understanding of borders to demonstrate how the creation of social, spatial and temporal connections and divisions is necessary for the production of heritage. The notion usefully emphasizes how the designation of material sites as heritage exposes the distinct, and frequently contested, ways in which such sites are understood by different memory communities.

In its application of the notion of borders to sites of heritage, this volume challenges the general association of borders with the state and its physical boundaries—although as many of the chapters show, perceptions of the spatial and temporal extent of states structures the mnemonic borders running through the heritage sites themselves (Boyle 2019). The collection also interrogates our understanding of borders in the geographical diversity of the sites being examined. Many of the sites of heritage under examination are in Kyushu, reflecting the volume’s origins in a conference held at Kyushu University in July 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 restrictions. However, neither prefectural-level emergency measures nor the closure of Japan’s international borders limited the collection’s content or concepts, and the volume’s coverage expands out over not only the rest of Japan, but out into the Pacific Ocean and Southeast Asia (see Map 1.1). As such, the volume as a whole ‘uses knowledge of a variety of places and a variety of disciplinary approaches in order to elucidate problems that cross boundaries. In doing this, it accepts the need to draw its own maps’ (Morris-Suzuki 2020). Collectively, it interrogates how historical and future relations within Asia (primarily Japan, China, Korea) and between Asia and the West are interpreted and contested at heritage sites throughout Asia and the Pacific, and does so while challenging the national and regional borders which frequently structure areas of scholarly investigation (see also Lewis and Wigen 1997).

MAP 1.1
MAP 1.1

Geographical coverage of the heritage sites examined in this volume


1 Situating Heritage in Asia

The chapters in this collection constitute a series of studies into the means or processes by which particular objects come to be designated and contested as heritage. Consequently, there is no need to adopt a restrictive definition of heritage itself, as it is an inherently broad term used to ‘describe everything from buildings to cooking styles, songs to personal belongings, ethnicity to religion’ (Harrison 2013, 14). It is taken as given here that heritage encompasses an immense variety of ways through which aspects of the past come to be emphasized and asserted in the present. The collective scope offered in what follows is correspondingly broad, encompassing dialect poetry, festivals, human remains, and art exhibits as well as physical structures; a series of objects and practices that may be understood as representing a variety of heritages: sacred, industrial, architectural, war, and disaster. What unites these disparate modes of heritage is that they are all used by particular groups, operating at scales ranging from small communities to national states and transnational institutions, to make particular, subjective claims about the past. The focus is on the relations between these communities, which emerge and are channelled through the heritage itself, as well as on how the contours of their contests and connections come to be demarcated through the process of heritage recognition.

The celebration of heritage in Asia today is ubiquitous, and this is reflected in the increasing attention it has received from academic inquiry. This book contextualizes Asia’s heritage through the ‘boom’ Stephen Mansfield highlighted twenty years previously in order to emphasize how the study of memory and heritage has developed in the intervening period. Both the practice and study of heritage within Asia has involved the adoption and adaption of ideas and governing frameworks initially employed elsewhere, most notably in North America and, particularly, Europe. Yet while many of the trends visible within heritage in Asia have antecedents or parallels elsewhere, there are regional specificities which influence the ways in which particular sites and spaces of memory come to be understood as heritage. Three that are frequently highlighted as having particularly shaped the production and reception of heritage in Asia and the Pacific are outlined below.

First, the greater political stability experienced from the 1980s onwards by many of the region’s postcolonial states encouraged them to pay greater attention to heritage policies as a means of fostering an integrated national history and identity. The ending of the Cold War accelerated this development, but it had long been noted for Japan, and was clearly visible in states as varied as Singapore and the People’s Republic of China from the early 1980s (Frost, Vickers, and Schumacher 2019; Aygen and Logan 2015). Second, the region’s economic dynamism has particularly incentivized communities and their states to market heritage as a cultural resource in order to compete for finance and attention. This has been facilitated by the adoption of governance frameworks from elsewhere, as well as the expansion of institutions like UNESCO (Brumann and Cox 2009; Matsuda and Mengoni 2016; Akagawa 2014). Third, and in contrast to Europe, the continued absence of regional political institutions in Northeast Asia, in particular (Boyle and Iwashita 2021; Iwashita and Boyle 2022), has meant that heritage contestation has become a key feature of international relations. The result is that heritage is frequently weaponized and used by the region’s states as a means of attaining both domestic and international legitimacy (Akagawa 2016; Nakano 2018; Nakano and Zhu 2020).

Each of these features are shaped by the international political situation within the region. However, they also impact the role of heritage in domestic, as well as transnational, settings. The chapters in this volume trace out the complex processes through which heritage is produced, and pay particular attention to contestation which emerges between actors operating within distinct networks and at a variety of scales. In order for us to be able to appreciate this contestation, and the borders of memory to which it gives rise, it is necessary to recognize that heritage must be understood as a complex process dependent upon a wide variety of forces and factors operating on multiple levels. This combination of the multiscalar production together with explosive regional significance constitute the domestic and international environment within which heritage-making, and contestation over heritage, occurs; together they have ensured that Asia’s heritage boom is a notably loud one.

The next section examines this contemporary emphasis on heritage in Asia more closely, and details how sites and spaces of heritage are constituted through the activities of actors operating at different scales. The following section then clarifies the significance of border studies to reflecting on heritage, and demonstrates how the notion of borders of memory is a crucial one for thinking about heritage in the region. Important for our purposes is how the differences and contestation between different groups and communities which emerge over these heritage sites come to be reflected in the borders of memory that cut through them. Finally, the structure of the book and the individual contributions that make up the collection will be introduced.

2 Points of Contact—National, Global, Local

Mansfield’s article on Asia’s ‘heritage boom’ sought to distinguish between the heritage policies of states and other administrative organs on the one hand, and heritage as authentic community expression on the other. This is clearest towards the end of the article, which draws a distinction between the ‘gentrification’ of Singapore’s Chinatown versus the unplanned preservation of authentic community life in Little India, with the heritage value of the latter contrasted with the former’s absence of authenticity (Mansfield 2001). This distinction, which provides a useful starting point for emphasizing heritage’s role as a space in which local, national and global threads are knotted together, invokes heritage as an authentic repository of local cultural traditions, which is positioned in opposition to the rampant modernization promoted by ambitious Asian development states.

This perspective implies that while states and other administrations have increased their interest in heritage and implemented policies to preserve it, this has been for secular, cynical reasons; as the article has it, ‘preservation is analogous with the promotion of tourism’, and thus a means of bolstering state or administrative coffers. As states are rarely interested in the cultural value of heritage for its own sake, the results of state initiatives are often lamented by cultural commentators and the upholders of cultural traditions. Singapore’s Chinatown, for example, has become a sterile pastiche of heritage, rather than a true expression of a diverse cultural community. The true repositories of traditional heritage, in this interpretation, belong with the local, and the state should seek to preserve their cultural practices and values as heritage. The Japan Times article offers several terms—’nostalgia’, ‘rediscovery’, and ‘self-awakening’—that contrast local heritage to the state, but this distinction is rarely so straightforward in practice (see Solomon’s contribution on this point). The understanding that heritage exists in opposition to modernization emphasizes conservation rather than the production of heritage, and thus its backward-looking, nostalgic character. However, the emergence of heritage as a distinct policy arena for governments today suggests that such an understanding is a partial one. Its growing prominence here clearly shows that heritage policy developed as an institutionalized means of interpreting inherited objects through the concerns of the present (as Satari’s chapter shows). Associated in its modern form with the centralizing European states of the nineteenth century, heritage may be understood as a state project taking its ‘cue from the grand narratives of Western national and elite class experiences, [reinforcing] the idea of innate cultural value tied to time depth, monumentality, expert knowledge and aesthetics’ (Smith 2006, 299). Historically, and today, heritage was a means through which the diverse particularisms of pre-modern social orders were to be welded into a coherent national society. Therefore, while often presented as a romantic drive to preserve and restore monuments of value and quaint cultural practices to the nation, heritage must also be seen as a key component in the creative project of constructing modern states out of diverse localities and communities (as shown for Singapore by Chan’s chapter).

The ‘heritage boom’ thus reflects not only the desire of more local communities for authentic expression, but the efforts of Asia’s states to ‘negotiate their national histories and how they appropriate cultural pasts and natural environments within strategies of governance and identity making’ (Winter and Daly 2011, 4). The role of heritage in the national project is clear from the establishment of formal heritage institutions in Asia, which occurred in conjunction with the development of self-consciously modern states. In Japan, for instance, broad-ranging efforts after the Meiji Revolution of 1868 to have the government recognized as the sovereign equal of the West included the rapid emergence of heritage as a site of state intervention (Takagi 2012), and of a political framework within which it would be preserved. These initial efforts to establish heritage legislation and institutions occurred within a broader conservationist agenda inspired by the European and American experiences, and which would eventually also incorporate the sites they inspired or left behind (see Gee’s chapter on this point). The Proclamation for the Protection of Antiques and Old Properties of 1871 was the first in a long line of legislation that would culminate after the Second World War in the 1950 Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties. The latter rearticulated the content of the various cultural property protection laws which had been promulgated down to 1945 through an expansive conception of ‘cultural property’, adding the notion of intangible cultural products to the material sites and objects with which European heritage legislation was traditionally concerned (Trifu 2017). This institutionalized system of heritage protection would be further extended on several occasions. While the meaning of preservation and its role in relation to other policy objectives has of course shifted over time, what has remained consistent is the state’s desire to establish governance over heritage.

Japan’s experience provided an influential model for legislation elsewhere and has found echoes in other Asian countries. For nations emerging from the disruptions of colonialism and independence, Japan offered an important reference point, an example of how cultural heritage could be utilised to build a modern state. The effects of this have been obvious from the 1980s, where conflicts over heritage has been drawn into the broader ‘history wars’ characteristic of international relations in East Asia, in particular. As such, Japan’s government, and other Asian states, could hardly be accused of a merely instrumental interest in heritage as an exploitable economic resource. These ongoing contests make clear the ways in which heritage processes enable states to assert their legitimacy on the global stage, and in dialogue with international institutions. The legitimacy of heritage policies domestically has been strengthened through UNESCO’s world heritage programme, while national policies of heritage preservation are shaped by participation in international forums like UNESCO and ICOMOS (see the chapter by Mateoc). Although the ideals which underpin these cultural heritage programs are cosmopolitan and inclusive, in reality a system under which states nominate and assert their own heritage as possessing Outstanding Universal Value means that particular sites and examples of heritage come to be seen as properties of the nation, and thus another means through which states are able to assert themselves against one another within international society (as Boyle’s chapter demonstrates).

The importance ascribed to heritage by both states and society in the region is emblematic of how heritage is never solely concerned with the conservation or preservation of the past, instead seeking to use its legacies as a resource with which to respond to the present. Operating alongside ‘the rush to replace the old’ in this economically-dynamic region is a recognition of the importance of preservation for the project of constituting the nation. Here, local and national priorities frequently align. In Japan, revisions to the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties in 2018 granted more freedom for preserved cultural properties to be used as resources for tourism, in order to free up local authorities to maximize their appeal. Increasingly, amidst the dynamic growth that has come to characterize Asia, there are localities faced with decline that have sought to mobilise and rebrand heritage for the purpose of fostering regeneration (as Ivings details for Hakodate). In areas afflicted by disaster, the preservation of local heritage and its promotion as a tool of regeneration represents a policy goal with broad-reaching support, whatever the specific conflicts that may arise over the role of this heritage (as Gerster and Fulco show).

Consequently, throughout the region, the celebration of the local operates within national frameworks—legislative, financial, and discursive—which make drawing a clear distinction between the two difficult. They are both imbricated at individual sites of heritage. While states do not unilaterally shape or control heritage, they are often its most prominent exponents. This means, however, that the power of non-state actors is not always recognized when reflecting upon the links that exist between the collective memories, their role in the reformulation of national identities, and relations across borders (as shown in the chapter by Alexander). Attention to such phenomena demonstrate the ways in which domestic contestation over heritage impacts upon conservation efforts overseas (see Iitaka here), and how the interpretation of heritage at home is shaped by its connections across borders (as Aukema demonstrates), in ways which resonate with recent protests over post-imperial heritage elsewhere in the world.

The recent focus on the connections of heritage with protest has emphasized that the meaning ascribed and associated with heritage are not fixed, but are open to being altered and transformed. This may reflect a transformation in the political context within which heritage is understood, but it also highlights the fact that the meanings made at particular sites of heritage are themselves the outcome of wider social processes (as Shimizu shows). Instead of a backward-looking social concern with the past and its preservation, or an instrumental concern of the state with heritage as a source of either identity or finance, heritage here will be emphasized as a productive process that reflects the efforts of states, institutions, and societies to utilize it as a means of shaping their futures. This process brings together networks and forces operating at distinct scales within as well as beyond the boundaries of contemporary nation-states (Lähdesmäki, Zhu, and Thomas 2019), which come to be reflected and refracted through the narrow confines of particular heritage sites. In order that this heritage contestation be opened up to examination, this collection will make use of the notion of borders of memory.

3 Contact, Dissonance, and Borders of Memory

To understand the contestation that occurs over heritage, it is important to consider the way in which multiple scales of governance and imagination overlap and are entangled at specific sites of heritage. Oftentimes this involves the intervention of and interaction between multiple actors operating at particular scales, ranging from intensely local examples of heritage practice by individuals and local communities through to the involvement of national delegations at international institutions of heritage governance. It is also the case, though, that these varied scales are not passively reflected in the recognition of heritage, but is absolutely fundamental to the heritage process (Harvey 2015).

Relations between distinct scales of governance and memory are essential to the work of ascribing and memorializing heritage. Naturally, these relations incorporate contestation both within and between scales, as these reflect disagreements over the ‘particular set of values that we wish to take with us into the future’ (Harrison 2013, 4). This contestation over values is not one that involves only those local to particular sites of heritage, or particular states within which the sites are located, but may involve international and transnational actors too. Thinking in terms of borders of memory allows for us to understand how the aims and activities of these actors become entangled in the production and maintenance of particular heritage sites. Through this process of entanglement, the positions of the actors are defined relative to one another, with the result that borders of memory come to be demarcated through the site of heritage itself.

Emphasizing the notion of a border of memory as a crucial concept for the study of heritage builds upon two decades of work within the interdisciplinary border studies field. The concept reflects the fact that studies of borders have seen ‘a shift away from legalistic boundary drawing and cross-border economic trends’ and towards the ways in which borders come to be constituted as and through processes, performances and practices (Salter 2012). This builds upon three well-documented changes in the ways borders are understood. One is the proliferation of agents involved with the process of bordering, and the diversity of actors contributing to the ways in which borders are created, shifted and transformed in everyday life (Brambilla 2015). A second is a recognition that sites of bordering now occur throughout the state, rather than merely at its territorial edges (Balibar 2002, 75–86). A third has been recognition of the complex temporalities associated with borders, ‘their ability to appear or disappear, to materialize at certain times or for certain groups of people with sudden intensity; to morph, or acquire the quality of permanent fixtures’ (Reeves 2014, 7). Our invocation of borders here emphasizes the way in which these borders of memory that cut through heritage are produced through the designation of sites and activities, and how it is that these borders of memory materialize, shift, harden and ameliorate as heritage comes to be processed, performed and practiced.

The borders that emerge at such sites of heritage may therefore be productively understood as ‘sites of cultural encounter’ (Rumford 2012) through which shifting borders of memory run. A related notion drawn upon by several of our contributors is of heritage sites as ‘contact zones’, Mary Louise Pratt’s term for those spaces where ‘cultures meet, clash and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today,’ and particularly in places where the movement of people and commodities has historically brought about such contact (Pratt 1991; 2007). Pratt’s emphasis is on the transformation in identity that emerges through these dynamic spaces, and may be productively used for thinking about the ways in which heritage shapes the memorialization of these ‘cultural encounters’, as well as the borders to which they give rise. However, rather than concentrating on shifts in identity that emerge out of this process, the focus of borders of memory remains on those contested elements of narrative which receive definition in relation to other actors, and thus to where particular understandings of the extent or meaning of heritage clash and rub up against those of other groups.

The contestation which frequently emerges at and across borders of memory partially echoes the argument of Tunbridge and Ashworth for the ‘dissonant’ character of heritage, through which they emphasized the inherently contested nature of heritage production, as well as the possibilities that exist for the emergence of ‘consonance’, or harmony (Tunbridge and Ashworth 1996). We would certainly agree that the authority to control which stories are told about the past means that individual heritage sites emerge as resources. It is this which gives rise to contestation, for it is control over such resources which authorizes the right for particular stories to be heard. However, while dissonance may be harmonized through minor changes in key, the notion of borders of memory reflects that shifts within individual claims to heritage will not be sufficient to overcome the mnemonic borders staked out between different memory communities. These are comprehended in relational terms, in dialogue with what is on the other side of the border. It is only when such communities are brought into dialogue across the border, with the border itself transformed into a zone of contact rather than a marker of separation, that the possibility of overcoming the borders of memory present at such sites emerges (Boyle 2019).

In that respect, the concept of borders of memory is closer to Anna Cento Bull and Hans Lauge Hansen’s adaptation of Chantal Mouffe’s work on the inherently contested nature of the political (Mouffe 2013) to questions of heritage and memory (Cento Bull and Hansen 2016). As in their understanding of ‘agonistic heritage’, the recognition granted to the borders of memory which exist at sites of heritage is not to argue that these are permanent, nor to claim that the mnemonic cleavages which they demarcate are necessarily irreconcilable. The term is utilized here in order to delineate the site or practice through which the heritage claims of a variety of groups come into contact. The competing claims made for the mnemonic significance of the site in question means that these groups seek to assert their authority over the site. In so doing, sites of heritage are spaces that come to be defined by both the spatial and temporal boundaries of the heritage being memorialized, while being cut through by borders of memory. These borders represent divides between distinct communities—political, social, memorial—and thus serve to guarantee that the role and presence of a heritage site within wider narratives is always a provisional and contested one.

4 Outline of this Volume

The pieces in this collection focus on the processes through which particular sites of memory have come to be memorialized and transformed into heritage today. These sites of heritage are geographically diverse, some are concentrated in south-western Japan whilst others are located across a great swathe of Asia and out into the Pacific Ocean (as shown by Map 1.1). The individual contributions reveal the varied scales, disparate actors and complex spatialities associated with heritage, which through the process of being memorialized, and as an outcome of that process, have generated contestation between groups that finds reflection in and at the site itself as borders of memory. The twelve chapters are arranged into three sections, which successively stress the role of heritage practices in constituting sites of heritage cut through by borders of memory, the ways in which borders of memory operate at recognized sites of heritage, and the ways in which these borders appear, harden, ameliorate or disappear over time at particular heritage sites.

The first section, Heritage Practices, details a variety of means through which sites of heritage are brought into being. The four contributions here all lay particular stress upon the ways in which acts of remembrance come to constitute sites of heritage and memory, but taken collectively they emphasize the varied scales at which these heritage practices operate.

The first piece, by Joshua Lee Solomon on ‘Regional Language as Mnemonic Practice: Stewarding Place through Storytelling in Rural Japan’, provides a detailed examination of the role of vernacular rural storytelling in the Tsugaru region, a historical designation referring to the western half of contemporary prefecture of Aomori at the far northern end of Japan’s main island of Honshu. Solomon focuses our attention on a group of storytellers who perform both traditional tales and adaptions of modern stories, crucially all in the local dialect. The sites at which the mnemonic practices associated with this group occur are local cultural institutions: schools, libraries, radio stations, but the heritage site constituted through this practice is the geographic and cultural entity of Tsugaru itself, invoked through the use of vernacular language and the appearance of historical and geographical markers within the stories. The activities of this group of enthusiastic amateurs are motivated by a perceived imperative of conservation. Members of the group strive to preserve old stories associated with their own rural childhoods, and in doing so contribute ‘to the healing of communal ruptures wrought by cosmopolitan modernity by, in part, reminding elderly listeners of the language of their place of origin and teaching the youth of today that aspect of their heritage’. It is tempting to view this as simple nostalgia, a backward-looking celebration for a mode of local speech and communication, and therefore community, on the verge of disappearance. However, in situating the activities of this group within a longer local tradition of efforts to preserve regional identity through vernacular language, Solomon calls attention to ways in which the heritage site (Tsugaru) is continuously memorialized and reconstituted.

As a practice, this storytelling appears unashamedly local, grounded in the lives and speech of the inhabitants of the region rather than in the exoticising imperatives of the nation’s tourist infrastructure and its fetishized furusato cultural complex. However, understanding this as merely a celebration of the local opposed to the unifying imperatives of a Tokyo-centred cosmopolitan nationalism is also insufficient. The recent valorisation of local dialects, which Solomon notes, speaks to the changing meaning and relations between understandings of national and local heritage in Japan, an ongoing contestation also visible in the participants’ own invocation of their vanishing dialect as the untainted original language of the Japanese people. The borders of memory running through national and local are not impenetrable, as through their storytelling, the group’s members are memorializing Tsugaru in order to make sense of their present as well as celebrate the past, neither of which are entirely bounded by the heritage site of Tsugaru which their mnemonic practice invokes. Solomon’s careful account shows how the positions and meanings of local and national in heritage are not fixed, but are themselves (re)negotiated through practice over time.

This role of heritage practices in shifting and transforming memorial communities is also visible in Ying-kit Chan’s contribution examining ‘The Chineseness of Chinatown in Singapore: Chinese New Year Celebrations in a Multiracial Heritage Site’. Here, in contrast to Solomon’s local, lived exploration of the role of practice in the constitution of heritage, the emphasis is on the state’s efforts to adapt one specific practice, the Chinese New Year, or Chingay, parade, and use it as a celebration of and for the multiracial city-state of Singapore. The site with which the festival was associated, Singapore’s traditional Chinatown, was in the latter half of the twentieth century transformed from an area of residence for multiple distinct dialect groups who emigrated from China into a space of heritage for the state’s dominant ethnicity, one of the three races that officially constitute the majority of the Singapore’s population. As was noted earlier in the introduction, this particular state intervention became a byword for the artificiality of state efforts to promote heritage in the absence of any real connection with people’s daily lives. What emerged was a ‘global’ yet artificial Chinatown, one which borrowed motifs and inspiration from elsewhere in the world, yet with little connection to the lives of the district’s former inhabitants.

This trend bled into the state’s establishment of an official New Year Festival and Parade which took place in Chinatown, and became a sanitized mishmash of local traditions repackaged as a multicultural celebration of the state, rather than of any particular community. The Chingay festival, like Chinatown itself, was the object of state policies that sought to overcome community division at two scales. The first was within the dialect communities that would come to constitute Singapore’s Chinese population, while the second was that between the Chinese and other races of Singapore. In order to reinterpret festivals associated with various Chinese communities as a secularized expression of a ‘multiracial’ nation, the Chingay parade was institutionalized with much of its original religious and spiritual meaning as heritage bowdlerised. What remained was a multiracial celebration of the state itself. As a result, ‘Chingay has become a victim of its own success’, with little heritage significance for the population.

Solomon and Chan’s contributions show how heritage practices may be used to either assert or dissolve the borders of memory that define memory communities. Shingo Iitaka’s ‘Negotiating War Memories at the Edge of the Former Japanese Empire: Two Japanese Veterans’ Projects in Palau, Micronesia’ also traces the emergence of borders of memory through mnemonic practice, and in this instance shows how the memorial activities of both state and sub-state actors are able to be ‘displaced’ and situated across national borders. Iitaka examines Japanese commemoration activities associated with Palau, the small Pacific nation whose largest settlement, Koror, formed the administrative centre of Japan’s South Seas Mandate from 1922 until Japan’s defeat in 1945. During the course of the war in the Pacific, the islands of Peleliu and Angaur, to the south of Koror, were captured by U.S. forces following brutal battles. Iitaka’s account focuses on the postwar memorial practices on the smaller island of Angaur, particularly those associated with two veterans of the battle, Funasaka Hiroshi and Kurata Yōji.

Funasaka is famous for his efforts to develop and lead tours, and repatriate the remains of deceased Japanese combatants from Second World War battlefields. From the latter half of the 1960s, he promoted private tours for this purpose, operating alongside, and in competition with, efforts from the Ministry of Health and Labour. In the course of these tours, he also sponsored and organized the erection of memorials to deceased Japanese troops, often financed by prefectural or other organizations in Japan. While dependent upon local intercessors, such memory work largely took place without local participation. Funasaka’s efforts inscribed borders of memory present between different Japanese groups into monuments erected beyond its borders, on Palau’s islands. The less well-known Kurata moved to Angaur thirty years after Funasaka’s activities began. In dialogue with the local population he sought to support the community itself and the memorials erected to Japan’s former presence there. Although Kurata’s efforts can be presented as more inclusive, as Iitaka hints, they are no less ‘national’ than Funasaka’s. In order to truly transcend the borders of memory here, it is necessary to not only act beyond the nation’s borders, but in negotiation and dialogue with other actors. Otherwise what results is merely a form of ‘offshore heritage’ (Huang and Lee 2019, 148) that remains firmly within a memorialization framework transplanted from elsewhere.

Iitaka’s articulation of the difficulties for a genuinely transnational memorial practice is echoed in Raluca Mateoc’s ‘Hidden Christians Made Visible: An Ethnography of Tourism in a World Heritage Property of Japan’ Mateoc follows the convoluted process by which the Christian Sites of Nagasaki were added to the UNESCO cultural heritage register in 2018, three years after an initial application had been rejected. In the application, the Christian history of Japan prior to the modern era is rendered universal by emphasizing the cultural adaptation of the Hidden Christians in the face of religious persecution and a narrative that asserts the universal values of ‘endurance, resilience, strength, and creativity’. Coming to represent that history in material sites was a process that involved a surfeit of actors, including local and regional administrations, the Church, and bodies associated with UNESCO. In addition to these, village communities, tourist agencies and local guides have all been involved in the tourist practices which constitute the heritage sites today.

Mateoc’s careful ethnographic investigations of these disparate actors reveals the contestation involved as these sites were constituted as heritage. The ‘little traditions’ of local and regional bodies were treated as resources by prefectural administrations, themselves encouraged by the national government to develop tourism as the response to aging and depopulation. The respective cosmopolitan, transnational imperatives of the Catholic Church and UNESCO also proceeded to influence the constitution of the site. The initial bid, the component parts of which were predominantly churches, was rejected in 2015 because of the gap between the history of the Hidden Christians and the sites themselves, constructed once they were no longer hidden. ICOMOS’s recommendations led the nomination to subsequently focus on communities as repositories of a still-living Hidden Christian tradition. However, geographically dispersed as the component parts of the associated sites are, they can only be understood as a single site of heritage through capture and branding by the recognition UNESCO provides.

Mateoc’s chapter details the operations of heritage at a global scale, supplementing the attention to local, national, and transnational practices in the three earlier chapters in this section. It explicitly draws attention to the distinct layers of memory which come to be expressed or excluded from particular heritage sites, in this case through the exclusion of Christian places of worship from the inscription. It also emphasizes that the distance between World Heritage Committees and the actual sites under their consideration (Brumann and Berliner 2016, 9), and suggests that the narration of these layers within an acceptable story may be more important than the physical sites themselves. The chapter suggests how a local and, perhaps inherently, marginal region of Japan is granted global significance through the heritage process. All four chapters in this section emphasize the importance of scale when considering heritage practices in operation, but Mateoc’s contribution underlines the importance of focussing on the operations of these different scales in relation to one another.

The first chapter of the section on Material Matters also emphasizes the importance of scale, tracking its significance across perspectives, in a piece that moves from the top-down materialization of heritage, focussing on how global culture comes to be localized and grounded at particular heritage sites, to the bottom-up assertion of universal values. In ‘Art in Former Military Sites: Spectres of Geopolitics in the South China Sea’, Gabriel N. Gee initially takes us on a tour of repurposed military sites in Singapore and Taiwan, and tracks their transformation from repositories of one global culture, of militarized colonial control, to another, a modern artistic sensibility he associates with the White Cube. Gee is interested in the interplay between the conversions of these militarized sites into artistic spaces, and the artistic practices that take place or are associated with them.

The Chinese ink painting of John Low provides the aesthetic antithesis of the state-led heritage process highlighted in Chan’s chapter earlier. Chan’s analysis of the Chingay Parade revealed how the Singaporean state utilizes heritage space and practice as a means of developing a unitary Chinese identity out of distinct kinship and dialect groups. Ink painting, a Chinese heritage practice, in Low’s account is indigenized through the objects it represents, and is therefore able to stand for Singapore-Chinese heritage in the present. A universal aesthetic form was adapted to its new locale, and today exists to represent the locale itself. This heritage is produced in the repurposed former military barracks of the Centre for Contemporary Art, transformed from a globalized node of colonial control into a site for local heritage expression.

In Kinmen’s bunkers too, the artistic production detailed by Gee pulls and prods at the borders between Taiwan and the mainland, although the precondition for the site’s emergence as an artistic space was a sadly brief reduction in tension between the two. It is at another repurposed military site, the Qijin Kitchen, where the ‘spectre of geopolitics’ is put to rest, as the entanglements of memory and identity are narrated in dialogue with the diverse origins of the food made there. Located on an island across from the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan, the site is identified as a slice of real Taiwan populated by people from everywhere. In celebrating the quotidian practice of food preparation through ingredients drawn from all quarters, the site of memory stands for the society it exists in, assembling memories from beyond the borders of the nation. While the White Cube, like the industrial and military settings they take over, imposes the global on the local, here the local finds itself constituted and celebrated through global connections materialized in the everyday setting of the kitchen.

While Gee’s chapter examines the adaption of superfluous structures and their reconstitution into heritage sites, in ‘Framing Negative Heritage in Disaster Risk Education: School Memorials after 3.11’ Julia Gerster and Flavia Fulco explore the transformation of two school buildings into sites of heritage which commemorate the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, but in different registers. While the school at Arahama is an example of a successful disaster response, that of Okawa provides the reverse, an exemplary account of what might happen when the correct procedures and structures are not in place. Irrespective of this contrast in their histories, though, the material remains at both sites have been converted into heritage that plays a positive didactic role. Particularly striking in both cases is that irrespective of the contestation which occurred over the preservation of these specific ruins, both can be seamlessly slotted into the broader narrative of Tohoku recovery and the importance of the disaster risk education, or Bosai, which has increasingly been pushed as a Japanese contribution to international development in the aftermath of the 3.11 disaster. Rather than heritage serving to recover the past, it is the rupture provided by the disaster which is emphasized in its sites of memory, shortening the time horizon and potential layers of memory available to be bound up within material sites. This is clearly the case for the schools, which have no history, and no relationship to the present, outside of the disaster which has rendered them repurposed as heritage.

The turn of disaster memorialization toward providing lessons to the world invites comparisons with Hiroshima, as mentioned by both the authors and residents of the region. In the case of Hiroshima, its didactic role has invited criticism as victimization, and promoted an unwillingness to understand the reason for the disaster itself. It is noticeable that the same trend seems prevalent in Tohoku too, irrespective of the very different histories of the sites. While the process through which the school at Okawa was conserved as a site of memory was contentious, in being preserved as ‘a useful tool for disaster risk education’, any question of responsibility is absolved by the site’s didactic role. The framing of these sites as lessons for the future appears to depoliticize them, even as responsibility for the disaster itself remains a source of dispute in and for the region.

This propensity for designations of sites as heritage to ‘smooth’ (Winter 2019) over the borders of memory is also present in Steven Ivings’ account of Hakodate, entitled ‘Marketing the Semi-Colonial as Cosmopolitan: Treaty Port Heritage and the Remaking of Hakodate’. Ivings focuses on a longer and broader transformation of Hakodate from Hokakido’s principal commercial port city into a ‘port of heritage’. A former treaty port and gateway to Hokkaido, the city boomed in the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries together with the northward expansion of the Japanese empire and colonisation of Hokkaido. Following the collapse of Japan’s empire, Hakodate gradually provincialized as the port’s role as a commercial and transportation hub for northern fisheries weakened and efforts to pursue heavy industry met with local opposition. The ensuing contest over how best to regenerate the city produced a resolve to develop Hakodate as a tourist destination which boasted a rich urban heritage and cosmopolitan ambiance.

Here, the city and other stakeholders sought to mobilise a particular narrative of Hakodate’s history as a cosmopolitan port city (in contrast with nearby Tsugaru covered in Solomon’s chapter), and as such emphasised the somewhat weak former connections with the West, whilst simultaneously overlooking substantial cosmopolitan connections with China and Japan’s own former colonies. In so doing, the selective narrative presented to market Hakodate’s heritage has placed a positive spin on the semi-colonial treaty port past in which Japan’s sovereignty had been undermined by Western imperialism, and has essentially purged the memory of Japan’s own imperial expansion. Although the port’s period of economic efflorescence was predicated on colonial connections with an expanding Japanese empire and the Asian continent, this is essentially bordered out of the heritage which the city seeks to offer. While seemingly a case of cosmopolitan memory and heritage, by cleansing the narrative of its colonial blemishes—both Western and Japanese—and stressing Western connections over those with China, Ivings shows how cosmopolitan memories are also cut through with such borders.

The attention Ivings grants to how heritage making privileges certain histories and conceals others is also shown in the final chapter of this section, Arisha Livia Satari’s examination of the ‘Politics of Heritage: Karatsu’s Takatori-tei as a Meiji Status Symbol, Monument of Modernity, and Symbol of Regional Identity’. Satari documents the history of the Takatori-tei, a residence constructed by a local industrialist in the late-nineteenth century, and explores its uses and meaning from the time of construction until the present. Satari discusses the fusion of Western and Japanese elements in the building’s construction in order to bring out the complex accretions of influences which came together in the site, before examining its subsequent recognition as a site of heritage possessing both local and national significance.

Currently an ‘Important Cultural Property’, the Takatori-tei is a central site in Karatsu’s contemporary heritage landscape. The structure’s mixture of Western and Japanese architectural elements suggests a seamless fusion of traditional and modern, as well as national and international. Satari’s account, however, points to a more conflicted story of tension between the modern capital and backward provinces, as well as between and within certain social classes. The Takatori-tei was above all a demonstration of the owner’s social and cultural capital by adopting the western-inspired architecture in vogue in Tokyo at the time, albeit in this case with a design several years behind the latest trends in the capital. The building’s stature today as an example of cosmopolitan heritage glosses over a series of dislocations that were necessary for the architectural and cultural fusion it demonstrates. These were not only architectural; the lifestyle and mode of a Meiji industrialist necessitated the adoption of cultural elements from both Europe and Japan’s own past, as represented in the Takatori-tei’s Western Salon and Noh stage, respectively. As Satari reveals, however, the design itself suppressed significant divergences, particularly between the provinces and capital, which are present in the architecture but absent in its presentation as heritage.

The story of the building’s actual construction reveals not a Japanese mastery of Western architectural techniques, the standard narrative applied to similar examples of such Meiji-period architecture, but instead how the diffusion of the latest styles and building techniques to the provinces was much delayed. While the Takatori-tei’s adoption as heritage revels in its role as representative of the development and progress of the Japanese nation after the Meiji Restoration, the building itself highlights the divisions that are represented in its creation. Here, as in the other sites examined in this section, the process through which the Takatori-tei was transformed into heritage enabled the borders of memory present at the material site itself to be smoothed over—and also glosses over the contingency of the process by which the site was transformed into heritage, as a result of the family’s inability to retain the residence as a private dwelling.

The four sites of heritage examined in the Material Matters section demonstrate how the adoption of material structures as heritage encourages the borders of memory that striate these mnemonic structures to be deemphasized through their incorporation into broader national and international narratives. The final section, on Layered Memories, builds on this insight to highlight the ways in which temporal referents established around material sites of heritage may escape the borders of memory within which such sites are contained and contextualized. In ‘At the Border of Memory and History: Kyoto’s Contested War Heritage’, Justin Aukema offers us a detailed account of the fate of the garrison of the 16th Division of the Imperial Japanese Army, which was based in Kyoto, and analyses the memorialization of the Division that takes place there. He details the various ways in which groups connected with the garrison after the war, including veterans, bereaved family members, and those who inherited the site, and how they positioned themselves in relation to its heritage as the home of the garrison. This initially manifested itself as either nostalgia or a desire to reuse the site as the foundation for recovery, with the site understood solely within the context of Kyoto itself.

As also shown in Iitaka’s chapter earlier, insular patterns of memorialization were gradually altered, in this instance through a combination of Japan’s reengagement with its former empire, changing international circumstances and generational shifts. As a result, the heritage of the 16th Division in Kyoto transcended the local and came to be connected with the actions of its soldiers elsewhere in Asia. Whilst the abandoned division barracks had previously been viewed as a resource to be readapted or built over, they now became ruins to, as one peace activist has it, ‘speak about the truth of history’. For this section of the Japanese population, seeking to memorialize what Japan had done overseas rather than what it had experienced at home, the garrison’s remains could narrate the past presence of the military and connect them with those soldier’s actions abroad. Earlier patterns of memorialization which had acknowledged the garrison’s former presence in Kyoto and decimation in the Battle of Leyte shifted to a mode of remembrance that attempted to tie this particular site to sites of memory elsewhere. As Aukema notes, this attempt to repatriate such memories across borders was not entirely successful, and today the few remaining buildings associated with the garrison have drawn on them for their physical properties, rather than their inherently contested mnemonic significance. This returns the garrison’s built remains to the role they had in the immediate postwar period, as sites to be reused or built over. While the material geography of the site remains the same, today borders of memory have been demarcated that run right through this site, borders that will inevitably be resurveyed in the future.

The potential for such borders to shift with time is apparent from ‘The Legacy of Shinto Shrines at the Borders of Imperial Japan’. Here, Karli Shimizu traces the post-colonial histories of Shinto Shrines in Hokkaido and Taiwan, building on a growing interest in the connections between religion, heritage, and sacred space recently visible in relation to Japan in particular (Teeuwen and Rots 2020, and see also Mateoc’s chapter). Here, Shimizu examines the changing uses and meanings of shrines in these two very different political contexts and the transformation in both form and significance that has occurred at what were originally conceived to be sites of public ritual for Japan’s expanding empire.

Shinto’s role as an arm of the Meiji state is particularly clear in Hokkaido, where it replaced the Tokugawa’s utilization of Buddhist temples as a representative of assimilatory policy in the lands formerly associated with the Ezo, or Ainu. The establishment of protector shrines and their enshrinement of pioneer kami was bound up with Meiji state’s claims to the territory of Ezo (present day Hokkaido), which in addition to being surveyed, measured and incorporated on the map (Boyle 2016) was being sacralised at Sapporo Jinja, in particular. This means of asserting control was subsequently adapted to Taiwan after 1895, exporting the colonial triumph of Hokkaido to new lands. Shimizu’s account emphasizes that Hokkaido and Taiwan provided not only laboratories of rational colonial governance but also spaces which would come to be sanctified as Japanese under the aegis of the state. Shimizu elucidates the distinct and contested legacies of this past process by examining these Shinto Shrines as sites of memory today. The fact that Hokkaido remains Japanese territory, whilst Taiwan was returned to the Republic of China, has clearly determined the uses and meanings granted these sites through to the present. While the shrines constructed in Hokkaido still function, those in Taiwan are largely no longer shrines, and in many cases no longer standing. While it took a surprisingly long time for these material reminders of Japanese rule to be replaced by the Guomindang, when they did so, it was frequently in order to materialize a different set of symbols atop the same site. Gauche hotels and martyr’s shrines, like Shinto spaces before them, may be seen as the assertion of state claims to control the island.

In both Hokkaido and Taiwan, however, these shrine spaces are today contested and cut through by borders of memory. In Japan, this is part of a larger demand for Ainu recognition, which seeks an acknowledgement of the role of shrines as agents of Ainu dispossession. In Taiwan, by contrast, these Japanese shrines have become part of an insurgent localism against the state’s broader pretensions, as shown most clearly by the indigenous re-adoption of Japan’s colonial-era shrines as their own heritage. The example of Taiwan illustrates how the borders running through such sites are open to shifting in response to external, contingent factors.

Jason Mark Alexander’s contribution, examining ‘Memorials to Korean Migrants in Kyushu: Overlapping Medieval and Modern Experiences in Local Communities’, also looks at local sites linked to Japan’s overseas expansion, although in this instance all located on what is considered one of Japan’s ‘home islands’. Alexander focuses on various sites in Kyushu associated with the Korean diaspora, whose presence there is particularly associated with two waves of forced migration—as captives during Hideyoshi’s attempts to invade Korea in the late-sixteenth century, and as forced labourers towards the end of the Japan’s Pacific War—while also incorporating a longer period of voluntary or semi-voluntary migration in the first half of the twentieth century. The contribution is particularly effective in highlighting the mnemonic layers which have been materialised in these towns, where the memorialisation and celebration of this earlier period of migration began as links with Korea and the presence of Korean migrants both expanded from the late-nineteenth century onwards. The political imperatives of the time obviously shape the historical attention paid to this earlier cycle of migration (Clements 2020), and the memorialization which occurs focusses on the contributions of Koreans to Japan. This celebratory narrative is then overlain with memorials to more contemporary migration, erected for similar, celebratory, reasons. The narrative used to frame both layers of memorialization is one obviously open to contestation in the present, and the tensions to which this gives rise are evident from the sites in Miyama, Arita, and Chikuhō analyzed by Alexander.

David Lowenthal has pointed out how, in general, ‘diasporas are notably heritage-hungry’ (Lowenthal 1998, 9), and that their participation in heritage and memory making may be controversial as the narratives they present often conflict with those favoured officially or by powerful stakeholders in society. This has been apparent in the postwar period, where the narratives recounted about these sites of memory have sought to underline Korean suffering. However, the chapter also shows that there are different interpretations of the past within Japan’s Korean diaspora, which reflects different attitudes held by individuals and groups towards their current place and future in Japan. More recently, the border of memory has shifted and a less antagonistic memory narrative that stresses “a vision of future-oriented coexistence between Korea and Japan atop their centuries of shared experiences” has emerged at the grassroots level.

Alexander skilfully utilizes these successive layers of memorialization as an organizing framework through which to demonstrate the linkages between past and present patterns of memorialization, and the ways in which they give rise to borders of memory at the same material sites. The final chapter by Edward Boyle also looks to trace out the connections which exist between past and present patterns of memorialization, by excavating the layers of heritage-making which have occurred at a single site. Focussing on ‘Okinoshima, Universal Heritage and Borders of Memory’, it describes the contestation over the borders of memory demarcated around the Sacred Island of Okinoshima and the wider Munakata Taisha shrine complex, which was inscribed as a World Heritage site in 2017. The chapter uses the objection made by South Korea’s UNESCO representative to images of a festival associated with Okinoshima as a starting point from which to analyse contests over Okinoshima’s spatial and temporal boundaries. The spatial and temporal extent of Japan’s original nomination was disputed by UNESCO’s own advisory body, who insisted that many of the components listed by Japan in their nomination possessed only national, rather than universal, significance. The recommended solution was to spatially and temporally restrict the nomination, limiting Okinoshima’s heritage to artefacts deposited on that island between the fourth and ninth centuries, but this was ignored by members of the UNESCO Committee in Krakow.

The chapter details how from the outset the nomination process was characterized by a tension between the universal significance of Okinoshima’s rich archaeological treasures, which materially represented an era of peaceful intra-Asian cosmopolitan exchange, and Munakata Taisha’s status as a site of worship in the present. It also compares the course of the Okinoshima nomination with two other recent heritage nominations centred on Kyushu to reveal how these contests reflect the variety of actors involved in the nomination process. It is argued that this contestation reflects the emergence of borders of memory between different actors and scales of heritage governance, which then shape the heritage site itself. The comparison shows that in the case of Okinoshima state institutions, as well as particular actors like Munakata Taisha, were invested in having UNESCO recognize the site’s contemporary significance, in addition to its importance in the past.

Japan’s insistence on the integrity of the site, and the UNESCO committee’s ultimate acceptance of the original nomination, reveals fixing meanings at particular sites may institutionalize various borders of memory at and through them. Examining the UNESCO recognition process is a particularly effective means of highlighting these borders, as the discrepancies visible in the narratives about sites produced for distinct audiences—local, national, and international—bring the borders of memory that enable heritage sites to operate at various, distinct, scales into focus. It is these borders, and contestation over them, which shape and channel the meanings ascribed to such sites today.

This focus on how narrative and material sites are brought into line within heritage production reflects many of the borders of memory examined in this volume. The difference between history and heritage is clear here, as while history, at least as an academic discipline, is able to conceive of multiple perspectives on the past, it remains unclear how a singular heritage site or practice is able to be effectively narrated from a variety of opposing viewpoints. Heritage denotes the parts of history—often manifested in cultural production and physical sites—that people feel, or are made to feel, they have inherited from the past and over which they retain a sense of stewardship, often entailing a responsibility to maintain and pass on that heritage to future generations. As such, heritage is often celebratory and highly selective. National heritage is officially approved/recognised historical properties that the people of a particular nation are said to collectively own and have a duty to maintain. Yet while the national patrimony that heritage represents may include heritage which is dark, difficult, or traumatic, much of what is labelled ‘national’ heritage is in fact privately owned and is determined by the state—by providing funds, compiling lists and granting designations—rather than the people collectively. David Cannadine, for one, has bemoaned “the cult of national heritage” which he saw as “frequently blinded by nostalgia and distorted by snobbery” (Cannadine 2002, xi). What is ostensibly deemed national heritage and presented as our past is often in practice much narrower and largely confined to the properties and artefacts of yesteryear’s ruling elite—their country houses, fine garments and art collections. The creation of national heritage is an inherently discriminatory enterprise, whose continued operation in the present remains characterised by private and sectional interests, as many of the chapters in this collection discuss (see also Ehrentraut 1993, 276–277 in particular).

Leaving questions of historical objectivity aside, however, and it is clear that heritage and history overlap and share similarities. Both are drawn from sources and artefacts which reflect the uneven survival of the properties and testimonies of specific social classes. Both involve a selection process in designating which objects and materials are deemed particularly valuable. Because it is usually taught through publicly funded national education systems, history, just like heritage, involves the disposition of public funds and is subject to the state’s regulatory framework and ideological inclinations. Thus, both history and heritage have been mobilised by the state to foster social cohesion and a shared identity, as well as to legitimise state authority.

With the stakes so high then, it is little wonder that both history and heritage are frequently saturated by social, political and cultural contestation. Indeed, as Philip Seaton’s conclusion on ‘Borders, Heritage and What Next?’ points out, such contestation may be vital to the continued relevance, both to the public and institutionally, of particular sites of heritage. Greater public prominence for heritage sites and practices inevitably means that heritage often becomes the battleground for clashes over the historical narrative at local, national and/or international scales. The chapters in this volume collectively interrogate such battlegrounds in Asia, examining the reasons why and processes through which actors mobilize to make heritage, sites of memory that aspire to objective significance yet which are frequently replete with borders of memory.


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