Representations of samurai and knights in objects

Name Representations of samurai and knights in objectsg
Schedule December 9–10, 2006

In the interdisciplinary project titled "Study of Samurai Objects as Resources for Comparative History and Intercultural Presentations," promoted by the National Institutes for the Humanities, we sought to obtain true images of and the meanings behind bushi (samurai); we sought to do so by integrating various materials from the viewpoint of bushi research, while also conducting comparative analyses of corresponding materials in overseas countries that have different cultures. We did so, to clarify further the significance of bushi. We have also been working to determine how we can use these pieces as exhibition materials that represent history and culture.

Following the trend embodied by the Japan–France International Workshops titled "Social Functions of Medieval Castles" and "The Development and Obliteration of Medieval Castles," held in Rekihaku (2004) and Paris (2005), respectively, we will conduct the aforementioned workshop as a major event this year.

Korean Folklore Studies, Japanese Folklore Studies 3-2

Name Korean Folklore Studies, Japanese Folklore Studies 3-2
Schedule December 2–3, 2006

This workshop is being held as part of the international academic exchange agreement made between Rekihaku and the National Folk Museum of South Korea. As was the case in each of 2004 and 2005, in 2006, we will hold one workshop at each of the National Folk Museum of South Korea and Rekihaku, exchanging presentations on research results, the current state of folkloristics, and the status quo of museum-related education within each of the two countries.

We believe that we can deepen our mutual understanding of folkloristics in South Korea and Japan by making presentations on the research results that have accumulated to date and by continuing to engage in discussions thereof.

Coordinating the Views of Time during the Kofun Period in Japan and Korea

Name Coordinating the Views of Time during the Kofun Period in Japan and Korea
Schedule November 25–26, 2006

Some old tumuli remnants and cultural products of the Kofun period, as found in the Japanese Archipelago, have been found to have a South Korean lineage; this fact has been a topic of focus for some time, and research on this topic has been steadily accumulating. On the other hand, as a result of active excavations in recent South Korea, an increasing number of tumuli remnants and cultural products of Yamato lineage are also being found there. However, researchers of the two countries are not necessarily on "common ground" in terms of age-determination results for these tumuli. For this reason, it is necessary to coordinate opinions between Japanese and South Korean researchers concerning age determination, based on a consideration of the exchange activities that took place between the Japanese Archipelago and the Korean Peninsula during the third to seventh centuries.

For this purpose, based on the age-determination results for old tumuli that produced materials of distinct ages, researchers from both South Korea and Japan will conduct comparative analyses on the relative time sequences of tumuli, burial facilities, external ornaments such as haniwas and wooden products, pottery, accessories, ritual products, weapons, armor, horse harnesses, and the like.

Land-inquest in Medieval Japan and England

Name Land-inquest in Medieval Japan and England
Schedule November 17, 2006

In this workshop, we will compare cases from the U.K and Japan of land inquests—including the methods used therein and the contents thereof—as well as various forms of related writings (documents, accounts, drawings, etc.). These comparisons will be made from the viewpoint of historical land systems in medieval society. In addition, we will contribute to exchanges of information with not only overseas researchers being invited but also medieval-history researchers of Japan and Europe who currently live in Japan.

Representing Gender in Museums

Name Representing Gender in Museums
Schedule October 15, 2006

The purpose of these workshops will be to consider and discuss issues of "gender," as found in various exhibitions and from various perspectives; particular focus will be placed on actual exhibitions at historical museums.

During the first workshop, held on October 13, we will visit war exhibitions. Such are said to be the most difficult exhibitions to create and present, and inherent gender-based problems within those exhibitions have already been highlighted. These problems will serve as a focus of discussion, under the rubric of "Gender in War Exhibitions." Participants will visit several museums in Tokyo (e.g., the National Showa Memorial Museum, Yushukan, etc.), to see war-related exhibitions; afterwards, impressions and opinions thereof will be freely exchanged at the headquarters of the National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU).

To the second workshop, held on October 15 at the National Museum of Japanese History (Rekihaku), we will invite two researchers as main reporters; each has been working overseas on research into Japanese history and has a special interest in gender issues.

Rekihaku is planning to start step-by-step preparations for permanent exhibitions, starting in March 2008. In advance, we would like to take the opportunity to discuss with many researchers the possible or necessary ways of undertaking the creation and presentation of exhibitions, all from the viewpoint of gender. Needless to say, it is difficult for a historical museum to create an exhibition while taking into account gender issues. As for studies of historical materials themselves—and painted materials in particular—a certain amount of research has been accumulated with respect to "gender"; this research can be read from the present viewpoint, as well as from the viewpoint and visual perspective of the artist who created the painting, the consciousness of those who look at it, and the meanings behind the painted object itself. However, when we actually try to incorporate these viewpoints into a historical exhibition, it is not simply a matter of creating an exhibition from the viewpoint of females (though this is another complicated issue to be examined) or of exhibiting females themselves. Owing to the added difficulty arising from the exhibition act itself, there remains a great number of issues to be considered. We think it important to discuss these issues at the exhibition venue, where the most obvious act of representation is developed. When we prepare for the exhibition renewals at Rekihaku, it will be necessary for us to take into account the result of such discussion.

In tandem with these themes, NIHU is now working on another piece of research titled "Comparative Historical Research on Nation-States," as a part of "General Research on Interaction between Japan and Eurasia: Mutual Interaction and Representation." In this research, we would like to examine the problems that accompany—or are destined to accompany—an act of exhibition, also from the viewpoint of nation-states.