August 2020 Message from the Executive Director

August is the month of remembrance in Japan. The o-bon お盆 holiday is traditionally a time to return to one’s furusato 故郷, home place, and attend to the family graves. All this usually leads to an immense burden on transport infrastructure, with trains, planes and roads all full to overflowing. This year, of course, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is very different. The shinkansen are running as normal – but with many empty seats, unheard of at this time of year. This summer also marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, and the dropping of the atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. […]

Obituary: Sir Hugh Cortazzi

A professional diplomat with a realistic approach to the world that lay around him, Hugh Cortazzi brought a new light to bear on academic studies of Japan. In retirement he devoted his efforts to illustrating the place that Japan’s culture and history have taken in international terms since the nineteenth century. With long experience in Japan and his many contacts there he could never be satisfied by judging modern trends save in the light of the cultural, political and social context in which the nation had developed. He fully recognised the values that the maintenance of traditional rites and ceremonies bore in contemporary practice, seeing the ideals of the past […]

Professor Peter Kornicki remembers Sir Hugh Cortazzi

It is now two years since Sir Hugh Cortazzi died, on 14 August 2018, and in Japanese tradition we mark his sankaiki on his second death anniversary. His death came as a great shock to me, for I had seen him a couple of weeks previously and he had been as energetic and mentally sharp as always. We spent some time at his home discussing the last stages of a book which we had written together along with Antony Best. This was British Royal and Japanese Imperial relations, 1868-2018: 150 years of association, engagement and celebration, which was published in 2019, after his death. The idea for this book was in […]

Sir Hugh Cortazzi in Retrospect

It is true to say, without any fear of contradiction, that everybody who works on the history of Anglo-Japanese relations owes a debt of gratitude to the late Sir Hugh Cortazzi. As an author in his own right, as an editor of many books, and as an enthusiast who encouraged and stimulated those working in the field, Hugh made a great and unforgettable contribution to our understanding of the ties between these two countries. Indeed, to look at the quantity and quality of Hugh’s output between 1984, when he retired from the Diplomatic Service, and 2018, when he passed away, is a humbling experience, for he not only produced so […]

Sir Hugh Cortazzi awarded Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of East Anglia, 2006

The following words were written by Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere in 2006 to celebrate Sir Hugh Cortazzi’s award of Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of East Anglia. We are delighted to publish this here on the 2nd anniversary of his passing. Below this oration, we also share Sir Hugh’s own words that he shared on the occasion.   An Oration for Sir Hugh Cortazzi on being made an Hon D.Litt at UEA on 14 July 2006 I cannot express how delighted I am to be given the honour of presenting Sir Hugh Cortazzi for an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of East Anglia. I can think of […]

‘Keep Writing’, A personal memory of Sir Hugh Cortazzi

Sir Hugh and Lady Cortazzi have been guiding lights and dear friends to the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) throughout its two-decade long history. SISJAC would not be the vibrant Institute that it is now without their careful stewardship, advice, connections, donations and loans of historical and contemporary books, art objects, prints and the spectacular historical map collection that they had carefully collected and curated over their long engagement with Japan. Hugh and Elizabeth have also been there personally for me as well, giving support and advice and much needed home cooked meals both in St John’s Wood and magical Balsocks, East Sussex. For […]

Treasures of the Library: The Cortazzi Ceramic Collection

The previous issue of the E-Bulletin mentioned that the Sainsbury Institute was given three-dimensional objects as a long-term loan from Sir Hugh and Lady Cortazzi. Among these 70 objects, around three quarters (fifty-three) are ceramics. And among the ceramics, about a third (eighteen) were made by the prominent Mashiko1 potter, Shimaoka Tatsuzō (1919-2007). Along with his works, the collection includes some of the most renowned modern Japanese ceramic artists such as Sakaida Kakiemon XIII (1906-1982), Imaizumi Imaemon XII (1897-1975) and Miwa Kyūsetsu XI (1967-2003). All four of the ceramic artists were designated as holders of Important Intangible Cultural Properties, i.e. Living National Treasures. These generous gifts were given to the […]

Sir Hugh Cortazzi, Bibliography since 1999

The comprehensive bibliographical list shown below was compiled by Sir Hugh Cortazzi himself in February 2017. This list covers all his writings from 1999 to that date. The book entitled, Collectedwritings of Sir Hugh Cortazzi (Collected Writings of Modern Western Scholars on Japan. vol. 2), Richmond, Surrey : Japan Library, 2000includes all of his publications before 1999.The book was reissued by Routledge in 2006. Books Compiled and edited Britain and Japan Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits, Volume IV, Japan Library, 2002 Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits, Volume V, Global Oriental, 2004 Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits, Volume VI, Global Oriental, 2007 Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits, Volume VII. Global Oriental, […]