Art History undergraduate Nat Jones spent the summer in Hikone, Japan on a Critical Language Scholarship, an eight-week intensive language and cultural immersion program, which unexpectedly provided the impetus for her to begin an honors thesis upon returning for her junior year this fall.
Nat’s research concerns the Shiga Prefecture War Shrine, which houses and honors the Shiga-born soldiers who died fighting in the name of Japan. This shrine is located a mere five minutes via bike from Nat’s host family’s home and sits in the shadow of Hikone Castle. Her research involves assessing the physical attributes of the shrine and delving into its deeper symbolism. She will analyze both the history of the shrine and the controversy that now surrounds its commemoration of Japanese soldiers who died in World War II.
Nat plans to use her connections with the University of Shiga Prefecture to interview professors and feature the perspectives of local academia in her thesis. Through her research, Nat hopes to bring the architectural, social, and symbolic importance of the Shiga Prefecture War Shrine into the realm of English-language art history scholarship.