Issue 22 Spring 2018

Dear Friends,  Welcome to the Spring 2018 edition of our e-magazine. In this edition, we look at some of our recent developments including new appointments. We are delighted to feature the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asian Art in Hungary and one of our Sainsbury Fellows’ research project on Alice in Wonderland in Japan. Our Librarian provides interesting insights into a collection of Edo period area maps we recently received from Sir Hugh and Lady Cortazzi, and our Database Officer picks out some wonderful Japanese art exhibitions happening outside of Japan over the next few months.

Research Highlights

Quarterly Research Update Now that the clocks have moved forward to summer time and spring blooms are out in force, it feels slightly anachronistic to reflect on our activities since the start of the year. That said, the year kicked off in good form. Our popular Third Thursday Lecture series started with Sainsbury Institute’s Dr Simon Kaner giving the January lecture on ‘Perceptions of the arrival of beliefs’. In his talk he gave us a unique glimpse into the different ways the ‘arrival’ of Buddhism in Japan in the mid 6th century AD has been seen over time by a variety of observers, artists and other specialists. Buddhism not only […]

Museums with Japanese Art

Buitenzorg Villa then and now: Japanese art at the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts, Budapest Ferenc Hopp, globetrotter, collector, and donor In 1858, a Japanese envoy visited the United States for the first time. Ferenc Hopp (1833-1919), a 25 years old Budapest resident with Moravian roots, was among the onlookers and received a Japanese coin from a member of the Japanese delegation. Japanese yen as we know it today did not yet exist, and it wasn’t until 1869 that the Austro-Hungarian Empire established a formal diplomatic relationship with Japan. Another decade passed until Ferenc Hopp, a wealthy dealer of opticial goods and cameras could set sail for his first […]

Japanese Art Exhibitions outside of Japan

Japanese art exhibitions to catch during spring to summer With winter finally behind us, spring has sprung in Norwich. Our institute garden is now teeming with colours: crocuses and daffodils are enjoying the sunshine while trees and bushes are budding green again. On the subject of feast for the eye, there are some wonderful exhibitions on show during spring and in this edition, I’d like to introduce four fascinating exhibitions—two in New York, one in the Netherlands and one in the UK. I hope some of you will have a chance to visit them. The Poetry of Nature: Edo Paintings from the Fishbein-Bender CollectionThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New YorkNow […]

Behind the Scenes

Springtime and a fresh start As well as being a sight of great beauty, the cherry blossoms of spring herald a time of transition. The beginning of April marks the start of the new academic, financial and employment year in Japan, and this latest e-magazine allows us to introduce some changes at the Sainsbury Institute as well. As many of you already know, Mami Mizutori, who joined us as Executive Director in 2011, moved to Geneva at the start of March to take up a new post as Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). We are […]

Fellows and their Research

Amanda Kennell and Alice in… Japan? Today, we are surrounded by more media than humans have been at any other point in history. We wake up in the morning and put on the TV while we hop into our branded clothing and skim the paper before commuting via public transit systems full of advertisements while playing games on our smartphones. Then, we work with computers all day before returning home to stream a movie or read a book before bed. Despite leading heavily-mediated lives, we do not really understand the media environment that surrounds us, nor do we understand how we interact with these many media. My research attempts to […]

Treasures of the Library: Edo kirie zu area maps by Owariya

During the Edo period (1615-1868), some 64% of Edo city (present day central Tokyo) was occupied by mansions and residences of daimyō feudal lords, hatamoto samurai and gokenin vassals serving the Tokugawa shogun (Masai, 1975). These dwellings were typically shielded from public view with tall boundary walls. With no name plate on house number or street signs to go by, visitors experienced tremendous difficulty in finding the right house. The western side of the Edo Castle was said to be especially challenging as the first Tokugawa shogun, Ieyasu, deliberately positioned the obscure residences of his samurai and other security forces, who were collectively called ōban gumi, in the area to […]