Issue 08 August 2014

Dear Friends and Supporters,  We are experiencing a glorious summer in Norwich. Although both England and Japan were defeated quickly at the FIFA World Cup, we are still enjoying our pints al fresco while the days are long and warm. As our annual July event, the Carmen Blacker Lecture series approaches, Carmen’s husband Dr Michael Loewe writes in this edition an article about how he and Carmen engaged with Japan over decades and why they decided to set up an endowment for the Sainsbury Institute to host the lecture series. You can also read an article by our librarian Hirano Akira about our Edo period books on morning glories, probably […]

Letter from Our Fellow

Ken Tadashi Oshima Ken Tadashi Oshima is Professor at the University of Washington. In the early 2000s, he spent time at the Sainsbury Institute as first a Handa Fellow (2003-4) and later Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow Fellow (2004-5). A trained architect and architectural historian, Ken has published extensively on the subject with a special focus on Anglo-Japan connections seen in architecture. In this issue, Ken reflects on his time as Fellow and his research projects. Hindsight is 20/20. In looking back a decade to my time in London as a Robert and Lisa Sainsbury and Handa Fellow between 2003-05, I realize what a pivotal time this was in my […]

My Japan

Sue Maufe, Potter Sue Maufe has been a generous friend of the Institute since collaborating for the unearthed exhibition held at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA) in 2010. The exhibition which was a joint project between the Sainsbury Centre and the Sainsbury Institute brought prehistoric figurines from Japan and the Balkans together for the first time in the UK. Figurines are often excavated as fragments with marks that suggest deliberate breakage before being discarded. For the exhibition, the organizers wanted to recreate the sensation, both haptic and emotional-of deliberately damaging objects in the shape of a human. Sue, through her expert skill and craftsmanship, was called on to create […]

The Institute and Our Community

Dressed to impress: netsuke and Japanese men’s fashion Exhibition: 19 June – 17 August 2014Room 3, The Asahi Shimbun Displays, The British Museum In recent decades men’s fashion has been largely overshadowed by the frills and frocks presented for the ladies. But with David Beckham and other popular icons embracing male fashion, the cult of the Man is back again to re-define men’s desire to harness dapperhood. The current exhibition in the Asahi room at the British Museum is a nicely timed show. While the West, particularly Britain and France, was once famous for their dashing dandies, Japan during the Edo period was bustling with men in pursuit of the trendiest swagger. In […]

The Sainsbury Institute Abroad

Simon Kaner’s whirlwind tour of Japan: From Sea of Okhotsk to Genkai Sea At the Sainsbury Institute we are very conscious of how important it is to maintain regular links with our research networks in Japan. Even in this digital age of Skype, Facebook and email, by far the most effective way to do this is to make personal visits. For the past few years this has taken me to Japan several times each year. I made my most recent such visit in May. As usual I tried to maximise my time in Japan. This trip took me from Tokyo for the annual meeting of the Japanese Archaeological Association, to the […]

Museums in Japan

Intermediatheque: Innovation in University Museums Intermediatheque (IMT) located next to the recently restored Tokyo Station oozes with seductive appeal to those tired of traditional Tokyo museums. A public institution jointly operated by Japan Post and the University Museum of the University of Tokyo (UMUT), IMT is an intellectual hub of research and researchers headed by Professor Nishino Yoshiaki. The Sainsbury Institute had the pleasure of working with Professor Nishino when IMT was in its previous guise as the University Museum, the University of Tokyo (UMUT) on a special seminar to explore a wider discourse on university museums back in October 2012. Since then, UMUT has joined forces with Japan Post […]

Interview with Patrons

Dr Michael Loewe in remembrance of Carmen Blacker Dr Carmen Blacker was one of the most esteemed Japonologists of our times. Scholar of Japanese religion and folklore, the former Cambridge academic enriched the field with groundbreaking research and publications. After her passing on her birthday in July 2009, Carmen’s legacy – through the help of her husband, Dr Michael Loewe – continues to inspire us today. Michael, who is equally a revered yet humble scholar of Chinese studies, has helped facilitate the bequeathal of Carmen’s entire library collection to the Sainsbury Institute. He has been a central figure in the establishment of the annual Carmen Blacker Lecture Series, which invites […]

Treasures of the Library

The English are world famous for their love of gardening. Perhaps less obvious is the horticultural enthusiasm of the Edo period Japanese, who were just as keen a gardener as the English. In fact, Japanese Edo period eras are often twinned with certain flowers and plants that became particularly fashionable during the period. For instance, camellia is associated with Kan’ei era, while azalea marked the Genroku era. Other examples include chrysanthemum of Seitoku, acer tree of Kyōhō, Ardisia crispa of Kansei, morning glory of Bunka-Bunsei, Japanese rhodea and pink of Tempō, and henka or ‘mutant’ morning glory of Kaei-Ansei eras. Such associations reflect the gardening fever experienced in many parts of Japan […]