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June 2022 Message from the Executive Director

Earlier this month, the project team for Nara to Norwich: art and belief at the ends of the Silk Roads, AD 500-1100 visited Sweden.

As those of you who follow us on social media already know, the roses bloomed in the Cathedral Close for the long Platinum Jubilee Weekend marking 70 years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and despite the occasional cloudbursts – our own mini-tsuyu – Norwich is looking beautiful as we enjoy the long evenings heading towards midsummer.

I encourage those of you who have not yet done so to hurry to see the wonderful Kawanabe Kyōsai exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, curated by one of our Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellows Koto Sadamura, which closes on 19 June. And do join us for this month’s online Third Thursday lecture, with Dr Maumita Banerjee, also a Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow this year. If you are in London, you will also want to see Japan: Court and Culture at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace – and we are delighted to be able to announce a special conference to be held in October.

Plans are well-advanced for the third iteration of our Online Summer Programme in Japanese Cultural Studies, which will be coming to you live from Japan in early August, this year with a focus on the effects of Covid-19 on heritage and tourism in Japan. Applications for this free course are now open with a deadline of Thursday 30 June. We are very grateful to the Toshiba International Foundation for continuing to fund this important initiative, which is now the heart of a global online community of academic interest in Japan. Also this summer, we will be embarking on a series of new pilot projects focusing on innovative digital approaches to Japanese art, support for which is being generously provided by the Ishibashi Foundation.

We are working hard to ensure that our students on the MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies get to take full advantage of all our activities – hence the visits to the Kyosai exhibition, as well as to the Dojima Sake Brewery for an experience in culinary Japanese heritage, reported on in this month’s issue. There is still time to apply for the Sainsbury Institute Studentship for the MA. We will also shortly be announcing the results of the 1st Sainsbury Essay Prize in Japanese Art History for undergraduates.

Naomi Hughes-White, who took the MA last year and will shortly be heading to Japan to take up a Japanese Government MEXT Scholarship at Ritsumeikan University, provides a report on last month’s Third Thursday Lecture. Naomi is also a key member of the team behind our new Online Exhibition, Nara to Norwich: art and belief at the ends of the Silk Roads, which went live this week, while project members were in Sweden exploring the impact of the Silk Roads on the Vikings. A full report will be appearing on the exhibition website shortly.

Professor Simon Kaner
Executive Director

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