October 2020 Message from the Executive Director

Welcome to our October e-bulletin. I hope this finds you well. October is a beautiful month in Japan, as the ‘autumn colours’ begin to appear and gold, brown, red and yellow leaves glory against bright blue skies. This month, with the start of a new academic year in Norwich and students now studying for the MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies, I would like to reflect on the strength of the relationship between the Institute and the University of East Anglia. Since the establishment of the Centre for Japanese Studies and degree-level Japanese language programmes at UEA in 2011-12, and the relocation of our Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellows to Norwich, […]

Making Manga: The Citi Exhibition

In the summer of 2019, the hallowed halls of the British Museum came alive with futuristic space travelers and ninja, fashion designers and amateur detectives, salarymen and white rabbits.  The Citi Exhibition: Manga, curated by the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures’ (SISJAC’s) own Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere and Matsuba Ryoko, would become the British Museum’s most popular exhibition of the year.  In addition, the exhibition stands as the largest show on manga ever to be staged outside Japan.  It was particularly popular among younger audiences – in fact, it has the youngest audience on record for any paid exhibition at the Museum.  While it may not […]

Book report for The Archaeology of Medieval Towns: Case Studies from Japan and Europe

Published last month with the Oxford-based publisher Archaeopress, The Archaeology of Medieval Towns: Case Studies from Japan and Europe represents the culmination of a number of years research, translation, compiling and editing, looking at the medieval urban forms found both in the Japanese archipelago and in Europe. The seeds of the book were initially sown at a conference held at the Sainsbury Institute not long after it was established, in 2004, to which many of the contributors to the book attended. As Simon Kaner and Brian Ayers, editors to the book, describe in their opening chapter, the aim was shine a light on the developments in Japanese archaeology that might […]

Report for the talk “Online Lecture: Mirror of the Japanese Empire: Japanese “War Art” and its Legacies”

Shimizu Toshi (1887-1945), Refugees, 1941. Oil on canvas, 162.1 x 130.3 cm.

Last month we had the pleasure of discussing Japanese War Art with Professor Maki Kaneko, Associate Professor of Japanese Art at the Kress Foundation Department of Art History. The online lecture was moderated by our Centre for Japanese Studies colleague Dr Sherzod Muminov, Lecturer in Japanese History at the University of East Anglia. Together they discussed they role of art and the artist in the wartime Japanese empire, challenging assumptions that artists commissioned by the military conformed to a style of bravado propaganda. On the contrary, many would include subtle elements that questioned the merits of the war. Professor Kaneko was able to vividly demonstrate this through a selection of wartime art […]

Treasures of the Library: The First Western-style Circus in Japan by Utagawa Yoshitora

As the previous issue briefly mentioned the Western-style circus performed in the early Meiji era, this issue will introduce an ukiyo-e that depicts the first Western circus performed in Japan on record. The Tokugawa Shogunate was forced to open its ports to overseas trade due to the arrival of the Black Ships in 1853 and in 1854. This allowed foreigners to live and trade freely in Yokohama, Nagasaki, and Hakodate in 1859. The newly developed port of Yokohama, with its hint of exoticism, had become an interesting subject for ukiyo-e. Ukiyo-e publishers in Edo sent a number of ukiyo-e artists to Yokohama, and through the eyes of those artists full […]