October 2020 Message from the Executive Director

A proud moment for Japanese Studies at the University of East Anglia as we begin (appropriately socially-distanced) classes for our new MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies’

Welcome to our October e-bulletin. I hope this finds you well. October is a beautiful month in Japan, as the ‘autumn colours’ begin to appear and gold, brown, red and yellow leaves glory against bright blue skies. This month, with the start of a new academic year in Norwich and students now studying for the MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies, I would like to reflect on the strength of the relationship between the Institute and the University of East Anglia.

Since the establishment of the Centre for Japanese Studies and degree-level Japanese language programmes at UEA in 2011-12, and the relocation of our Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellows to Norwich, the Institute and UEA have worked increasingly closely together to develop distinctive programmes in Japanese arts and cultures in Norwich, firmly embedded in a strong Japanese studies community. There are now Japanese specialists in every School in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, complementing what we think may be the largest constellation of expertise in Japanese art and heritage outside Japan at the Sainsbury Institute. The Centre for Japanese Studies, with its podcasts, research seminars and e-newsletters has provided a bridge between the Institute and UEA, developing an extensive and inclusive research agenda. The SISJAC and UEA logos sit proudly together on an increasing range of publications, from Manga to archaeology and the Japanese holdings in the Royal Collections.

The Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably had a major impact on our plans for this year and we recognise that the coming academic year offers unprecedented challenges. And yet we continue to be ambitious and forward-looking. With the generous understanding and support of our benefactor, Lord Sainsbury of Turville and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, we have deferred the move from our current headquarters at 64 The Close to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts from summer 2021 to summer 2024. The Institute’s staff, in line with current University and government guidance, will continue to work from home for the time being. 64 The Close is not accessible to the public during this time.

We will continue to hold our monthly Third Thursday Lectures online. This is proving a popular format and is enabling audiences to join us from around the world. When circumstances permit, we plan to re-start in person lectures at the Norwich Cathedral Hostry, which we will continue to live stream online.

Even though our travel plans are necessarily restricted, we continue to foster close relationships with partners and friends across Norwich and East Anglia interested in Japan and our partnerships with major national and international institutions and organisations, including the British Museum, V&A, SOAS, the Japan Society, Japan House and the University of Cambridge, as well as in Japan and elsewhere.

I hope you enjoy this month’s contributions, and look forward to ’seeing you’ at our Third Thursday Lecture on 15th October.

Professor Simon Kaner
Executive Director

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