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Kunsthistorisches Institut

Alpine Globalization - Japan and Switzerland

Öffentlicher Vortrag

Alpine Globalization - Japan and Switzerland

Prof. Claude Hauser, Université de Fribourg

Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 18:0019:00
Universität Zürich, Rämistrasse 59, 8001 Zürich
Room RAA-G-15

Japan is an island country, yet it is largely defined by its special relationship with the
mountains, which have become an essential part of its mental landscape. This Asian
country has an alpine imagination that is both endogenously constituted by the lived
space of the Japanese Alps and nourished by the external projection of the Swiss alpine
From the first ascent of the Mittelegi route of the Eiger in 1921 by the Japanese
mountaineer Yuko Maki, accompanied by his Bernese guide Samuel Brawand, to the
opening of a tourist office specially dedicated to Japanese visitors in Grindelwald
during the 1980s, the symbolic investment of the alpine narrative and its economic
and commercial repercussions can be approached by analyzing a few important stages
of the cultural, touristic, and economic exchanges that mobilized the representations
of the mountain between Japan and Switzerland in the 20th century.
This phenomenon of reciprocal exchanges, symbolic reinterpretations, or progressive
decantations of Swiss Alpine stereotypes between Japan and Switzerland (the North
Face of the Eiger, the Matterhorn, the figure of Heidi, the Swiss chalet...) will be
approached through several accounts and images of the Swiss Alps evoked in
particular in the magazine of the Japanese Alpine Club Sangaku and other archival

Claude Hauser
Claude Hauser is a Professor Ordinarius at the Université de Fribourg where, among
other subjects, he teaches cultural history, international cultural relations, history of
intellectuals, and history of national minorities. His publications include Jura: les sept
clichés capitaux. Essai d’histoire Culturelle (Neuchâtel: Editions Alphil, 2012) and La
Chine en partage. Ding Zuochao Auguste Viatte. Une amitié intellectuelle au XXe siècle
(Neuchâtel: Editions Alphil, 2018). He is the founder and co-director of the Centre
suisse d'études sur le Québec et la Francophonie and is teaching at the Faculty of
History at UniDistance, Swiss Distance Learning Institute.