Category Archives: By CAC

Freer/Sackler Galleries Series on Early Modern Books (日本語で+English)

From the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art

 

Dear all,

Please join us for our three-part miniseries, Illustrated Woodblock-Printed Books of the Edo Period, on August 10, 17, and 24, 7–8:30 pm EDT.

The richly illustrated woodblock-printed books of the Edo period (1603–1868) offer a fascinating window into how texts and images were circulated in a highly literate society. However, the circumstances of their production and reception have not been as well described in scholarly literature as other facets of Edo print culture, such as multicolor prints. In this three-part webinar miniseries on Japanese illustrated woodblock-printed books (e’iri hanpon 絵入り版本) from the Pulverer Collection at the Freer Gallery of Art and from the Freer and Sackler Library, Professor Takahiro Sasaki will present on the history of illustrated printed books; authenticating illustrated books; and the relationship between illustrated books, the government, and society. The lectures will be given in Japanese with the option for simultaneous English transcription and audio.

Professor Takahiro Sasaki is the director of the Institute of Oriental Classics (Shidō Bunko, Keio University) and is a professor at Keio University specializing in Japanese literature of the medieval period, with a particular focus on waka poetry. Professor Sasaki has also been the lead educator for the courses Japanese Culture Through Rare Books and The Art of Washi Paper in Japanese Rare Books, offered by Keio University on the open online course platform FutureLearn, and has led numerous workshops on Japanese classical books in the United States and Europe.

Register here: https://smithsonian.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DboQL-c3QXKJHlAI_ekN2w

Find more information here: https://asia.si.edu/events-overview/?trumbaEmbed=view%3Dseries%26seriesid%3D1595019

Tuesday, August 10, 2021 

7 – 8:30pm (EDT)
The History of Illustrated Printed Books and Bindings
 

In the first lecture of our three-part series Illustrated Woodblock-Printed Books of the Edo Period, Professor Takahiro Sasaki will locate the genre of illustrated woodblock-printed books within Japanese book history and explain the binding methods used in their production. 

Professor Takahiro Sasaki is the director of the Institute of Oriental Classics (Shidō Bunko, Keio University) and is a professor at Keio University specializing in Japanese literature of the medieval period, with a particular focus on waka poetry. Professor Sasaki has also been the lead educator for the courses Japanese Culture Through Rare Books and The Art of Washi Paper in Japanese Rare Books, offered by Keio University on the open online course platform FutureLearn, and has led numerous workshops on Japanese classical books in the United States and Europe. 

 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021 

7 – 8:30pm (EDT)
Authenticating Illustrated Printed Books
 

In the second lecture of our three-part series Illustrated Woodblock-Printed Books of the Edo Period, Professor Takahiro Sasaki will use concrete examples to offer instruction on issues to be aware of when examining illustrated printed books. 

Professor Takahiro Sasaki is the director of the Institute of Oriental Classics (Shidō Bunko, Keio University) and is a professor at Keio University specializing in Japanese literature of the medieval period, with a particular focus on waka poetry. Professor Sasaki has also been the lead educator for the courses Japanese Culture Through Rare Books and The Art of Washi Paper in Japanese Rare Books, offered by Keio University on the open online course platform FutureLearn, and has led numerous workshops on Japanese classical books in the United States and Europe. 

 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021 

7 – 8:30pm (EDT)
Illustrated Books, the Government, and Society
 

In the third and final lecture of our three-part series Illustrated Woodblock-Printed Books of the Edo Period, Professor Takahiro Sasaki will provide specific examples of illustrated printed books as a means of elucidating the relationship between these works and the circumstances of the government and society of the Edo period. 

Looks interesting

What Is a Family? Answers from Early Modern Japan
ed. by Mary Elizabeth Berry and Marcia Yonemoto

Peter Kornicki

The Journal of Japanese Studies
Society for Japanese Studies
Volume 47, Number 2, Summer 2021
pp. 514-518
10.1353/jjs.2021.0066

Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness,” II

Continuing on from the previous post. I found this paragraph also quite in line with what haiku aims for:

The task of making a home in nature is what Wendell Berry has called “the forever unfinished lifework of our species.” “The only thing we have to preserve nature with” he writes, “is culture; the only thing we have to preserve wildness with is domesticity.”  Calling a place home inevitably means that we will use the nature we find in it, for there can be no escape from manipulating and working and even killing some parts of nature to make our home. But if we acknowledge the autonomy and otherness of the things and creatures around us—an autonomy our culture has taught us to label with the word “wild”—then we will at least think carefully about the uses to which we put them, and even ask if we should use them at all. just so can we still join Thoreau in declaring that “in Wildness is the preservation of the World,” for wildness (as opposed to wilderness) can be found anywhere: in the seemingly tame fields and woodlots of Massachusetts, in the cracks of a Manhattan sidewalk, even in the cells of our own bodies. As Gary Snyder has wisely said, “A person with a clear heart and open mind can experience the wilderness anywhere on earth. It is a quality of one’s own consciousness. The planet is a wild place and always will be.” To think ourselves capable of causing “the end of nature” is an act of great hubris, for it means forgetting the wildness that dwells everywhere within and around us.

Unfamiliar with Berry and Snyder? Both are American writers and environmental activists. Berry’s side job is farming; Snyder is a bit of a wandering poet-scholar-saint, or is certainly inspired by such people.
I am pleased that Cronon calls attention to nature as something that is inescapable, not somewhere apart or somewhere to go. At their finest, haiku poets would agree, and indeed many, I imagine, find solace in linking their subjective, emotional experiences with the moods and shifts exterior to themselves. Haiku doesn’t let you forget that there is nothing pristine and untouched. (Sorry about the double negative.)
This leads off in various directions–poetic and not. I’ll stop here, though. It’s just some ideas.

(Wendell Berry, Home Economics (San Francisco, California: North Point, 1987), pp. 138, 143. Gary Snyder: New York Times, “Week in Review,” 18 September 1994, p. 6.)

Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness,” I

 

I am considering adding William Cronon’s essay, “The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature” to the syllabus for my course on nature and culture in Japan. I’m interested in hearing students’ comments on it, particularly on how much it helps us think about historical Japanese views of “wilderness” in Japan.

Wilderness — Creation — Change — 造化

I am particularly interested in this sentence:

[Wilderness] is entirely a creation of the culture that holds it dear, a product of the very history it seeks to deny. Indeed, one of the most striking proofs of the cultural invention of wilderness is its thoroughgoing erasure of the history from which it sprang. In virtually all of its manifestations, wilderness represents a flight from history.

Not, I daresay, a description of the way natural phenomena are used by haikai poets. Kigo 季語 (season words)/kidai 季題 (seasonal topics) are inevitably conventionalized, not raw and wild. While it’s not wrong to say that haikai — and waka and renga, for that matter — allude(s) to “nature,” it’s always processed, pre-digested. One might argue that haikai poets sought no flight from history in “nature,” since their nature was really a collection of words. Or maybe they did, in a way, believing that accurate deployment of words erased the time that had lapsed between theirs and that of past poets whose work they admired.

It also occurs to me that Cronon makes a nice case for a perfectly haikai view of nature here:

He could be defining 田園詩 “fields and gardens” poetry; a genre of Chinese verse that has a lot in common with the aims of many modern haiku poets. Here is the venerable Professor Stephen Owen giving a short introduction to the famous Tao Qian 陶潛 verse “Returning to dwell in gardens and fields.” (日本語+中文+日本語の動画は此方).

To be continued in the next post, Wilderness (soon).