March 2024 message from the Executive Director

A very warm welcome to the March edition of our e-bulletin. Here in Norwich, we are pleased to see the return of lighter evenings and spring flowers starting to appear. For our February Third Thursday Lecture, we delivered a special report on the current situation in Wajima following the devastating earthquake on New Year’s Day on the Noto Peninsula. An important centre of urushi lacquerware, the report focussed on the effects on the arts and culture of the region with contributions from Masami Yamada, Curator at the V&A, Living National Treasure Murose Kazumi, an urushi specialist, and a special message from Her Imperial Highness Princess Akiko of Mikasa. The event […]

Report on the talk ‘A cry from Wajima’

The Third Thursday Lecture on the 15th of February was dedicated to a report on the current situation in Wajima, Noto prefecture. On the 1st of January, a devastating earthquake hit the area. The aim of the lecture was to explain the impact of the disaster on the Japanese lacquer, or urushi, industry. We learned with great sadness that 240 people are reported to have died, 14,000 people have been evacuated to temporary shelters, and many of the buildings in Wajima have been destroyed. Simon Kaner expressed his deepest condolences to everyone who has been impacted by this disaster in Japan. Simon and Masami Yamada, Curator of Japanese Art at […]

Snow, Sketches and (photo)Shoots at the Hokusai-kan Museum

From the 23rd to the 25th January 2024, Dr Ryoko Matsuba (Sainsbury Institute) and I travelled up to snowy Nagano prefecture to visit the small town of Obuse. Here, nestled among the fields and mountains, we found what we were looking for: the Hokusai-kan Museum. Opened in 1976, this museum is dedicated to the works of Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎, the master ukiyo-e artist best known in the West for the iconic Wave off Kanagawa. It contains hundreds of examples of his artwork, prints, nishiki-e, and even two festival floats he painted at the request of his local patron Takai Kōzan 高井鴻山. The museum also contains over 1,300 Japanese rare books, […]