5th Ishibashi Lecture Series (Dec 2018)

About the Ishibashi Foundation Lecture Series

The Sainsbury Institute is delighted to present the Fifth Ishibashi Foundation Lecture Series, sponsored by the Ishibashi Foundation and in association with the Organization for the Advancement of Research and Development, Kokugakuin University. Lectures were given in English and simultaneously translated into Japanese. This Lecture Series aim to offer new perspectives in the studies of Japanese arts and cultures and contribute to the promotion of scholarly and artistic exchange between Japan and overseas.

Part 1

 

Moderator: Professor Takashi Uchikawa, Kokugakuin University
Intro 1: Professor Masuhisa Akai, President of Kokugakuin University
Intro 2: Professor David Richardson, Chair of the Sainsbury Institute & Vice-Chancellor of UEA

Searching for the Swordsmen: A Short History of Battle
Professor Karl Friday
While early modern warriors worshiped swords as “the soul of the samurai,” and modern audiences, schooled on samurai movies, envision medieval battlefields as melees of close-quarter combat with bladed weapons, in reality swords played only a tiny, auxiliary role in premodern warfare. This lecture will explore the evidence supporting this conclusion; the social, cultural and political reasons why swords played such a small part in battles; and the difficulties inherent in efforts by earlier generations of historians to identify a point at which swords came to dominate Japanese battles.

Part 2

Moderator: Professor Takashi Uchikawa, Kokugakuin University

Monastic Warfare and Sōhei in Japanese History
Professor Mikael Adolphson
Benkei is an iconic figure in Japanese history, representing a group of monastic warriors known as sōhei. Prevalent in many representations from the late medieval and the eraly modern age, these sōhei are almost without exception depicted with head cowls and naginata, seen as typical for these warriors. But is this how they really fought? How can we know that such images represent the particular warfare strategies by monastic forces? These and other questions surrounding the weapons and battle strategies used by the so-called sōhei will be explained in this lecture.

Part 3

Moderator: Professor Takashi Uchikawa, Kokugakuin University
Panel discussion with Professor Karl Friday and Professor Mikhael Adolphson
Closing comments by Professor Simon Kaner (Sainsbury Institute) and Professor Masuhisa Akai (Kokugakuin University)

In association with the Organization for the Advancement of Research and Development, Kokugakuin University
Sponsored by the Ishibashi Foundation