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Nara to Norwich: Kannon Bosatsu Replica Scroll and Shōmyō performance by Karyōbinga Shōmyō Kenkyūkai

Event - Sainsbury Institute - The Forum and Sainsbury Centre

火曜日 21 5月, 2024 - 土曜日 25 5月, 2024

We are delighted to present a 12m giant replica of the Dai Miei Daigajiku scroll from Hasedera—Hase Temple—in Japan, created using high-resolution scanning of the original. The scroll depicts the bodhisattva Kannon, known as the bodhisattva of compassion, and was originally created during the Edo period (1603–1867) as a model for reconstructing the Kannon statue in the temple, which had been destroyed by fire in 1495. This replica scroll matches the dimensions of the main image on the original scroll.

The scroll will be displayed in the atrium at The Forum, Norwich, from 20th to 25th May as the centrepiece of our exhibition for the ‘Nara to Norwich: Arts and Beliefs at the Ends of the Silk Roads, AD 500–1000’ project. During the exhibition, twelve members of the Karyōbinga Shōmyō Kenkyūkai Ensemble (Kashōken), specially flown in from Japan, will perform shōmyō, a form of Buddhist sutra chanting. Kashōken’s chanting style has its roots in the Buzan Sect of the Shingon School, of which Hasedera is the head temple.

Programme

TUESDAY 21 MAY
11:00-11:10  Shōmyō performance by Karyōbinga Shōmyō Kenkyūkai at The Forum

19:00-20:30  Nara to Norwich: A Night of Religious Musical Traditions from the UK and Japan at St Peter Mancroft. More information available here

WEDNESDAY 22 MAY
15:00-15:10  Shōmyō performance by Karyōbinga Shōmyō Kenkyūkai at The Forum

THURSDAY 23 MAY
14:00-14:10  Shōmyō performance by Karyōbinga Shōmyō Kenkyūkai at The Forum

FRIDAY 24 MAY
11:30-11:55  Shōmyō performance by Karyōbinga Shōmyō Kenkyūkai at Sainsbury Centre

16:00-16:10  Shōmyō performance by Karyōbinga Shōmyō Kenkyūkai at The Forum

SATURDAY 25 MAY
13:30-13:40  Shōmyō performance by Karyōbinga Shōmyō Kenkyūkai at The Forum

14:00-16:30  Nara to Norwich: An Afternoon of Discussions and Presentations. More information available here.

16:45-16:55  Shōmyō performance by Karyōbinga Shōmyō Kenkyūkai at The Forum

About the performers

The Karyōbinga Shōmyō Kenkyūkai Ensemble (Kashōken for short) was founded in 1980 by priests of the Buddhist Shingon School. Their declared aim is to study, disseminate and hand down shomyo ritual chanting in the tradition of the Buzan Sect of the Shingon School.

In 1966, about 20 Shingon priests, under the leadership of Yuko Aoki (1891-1985), abbot of the Hasedera Temple (the center of the Buzan Sect), had given public performances of ancient liturgical chant for the first time, which were received with great enthusiasm. These were followed by further appearances in Japan (predominantly at the National Theater in Tokyo) and by highly praised performances in a number of German towns during their first European tour in 1973.

In 1980 the hitherto loosely composed group of priests came together more formally as a permanent ensemble under the name Karyōbinga Shōmyō Kenkyūkai (literally the Karyōbinga Association for the Study of shōmyō ritual chanting). Karyōbinga is the Japanese version of the Sanskrit word kalavinka – the name of a mythical bird known for the unearthly beauty of its song. In Buddhism it is a symbol of transcendental understanding.

The Ensemble now has 90 members from Shingon temples all over Japan. The ensemble has toured overseas with a variety of its members on a number of occasions.


This event forms part of the Japan in Norwich programme, celebrating 25 years of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures.

Nara to Norwich: Kannon Bosatsu Replica Scroll and Shōmyō performance by Karyōbinga Shōmyō Kenkyūkai is a Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures presentation, programmed by the Sainsbury Institute.

The Nara to Norwich exhibition and associated research project is generously sponsored by the Toshiba International Foundation. This exhibition and associated events are also generously supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, the Japan Foundation, and the Nara Visitors Bureau.

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