Issue 03 April 2013

Dear Friends and supporters of the Sainsbury Institute,  We are bringing you the spring version of our e-magazine when it finally looks like winter might be coming to an end in England. While cherry trees in Japan were in full bloom during March, it was just last week when the ones in the Cathedral Close started to flower. In this edition, you will find the third and last installment of our interview with Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll, our trustee. Dame Elizabeth talks about her vision of the future of the Institute, encouraging us to move into new terrains for our research activities. We are pleased to present an article from another […]

Fellows at the Sainsbury Institute

Maya Yamada A visit to the Lisa Sainsbury Library feels like a real treat. The shelves are densely packed with one of the best and most comprehensive collection of resources on Japanese visual culture in the UK. The space is light, bright, beautiful and quiet, only disturbed by the squawk of Norwich Cathedral’s resident peregrine or the shimmering rustle of bamboo leaves outside the window. In short, it is a welcoming sanctuary. And yet, perhaps to the dismay of the busy librarian, the Library is in a state of constant activity. On average 2000 books are added every year, and there are now around 40,000 volumes including the distinguished academic […]

Custom and Culture: Japanese National Holidays

January, February, March April and May As we saw in Issues one and two of the e-magazine, Japan has many days of celebration and remembrance enshrined in law, each of which reveals something of Japanese culture and history, and indeed of its psyche. In this issue we look at the holidays in April and May, including the cluster of non-working days in early May known as Golden Week that is followed by a long period – by Japanese standards – with no holiday at all. Consequently a seasonal ailment called ‘Gogatsu-byō’, literally ‘May sickness’, affects many Japanese who are depressed about returning to the working routine once Golden Week is […]

The Sainsbury Institute Abroad

Exhibition: Arts of Fire, Transformation of Space: Masterworks of Contemporary Japanese Porcelain   The opening of the 22nd International Biennale of Contemporary Porcelain in Vallauris on 7 July 2012 was celebrated in one of the city’s public squares under a bright Mediterranean sky. A festive air was lent to the occasion by it being the beginning of the school summer holidays, so it was well attended by ceramic artists from Vallauris and the surrounding area, people involved with the exhibition, and a large number of locals and tourists of all ages. Salle Eden, a building facing onto the square, was home to the special feature country exhibition, Arts of Fire, Transformation of […]

Museums in Japan

Chiba City Museum of Art Professor Kawai Masatomo, Director of Chiba City Museum of Art and Professor Emeritus of Keio University, has been a trustee of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures since its establishment in 1999. His many contributions to the Institute’s success include facilitating the donation of the Matsushita Collection to the Lisa Sainsbury Library. This collection of more than 15,000 volumes of key Japanese art history reference materials forms the foundation of the Library and helped to secure its future. Professor Kawai has been an instrumental figure in the development of the Institute, offering strategic advice and creating opportunities for high profile […]

The Institute and Our Community

The Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society’s Library at the Institute The Sainsbury Institute is a vibrant research hub not only for Japan specialists but also for members of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society (NNAS). Regarded as one of the oldest and most prestigious archaeological societies in the country, the Institute is pleased to house their outstanding library, which is situated on the ground floor of 64 The Close. In this issue, Roger Billinger, former President of the Society, shares the history and work of the Society and the relationship between the two organizations. A few years after Queen Victoria ascended the throne, at a time when questions were beginning […]

Interview with Founders and Staff

Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll: Part 3 Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll, the former Vice-Chancellor of University of East Anglia (UEA) and former Director of the V&A Museum has played an integral part in the success of the Sainsbury Institute serving as a Trustee since the Institute’s humble beginnings in 1999 when, as she said, ‘the organization was just a two women team.’ In this third instalment she discusses with Professor Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, the Founding Director and presently the Research Director of the Sainsbury Institute, what she considers were the Institute’s most memorable projects as well as her views on the Institute’s vast network of supporters, past, present and future, and what she […]

Treasures of the Library

Do you know why Japan is called ‘Japan’ in English and not ‘Nihon’ or ‘Nippon’ as it is pronounced in Japanese? It is said that Marco Polo was the first to bring Japan’s existence to the attention of Europe. The exact time and place of Marco Polo’s birth are unknown. However, today the accepted narrative is that he was born in 1254 in the Venetian Republic to a merchant family engaged in trade with the Middle East. In 1271, Marco Polo set off on a trading voyage to Asia by land with his father and uncle. For seventeen years they remained within China, which was then ruled by the Mongol […]