Issue 06 January 2014

Dear Friends and Supporters,  Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu (Happy New Year!), from Norwich. Following the tradition in Japan, at the outset of 2014 we would like to thank you for all the encouragement you have given us during the past year and to ask for your continuing support throughout the new year. In our first e-magazine of this year you can learn about our ema, in the Lisa Sainsbury Library, and why we consider 2014 the year of the horse according to the Chinese zodiac calendar. Another local feature in this edition is an article about the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, our sister organisation in Norwich. This wonderful museum, always […]

The Sainsbury Institute Abroad

Hosting the First Ishibashi Foundation Lecture Series On 7 December 2013, for the first time in its 15-year history, the Sainsbury Institute hosted a major cultural event in Japan – the first Ishibashi Foundation Lecture Series, Euro-Japanese Exchange in the World of Creative Expression. Since its inception academics associated with the Sainsbury Institute have been invited numerous times to teach, give lectures and to participate in symposia and workshops in Japan. The Institute has co-sponsored events in Japan with prestigious organizations such as the Japan Foundation. As a result, over 15 years we have become a well-known and respected name within academic and artistic circles in Japan. However, we have always […]

My Japan

The Art Lover’s Guide to Japanese Museums The much-anticipated guidebook by Sophie Richard The Japanese are serious museum lovers—perhaps obsessive. Together with Germany and the US, Japan can safely lay claims as a ‘museum kingdom’ to operate some 5600 museums—a figure that eclipses the 1800 or so accredited museums we have here in the UK. By 2009 roughly a fifth of those, or 1087 museums to be precise, are dedicated to art. Amongst those are over 500 public art museums. Fascinating then that this museum obsession is a recent affair for the Japanese. In fact, at the end of WWII, Japan had only three public art museums. That sprouted into […]

The Institute and Our Community

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Here at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, we often get calls from people asking for the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. We explain that we were both founded by the same patrons, but are separate entities, like sisters. This is usually followed by a bemused ‘…oh?!’ Our answer often comes as rather a surprise to people who have heard about a fantastic art centre set in idyllic landscape with world-class art collections, all housed in a magnificent early Norman Foster building, and who then discover that the Sainsburys did so much more, including creating our Institute. In fact their […]

Treasures of the Library

This year falls on the Chinese zodiac Year of the Horse. The jūnishi or twelve symbols of the Chinese zodiacs are horary signs based on the point at which Jupiter can be found annually as it makes its twelve year orbit round the sun. The zodiac is divided into twelve parts with a particular Chinese character attributed to each point; the twelve animals were introduced later to help make each point easier to recognize. Evidence from archaeological excavation indicates that this Chinese astrological system was prevalent in Japan by the Kofun period (c. 3rd century – 538). However, according to recent research, equines were not domestic to Japan in the […]

Museums in Japan

Okada Museum of Art Interview with Professor Kobayashi Tadashi Hakone—one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts—is a popular museum town. The city is now joined by the much-anticipated Okada Museum of Art from October last year. Okada Museum houses fine examples of Japanese, Korean and Chinese art collected by the businessman Okada Kazuo over more than a decade. The museum’s first director, Professor Kobayashi Tadashi, is emeritus professor of Gakushuin University and a board member of the Sainsbury Institute. The institute’s Executive Director, Mizutori Mami, visits Professor Kobayashi to see and hear more about the newly established museum. Mizutori Mami (MM): What qualities set Okada Museum of Art apart […]

Interview with Patrons

Namekawa Fumihiko: Seven Years with SISJAC In 2001, after more than 25 years in Toshiba’s nuclear energy systems business, first as a researcher in the R&D labs, and later as a manager responsible for business development, I was transferred to the corporate head office. I was appointed as general manager of the External Relations Division, which covers the company’s relations with governments, industry and business, as well as carrying out policy planning activities. As the division’s portfolio included running our Social Contributions Office, I also became responsible for oversight of the Toshiba International Foundation, or TIFO, as we are known within and outside Japan. TIFO is a non-profit and independent […]