Japan's Ancient Capital: Origins and Modern Reconstructions of Heijōkyō
Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 6:00pm

Date: Thursday, January 30th

Time: 6:00 pm

Location: SMSU 327 (1825 SW Broadway Ave, Portland) 

Heijōkyō, Nara, is Japan’s 8th century capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Eighteen billion yen of Japanese taxpayer money was spent towards the construction of “Great Audience Hall” (Daigokuden), a modern building intended to authentically “replicate” or “reconstruct” a massive structure that once stood at Heijō Palace (Heijōkyū) in the eighth-century capital at Nara (Heijōkyō). Completed in 2010, Daigokuden is just one of many new construction projects at the Heijō Palace Site ―– a designated National Special Historic Site, in addition to a UNESCO World Heritage Site ―– and building activity continues today at this expansive park filled with small museums, exhibitions halls, open-air structures, and a pond garden.  

This lecture explores key historical developments related to the construction of one of Japan’s earliest capitals planned on a grid system, and will focus on critical (or just interesting) features of eighth-century Heijōkyō and Heijōkyū. 

  Yoko ShiraiYoko Hsueh Shirai received her PhD in Art History from UCLA and primarily focuses on Buddhist statuary recovered through archaeological survey from Japan’s oldest temple ruins, often built within the capital cities. She is an independent scholar based in Los Angeles. 

This lecture is funded by the Yoshiko Kakudo fund.