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.

Convegni e workshops

RICE Italy & Japan – an online workshop

May 27 2022  16:00-19:30 JST (9:00-12:30 CET)


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Rice is an important element of food culture in Italy and Japan, where it plays a primary role in terms of production, gastronomic tradition, and artistic representation. Following the “farm to table” approach, the contributions to this workshop will touch upon rice cultivation and production chains shared by the two countries despite differences in cultivation and harvesting techniques. Rice will provide inspiration to explore the implications of technological innovation for production systems and sustainability, as well as environmental impact. The influence that rice exerts on economic and social contexts—in production, distribution, and consumption—will also be considered. From this perspective, the workshop will focus on production methods, organoleptic characteristics, and food safety, but will also deal with the profound link between tradition and innovation that distinguishes the sector. The range of contributions will embrace agricultural science and economy, as well as several other branches of knowledge, including the humanities, in keeping with the multidisciplinary tradition of ISEAS workshops.


Kyoto Lectures

Between Collective Security and “Old Diplomacy”

Japanese-French Relations during the Manchurian Crisis, 1931–1933

Seung-young Kim

This lecture will be held on site and via Zoom

May 16th, 2022 18:00

After establishing Manchukuo in March 1932, Japan made strenuous efforts to persuade France to conclude an alliance by revitalizing the French-Japanese entente of 1907.  In particular, Japan wished to overcome its diplomatic isolation before the Lytton Report was discussed in the League of Nations during autumn 1932.  To this effect, Japanese diplomats and military attaches suggested favorable investment conditions for the French companies in Manchukuo. However, France declined these offers to prioritize collective security, despite substantial sympathy toward Japan in the French Foreign Ministry over concerns to protect French imperial interests in China and Southeast Asia.

Drawing on records from both sides, this talk will show the aims, details, and process of Japanese diplomatic initiatives along with the French response. After briefly reviewing the initial division within the French Foreign Ministry over its response to the Mukden Incident, it will examine Japanese diplomatic maneuvers toward France from the spring of 1932, as well as the reasons why they were declined by the French cabinet led respectively by André Tardieu and Édouard Herriot. The talk will also explore why the French government internally defined Japan’s military actions and assertive diplomacy as posing a “problem of aggression.”

Seung-young Kim is a Professor of International History and Politics at Kansai Gaidai University. Before joining Kansai Gaidai in 2018, from 2003 he taught at the University of Sheffield and the University of Aberdeen. He has published widely on U.S.-East Asian relations in the twentieth century.  Since 2019, he has been working on a JSPS research project entitled “Japanese-French Diplomatic Relations from 1900 to 1933.” He was a visiting researcher at the University of Tokyo from 2008–2010 and worked as the UN correspondent for The Chosun Ilbo until 1995. His publications include “The Diplomacy of the Japanese-French Entente and Fukien Question, 1905–1907,” in International History Review (2019).


This lecture will be held on site (limited space: send us an email in advance) and via Zoom. The meeting link will remain posted on the ISEAS website top page from two days before the event.

Kyoto Lectures

De-Christianizing Nagasaki

Temples and Shrines in the Early Edo period

Carla Tronu

This lecture will be held on site and via Zoom

April 13th, 2022 18:00

After the Tokugawa shogunate banned Christianity in Japan in 1614, several anti-Christian measures were implemented, but not in all domains, and not at the same time or speed. Substantial regional variations can be seen regarding when these actions began, as well as regarding their methods and development. In the process, the establishment (or re-establishment) of temples and shrines was an important move in areas where Christianization had involved iconoclasm. This was the case in the territories of the Omura and Arima daimyo, and especially in the self-governed city of Nagasaki.

This talk will focus on early measures concerned with religious institutions: specifically, the dismantlement of churches and the founding of temples and shrines. Previous scholarship on operations to eradicate the Christian presence in Nagasaki has thoroughly studied the many martyrs that lost their lives there, as well as the shifts in the anti-Christian legislation and the methods of persecution adopted. However, as will be argued, in the early Edo period (1614–1644), the support for new religious buildings and rituals by the shogunate and the local authorities also played a key role in the process of transforming Nagasaki from a “Christian city” into a “normal” Japanese Shinto-Buddhist town.

Carla Tronu is an Associate Professor at the Department of Foreign Languages, Kansai University of Foreign Studies. After she received her PhD in history at SOAS, University of London in 2012, she conducted postdoctoral research on missionary publications in Japan (kirishitan-ban) and the martyrs of Japan at Tenri University, Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, and Kyoto University. She is currently the Principal Investigator of a project on lay confraternities and missionary rivalry in the early modern Japanese mission. She has published articles and book chapters in English, Japanese, and Spanish, and is currently preparing a monograph on the Christianization and de-Christianization of early modern Nagasaki.


This lecture will be held on site (limited space: send us an email in advance) and via Zoom. The meeting link will remain posted on the ISEAS website top page from two days before the event.


Kyoto Lectures

Urbane Waters

The Worldliness of Gion, ca. 1825

Stephen Roddy

This lecture will be available only on Zoom

March 18th, 2022 18:00

Is a truly cosmopolitan sensibility possible where foreign travel is nearly impossible? In spite of the ease of maintaining virtual connectedness in today’s world, this question once again seems worth asking. This talk examines some examples of cultural omnivorousness across East Asia as manifested in the genre of bamboo branch lyrics (chikushiji/zhuzhici/jukjisa 竹枝詞), with a focus on Ōtō shiji zasshi 鴨東四時雑詞 (Miscellaneous Poems of the Four Seasons East of the Kamogawa, 1826), a sequence of 120 heptasyllabic quatrains set in Kyoto’s Gion District. Its author, Nakajima Sōin 中島棕隠 (1779-1855), drew extensively from the West Lake zhuzhici tradition—the lodestar of such poetry in China—in limning the customs and habits of its geiko and maiko as well as multiple other cultural and physical charms of the district. Examining Nakajima’s sequence in light of the genre’s full geographical and historical expanse (from Katori to Kashgar, from Saigon to Svobodny, and from Bai Juyi to the Meiji era), the talk assesses how it situates Gion as a node within the cultural cosmopolis of late-pre-modern East Asia.

Stephen Roddy is a professor of East Asian literatures and languages at the University of San Francisco. Recent and forthcoming publications include The Fragrant Companions (a translation with Ying Wang of the 1651 chuanqi drama 「憐香伴」), Writerly Engagement: The Reinvention of Chinese Literature in Europe and the Americas, 1910–2010 (co-edited with Zong-qi Cai), and articles on intellectual figures such as Gong Zizhen (1793-1841), Yu Yue (1821-1907), and Liang Shuming (1893-1988). In 2021-22, he has been a resident foreign researcher at the Nichibunken in Kyoto.


The meeting link will remain posted on the ISEAS website top page from march 16.

Kyoto Lectures

Law, Justice, and International Relations at the Dawn of the Meiji Restoration

The “María Luz” Incident

Giorgio Fabio Colombo

This lecture will be available only on Zoom

February 14th, 2022 18:00

In July 1872, the María Luz, a bark flying the Peruvian flag, carried Chinese indentured servants from Macau to Peru. Due to a storm, the ship had to stop for repairs in Kanagawa Bay, and because of this, a number of legal issues arose that were destined to change the perception and use of the law in Japan forever. The María Luz incident is a significant episode in Japanese and world history. The case had a tremendous impact on the collective imaginary, both Japanese and international: it is one of the first occurrences in which an Asian country decided to resist the pressure of a “Western” nation, and responded using the most refined tools of domestic and international law. Moreover, the final outcome of the case (arbitration in front of the Czar of Russia) marks the debut of Japan on the stage of international arbitration. While historians have already examined the María Luz incident, jurists are yet to do so. This talk aims to address the most significant legal issues of the case and to foster further cooperation between historians and legal scholars of the early Meiji period.

Giorgio Fabio COLOMBO is Professor of Law at the Graduate School of Law, Nagoya University, where he is the Director of the Research Unit “Decolonizing Arbitration.” He is also Visiting Professor of Japanese Law at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy. He is Resident Research fellow of the Italian School of East Asian Studies (ISEAS), and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Japanese Law/Zeitschrift für Japanisches Recht. His research focuses on ADR, arbitration, private comparative law, law and literature, and legal cultures. His book on the María Luz incident, International Law, Justice and Modernity in Japan: The María Luz Incident and the Dawn of the Meiji Restoration is forthcoming with Routledge (2022).


The meeting link will remain posted on the ISEAS website top page from february 12.