Torii

Monday 21 July 2014                           6.45pm

The Swedenborg Society
20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St)
London WC1A 2TH

For a PDF map of the venue please click here

Free – booking recommended

Nearest underground station: Holborn
Light refreshments will be provided

And

Thursday 17 July 2014                6.00pm
Blackfriars’ Hall
St Andrews Plain
Norwich NR3 1AU

Tsushima: Japan viewed from the margins – archives, books, ginseng

Peter Kornicki 

with the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts & Cultures

Few Japanese or tourists ever visit Tsushima, the conjoined islands lying between Japan and Korea. This is a shame not only on account of its unspoiled natural beauties but also because of its intrinsic historical interest. Up to the end of the nineteenth century it served a crucial role as a conduit for goods, knowledge and information moving between Japan and Korea and in the early twentieth century it is famous as the site of the great naval battle of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. This lecture is not being sponsored by the Tsushima Tourist Authority but Peter Kornicki will endeavour to convey something of the appeal of these rugged mountainous islands with their fjords and beautiful islets before exploring their historical significance. Tsushima may lie on the margins of Japan, but it had a fascinating role to play in the transmission of knowledge to Japan.

The Carmen Blacker Lecture Series honours the memory and scholarship of Carmen Blacker (1924-2009). Each year a senior scholar will lecture on a theme related to Japanese religion or folklore. Peter Kornicki studied Japanese and Korean at Oxford and completed his doctorate in 1979. He taught for some years at the University of Tasmania in Australia and at Kyoto University, where he was the first foreigner to hold an associate professorship in eighty years. He moved to Cambridge in 1985 and is now Professor of Japanese and Deputy Warden of Robinson College. He received the Japan Foundation Special Prize in 1992 and the Yamagata Bantô Prize in 2013, and in 2000 he was elected a fellow of the British Academy. He has worked for many years on the history of the book in Japan and has published catalogues of old Japanese books in Cambridge, Moscow, Lille and other places as well The book in Japan: a cultural history from the beginnings to the nineteenth century (1998). Recently he has been working on the transformation of Chinese texts in Korea and Vietnam as well as Japan and has published a study of the impact of Korean books on Japan in the Edo period.

Admission is free and all are welcome. Light refreshments will be available at the London lecture and a reception will follow the Norwich lecture. Booking is recommended and seats will be provided on a first come first serve basis.

For the London lecture, please contact the Japan Society office on tel: 020 3075 1996, email events@japansociety.org.uk or submit the online booking form. For the Norwich lecture, please contact the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures on tel: 01603 597507 or email sisjac@sainsbury-institute.org. The lecture in Norwich will be given in conjunction with the Third Thursday Lecture Series.

The lectures are generously supported through a bequest from Carmen Blacker and executors of her estate.

Co-organized by:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crop

Monday 16 June 2014                               6.45pm

The Swedenborg Society
20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St)
London WC1A 2TH

For a PDF map of the venue please click here

Free – booking recommended
Book online here

The extraordinary, beautiful and sometimes challenging works arising from the collision between Surrealism and Japanese culture deserve to be better known. Histories of Surrealism typically concentrate on the provocations of French practitioners against the rise of totalitarianism in Europe around the time of the Second World War. The case of Japan, where Surrealists were imprisoned by wartime authorities, presents an intriguing but overlooked example of the clash between State and avant-garde. Censorious wartime Japan is said to have prohibited the development of Surrealism, which was overtly provocative. Yet Surrealism proved irrepressible, making lasting impact on practitioners such as Takiguchi Shūzō and Okamoto Tarō.

This talk will expose three important areas of Surrealist provocation: a celebration of the erotic, a commitment to political radicalism, and a burgeoning environmental critique. In the wake of the natural and nuclear disasters of 2011, contemporary Japanese artists have looked to the emotive, humanistic and politicised response of the Surrealists to oppression, war and defeat as models for confronting current environmental crises, thereby revealing Surrealism’s marked and lingering influence in Japan, and its continuing presence as a decisive cultural force.

Majella Munro is an art historian, journalist and Japanologist, whose research focuses on censorship and cultural repression. She is interested in art production under totalitarian political regimes, inter- and trans-national exchange within the avant-garde, and the sociological study of erotic art. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Tate’s Asia-Pacific Research Centre, researching a monograph entitled Close to Nature: Japanese Artists and the Environment from Hiroshima to Fukushima. Her monograph Communicating Vessels: The Surrealist Movement in Japan was released through Enzo Arts and Publishing in December 2012. Since August 2009 she has served as Executive Editor of the postgraduate research journal Modern Art Asia.

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email events@japansociety.org.uk or submit the online booking form.

In association with:

Japan Research Centre

 

Monday 19 May 2014                                                6.45pm

The Swedenborg Society
20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St)
London WC1A 2TH

For a PDF map of the venue please click here

Free – booking recommended
Book online here

Nearest underground station: Holborn
Japanese sake and light refreshments will be served following the lecture

Since 2011, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have all undergone important leadership transitions. Abe Shinzo, Park Geun-hye and Kim Jong-un each, in their different ways, reflect both important historical continuities and new opportunities for a breakthrough in diplomatic relations in Northeast Asia.

Notwithstanding this important change in leadership, Japan’s relationship with the Korean peninsula remains mired in controversy and the opportunities for an improvement in ties between Tokyo, Seoul and Pyongyang seem frustratingly limited. How much of this is a function of historical disputes, geopolitical tensions, or personal proclivities on the part of individual leaders? To what extent might external actors, whether the United States or China, offer a way out of the current predicament? This talk considers the current situation, drawing upon recent visits to Seoul, Tokyo and Pyongyang, and also from findings from the British archives.

John Swenson-Wright is Senior University Lecturer in Modern Japanese Studies and fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge. He has a BA from Christ Church, Oxford, an MA from SAIS, Johns Hopkins, and a DPhil. From St. Antony’s, Oxford. His publications include Unequal Allies?  United States Security and Alliance Policy Towards Japan, 1945-1960 (Stanford, 2005), The Best Course Available. A Personal Account of the Secret U.S.-Japan Okinawa Reversion Negotiations (Hawaii, 2002), (with Ruediger Frank) Security Issues for Northeast Asia: Korea and East Asia: The Stony Road to Collective Security (Brill, 2013), and (with Chung-in Moon) Crisis of Peace and New Leadership in Korea: Lessons of Kim DAe-jung’s Legacies (Yonsei University Press, 2013) He comments regularly for the international media on the international relations of East Asia, with particular reference to Japan and the Korean peninsula. In March 2014 he was appointed as the Head of the Asia Programme at Chatham House. He is a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Agenda Council (GAC) on Korea, and has been a member of the UK-Korea Forum for the Future and the UK-Japan 21st Century Group.

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email events@japansociety.org.uk or submit the online booking form.

In association with:

 

Monday 14 April 2014                          6.45pm

The Swedenborg Society
20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St)
London WC1A 2TH

For a PDF map of the venue please click here

Free – booking recommended
Book online here

Nearest underground station: Holborn
Japanese sake and light refreshments will be served following the lecture

Copies of The Hale Collection of Tohoku Ceramics will be available to purchase on the night at a discounted price of £12 (normally £18)

In this illustrated lecture, collector David Hale will give an overview of the contemporary and historical ceramics of the Tohoku region, a subject on which his book, Ceramics of North-east Japan, remains the sole work.

After taking up his wife Anne’s hobby of pottery making at the local Tsutsumi kiln, Hale became fascinated by the ceramics of the Tohoku region and began to research contemporary pottery (1966 – 72) and historical examples of local ceramics. Gradually the Hales acquired a collection of pots from all the existing kilns and individual potters as well as from many of the historical kilns. They carefully documented their trips around the region, interviewing potters and photographing the processes involved.

This research was transformed into a book project after David was introduced to a publisher, Yūzan Kaku of Tokyo, by international ceramics scholar, Koyama Fujio. A Japanese translation of David’s original appeared in 1974 but the English text has yet to be published.

The Hale Collection exemplifies the warmth and simplicity of ceramics made in this part of Japan. The glazes on the functional wares are surprisingly bold yet modest, and the hand-painted decoration over slips on stonewares and underglaze on porcelains can be charming and assured. The first public exhibition of some of the Hale Collection was held at the Ruthin Craft Centre from 1 April – 24 June 2012, accompanied by an exhibition catalogue.

To conclude, David will reflect on his return to Sendai in October 2013 after an interval of forty years. In spite of several decades of economic pressure, and setbacks following the disastrous earthquake, tsunami, and the ensuing radiation in March 2011, many Tohoku kilns are alive and well. Traditions and characteristics have largely been maintained and there are some interesting new developments.

David Hale is the author of Ceramics of North-East Japan (Tohoku-no Yakimono) published in Japanese by Yūzan Kaku, Tokyo, 1974. Born in 1940 in Stroud, Gloucestershire, he received a B.A. Hons. in English Language & Literature from Exeter University (1961) and an M. Litt. with a focus on Henry James, from Bristol University (1966). Hale has had a number of visiting Lectureships; at the University of Ceylon (1961 – 63), Tohoku University (1966 – 72), and Kyoto University (1975 – 1986). An M. Phil. (Theoretical Linguistics) from Cambridge University (1987) was followed by further posts at Kumamoto and Durham Universities.

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email events@japansociety.org.uk or submit the online booking form.

In association with:

 

Tuesday 1 April 2014                                 6.30pm

The Japan Foundation
Russell Square House
10-12 Russell Square
London WC1B 5EH

Free admission

Booking essential – places are limited
Book online here

For directions to the venue please follow this link

It is hard to find anyone in Japan, suggests Roger Pulvers, who is optimistic about the future of the country – other than members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The swelling national debt, the denial of the country’s past transgressions in Asia, the ominous moves to reverse the course of the country’s peaceful diplomacy and replace it with a threatening aggressive stance – all these darken the clouds of a gathering storm over East Asia.

Is Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s ‘beautiful Japan’ the only past that people can turn to in order to give them a justified pride in their nation? This lecture considers ‘another Japan’ – and a mainstream one, at that – which offers positive and practical hope for the country.

The basis for this alternate ethos is found in the ethical, cultural and social values, expressed in the works of many of the nation’s artists, writers and thinkers. Roger Pulvers argues that, through these values, particularly as described in the works of poet Miyazawa Kenji, film director Ozu Yasujiro, essayist Shirasu Masako and playwright Inoue Hisashi, the Japanese can free their nation from the trap of today’s political retrogression and give the world a model of genuine progress worth emulating.

Roger Pulvers is a prolific author, playwright, theatre director and translator, who has published more than 40 books, including several novels and plays written in Japanese. He has directed plays in major theatres, working with such actors as Kishida Kyoko, Emoto Akira and, in film, Fujita Makoto. His latest book is Odorokubeki Nihongo, published by Shueisha International. Roger scripted and hosted the popular weekly NHK television programme, Gift – E-meigen no Sekai. He was Assistant Director on Oshima Nagisa’s film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and won the Crystal Simorgh Prize for Best Script at the 27th International Film Festival in Tehran for the feature film Ashita e no Yuigon. In 2008 he was awarded the Miyazawa Kenji Prize; and in 2013, the Noma Award for the Translation of Japanese Literature.

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email events@japansociety.org.uk or submit the online booking form.

Hosted by:

 

Monday 17 March 2014                       6.45pm

The Swedenborg Society
20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St)
London WC1A 2TH

For a PDF map of the venue please click here

Free – booking recommended
Book online here

Nearest underground station: Holborn
Japanese sake and light refreshments will be served following the lecture

On 1 April 1949, the Canadian Government lifted the last of the restrictions it had placed on the Canadians of Japanese descent at the beginning of the Second World War. The seven-year-long incarceration that much of this population were forced to endure had come to an end. But what happened next? This talk considers some of the ways we might begin to approach this important if largely unexplored question.

In 2011, Dr Jonathan D Mackintosh commenced a series of oral history interviews in western Canada, as well as preliminary archival research. His research considers how the Canadians of Japanese descent emerged from the trauma of the Second World War to construct their communities anew. With its focus on the Nisei (second generation), it explores the difficulties that individuals and groups faced and the successes that they achieved. It broaches two tricky subjects:  identity, on the one hand, which singled out these Canadians for their Japanese ethnicity and ties; and on the other, culture, whose very ‘Japanese-ness’ held the potential to salve pain, nurture hope, and ultimately, affirm identity. Often surprising and always inspiring, the stories and memories this research recorded reveal a celebration of everyday life that shaped – and continues to shape – a distinctively ‘Japanese’ experience. It is this experience that this talk aims to share.

Dr Jonathan D Mackintosh gained his PhD in Japanese Studies at Cambridge University in 2005.  He is Lecturer in World History at Plymouth University.  His research interests include gender and sexuality in twentieth century Japan and East Asia, and more recently, the history of trans-Pacific migrations of Japanese (the ‘Japanese Diaspora’). He is author of Homosexuality and Manliness in Postwar Japan (Routledge, 2009) which explores the representation of masculinity, the male body, and male-male relationships in the context of Japanese cultural, racial, and national identity.

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email events@japansociety.org.uk or submit the online booking form.

In association with:

 

Sir David Warren introduces Tim Hitchens, British Ambassador to Japan

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Japan Society members packed Nomura International’s auditorium last night to hear Tim Hitchens share reflections on his first full year in office as the British Ambassador to Japan.

Introduced by his predeccessor and Japan Society Chairman, Sir David Warren, Mr Hitchens provided fascinating insights into the current political, diplomatic and commercial situation in Japan. His talk was followed by a lively Q&A session and those attending questioned the Ambassador on a diverse range of topics.

The Society is very grateful to Nomura International plc who kindly hosted the event.

Tim Hitchens addresses Japan Society members

 

Monday 3 March 2014                       5.30 for 6.00pm
(reception afterwards until 8.15pm)

Nomura International plc
One Angel Lane
London EC4R 3AB

Free for members of the Japan Society and their guests

This event is fully booked

In this year’s annual update to the Society by the British Ambassador to Japan, Tim Hitchens will share his views on the political, diplomatic and commercial situation in Japan from his unique perspective as the UK’s representative in Tokyo. Mr Hitchens has been in post for just over a year and this talk will be chaired by his predecessor, Sir David Warren.

The Society’s annual lecture by the current British Ambassador invariably provides a very useful backdrop to the years ahead – they are always both relevant and useful, as well as being extremely popular. The Ambassador will speak for about 30-40 minutes, after which there will be time for off-the-record discussion and questions.

There will be a reception immediately after the lecture, and the Japan Society is most grateful to Nomura International plc for kindly hosting this event.

Tim Hitchens CMG, LVO read English at Cambridge. He joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1983 and has since held posts in Tokyo (1985-1989), Islamabad and Paris, as well as increasingly senior roles in London. He was Director for European Political Affairs (2008-2010) and Director for Africa (2010-2012). He and his family moved to Tokyo in December 2012 and he speaks fluent Japanese.

Hosted by:

 


Monday 17 February 2014                          6.45pm

The Swedenborg Society
20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St)
London WC1A 2TH

For a PDF map of the venue please click here

Free – booking recommended
Book online here

Nearest underground station: Holborn
Japanese sake and light refreshments will be served following the lecture

This talk explores the world of the single-sheet prints published by the Osaka publisher and bookseller Shioya Kihei in the first half of the nineteenth century. Overlooked in both Western and Japanese scholarship because of their intrinsic popular nature, Shioya Kihei’s corpus of broadsides takes the shape of a vast collection of practical, educational and humorous pieces of illustrated writing, which provide the readers with knowledge and topical information while keeping them entertained.

Being the first study on this material, the present talk will address a broad range of questions. In what format were these ephemera produced and sold? Was Shioya Kihei the only publisher for this specific product? Did they circulate only in Osaka or also in Edo? What are the contents of this corpus of printed ephemera? Do they have any connection with the textual strategies applied in contemporaneous Edo-based gesaku? What do we learn about Japanese society from these sheets? Why was ‘ranking’ so important in Japanese culture to the extent that parodies of ranking charts are one of the main features of these materials? The close reading of selected examples will give further insights in the multifarious nature of these broadsides and originals will be shown in order to offer a clear idea of the materiality of these objects.

For the specialist of Japanese Studies, the talk will shed light on a little-known field in Japanese literature and book history. For the non-specialist, it will prompt reflections on the existence and on the meaning of printed ephemera in early-modern Japan and encourage comparisons with examples of broadsides in early-modern Europe.

Dr Laura Moretti is Lecturer in Pre-Modern Japanese Studies at the University of Cambridge. Her field is Japanese early-modern literature, with a specific focus on popular prose. She is the author of various articles among which are ‘The Japanese early-modern publishing market unveiled: a survey of Edo-period booksellers’ catalogues’, East Asian Publishing and Society 2:2 (2012), pp. 199-308 and ‘Onna enshi kyōkun kagami and Onna genji kyōkun kagami: sexual education through entertaining parody’, Japan Review 26 (2013), special issue (edited by Andrew Gerstle and Timothy Clark), pp. 195-212.

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email events@japansociety.org.uk or submit the online booking form.

In association with:

 


Monday 20 January 2014                          6.45pm

The Swedenborg Society
20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St)
London WC1A 2TH

For a PDF map of the venue please click here

Free – booking recommended
Book online here

Nearest underground station: Holborn
Japanese sake and light refreshments will be served following the lecture

In 1866, Yamao Yōzō, one of the Chōshū Five, came to work and study in Glasgow and there began a relationship between that great port city and Japan which developed to such an extent that, by the end of the century, there were more Japanese living in Glasgow than in any other British city outside London.

The effect of Japanese culture upon the artists and architects of Glasgow was soon apparent, from the paintings of the Glasgow Boys to the graphic design and architecture of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Although Mackintosh, unlike the Glasgow Boys, never visited Japan, there is a presence in his work which extends far beyond the Japonisme of late nineteenth-century fashion. The connection to Japan, which made this possible, came through his close friendship with the German architect and writer, Hermann Muthesius. This illustrated lecture argues that it was Muthesius’s first-hand knowledge of Japan, as well as Glasgow’s Japanese zeitgeist, which allowed Mackintosh’s most famous building, the Glasgow School of Art (pictured), to assume such an idiosyncratic yet, at the same time, recognisably Japanese appearance.

Neil Jackson is an architect and architectural historian and holds the Charles Reilly Chair in Architecture at the University of Liverpool. He is also a Professorial Research Associate in the Japanese Research Centre at SOAS (the School of African and Oriental Studies), University of London. Previously the Hoffman Wood Professor of Architectural Engineering at the University of Leeds (2000-2005) he has also taught architecture at the University of Nottingham (1990-2000) and at the California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, California (1985-1990).  In 2009-11 he held a Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust to work on his current book, Japan and the West: An Architectural Dialogue, and in 2013 returned to California as a Guest Scholar at the Getty Conservation Institute. He has published books on contemporary architecture (The Modern Steel House, 1996), California Architecture (Craig Ellwood, 2002; Pierre Koenig, 2007), Victorian architecture (Nineteenth-century Bath, Architects and Architecture, 1991; Saltaire: The Making of a Modern Town, 2010) and Arts and Crafts architecture (F W Troup, 1985). He has received research awards from, amongst others, the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the UK, the British Academy, the Graham Foundation, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Japan Foundation Endowment Committee and the Society of Antiquaries of London, and was awarded the Sir Banister Fletcher Prize (2003) for his book on Craig Ellwood and the SAHGB (Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain) Hawksmoor Essay Medal (1983) for his work on F W Troup. He has previously sat on the executive committees of the SAHGB (to which he has recently returned), the Victorian Society, DoCoMoMo UK and the Twentieth Century Society, as well as the Post-war Listed Buildings Steering Group at English Heritage.

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email events@japansociety.org.uk or submit the online booking form.

In association with:

 

 

 
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