［イベント情報］ARC-iJAC Project Spotlights: An Interview with Prof. Hans B. Thomsen (University of Zurich) on 'Tracing the Reception of Japanese Art in the West'July 13, 2022(Wed)
Professor Thomsen, thank you very much for your time today. How did you first connect with the Art Research Center (ARC)?
Prof. Thomsen: I met Professor Akama in Geneva more than a decade ago. Since then, we have embarked on several projects digitizing and cataloging Japanese woodblock prints at the Print Cabinet in Geneva.
Thanks to the efforts of the ARC in digital archiving of these prints, we have held two exhibitions at the Print Cabinet--one on kabuki prints in 2014 and the other on surimono prints that is currently ongoing.
In 2016, the University of Zurich also held a three-day international symposium on katagami in Zurich where several ARC faculty members presented their research.
You are the leader of two ARC-iJAC international joint research projects. 'Tracing the Reception of Japanese Art in the West: Case Study of Freiburg im Breisgau' was conducted in the fiscal year of 2021, while you examine the case of Monte Verità in the current fiscal year. Could you tell us your motivation for these projects?
Prof. Thomsen: There has been a prolonged interest in academia to study Japanese art outside of Japan that goes back to the 1970s. However, the focus has mainly been on meibutsu (名物) and their connections to Japan.
My research interest lies not only in finding and identifying objects that have been traditionally seen as meibutsu but to expand on this. Some Japanese art collections across Germany and Switzerland, such as the collections left behind by Ernst Grosse (1862-1927) and Baron Eduard von der Heydt (1882-1964), have been little explored.
As part of our ARC-iJAC projects, we have been digital archiving and cataloging these artworks as we intend to not only examine their connection and existence within Japanese art history but place them in context of both their Japanese origin and a piece of local Swiss/ German history.
Prof. Thomsen: We hope to get a better understanding of the roles these various pioneers held in spreading public and academic knowledge of Japanese art.
In graduate schools, the students typically look at the most recent texts, whereas older ones are neglected because they are considered 'old history'.
We are inclined to think that there is a sudden burst of light, and we know everything about a subject--but it builds over time. The gradual growth of knowledge on certain subjects tends to be ignored in the West.
Japanese collections had been brought to Europe for particular reasons--the art collectors could have considered them interesting, and perhaps important. The motivations and individual stories of these collectors--two key persons were Ernst Grosse and Baron Eduard von der Heydt--should not be forgotten.
For instance, despite his early influence in East Asian art studies and contributions to the establishment of the Japanese art collections in the West, the role of Ernst Grosse has largely been forgotten. Furthermore, many other people, including middlemen, were involved in the process of knowledge transfer of Japanese art in the West. It was not a simple process.
To 'resurrect' these histories of learning, we should give credit to these pioneers.
Prof. Thomsen: For instance, as opposed to Ernst Grosse, von der Heydt had never been to Japan. So, where did he buy his artworks, and how did they arrive there?
Furthermore, von der Heydt gave his East Asian art collection to Museum Rietberg in Zurich. However, some key pieces, including a fine collection of Japanese woodblock prints, never went to Rietberg. Instead, they have remained at his home, a modernist-style Bauhaus building in Monte Verità where they have been largely forgotten and become a part of hotel decoration.
So, what are the pieces he did not give to Museum Rietberg, and what does this tell us about the status of these objects?
We would like to address some of these questions as part of our ARC-iJAC projects, directed toward rediscovering a forgotten history of the reception of Japanese art in the West.
We intend to fully digitize and catalog the collections of Grosse and von der Heydt that have been lost to the public.
Could you please tell us more about your post-COVID plans?
Prof. Thomsen: I plan to continue working with Japanese art collections here in Europe. In the last fifteen years since joining the University of Zurich, I have had the pleasure working with more than 50 different museums--including museums in Switzerland, Germany, Ukraine, France, and Italy.
Regarding our ARC-iJAC projects, we faced the problem during the pandemic that we could not enter the museums for a long time. Therefore, many of the Japanese artworks Ernst Grosse left behind still remain in cardboard boxes. Once we get permission from the museums, I plan to take higher-quality images of the objects that we can replace and add to our ARC database.
I am excited that there is still an incredible research potential in these art collections in Freiburg and Monte Verità, and I hope to continue the delightful research collaboration with the ARC for many years to come.
(This interview was conducted by Yinzi Emily Li.)［イベント情報］Pre-war Programs of the Kabuki-za Theatre, Tokyo, have been released in the Shochiku Otani Library's Shibai Banzuke Browsing System (松竹大谷図書館所蔵・芝居番付検索閲覧システム)July 12, 2022(Tue)
Based on an agreement between the library and the Art Research Center (ARC), these digitized programs have been integrated into the Shochiku Otani Library's Shibai Banzuke Browsing System (松竹大谷図書館所蔵・芝居番付検索閲覧システム), developed and made available to the public by the ARC.
In 2020, the library launched a crowdfunding initiative to raise funds for digitizing and preserving approximately 1,180 volumes of pre-war theater programs--also known as sujigaki (筋書)--of the Kabuki-za Theater (歌舞伎座).
With this release, it has been possible to search and browse the Kabuki-za Theater sujigaki programs from the theater's establishment in Meiji 22 (1889) to the pre-war period on the web.
The Shibai Banzuke Portal Database made available by the ARC allows users to simultaneously search not only the ARC's own banzuke collection but also those of the Shochiku Otani Library and other institutions.
Along with the release of the sujigaki of the Kabuki-za held by the Shochiku Otani Library, the pre-war sujigaki of the Imperial Theater in Tokyo (帝国劇場) in the ARC collection are also made available for viewing.
We strive to continue our efforts to facilitate research in Japanese theater studies through digital archives.［イベント情報］July 8, 2022(Fri)
On July 7, 2022, the Kyoto Shimbun featured an article on the Kyoto News Archive, a digital archiving project led by Professor Keiji Yano (College of Letters, Ritsumeikan University).
The Kyoto News Archive was released in the ARC Virtual Institute on June 24, 2022:
< ARC Virtual Institute: The Kyoto News Archive >［イベント情報］July 4, 2022(Mon)
Kindly supported by the City of Kyoto and the Kyoto Toy Film Museum, the Commemorative Public Symposium 'The Kyoto News Archive: Lights of the Past Reflecting the Future' was held by the International Joint Digital Archiving Center for Japanese Art and Culture (ARC-iJAC), Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University, on July 2, 2022.
In collaboration with the Toy Film Museum in Kyoto, the Art Research Center (ARC) has been building a digital archive of Kyoto News--a series of newsreels produced by Kyoto City between 1956 and 1994 (Showa 31 - Heisei 6).
During that period, the newsreels were shown in movie theaters in Kyoto before the start of the main film. As one of the earliest regional newsreels, they are a valuable historical testimony of Kyoto City. They have recorded a wide range of topics in the city, including seasonal customs and festivals.
As the Kyoto News Archive has partly been completed and opened to the public, the public symposium was held to commemorate the launching of the archive, as well as to report on our research outcomes and discuss the prospects for regional video archives.
Date: July 2 (Saturday), 2022
Time: 14:00 - 16:30 Japan Standard Time
Topic: The Kyoto News Archive: Lights of the Past Reflecting the Future
Event Venue: Online via Zoom
International Joint Digital Archiving Center for Japanese Art and Culture (ARC-iJAC), Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University
Supported by: Kyoto City and the Toy Film Museum
Inquiries: Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University
E-mail: arc-jimu(at)st.ritsumei.ac.jp (please change "at" to @)
(*This event was held in Japanese)［イベント情報］June 8, 2022(Wed)
The 103rd International ARC Seminar will be held as a Webinar on Wednesday, June 8, starting at 18:00 JST.
The program is as follows:
Speaker: Chikahiko Suzuki (Associate Professor, Department of Liberal Arts, Gunma Prefectural Women's University)
Topic: "KaoKore" and "edomi" - Examples of using humanities materials based on microcontents method
Date: Wednesday, June 8, 2022 18:00 - 19:30 JST
Participation: online via Zoom, free of charge (no reservation required)
*This Webinar is open to everyone, and non-ARC members are also invited to participate via YouTube.［イベント情報］Video of 102nd International ARC Seminar 'A trial to classify Mongolian legal documents using deep learning' (Speaker: Biligsaikhan Batjargal ) is available on YouTubeMay 27, 2022(Fri)
The 102nd International ARC Seminar, held on May 25, 2022, is now available on YouTube.
The program was as follows:
Topic: A trial to classify Mongolian legal documents using deep learning
Speaker: Biligsaikhan Batjargal (Affiliate Research Professor, Research Organization of Science and Technology, Ritsumeikan University)
We hope you enjoy the video!［イベント情報］Video of 101st International ARC Seminar 'Going to War During the Taisho Period: Japan's Siberian Intervention of 1918-1922 as Illustrated by the Pictorial Diaries of Infantryman Takeuchi Tadao' (Speaker: Dr. Nadine Willems) is available on YouTubeMay 16, 2022(Mon)
The 101st International ARC Seminar, held on May 11, 2022, is now available on YouTube.
The program was as follows:
Topic: Going to War During the Taisho Period: Japan's Siberian Intervention of 1918-1922 as Illustrated by the Pictorial Diaries of Infantryman Takeuchi Tadao
Speaker: Dr. Nadine Willems (Lecturer in Japanese History, School of History, University of East Anglia)
We hope you enjoy the video!［イベント情報］Video of 100th International ARC Seminar 'KOBAYASHI, Ichizo: Social and Cultural Projects as the Two Wheels of his Business' (Speaker:Yoshiyuki SENKAI) is available on YouTubeMay 16, 2022(Mon)
The 100th International ARC Seminar, held on April 27, 2022, is now available on YouTube.
The program was as follows:
Topic: KOBAYASHI, Ichizo: Social and Cultural Projects as the Two Wheels of his Business
Speaker: Yoshiyuki SENKAI (Executive Board Member and Director, Itsuō Art Museum; Ichizo Kobayashi Memorial Museum; and Ikeda Bunko, Hankyu Culture Foundation)
We hope you enjoy the video!［イベント情報］April 28, 2022(Thu)
We are pleased to announce the Call for Manuscript Submissions for the Art Research Center's journal ART RESEARCH vol. 23-1, 23-2, and 23-3. The publication has been reborn as an online journal.
As an academic journal specializing in arts and culture, the purpose of ART RESEARCH is to widely publicize the results of the research projects and activities conducted by the Art Research Center (ARC), Ritsumeikan University, and its partner institutions and collaborative researchers.
Since its establishment in 1998, the Art Research Center (ARC) has been selected for several national grants as a center of excellence for research in culture, art, and information science. In FY2019, the center assumed the role as the International Joint Digital Archiving Center for Japanese Art & Culture (ARC-iJAC) upon its accreditation by the MEXT as an International Joint Usage/Research Center. The ARC is highly regarded as a leading hub for the digital archiving of Japanese art and culture.
Our online journal will be published three times per year, and at the end of the fiscal year, a print booklet compiling all contributions will be distributed.
We accept manuscripts anytime as we hope to increase the submission opportunities for researchers.
We look forward to receiving your manuscript.Read more>>［イベント情報］The Future of Culture: Data Spun to Restore Yamahoko in Virtual Space was featured in the Yomiuri ShimbunApril 21, 2022(Thu)
On April 16, 2022, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported on the research activities of Professor Ryo Akama, Director of the Art Research Center, to digitize valuable cultural resources.