Kyoto Lectures

Kyoto conserva ancora oggi la sua antica tradizione di cultura come uno dei maggiori centri accademici del Giappone e luogo di incontro per gli studiosi di tutto il mondo. Organizzate in collaborazione con la Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient e il Center for Research in Humanities dell’Università Statale di Kyoto, le Kyoto Lectures offrono agli specialisti delle culture e società dell’Asia Orientale la possibilità di presentare a Kyoto i risultati delle ricerche in corso.

Izumi Kyōka’s Animistic Prose

Kyoto Lectures

Izumi Kyōka’s Animistic Prose

When the Semantic Becomes Mantic

Cody Poulton

This lecture will be held on site and via Zoom

February 21st, 2024 18:00

Praised by younger writers like Tanizaki Jun’ichirō, Kawabata Yasunari, and Mishima Yukio, Izumi Kyōka (1873-1939) is today one of the most challenging of modern Japanese novelists to read, much less trans-late into a foreign language. His prose style is one of enchantment: as Nakajima Atsushi put it, it has the effect of a narcotic like heroin, taking the reader into an altered state of consciousness. Using examples from his own translation of the story, in this lecture the speaker will focus on Sanjaku-kaku (“Three Feet Square,” 1898) and its sequel Kodama (“Echo”) to ex-plore how, through language, Kyōka makes the lost world of late-nineteenth century Fukagawa come alive.

Cody Poulton is Professor Emeritus at the University of Victoria, Canada, and currently serves as Director of the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies. A specialist in Japanese performance, he is author of Spirits of Another Sort: The Plays of Izumi Kyōka (2001) and A Beggar’s Art: Scripting Modernity in Japan, 1900-1930 (2010). He is also chief editor and translator of Citizens of Tokyo: Six Plays by Oriza Hirata (2018), co-editor of The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Drama (2014) and Okada Toshiki and Japanese Theatre (2021), and contributing editor to The Cambridge History of Japanese Theatre (2016).

 

This hybrid lecture will be held on site (email required in advance) and via Zoom (meeting ID: 840 2211 1804).

The meeting link will remain posted on the ISEAS website top page from February 19.

Japanese Traditional Kites

Kyoto Lectures

Japanese Traditional Kites

From Regional Studies to the World of Arts

Cecile Laly

This lecture will be held on site and via Zoom

January 22nd, 2024 18:00

The vanishing energy of Japanese traditional kites, crafted from paper and bamboo, echoes their departure from Japanese landscapes since the latter half of the twentieth century. This fading artistry has escaped the discerning gaze of foreign scholars specializing in Japanese studies and has been confined to the status of kyōdo gangu (Japanese folk toys) by Japanese researchers in regional studies. Yet, diligent research initiatives and the creation of the collective volume Cerfs-volants du Japon: à la croisée des arts (Japanese Kites: At the Crossroads of Arts) in 2021 calls attention to the untapped artistic richness of the study of Japanese kites. This lecture will highlight how the Edo period witnessed the rise of these delicate yet sturdy kites, not merely as celestial entities in the sky but as integral elements within the entertainment culture of the floating world. Indeed, their ethereal dance resonated with literature, poetry, theater, and the nuanced canvas of visual culture. The lecture will then illustrate how these delicate creations descended from the sky to find a new sanctuary upon the walls of galleries and museums as the twentieth century unfolded.

Cecile Laly has a PhD in Art History from Sorbonne University and is a Specially Appointed Lecturer at Kyoto Seika University. Specializing in Japanese arts and culture with a global perspective, her extensive research on Japanese kites is evident through her multiple scholarly publications, in particular her edited volume Cerfs-volants du Japon: à la croisée des arts (Nouvelles éditions Scala, 2021), a seminal contribution to the discourse on Japanese artistic heritage.

 

This hybrid lecture will be held on site (email required in advance) and via Zoom (meeting ID: 826 0859 2665).

The meeting link will remain posted on the ISEAS website top page from January 20.

Japan and the Journey of Soy

Kyoto Lectures

Japan and the Journey of Soy

From Food from Somewhere to Washoku

Felice Farina

This lecture will be held on site and via Zoom

December 12th, 2023 18:00

In recent years, there has been a growing appreciation worldwide for soy-based products that are often associated with Japan’s culinary tradition, such as tofu, shōyu (soy sauce), miso, or edamame. However, the path that soy has taken to become a pillar of Japan’s culinary identity is a fascinating story that encompasses not only nutrition or agriculture but also politics, diplomacy, and economy. Soybean cultivation began in ancient China, and for centuries, soy production, trade, and consumption remained concentrated in East Asia (“food from somewhere”). However, by the late nineteenth century, it gradually transformed into a global commodity (“food from nowhere”). This lecture explores Japan’s crucial role in this transformation. In the 1930s–1940s, Japanese colonialism fueled soy production in Manchuria, then the world’s leading producer. After World War II, Japan became a major market for American soy, enhancing U.S. dominance. The 1973 soybean embargo led Japan to diversify sources, notably investing in Brazil, which became the world’s leading exporter. Our narrative culminates in Japan’s recent efforts to restore soy’s cultural significance in its cuisine (washoku) through gastronationalism and gastrodiplomacy.

 

Felice Farina is Research Fellow at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” where he teaches a course titled “Politics and Institutions in Contemporary Japan.” His research primarily focuses on Japan’s food security, gastro-diplomacy, washoku, and the history of soy. He is the author of La via della soia. Una storia politica, economica e diplomatica del Giappone contemporaneo (Cierre Edizioni, Verona, 2023).

 

This hybrid lecture will be held on site (email required in advance) and via Zoom (meeting ID: 868 7531 9515).

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

“Hokusai”

Kyoto Lectures

“Hokusai”

The Name that Sold Books

Ellis Tinios

This lecture will be held on site and via Zoom

November 22nd, 2023 18:00

The Hokusai ‘brand’ in book illustration was the product of astute marketing, wilful misrepresentation, blatant plagiarism and great art. Titles illustrated by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) such as Hokusai manga and Fugaku hyakkei were the hottest property in art book publishing in 19th-century Japan. Hokusai also illustrated novels, poetry anthologies and educational texts. Some publishers even reissued books illustrated by his pupils in his name. No other Japanese artist produced as rich, varied and powerful a corpus of images for reproduction in book format as Hokusai. The books of few other Japanese artists were disseminated as widely as his. Art books assumed a major role in the formation of Hokusai’s reputation in his lifetime; posthumously they played a significant role in his recognition and appreciation abroad. His book illustrations attracted notice in Europe and North America well before his colour woodblock prints or paintings. After the latter became more widely known, interest in his books did not abate. It is, therefore, appropriate to characterise the Hokusai oeuvre in book form as a highly marketable brand, one that has been eagerly consumed by a global audience.

 

Ellis Tinios taught East Asian History at the University of Leeds. He has participated in research projects at the School of Oriental & African Studies, Cambridge University, the British Museum and the Art Research Center at Ritsumeikan University. He has taught courses on the book in early modern Japan in the USA under auspices of the Rare Book School. His research has encompassed the materiality of the book, erotic books, and books illustrated by Maruyama-Shijō artists, and Hokusai’s books.

 

This hybrid lecture will be held on site (email required in advance) and via Zoom (meeting ID: 848 7771 2839).

The meeting link will remain posted on the ISEAS website top page from November 20.

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.

Kataezome

Kyoto Lectures

Kataezome

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.

The Stolen Robe

Kyoto Lectures

The Stolen Robe

Copyright and its Metaphors in Medieval Japanese Poetry

Pier Carlo Tommasi

This lecture will be available only on Zoom

May 9th, 2023 18:00

Authorship and creativity are elusive concepts, and so are the metaphors and analogies that premodern poets used to claim ownership of their work. This presentation dives into waka theory and practice from the late twelfth to the early sixteenth century to trace the emergence and development of a “copyright” discourse in medieval Japan.

From the close reading of poetic texts, a new profile comes to light which compels us to redefine the author (sakusha) as a self-effacing presence, yet one solidly emplaced in the socio-epistemological grid of its times. This conundrum unfurls as potentially critical when it comes to “poetic theft,” a crime that medieval commentators would leverage to discredit their rivals and, by contrast, empower their professional status. By examining the rhetorical strategies they used to protect themselves and their intellectual property, we will be able to grasp the stakes of literary practice and catch a glimpse of the poets’ lived experience.

 

Pier Carlo Tommasi received his Ph.D. from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy, in 2019. Currently, he is Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His research interests include classical Japanese poetry, selfhood and agency in premodern Japan, samurai culture, medievalism, and Sinosphere studies. His most recent article, entitled “Neither Plagiarism nor Patchwork: The Culture of Citation and the Making of Authorship in Medieval Japanese Poetry,” appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of Monumenta Nipponica.

 

Zoom meeting ID: 875 5721 9118

The meeting link will remain posted on the ISEAS website top page from may 7.

Reframing Japonisme

Kyoto Lectures

Reframing Japonisme

Women’s Engagement with Japanese Art in 19th-Century France

Elizabeth Emery

This lecture will be held on site and via Zoom

March 15th, 2023 18:00

The origin stories of French Japonisme, the nineteenth-century fascination for Japanese art, tend to frame the movement in terms of the activities described in the memoirs of an elite group of men active in the French arts administration. And yet, a return to archival sources uncovers a much broader landscape of interest and exchange related to Japanese works in the years following the 1858 “Traité d’amitié et de commerce.” Travelers such as Emile and Louise Desoye imported and sold Japanese goods, while families such as Louis and Anna Gonse collected and displayed art in their homes. Artists Felix and Marie Bracquemond and Mary Cassatt, among many others, took inspiration from the Japanese prints and ceramics they admired.

Drawing on the findings of Reframing Japonisme: Women and the Asian Art Market in Nineteenth-Century France (1853-1914) (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020), this presentation will provide an overview of some of the many women involved in promoting Japanese art and culture in the nineteenth century while asking questions about how and why their stories have been “cropped” from the frame through which Japonisme tends to be represented. How might twenty-first century scholars enlarge the canvas?

Elizabeth Emery is Professor of French Studies at Montclair State University. She is the author of books, articles, and essay anthologies related to the reception of medieval art and architecture in nineteenth-century France and America, literary house museums, and to the work of women art dealers and collectors of Japanese art. She serves as an editor for the Journal of Japonisme and has been contributing to the “Connoisseurs, Collectors, and Dealers of Asian Art in France from 1700-1939” Program (Institut national de l’histoire de l’art).

 

This hybrid lecture will be held on site (email required in advance) and via Zoom (meeting ID: 890 4028 6066).