March 2021 Message from the Executive Director

Ten years ago I was arriving in Japan to attend the last lecture by our Senior Advisor on archaeology, Professor Kobayashi Tatsuo, at Kokugakuin University in Tokyo, at the start of a trip that was to have established a series of collaborative agreements for our new Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of East Anglia. Although there were ominous shakings in the previous few days, nobody could have predicted the scale of the earthquake that struck off the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region on Friday 11 March 2011, precipitating a huge tsunami wave and resulting disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. All my planned activities were […]

After the Tsunami: Japanese Contemporary Art Since 2011

The Tohoku Great Earthquake of March 2011 has been a turning point in Japanese contemporary art. While international art shows have continued to represent Japanese contemporary art through the very successful “pop art” styles of the 1990s and 2000s — associated with superstars like Murakami Takashi and Nara Yoshitomo — there was a very distinctive change in mood among artists in Japan, particularly younger ones, after the triple disasters. Less commercial socially engaged art, addressed to the participative relations artists develop with communities, as well as a mode of survival among themselves — some of it with a critical political edge — became more prominent, in gallery shows, exhibitions and […]

Report for the talk “Online Lecture: Cultural Properties Recovered? 10 Years on from the Great East Japan Disaster”

March 11th, 2021, marks the tenth anniversary of the Tōhoku earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. These events devastated the coast of Tōhoku and shattered local communities. The Sainsbury Institute has continued to follow Japanese colleagues’ efforts to recover and preserve cultural heritage in the aftermath of the disasters. For the first anniversary in 2012, the Institute was granted a Daiwa Award from the the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation formed a small research group to investigate the consequences of the Tōhoku earthquake on Japanese heritage, in partnership with Professor Matsui Akira, Nara National Institute for Cultural Properties, and Professor Fukasawa Yuriko of Tohoku University. The team consisted of three MA […]

Interview with Andi Sapey

Andi Sapey is a Norwich-based photographer who has worked with SISJAC for over 10 years, photographing events and documenting projects in both the UK and Japan. Recently, Executive Director Professor Simon Kaner sat down with Andi to discuss his career, his photographic process, and his experiences photographing Japan.  You can find out more about Andi and see a selection of his photographs on his website. Andi Sapey in Tokyo 2009