Third Thursday Lecture | 20 November 2014
Applied Aesthetics: Nurturing Craft Innovation and Beauty in Edo-period Japan
Professor Suzuki Kazuyoshi
National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo
Every Third Thursday of the month, the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures hosts a lecture on a topic related to the art and culture of Japan. This month’s talk will begin at 6.30pm (50-minute lecture followed by refreshments). Speakers are all specialists in their field and the talks are intended to be accessible to those with no prior knowledge of Japanese history.
Admission is free and all are welcome. Booking essential.
The lecture will be held at the Weston Room, Cathedral Hostry, Norwich NR1 4DH. The Third Thursday Lecture series is funded by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Yakult and the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Charitable Trust.
About the Lecture
At this month’s lecture, Professor Suzuki Kazuyoshi will give the first of his three-part lectures on the expansion of education, discovery, science and the arts in the Edo period (1615-1868), as well as providing an examination of craft innovation during the period. By the 18th century in Japan, literacy and numeracy were increasingly perceived as ‘essential tools for worldly success’. During the Edo period, regional initiatives encouraged schooling regardless of social rank with educational facilities run by local and religious institutions.
Remarkably although the Tokugawa government’s policy of severe maritime restrictions fostered relative isolation in order to preserve domestic culture from ‘foreign influences’, foreign documents and books, often descriptive of new technologies were translated and widely distributed and studied. One interesting example is the introduction of Western clocks and time-keeping technology. This innovation allowing for the standardisation of units of time replaced the old system of wadokei or Japanese style clocks. Wadokei were originally developed from the late 16th century and organised time into six daytime hours and six nighttime hours whose length varied according to the season and time of year. The standardisation of time with western-style clocks had a profound effect on Japan and its modernisation.
In this series of Toshiba Lectures in Japanese Art and Science, Professor Kazuyoshi will take an in-depth look at the origins of the Japanese ‘making of things’ (monozukuri) from aesthetics to function during the Edo period and will trace their implications for the present day.
*Please note that this month’s lecture will start at 6.30pm. The lecture will be delivered in Japanese with simultanious translation provided.
About the Speaker
Professor Suzuki Kazuyoshi joined the National Museum of Nature and Science in 1987 after a distinguished career in the Research and Technology Development division at NCR Corporations, Japan. His research interests involve the development of technology in early modern to present day Japan through empirical research on material resources in museums and historical archives. He has curated a number of exhibitions, including ‘Medicine and Healing’, ‘Robots’, and ‘Japan International Aerospace Exhibition’. He serves as a member of committees at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Agency for Cultural Affairs and advises public and private sector organisations on museum and exhibition projects.
A monthly lecture series supported byEnglish pocket watch made by Markwick London. Imported and converted in Japan to adjust to the daily changing length of time increments in Japan. Edo period, late 18th/early 19th century.