November 2022 Message from the Acting Director

October has been a busy month for the Sainsbury Institute, with a host of events, projects and initiatives now underway. During a few turbulent weeks for the UK and international politics, it has been reassuring to see so many new and ambitious programmes being developed with Japanese Studies remaining such an active and growing field. Japan’s entry requirements have also now been relaxed to almost pre-Covid levels, which will certainly stimulate the field. 

The first activities associated with our new Ishibashi Foundation Digital Futures project, which will explore new digital horizons of Japanese art history and material culture, began last month and will continue throughout this year. My own part of this project, which will explore collecting and archiving postwar Japanese art in Europe, hosted its first workshop earlier this week, with participants from locations across the world coming together online to share more details about their own research projects and how these might relate to digital archiving – I look forward to meeting the participants of this in person over the coming year. Continuing on the theme of digital, Yuhan Ji, Ishibashi Foundation Digital Project Officer, provides a report in this issue on a workshop conducted with our current cohort of MA students and run by Dr Ryoko Matsuba which looked at the techniques and methods for digitising books.

Last month, in collaboration with the Centre for Japanese Studies and UEA, and organized by Eriko Tomizawa-Kay and Daniel Rycroft, we had the pleasure of welcoming Okinawan artist Yuken Teruya to Norwich for a workshop exploring artistic perspectives on decolonization, followed by an artist talk about his works and practice, held at the Sainsbury Centre. It was encouraging to see so much interest in the event, with the lecture room filled to capacity with students and visitors as we slowly return to more in-person events. In the same week, in collaboration with the National Centre for Writing, UEA also hosted a roundtable discussion with photographer Hayahisa Tomiyasu which looked at the themes of memory, time and place within Japanese visual culture.

Artist Yuken Teruya delivering his talk at the Sainsbury Centre

October also saw the return of the Centre for Japanese Studies’ research seminar series, which addresses topics from a range of disciplines within Japanese studies – last month’s seminars explored the topics of territorial sovereignty in early modern Japan and the escalation of potential flashpoints in East Asia. You can view the lectures on the Centre for Japanese Studies’ YouTube channel if you missed them, and registration is also available for the upcoming talk on Thursday 10th November with William Marotti (UCLA), Emi Foulk Bushelle (Western Washington University) and Kelly Midori McCormick (University of British Columbia) on the theme of ‘Imagination and the Real: The Stakes of History’.

The teaching semester has also fully started, with the new cohort of students of the MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies exploring the academic community and resources related to their research interests in Norwich and further afield. We had a fortunate opportunity to visit the exhibition Japan: Courts and Culture at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace together with SISJAC’s Research Director Professor Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, and the curator of the exhibition, Rachel Peat, on view until February 2023. The following week, a delegation from Yamaguchi University with representatives of JICA UK visited Norwich to learn more about our MA programme and opportunities for further exchange, which we greatly appreciated.     

Acting Director of the Sainsbury Intitute, Dr Eugenia Bogdanova-Kummer, with the new cohort of Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies MA students at the entrance to the Japan: Courts and Culture exhibition.

I would like to extend my thanks to Despina Zernioti CMG who gave October’s fascinating Third Thursday Lecture on the founder of the Corfu Museum of Asian Art, Gregorios Manos – a report of which is provided in this issue. In our upcoming November Third Thursday Lecture, Professor Hans Bjarne Thomsen (Section for East Asian Art, University of Zurich), will explore how art responds to disasters in the context of Japanese art. We are very much looking forward to Professor Thomsen’s talk and hope many of you will join us online on 17th November.

We will be announcing details of more events over the coming month, particularly our in-person Third Thursday Lecture which will be taking place in December, so please do check our website for any announcements.

With very best wishes,

Dr Eugenia Bogdanova-Kummer
Acting Director

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