Reports on Educational Activities by Year

June 25th, 2015

The 6th Reading Komonjo Workshop at Ruhr-Universität Bochum: "Edo Japan as Seen by Siebold and His Peers (II)"(6)

Conducted by National Museum of Japanese History (Hidaka, "General Coordinating Team")

National Museum of Japanese History, Hidaka Research Group

Cosponsor:  Seinan Gakuin University (“Education Incubator Program” : The Archival of Overseas Komonjo,Ukiyoe, and Other Documentsand the Results of International Exchange and Research (Project Director: Katsunori Miyazaki)

Location: Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Faculty of East Asian Studies, Japanese History Classroom

Time and Date: July, 25 2015 11:00 – 17:00

Participants: From Seinan Gakuin University: Katsunori Miyazaki, Daichi Abe, Naomi Akiyama. From Kyushu University: Tae Nofuji. General Participants: Masako Matsumoto, Setsuko Imahashi. From Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Faculty of East Asian Studies: Regine Mathias (Professor), Jan Schmidt (Lecturer), Sven Osterkamp (Professor), and approximately twenty Graduate and Undergraduate Students.

Program Contents:

This was the fourth joint workshop held between Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Faculty of East Asian Studies and Seinan Gakuin University. During this session on reading historical komonjo documents, the following presentations were made:

Naomi Akiyama (Seinan Gakuin University, 3rd Year) “Korea as found in Seibold’s Nippon
Although Seibold’s book Nippon principally depicts Japan circa 1800, it includes not only information about Japan, but also about Korea as well. In that era, it was not uncommon for Koreans to be washed ashore to the Japanese coast. From these stranded Koreans, Siebold got information about Korea’s political system and writing, and included these with illustrations. By comparing the illustrations about Korea found in Nippon, and the original drawings, we are able to see Seibold’s goals were in his research on Korea.

Tae Nofuji (Kyushu University Graduate School) “The Creation of Kawahara Keiga and Carel Hubert de Villeneuve’s Paintings”
Although it is known that Siebold commissioned Kawahara Keiga and Carel Hubert de Villeneuve as artists for his works, the nature of their work is not well understood. In this presentation, the role of each of these two artists from Siebold’s point of view, and the division of labor used in the production of their illustrations was explained. The presentation focused especially on three main types of illustrations: animals, plants, and people (including portraits and genre paintings). By considering materials including those kept at Bochum Universität together with remaining illustrations, the respective roles of these two individuals was clarified. It seems a division of labor was necessary owing to problems in each artist’s technical ability and working environment. It was argued that Keiga and de Villeneuve each painted what they were proficient at, and by supplementing each other’s work, was able to fill Siebold’s needs for illustrations.

Daichi Abe (Seinan Gakuin University Graduate School) “Diversions in the Edo Period: ‘tako-age’ (kite flying)”
During the Edo Period at New Year, children become obsessed with flying kites. Although it differed depending on the region and period, we explain how kite flying became a part of the landscape of the New Year season. Furthermore, although kites were originally brought from China were called “ika-nobori,” we explain how modern “tako-age” (kite-flying) came about, and as well as the meaning and character “tako” (凧, kite). Finally, we explain the names of kites in different regions, and finally connect this to the actual practice of “tako-age.”

Masako Matsumoto and Setsuko Imabashi (General Participants) “Practicum in Kite Making and Kite Flying”
In this workshop, we brought materials from Japan for making Japanese-style kites (tako) which are difficult to obtain in Europe such as strips of bamboo, Japanese washi paper, and kite string. Although we were worried that the classroom was too small for all the participants to make kites together, and we had to divide into two groups, each were able to make very unique kites, and we were happy to see the youthful exuberance of participants while making the kites. We also heard from Professor Mathias that during the Bochum harvest season, kites closely resembling those brought from Japan to Germany can be found. These are made from wood rather than bamboo, and seem to different slightly from Japanese kites.

Naomi Akiyama’s Presentation

(From Seinan University’s website