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July 2020 Message from the Executive Director

Attribute to Maruyama Ōkyo (1733-1795), Gion Festival Procession, painting, megane-e (picture for optical viewing device), c. 1760s, Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University (arcUP2830).

Please accept our best wishes for the summer from everyone at the Sainsbury Institute.

In Japan, July is the season of the Tanabata festival, marking the ancient Chinese story of the separation of two lovers, the Weaving Princess and the Cow-Herd across the Milky Way. It is also when the rainy season gives way to the heat of summer, a time of transition normally marked in the ancient capital of Kyoto by the Gion Festival – this year taking a digital turn thanks in part to our friends at Ritsumeikan University. This year, of course, everything is different and, as I write, our thoughts are very much with everyone affected by the terrible torrential rains affecting western and central Japan.

Gion Festival Procession (movie) in 1929, from ex-Nagae family’s residence collection, Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University (nge16mm_32).

We continue to work from home and to adjust our programmes to the new circumstances. Applications are now open for our Online Summer Programme in Japanese Cultural Studies which will run from 27 July to 7 August and for the new MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies, which will be taught through a blend of online and small-group face-to-face learning from this autumn. Why not try your hand with our Norwich Origami Canary which takes flight this week to encourage applications. And we continue our series of online Third Thursdays, with a very special event on 16 July marking the publication of a wonderful new book on Japanese art in the Royal Collections.

I hope you enjoy the contributions to this issue, which include: Uchiyama Atsuko on Japanese art in the Royal Collections; revisiting Yen-Yi Chan’s exploration of the stunning Nan’endo at Kofukuji Temple in Nara; a reflection on a beautiful piece of blue glassware in the Cortazzi Collection, perfect for cooling us down on the hot days of summer, by our Librarian Hirano Akira; and an update on our collaboration with the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo by Miwako Hayashi Bitmead.

Simon Kaner
Executive Director

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