January 2021 Message from the Executive Director

The first sunrise of 2021 (hatsuhinode) in Kobe. Photo by Oscar Wrenn


On behalf of everyone at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, we wish you a very Happy New Year!

We fervently hope that 2021 will be a year of recovery and rebuilding, with vaccines offering the promise of light despite the current winter gloom, beset by tightening restrictions in the UK, Japan and elsewhere.

Although there remains uncertainty about what the Year of the Ox will bring, some fixed points remain. We continue with our online Third Thursday Lectures, and this month we invite you to join us to learn about Edo period iconographies with our very own Dr Matsuba Ryoko.

We look forward to a series of new projects to mark the Olympic Year, with collaborations in modern art at the Sainsbury Centre and in archaeology at Stonehenge with English Heritage, as well as new summer programmes in Japanese cultural studies. All of these will be part of the UK-Japan Season of Culture, a programme initially envisaged, and now extended, to celebrate Japan hosting the Rugby World Cup through to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics:

We will be continuing to add to our social media presence, in particular on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well as adding regular new content to our refreshed website. And if you have not already done so, why not listen in to some of our Beyond Japan podcasts.

We will do all we can to continue to bring you the best in Japanese arts and cultures through these difficult times, and look forward to being able to meet up again in person just as soon as we can. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this month’s new content, reflections on our December Third Thursday by our UEA colleague in Japanese Literature, Dr Hannah Osborne, and some thoughts on the Hunting Gun by Inoue Yasushi, which inspired one of the highlights of the Aldeburgh Festival in summer 2019 by one of our most stalwart friends, Margot Paterson.

Hoping that you all stay safe and well,

Professor Simon Kaner
Executive Director

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