April 2021 Message from the Executive Director

As we pass the one-year anniversary of the first pandemic lockdown here in the UK and look forward to the gradual easing of restrictions, we can at least enjoy the beautiful show of cherry and other blossoms, surely one of the most evocative symbols of the coming spring and summer – even if we cannot get to Japan this year to enjoy hanami (花見 or ‘blossom viewing’) with friends there. Enjoying the abundance of images of said blossom on social media is some compensation. As we are ever-more increasingly aware, social media is a very powerful tool, one that at the Sainsbury Institute we are keen to use in many […]

After a Super Volcanic Eruption: a new project on social-ecological impacts of the Kikai-Akahoya disaster, 7,300 years ago

Major volcanic eruptions, alongside large earthquakes, are one of the most devastating and unpredictable natural disasters past and present and one of the major future threats for the society. Located in the western portion of the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, the Japanese Archipelago is one of the most geologically active areas in the world and has historically experienced many large-scale volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Of such disastrous events, the Kikai-Akahoya (K-Ah) eruption, which occurred in the southern sea of Kyushu approximately 7,300 years ago, was the most devastating event in the past 10,000 years (Figure 1). However, its social-ecological impacts have still remained largely unknown. Those include what area was […]

Report on the joint talk “Introducing the Arthur Tress Collection of Japanese Illustrated Books at the University of Pennsylvania”

In 2018 the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) received a gift of some 1300 Japanese woodblock printed books that range in date from the early seventeenth century to the 1930s. This large and varied collection had been assembled over the preceding half a century by the noted American photographer Arthur Tress (b.1940). While Tress resides on the West Coast of the United States, his attention was drawn to Penn when he read Partners in Print: Artistic Collaboration and the Ukiyo-e Market (2014) by Julie Nelson Davis, Professor of Art History at that university. He was so taken by Professor Davis’s approach that he contacted her in 2017. Conversations convinced him that […]