Our collaborative partners are academic and research institutes located mostly in Japan. As a British Institute with its headquarters in Norwich, UK, the strength of our projects and the reach of their impact depends largely on how many vibrant links we can forge and foster with centres of excellence in Japan, primarily, but also in the UK and the rest of the world. Over the years, our academics have continued to cultivate these links and as a result we have a number of formal collaborative research partners with whom we have carried out research projects and exchange programs.
Cambridge Heritage Research Centre
Centre Européen d’Etudes Japonaises d’Alsace
Centre Européen d’Etudes Japonaises d’Alsace was established in 2001 to further into Franco-Japanese relations by the Alsacian communities (in particular the Region of Alsace, the Department of Haut-Rhin and the City of Colmar).
Firmly set in the academic landscape through a strong partnership with the Department of Japanese Studies at the University of Strasbourg, CEEJA also works with many other universities in Europe and Japan to bring together experts from Japan and all over Europe. CEEJA’s activities are developed primarily for teachers, researchers and students. Activities related to research consist of five main areas : study sessions, publications, seminars, immersion courses and residents’ accomodation.
The Institute has a collaborative research agreement with the Faculty of Letters of Chuo University.
In the past, the Institute has organised three international workshops with the Faculty of Letters of Chuo University between the years of 2014 and 2016 (Radiocarbon Dating in Japanese Archaeology (8-9 April 2014); Ukiyo-e in Edo Period Publishing Culture (9-10 April 2015); and Young Generations in Japan and Europe: Crisis, Mobility and Creativity (4 November 2016). Themes of the workshops coincided with the three of the main research strands at the Institute namely Japanese archaeology, Japanese art history and contemporary Japanese visual media. The second workshop resulted in a Japanese book titled ‘Edo ni okeru shuppan bunka’ (Ukiyo-e in Edo Period Publishing Culture) and published by Benseido.
European Japanese Archaeology Network
There is increasing interest within Japanese archaeology as to how best to contribute to archaeology globally, an interest matched by an emerging network of archaeologists and cultural heritage specialists in Europe aware of the significance of Japanese archaeology beyond the confines of the archipelago. The Sainsbury Institute and the Centre for Archaeology and Heritage organises occasional workshops and study days to foster this network. In February 2011, in conjunction with Professor Tsujita Jun’ichiro (Kyushu University), who spent the preceding year at the Sainsbury Institute as a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Visiting Fellow, we organised a study day on Japanese archaeology. Contributors included: Professor Miyamoto Kazuo (Kyushu University), on the origins of agriculture in Japan; Professor Chris Scarre (University of Durham) on monumentality; Dr Laurent Nespolous (INALCO, Paris), on kofun archaeology; Dr Arnaud Nanta (EHESS, Paris) on the history of Japanese archaeology; and Dr Mayke Wagner (German Archaeological Institute).
Global Exchange Organisation for Research and Education, Gakushuin University
The Sainsbury Institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Gakushuin University in 2016. In 2017 we also signed an Agreement of Cooperation, where we agreed to host an academic seminar in UK for 14 students.
The Sainsbury Institute has had an agreement with Kanazawa University since March 2015.
Our research link with Kokugakuin University provided ample opportunities to invite scholars from the university to conduct research and give talks on current research on Japan. In July 2017, we welcomed Professor Sasou Mamoru (Director of the Kokugakuin University Museum) to give the eighth Carmen Blacker Lecture. A scholar on Shinto Studies, he delivered an insightful talk titled ‘The Archaeology of Ritual Sites and the Origins of Japanese Shrines and Festivals.’. The Sainsbury Institute also facilitated a visit by Professor Uchikawa to study the British Museum’s Siebold collection. Back in 2010 in association with Kokugakuin University, the Institute held a Jōmon World Heritage symposium at the Society of Antiquaries, and ‘Shinto in Archaeology’ workshop at the Centre Européen d’Études Japonaises d’Alsace (CEEJA) in 2011.
Kyoto Institute, Library and Archives (KILA)
The Sainsbury Institute has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Kyoto Institute, Library and Archives. This involves recommendation and acceptance of research fellow candidates and to promote Kyoto studies and/or Japanese studies in Japan and/or overseas.
Museum of Asian Art in Corfu
The Sainsbury Institute has worked closely over the years with the Museum of Asian Art in Corfu, which houses over 10,500 art objects of Asia including some 6,500 works of Japanese art collected by Gregorios Manos (1851-1928), former Greek Ambassador to Austria. Beginning with an initial survey trip led by Professor Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere in 1999, there have been significant scholarly developments made on the museum’s fascinating Japanese collections, which previous to the collaboration little was known. These include the major discovery of a rare painting by Tôshûsai Sharaku at a survey trip funded by the Idemitsu Foundation of Cultural and Social Welfare in 2007, a homecoming exhibition of masterpieces from the museum at the Edo-Tokyo Metropolitan Museum in 2009, large ukiyo-e print exhibition at the Maison de la Culture du Japon à Paris in 2011 and digital archive project to photographically document the museum’s print and printed book collection funded by and operated in collaboration with Ritsumeikan University in 2012.
Nagawa-Machi, Nagano Prefecture
Over the past few years the Sainsbury Institute has developed ties with a number of civic departments and organisations in the town of Nagawa-Machi. The obsidian mines of Nagawa-Machi are now “archaeologically twinned” with the flint mines of Grimes Graves in Norfolk, UK. For coverage in the Eastern Daily Press see here.
Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties
The Institute has worked on a number of projects over the many years with Nabunken. One of the key projects was the IN-PACE seminar series organised by Dr Shoda Shinya from Nabunken. The series involved five seminars held in different institutions in the UK and Japan between 2015 and 2016. It aimed to foster networks between the participating institutions in the UK such as the Sainsbury Institute, SOAS, University of York or others and Nabunken (Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, hereafter) in Japan, and to establish collaborative research pathways that can be developed into larger scale research projects through a series of seminars.
We also had the privilege of working with the late Professor Matsui Akira, former Director of the Centre for Archaeological Operations at the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and a long-time friend and supporter of the Institute. Professor Matsui lead the ‘Bunkazai Rescue’ project in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima Disaster in 2011. Professor Matsui was tireless in his work to promote Japanese archaeology internationally. He was instrumental in our joint symposium on disaster archaeology culture property loss at the Embassy of Japan in London after 3.11 with funding from the Japan Foundation and on student visit project to Tohoku and other parts of Japan funded by Daiwa Anglo Japan Foundation. The Tohoku student trip was led by Dr Akira Matsuda, a former Fellow and Academic Associate at the Sainsbury Institute.
With colleagues at Nabunken, the Institute jointly published the Illustrated Companion to Japanese Archaeology in 2016 Edited by Werner Steinhaus and Simon Kaner.
The Sainsbury Institute and the Nara University signed an agreement of cooperation on 8 January 2014.
Niigata Prefectural Museum of History
Simon Kaner at the Institute has been working with colleagues at the Niigata Prefectural Museum of History on a major project on the archaeology of the Shinano river.
The long standing research relationship has helped broker further connections and relationships. This includes the facilitation of Jōmon pottery exhibition entitled Flame and water Pots at the British Museum in 2013 and 2016. The success of the exhibition has led to the agreement of a long-term loan of magnificent pots to the British Museum. Other activities include holding a Jōmon archaeology lecture at the Embassy of Japan in London.
Research Center for Non-written Cultural Materials, Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture, Kanagawa University
Since 2016 The Sainsbury Institute has had an exchange agreement with The Research Center for Non-written Cultural Materials, Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture, Kanagawa University.
Research Institute for Humanity and Nature
The Sainsbury Institute and the Art Research Center (ARC), Ritsumeikan University, have most recently undertaken a joint research project under the umbrella of the International Joint Digital Archiving Center for Japanese Art and Culture (ARC-iJAC) to create a pilot project centred on the construction of a portal site for an online open access database that will make research materials in UK collections accessible online. In 2022, this has so far seen the digitisation of Japanese objects across the collections of the British Museum, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, including rare books, scrolls and paintings. The project has also given invaluable collections and digitisation experience to postgraduate students who were involved in the project. We continue to work closely with ARC on many levels to promote exchange and collaboration between the two institutions.
In December 2018, The Sainsbury Institute signed an agreement with Tohoku University.
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties
As one of the only two national research institutes for cultural properties in Japan, TOBUNKEN issues an annual compendium on Japanese art including data on exhibition and publications in this area.
As their research partner, SISJAC has been invited to establish and run an English database on exhibitions which have been shown outside Japan and publications of articles and books in English. This database forms part of TOBUNKEN’s website, and it can be accessed through our SISJAC’s own website. Furthermore, annually since 2015, an academic from TOBUNKEN is invited to give a talk at our Third Thursday Lecture.
University of the Arts London (UAL)
The Sainsbury Institute has a Memorandum of Understanding with University of the Arts London.
University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, Faculty of Letters
The University of Tokyo is globally renowned as one of Japan’s most prestigious university and is the highest ranked higher education institute of Japan on all global league tables.
The collaborative agreement which was signed in 2015, has enabled us to carry out exchange of academic staff and researchers as well as students. In the consultation process which preceded the signing of the agreement, the initial project to implement was agreed to be an exchange programme of students in the area of archaeology and heritage studies, which are disciplines at the core of the research interests of the Sainsbury Institute.
Since 2015, three Summer Programme in Japan and three Winter Programme in the UK to explore archaeology and heritage in both countries have been carried out with University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Letters.
World Heritage Promotion Committee of Okinoshima Island and related sites in the Munakata Region
The Sainsbury Institute worked together with the PLACE on the publication project Okinoshima in Religious Archaeological Perspective.