July 2021 Message from the Executive Director

Welcome to Jōmon July. A series of initiatives relating to the Jōmon period of Japanese prehistory in which the Institute has been involved come to fruition this month. These include the nomination of 17 sites in northern Tōhoku and southern Hokkaido as UNESCO World Heritage, an inscription we hope will be ratified by the World Heritage Committee later this month.  I have had the privilege to visit most of the sites on the list over the years, as well as taking part in many discussions in Japan and elsewhere. Achieving this global recognition of the value of these sites is a long-term investment – and indeed it is already over […]

Report on the talk “Transformation Act: Early Eighth-Century Relic Devotion and the Emerging “Prince Shōtoku Cult” at Hōryūji”

The Prince Umayado (574-622), also known as Toyotomimi, was the second son of the 31st Emperor Yomei, and is known by the posthumous title “Prince Shotoku”. As the regent to his aunt, the 33rd Empress Suiko, Prince Shotoku led the way in establishing the 12 court ranks and first constitution with 17 articles. Prince Shotoku was also active in the patronage and spread of Buddhism, which was officially introduced in the 6th century, and is famous as the founder of Hōryūji (original name was Ikaruga Temple) in Nara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 2021 is the 1400th anniversary of the passing away of the Prince Shotoku. In Buddhism idolatry, relics […]

Technical Workshops of Digital Archiving Japanese collection at the Sainsbury Centre

As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, many institutions were forced to temporarily close their doors to the public. Deemed as sites where the risk of viral transmission was high, museums, which rely heavily on public interaction in their physical institutions, were left in a precarious position whereby their communicative strategies to interact with the public were limited. This encouraged museums to develop their existing digital resources so that they could fully showcase their permanent collections, despite the ramifications of the pandemic. One institution that joined this initiative was The Sainsbury Centre , located in Norwich. Among the Sainsbury Centre’s collection are 30 magnificent Japanese hanging scrolls which showcase over […]