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The unreciprocated gaze: Emperors and photography

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses about the gaze and its corollaries of political agency, gender, and sexuality as they pertain to photography and the Shōwa Emperor. As is well-known, before Japan?s defeat in 1945, photographs of the emperor were heavily regulated by his advisors, particularly the imperial household ministry, as well as by the police and the military. Through the photography of the period, the wartime emperor was not only imbued with the power of the gaze, but the power of a gaze that was masculine, martial, and austere. The photographic union of the American general and the Shōwa Emperor catalyzed the formation of a new civic sphere, symbolically presided over by a retiring and myopic bride. By 1951, toward the end of the occupation, it was clear that the emperor would not participate in the cycle of mutual recognition inherent in the reciprocal gaze.

Keywords: imperial household ministry; myopic bride; reciprocal gaze; Shōwa Emperor; wartime emperor

10.1163/ej.9789004168220.i-348.82
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004168220.i-348.82
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