Happy Year of the Rat from the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures

2020 marks another momentous year for the Sainsbury Institute. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we are investing in an enhanced social media and online presence, so that you can follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram, as well as keeping up with developments and news through a SISJAC Blog, all of which will be freely accessible at any time through a new website to be launched this Spring.

We will be sending out monthly emails to remind you to check in and to let you know about new content, which will continue to feature news from the Institute, highlight treasures in the Lisa Sainsbury Library, and keep up to date with our research and publications.

2020 is also an important year for Japan, as it prepares to host the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer. Following the dazzling success of the Rugby World Cup in Japan last autumn we are looking forward to many more athletic thrills and spills. We shall also welcome a State Visit to the United Kingdom from Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan this Spring.

The UK-Japan Season of Culture continues over this period, and we have our very own Japan in Norwich Season, including a series of literary events with Japan Now East, organised in partnership with the National Centre for Writing, more Manga-related treats, following on from the Manga exhibition at the British Museum last summer, and Japan-themed exhibitions at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts and the East Gallery of the Norwich University of the Arts.

Further afield, the Institute is involved in exhibitions at Buckingham Palace, Stonehenge and the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes.

The Institute is closely involved in two Japan-related summer programmes at the University of East Anglia again this summer: Japan Orientation: an introduction to Japan and its place in the World will be the 7th time we invite students in particular from central and eastern Europe to join us for a fortnight in July, with the generous support of the Toshiba International Foundation. And in August we will once again host the Ishibashi Foundation Summer Fellowship in Japanese Arts and Cultures. All of this leads towards the launch of the new MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies at the University of East Anglia in autumn 2020, which represents a major development for Japan in Norwich.

As I write, I am preparing to spend the last week of January in Tokyo where I will be giving a series of guest lectures on Jomon in the World for the Department of Archaeology at the University of Tokyo. Upon my return we will welcome the 5th Winter Programme in British Archaeology and Heritage, with five undergraduates from the Faculty of Letters at the University of Tokyo and five undergraduates from a range of British universities – who will be spending ten days in London and in and around the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage site. We have just received the report for the 5th Summer Programme in Japanese Archaeology and Heritage, last September.

Tonight we hold the first Third Thursday Lecture of the new year, with our Handa Jomon Archaeology Fellow Dr Junzo Uchiyama speaking on Mount Fuji and its landscapes, along with Dr Mark Hudson from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of the History of Humanity in Jena. Junzo and Mark were previously based at the Mount Fuji World Heritage Research Institute in Shizuoka prefecture and are well placed to give us the back story to this most iconic symbol of Japan. We hope you will be able to join us to learn about this propitious topic to start the New Year – and if you cannot make it this time we look forward to seeing you at one of our other events in Norwich or elsewhere – and of course online.

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