The Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) was founded in 1999 in Norwich in the County of Norfolk, UK. A site for research on Japanese art and culture, the Sainsbury Institute has actively developed projects using an international cooperative research network. In addition, the Sainsbury Institute has ties to the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo through donation of part of the collection of YANAGISAWA Takashi , a former expert of the National Research Institute, to the Sainsbury Institute, the National Research Institute, and the Asian Art Museum in Seattle. In February 2010, HIRANO Akira , Librarian of SISJAC’s Lisa Sainsbury Library was invited to attend a seminar held at the National Research Institute. Both institutes have conducted exchanges and both are exploring continuing ties.
A joint project, the Project to Shaping the Fundamentals of Research on Japanese Art, was instituted. On July 24, 2013 (Wed.), KAMEI Nobuo, Director General of the National Research Institute, visited UK to sign a memorandum of agreement with MIZUTORI Mami , Executive Director of the Sainsbury Institute. The Project seeks to create a common basis for Japanese art research in Japan and abroad. The National Research Institute previously unveiled the Art-related Reference Database, which contains information on references in Japanese published in Japan. To complement this database, the Sainsbury Institute will create and unveil a database containing information on references in English published outside of Japan. The memorandum of agreement is valid for 5 years, but both parties are aware of the need to foster medium- to long-term cooperation, given the basic and ongoing nature of the Project.
TANAKA Atsushi and WATADA Minoru of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems accompanied Director General KAMEI of the National Research Institute. The day after the signing, July 25 (Thurs.), TANAKA and WATADA discussed specific directions for the Project with staff of the Sainsbury Institute. This year, the Sainsbury Institute estimated what routine work it can perform and the amount of data that will be assembled. This was done so that the Sainsbury Institute could determine the extent of the information to gather and so that it could begin gathering information and entering data in accordance with the techniques of the National Research Institute. Next year, the Sainsbury Institute will unveil the database and include links to its counterpart in Japan once the Sainsbury Institute has assembled a sufficient amount of information. More effective techniques for cross-searching both databases will then be explored, and plans are to make the databases accessible to the general public.
A survey of Japanese paintings in the collection of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts of the University of East Anglia was conducted on July 23 (Tues.), the day before the memorandum was signed. Plans are, via the Project, to subsequently cooperate with institutions in UK that are linked to the Sainsbury Institute, such as the Sainsbury Centre, as the need arises.