Consultation and lecture at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC), and visits to institutions related to art books and documentation

Visit to the National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum
A scene from the gallery talk at the Sainsbury Centre

 Since 2013, the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) in Norwich, UK, and Tokyo National Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) have been working on the joint project, “Shaping the Fundamentals of Research on Japanese Art.” SISJAC staff regularly provide information on literature and exhibitions related to Japanese arts held outside of Japan, and in previous years researchers from the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems have travelled to the UK for a site visit, consultation, and lecture. From 2020 until last year, online discussions were held, as it was not possible to visit the site, but this year two TOBUNKEN members, Mr. KIKKAWA Hideki and Ms. MAIZAWA Rei, have visited the UK for the first time in three years to tour the site, hold a consultation, and give a lecture.

 On the 14th, 15th, and 17th of November, we visited institutions related to art books and documentation in London. This included the art libraries and photographic archives attached to the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, the Courtauld Institute of Art, the University of London, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, as well as other libraries with substantial collections of Japanese materials, such as the British Library and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. We were given a tour of the facilities and presented with materials by the staff of each institution and discussed the possibility of holding joint projects with some of the institutions. These visits were coordinated by Mr. HIRANO Akira and accompanied by Mr. HIRANO Ms. HAYASHI Miwako of SISJAC.
 The consultation was held at SISJAC on the November 16, and Ms. MAIZAWA gave a gallery talk and lecture at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts that afternoon. The Sainsbury Centre, attached to the University of East Anglia, houses the collection of Sir Robert Sainsbury and Lady Lisa Sainsbury, the founders of SISJAC, which includes Japanese arts. A gallery talk on Buddhist and Shinto statues was held in the exhibition room, followed by the lecture in the basement conference room on ‘The activities of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and its research on rakanzu (Arhat painting).’ In addition to the local general audience, Japanese officials visiting SISJAC also attended and listened attentively. Ms. MAIZAWA has been at SISJAC as a visiting researcher since October, and will continue to work on research and studies in the UK until the end of February next year.

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