September 2022 Message from the Acting Director

As we begin the new academic year, I would like to highlight some key events that the Sainsbury Institute has been involved in over the end of summer, as well as announce some new initiatives and events to look forward to starting from September. First of all, I would like to introduce myself as I step in as the Sainsbury Institute’s Acting Director for 2022/23, for the time that Professor Simon Kaner is taking academic leave to focus on his research and publication on the Shinano River Project. My name is Eugenia Bogdanova-Kummer, and I joined the Sainsbury Institute in 2018 as a lecturer in Japanese arts and visual cultures. […]

Report on the talk ‘Japanese Avant-garde Calligraphy in Conversation with Prehistory’

On Thursday 21st of July, Dr Eugenia Bogdanova-Kummer, Lecturer in Japanese Arts, Culture, and Heritage at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, presented the online lecture entitled, ‘Japanese Avant-garde Calligraphy in Conversation with Prehistory’, as part of the Sainsbury Institute’s Third Thursday Lecture series. Based on her recent book, Bokujinkai: Japanese Calligraphy and the Postwar Avant-Garde (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2020), Bogdanova-Kummer discussed the complex and intertwined relationships between Euro-American primitivist abstraction and Japanese avant-garde calligraphy in the postwar period. Bogdanova-Kummer began her talk by showing the works of Euro-American artists such as L. Alcopley, Pierre Alechinsky, Joan Miró and Robert Motherwell. They were abstract […]

Online Summer Programme 2022 – Report

In 2020, Sainsbury Institute (SISJAC) launched its first Online Summer Programme in Japanese Cultural Studies, a response to the cancellation of its residential summer programmes as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown. We saw an opportunity to reach out to a global audience who, like us, were forced to remain at home due to the growing pandemic. Three years on, and while in the UK we are learning to “live with” Covid, restrictions remain in Japan, mask wearing is ubiquitous, and, notably for scholars of Japan, entry into the country remains difficult for non-residents. The theme of our third Online Summer Programme was “Heritage and Tourism in Post-Lockdown Japan”. Tourism […]

Summer in Japan: An Update from Professor Simon Kaner

After a pandemic-imposed break of over two years it is wonderful to be back in Japan, reconnecting with old friends of the Institute and forging some promising new relationships. In line with the prevailing atmosphere here I have deliberately kept a low profile, avoiding the ‘three C’s’ (closed spaces, crowds and close proximity), keeping meetings to a minimum, speaking quietly (or not at all on public transport and in lifts) and wearing a mask both inside and out. While it may not quite be Japan as I know it from the ‘before times’, the many encounters I have had over the past few weeks have reconfirmed the importance of seeing […]

Sainsbury Institute Undergraduate Essay Prize: Interview with winner, Jiwoo Han

Oliver Moxham speaks to winner of this year’s Undergraduate Essay prize winner, Jiwoo Han of Amherst College, about her essay titled Re-Elevation Through Exposure: How Shomei Tomatsu’s Photographs Convey and Heal Individual Trauma of the World War. Interview transcript Oliver Moxham (OM) interviews Jiwoo Han (JH) OM: Hello, Jiwoo. Thank you for joining me today. JH: Thank you. OM: So I’d like to begin, as I do with my podcast episodes. First of all, we’d like to know a bit more about you. Can you tell us about your area of expertise and how your interests have brought you there? JH: I’m an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology, and psychology […]