Behind the Scenes


In December we spent ten days in Japan with Professor David Richardson, Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia and Chair of the Management Board of the Sainsbury Institute. There were visits to Nara, Osaka, Tokyo and Sendai, reconfirming valued relationships with old friends, and establishing fresh connections with new ones. This was Professor Richardson’s third visit to Japan and a fuller report is available here. One of the many highlights was a reception at the International House of Japan in Roppongi, which followed on from a launch of Professor Nicole Rousmaniere’s award-winning translation of Professor Nobuo Tsuji’s magisterial The History of Art in Japan, recently published by the University of Tokyo Press and about to appear in paperback from Columbia University Press. It was a great pleasure to see so many friends and supporters in attendance.

There is much to look forward to this year. Spring 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Sainsbury Institute, and we will take the period from then to autumn 2021, which marks both the 20th anniversary of our move into 64 The Close and will be when we move again, into the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts on the University campus, as an extended celebration of two decades of researching and disseminating the best of Japanese arts and cultures in all their diversity. This period overlaps with the UK-Japan Season of Culture, announced by Prime Ministers Abe and May when they met in Japan in autumn 2017, marking the period from the Rugby World Cup in Japan this autumn to the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo in summer 2020.

Signing partnership agreement with Tohoku University

One of the first big events in this Season of Culture will be the Manga exhibition at the British Museum, curated by Professor Nicole Rousmaniere and which opens in late May. We are very much looking forward to seeing what will doubtless be a ground-breaking exhibition, and we are delighted that the Institute has been able to support its development in many different ways. 2020 will bring further Japan-themed exhibitions involving the Institute.

During his speech at the International House of Japan, the Vice Chancellor formally announced the launch of a new MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies at the University of East Anglia, from autumn 2020. After several years of planning, this new course represents a major new strategic direction for the Institute, and the first time that our academic staff will be teaching in a sustained way at the University. Modules will include Japanese Art History and Cultural Heritage, The History of Ideas in Japan, Japanese Cinema, Japanese Literature and Japanese and Chinese International Relations and Foreign Policy. More details will be available in spring 2019.

Signing partnership agreement with Tohoku University

This is the 25th issue of our e-magazine, which has been so expertly compiled and designed by Kazuko Morohashi over the years. We bid farewell to both Kazuko, and to Keiko Nishioka, who are both moving on to pursue other interests after many years of dedicated service at the Sainsbury Institute. We also have a new Institute Administrator, Denisa Edwards, who takes over from Sue Womack, who will continue to work with us on specific projects. The Sainsbury Institute can only do what it does thanks to our wonderful staff, and I know that readers of our e-magazine will want to join with me in wishing these colleagues every success with their future endeavours. We are taking the opportunity presented by the 25th issue to review what the e-magazine does, and we would be very grateful if you could take just a few minutes to give us a little feedback so that we can continue providing news about the Institute and Japanese arts and cultures in the most effective format.

We look forward to welcoming you to our Third Thursday Lectures and other events, and send you our best wishes for the New Year, the Year of the Boar.

Professor Simon Kaner
Executive Director,
Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures

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