Reports on Conferences and Publications by Year

February 11-12, 2014

International Symposium at Ruhr-Universität Bochum: Siebold’s Vision of Japan ― As Represented in Japan-related Collections in the West

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

Venue: Beckmanns Hof – International Convention Centre of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Organizers: Ruhr-Universität Bochum and NIHU (Kurushima, "General Coordinating Team," National Museum of Japanese History)

This two-day symposium, organized by NIHU in cooperation with Ruhr-Universität Bochum, was held in Germany on February 11-12, 2014 (simultaneous German-Japanese interpretation was provided). It was attended by 20 people from Japan and 41 people from elsewhere and sought to broadly disseminate the survey and research results of the past four years.
Specifically, our work surveying and creating a database for records of Siebold Family materials and our work surveying the Siebold collection in the State Museum for Ethnology in Munich now means that we have detailed information on the materials currently preserved in that collection that will serve as an important foundation for our traveling international exhibition planned for 2016, "Siebold Presents Japan: The Last Japan Exhibition of Philipp Franz von Siebold" (tentative title). Surveys of Japan-related materials unrelated to Siebold are also growing, demonstrating the international recognition of this work.

Symposium participants in front of the Beckmanns Hof – International Convention Centre of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Symposium Description

Since National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU) embarked on an international collaborative research project to survey and study Japan-related documents and artifacts located in other countries, already three years have passed. Our main target for this research project is to study the Siebold Family Collection and other materials collected in Japan and taken overseas in the Nineteenth century.

We are currently focusing on the Siebold Collection of the Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde München, which had been collected during the second journey of Japan by Franz von Siebold (1859-62). This collection is well-known because of the vast quantity and large scale of variety of genres, such as lacquer, ceramics, maps, paintings, daily use wares and their materials. As time and circumstances of its collection are quite well known, this collection can be regarded as “standard material” that can be used to assess the provenience and time of production for similar artifacts and materials in Japan and overseas. Also, we have been engaged in a survey of the collections of Cock Blomhoff, Marinus Willem de Visser and Edward Sylvester Morse. Such multilateral and complex research contents provide a solid basis for comparative cultural studies of Japan-related documents and artifacts in the Nineteenth century. The study of material culture is complemented by research on related documents, especially in the archive of the von Brandenstein family and the Siebold Archive of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

This symposium seeks to discuss about topics related to the collections and their functions for the study of science and humanities in Japan and abroad not only with our research members but also with selected special guests from Europe. We thereby hope to further advance our long-term survey and broaden our knowledge about that crucial period of the Nineteenth century during which Japan underwent decisive changes, to which parts of the collections offer important clues. The final results of the project will be submitted in 2015.

(Text: Kurushima)


Tuesday, February 11

Opening Remarks
Junichi Okubo (Professor, National Museum of Japanese History)
Sven Osterkamp (Fakultät für Ostasienwissenschaften, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

Welcome Address
Prof. Dr. h.c. Elmar W. Weiler (President, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
Prof. Dr. Akihiro Kinda (Director, National Institutes for the Humanities)

Keynote Address  
Regine Mathias (Fakultät für Ostasienwissenschaften, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

Panel 1:  “Japan” image by Siebold, Historical and Cultural Study
Panel Chair: Hans Thomsen

Presentation :
1. ”Siebold and studies of Japanese Mythology in the 19th century”, Hitoshi Yamada(Tohoku University)
2.”Japanese Books collected by Siebold during his first stay in Japan”, Jun Suzuki(National Institute of Japanese Literature)
3. ”Korean study by Siebold”, Sven Osterkamp (Fakultät für Ostasienwissenschaften, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)


Panel 2: Japanese Japan-related objects collections in Western countries
Panel Chair: Matthias Forrer

Presentation :                                                                                                                       
1. ”Japan-related collections in Yale University”
Shigekazu Kondo(Historiographical Institute, The University of Tokyo)
2. “Research on materials related to Japan and East Asia, stocked at Russian and
Northern European Institutes “, Yukiharu Kato (Tohoku-Gakuin University)
3. ” Morse Collection: an another overseas Japanese Collection in the 19th century”,
Jun’ichi Kobayashi (Edo-Tokyo Museum)
4. ”Japan-related collections in England”, Yoshihiro Miki (National Museum of Japanese History)
5. ”Japanese Collections in Switzerland” Hans Thomsen (Kunshistorisches Institut, Universität Zürich)


Address by Dr. h.c. Elmar W. Weiler (President, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

Presentation by Regine Mathias (Fakultät für Ostasienwissenschaften, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

12th February(Wed


Panel 3:  Planning on the “Japan Museum” by Siebold, Representation of “Japan”(Focusing on the Siebold Collection in Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde München
Panel Chair: Masahide Miyasaka (Nagasaki Junshin University)

Presentation :                                                                                                                       
1. “A comparison of animal and botanical paintings with genre paintings by Kawahara Keiga
in the Siebold collection”   Tae Nohuji (Kyushu University)
2. ”Siebold’s Compilation of Japanese maps and Brandenstein Archives Collection”,
Hiroo Aoyama (NMJH)
3. “Siebold and his Japan study observed through the Trautz collection”
Shiro Yukawa (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelm Universität Bonn)
4. ”Economic activity of Siebold in Deshima through the study of his account-books”
Yoko Matsui(Historiographical Institute, The University of Tokyo)

5. ”The Munich Collection: A Mix of Siebold's First and Second Journeys, plus De Villeneuve Collection?”
Matthias Forrer  National Museum of Ethnology, The Netherlands)
6. ”Japanese ceramics in the Siebold Collection”, Miki Sakuraba (NMJH)
7. ”Japanese textile in the Siebold Collection”, Kazuto Sawada (NMJH)
8. ”Japanese lacquer in the Siebold Collection”, Kaori Hidaka  (NMJH)
9. ”The Beginnings of institutionalized Ethnography in Bavaria (1862): Moritz Wagner, Philipp Franz von Siebold and the "Royal Ethnographical Collection" in Munich” Bruno Richtsfeld (Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde München)


Closing Remarks
Hiroshi Kurushima (Professor, NMJH)

Presentation by Hiroshi Kurushima

Discussion (from left: Sven Osterkamp, Jun Suzuki, Hitoshi Yamada, Hans Thomsen)

Discussion (from left: Shigekazu Kondo, Hans Thomsen, Yukiharu Kato, Jun'ichi Suzuki, Tomoe Steineck, Yoshihiro Miki, Matthi Forrer)

Presentation by Shigekazu Kondo (Discussant: Bruno Richtsfeld; Moderator: Matthi Forrer)