MA Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies

Building of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, Norwich

The Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures together with the University of East Anglia has launched the MA programme in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies in autumn 2020.

Administered through UEA’s Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities, home to the University’s Centre for Japanese Studies, this MA course is a collaboration of Japan specialists from both the University and the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures. Lecturers with academic focus on Japan from several schools of study at UEA, together with academic staff of the Sainsbury Institute have developed an innovative interdisciplinary curriculum for students who want to know about Japan, its place in the world, and its transforming cultural identity.

Based in Norwich, one of the UK’s most rapidly growing research hubs of Japanese Studies, this course will offer students access to the resources of several important institutions located here.

Since 1999, the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures has been developing and sharing its world-class research with the city and with UEA.

Japanese Garden in Norwich Cathedral

Located in the city centre on the premises of Norwich Cathedral, the Sainsbury Institute is a unique world-leading centre for the study of Japanese arts and cultures, with an expanded global network of scholars and art professionals, regular events programme, a welcoming community of in-house and visiting scholars, and the invaluable Lisa Sainsbury Library, which holds its own special collections of original artworks and primary sources.

Students will be encouraged to participate in the Institute’s academic life, and will have a chance to attend the monthly Third Thursday Lectures in Norwich Cathedral, a ground-breaking lecture series on Japanese arts by leading experts from across the globe, which celebrated its 200th lecture anniversary in September 2018.

The Sainsbury Institute’s academic staff, including Professor Simon Kaner (Director of the Institute and an expert in Japanese archaeology), Dr Eugenia Bogdanova-Kummer (course director for the MA programme, and expert in modern Japanese art and calligraphy), Dr Ryoko Matsuba (Lecturer in Japanese Digital Arts and Humanities, and a specialist in Japanese print culture and digital technologies), Professor Toshio Watanabe (expert in modern Japanese art), and Professor Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere (specialist in Japanese ceramics, and globally renowned art curator) have a combined knowledge that spans the breadth of studies of Japanese visual culture, and look forward to sharing this knowledge and appreciation with new students. During the MA course, they will teach about Japanese art history, share their experiences of understanding Japan through its visual and material culture, introduce students to the latest developments in the field, and offer guidance to jump-start their professional careers.

The students of this course will additionally benefit from access to UEA’s Centre for Japanese Studies and the wide range of scholarly expertise on Japan that the UEA faculty, who all contribute distinct disciplinary perspectives, have to offer. Japan specialists at UEA currently include Dr Ra Mason (based in the School of Politics, Philosophy and Language and Communication Studies), an expert in Japan’s international relations and Okinawan Studies with an extensive knowledge of Japan’s foreign relations within East Asia; Dr Nadine Willems (UEA’s School of History), a cultural historian on Japan with multi-year experience of working in Tokyo, who currently works on modern Japanese history and the history of ideas; Dr Hannah Osborne (lecturer in Japanese Literature in the School of Literature and Drama) who specialises in modern Japanese literature through the perspectives of gender and body;  Dr Eriko Tomizawa-Kay (based in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies), an expert in modern Japanese art, diaspora studies, and Okinawan art.; and  Dr Sherzod Muminov (School of History) who specialises in Japanese history, in particular Japan-East Asia and Japan-Russia relations.

These outstanding offerings will be further enriched by the monthly Research Seminars of UEA’s Centre for Japanese Studies, which bring to together scholars and professionals working on Japan across the UK and Europe and are a regular part of the course curriculum.

The intellectual rigour of the programme will be complemented by access to the unique collection of Japanese art at the Sainsbury Centre located at UEA’s campus. The collection boasts outstanding examples of prehistoric art, Buddhist sculptures, paintings and ceramics. The collection will provide students with first-hand experience of studying Japan’s material culture through artefacts, and learning about Japan’s past and present through art objects. Students will be encouraged to use this collection for their study, and to gather experience in curating, researching, and communicating about Japanese culture.

We hope that this course will help create a new generation of versatile experts on Japan, who are well equipped to cross geographical, disciplinary, and institutional borders, ready to jump-start their careers in this exciting field.