La Scuola organizza a scadenza regolare incontri pubblici, in proprio o in collaborazione con la Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient e altri enti universitari o istituti di ricerca: le Kyoto Lectures, da più di quindici anni rivolte a un pubblico internazionale di studiosi; Manabu, giornate di studio dei ricercatori, borsisti e dottorandi italiani in Giappone; Intersezioni, uno spazio dedicato ai rapporti tra Italia e Giappone nel passato e nel presente, con incontri, dibattiti, seminari e presentazioni di libri; Eurasian Tracks, che affronta temi relativi agli scambi intellettuali e culturali tra Europa e Asia nei contesti storici più vari.

Oltre a queste iniziative ricorrenti, convegni e workshop fanno ugualmente parte dell’attività scientifica della Scuola con la partecipazione di studiosi italiani, giapponesi e di altre regioni del mondo.

The Urban Development of the City of Kaesong

Kyoto Lectures

The Urban Development of the City of Kaesong

From the Koryŏ Period to Twentieth-Century DPR Korea

Élisabeth Chabanol

This lecture will be held on site and via Zoom

October 31st, 2023 18:00

Historical written sources related to the construction of the successive walls of the city of Kaesong, capital of the Koryŏ Kingdom (918–1392), are biased and partial. They rarely provide details about the exact configuration of the defence systems, the evolution of construction techniques, modifications, or repairs, and they do not explain the transformation of the city.

The research we conducted on the structures and successive boundaries of the walls of Kaesong not only provide a significant contribution to the historical and material knowledge of the city, but also constitute the scientific basis for the development of an operational heritage management strategy.

In 2011, the Archaeological Mission at Kaesong (supported by the Commission for Archaeological Research Abroad of the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs) was established, involving the French School of Asian Studies and the National Authority for Protection of Cultural Heritage, DPR Korea. In 2014, an exhibition presenting the first results was held in Pyongyang. Since 2018, research has been extended to royal tombs distributed outside the enclosures of the city of Kaesong. This lecture will outline the progress of this unprecedented cooperation.

Élisabeth Chabanol is Associate Professor at the French School of Asian Studies (EFEO). She specializes in Korean art history, archeology, and heritage. She is the head of the Seoul Centre of the EFEO and director of the Archaeological Mission at Kaesong. She is the coeditor (with Ro Chol Su) of Chosŏn-P’ŭransŭ Kaesong sŏng kongdong chosa palgul (2017) and the author of “Kaesong, 1630: une stèle méritoire en l’honneur du secrétaire général O Tan” (Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie, 2019).


This hybrid lecture will be held on site (email required in advance) and via Zoom (meeting ID: 815 7645 5692).

The meeting link will remain posted on the ISEAS website top page from October 29.


Kyoto Lectures


The Artistic Legacy of Serizawa Keisuke in Catalonia

Ricard Bru

This lecture will be held on site and via Zoom

July 12th, 2023 18:00


This lecture is based on the exhibition being held from June 2023 to January 2024 at the Museu Etnològic i de Cultures del Món in Barcelona, entitled Kataezome: The Artistic Legacy of Serizawa Keisuke. This exhibition presents Serizawa’s historical collections in Catalonia for the rst time and the artist’s relationship with the sculptor Eudald Serra (1911–2002) and the museum. Serizawa Keisuke (1895–1984) was one of the great masters of twentieth-century Japanese textile design and, in 1956, the rst artist to be declared a Living National Treasure of Japan due to his contribution to the eld of kataezome stencil dyeing. He reinvigorated the art of textiles with unique, personal designs that made it possible to conserve and modernize tradition without renouncing it, using tradition as a model and starting point. The lecture will present the history of the Catalan collections of Serizawa Keisuke as well as stencil dyeing artists such as Okamura Kichiemon, Mori Yoshitoshi, and Kojima Tokujiro. This is one of the most relevant collections of its kind outside of Japan and I place it within the context of friendship and the foreign admiration for Japanese folk crafts (mingei).

Ricard Bru is Professor of Art History at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He is the author of Erotic Japonisme (2013), as well as essays and academic papers on Japonisme. He has curated a number of exhibitions, such as Secret Images: Picasso and the Japanese Erotic Print (2009); Japonisme: The Fascination for Japanese Art (2013); Hamada & Artigas: The Colours of Fire (2021); The Lotus Moon: Art and Poetry of the Buddhist Nun Otagaki Rengetsu (2022); and Kataezome: The Artistic Legacy of Serizawa Keisuke (2023).


This hybrid lecture will be held on site (email required in advance) and via Zoom (meeting ID: 858 6100 8137).

The meeting link will remain posted on the ISEAS website top page from July 10.

“Everyday Uncertainties”

Kyoto Lectures

“Everyday Uncertainties”

Sharing and Learning Terminologies in Eighth-century Japan

Antonio Manieri

This lecture will be available only on Zoom

June 20th, 2023 18:00


Some bilingual Sinitic-Japanese dictionaries dating back to the early eighth century, and collectively known as kangoshō (lit. ‘notes on Chinese words’), are now lost and survive only in indirect transmission thanks to quotations in the later Wamyōruijushō (Categorized Notes on Japanese Nouns, ca. 934). The reconstruction of these dictionaries shows that they were likely organized into categories, they collected hapax, or words rarely attested in refined literature, and they were useful for “dispelling everyday uncertainties.”

This talk will investigate the actual usage of vernacular terminologies (hippology, carpentry, craftsmanship) recorded in kangoshō within practical documents (transit permits, registers, budgets) written in Sinitic on wooden tablets or on paper, regardless of the availability of equivalent Sinitic terms. Specifically, it will explore the factors that motivated such departures from established norms and their implications for the communicative efficacy of the documents in question. In addition, particular attention will be devoted to the process of sharing and learning terminologies among different actors of the eighth-century code-based state, such as professional groups, clerks, and scholars charged with compiling dictionaries.

Antonio Manieri received his PhD from Daito Bunka University (Tokyo) in 2012, thanks to a MEXT scholarship. Currently, he is a Senior Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Naples L’Orientale (Italy). His research interests focus on lexicography and encyclopedism, legal texts, and practical/technical knowledge in ancient Japan. His most recent article, entitled “Technical Education in Nara Japan: Text and Context of the Yōshi kangoshō (ca. 720)”, was published in the 2022 issue of Annali – Serie Orientale.


Zoom meeting ID: 824 6462 2137

The meeting link will remain posted on the ISEAS website top page from June 18.


Japonisme, a French Art Form

Kyoto Lectures

Japonisme, a French Art Form

Sophie Basch

This lecture will be held on site and via Zoom

May 31st, 2023 18:00


This lecture is based on the recent publication of Le Japonisme, un art français (Les presses du réel, 2023). Following Michael Baxandall’s warning in his landmark monograph Patterns of Intention (1985), the book challenges the notion of inuence, “a curse of art criticism.” As the critic Gaëtan Picon wrote, “from the time of Manet onwards, Western painting has often listened to Far Eastern art, but it has hardly heard it except through its own voice.” Operating as a brilliant indicator, Japanese art reinforced convictions that predated the opening of Japan. The confrontation of Western works with their presumed Japanese models has obscured the research and debates that make the discovery of Japan the culmination of a quest, inseparable from the perception of Greek art, the acclimatization of Pre-Raphaelitism in France and, more generally, Medievalism. Limiting the study of Japonisme to France makes it possible to reconstitute the network of internal resonances so important to the ethnologist and Japanologist Ernst Grosse who insisted in The Beginning of Art (1894), that each culture is above all an echo chamber. Giving a leading role to the artists allegedly inuenced by Japan, this study, which excludes “japonaiseries,” focuses on Japonisme as a revolution of the gaze.

Sophie Basch is Professor of French Literature at Sorbonne University and a senior member of the Institut Universitaire de France. She is the author of numerous books, critical editions, and articles at the intersection of literary history and art history, focusing on Orientalism, archeology, n-de-siècle culture and Marcel Proust, whose relationship to the decorative arts she studied in Rastaquarium (Brepols, 2014).


This hybrid lecture will be held on site (email required in advance) and via Zoom (meeting ID: 818 6178 0877).

The meeting link will remain posted on the ISEAS website top page from may 29.


Science and Archaeology in Italy and Japan

Convegni e workshops

Science and Archaeology in Italy and Japan

a Transdisciplinary Methodology

May 9-10, 2023 16:00 – 18:00 JST


Flyer download


Modern archaeology has been developed almost simultaneously in Japan and Italy, with the first excavation of a mound tomb in Japan, the Samuraizuka kofun (侍塚古墳) in 1692, ordered by Tokugawa Mitsukuni, and  with Ercolano and Pompei excavations in 1748. This research field has been intensely promoted by national governments and academic institutions, and at present employs techniques and approaches from the physical, chemical, biological, and earth sciences as well as engineering (covered by the interdisciplinary field of archaeometry) to address archaeological issues. Archaeometry provides archaeology instruments for collecting, analyzing and interpreting data related to material records of human history, with a reciprocal cross-fertilization of methodologies and interpretative tools that make archaeology and archaeometry truly transdisciplinary. In the workshop the history of archaeology and the archaeological methodology will address the employ of archaeometry in a comparative view of the field in Italy and Japan.