MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies

Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures together with the University of East Anglia are delighted to announce the launch of our new MA programme in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies, beginning in autumn 2020.

Administered through UEA’s Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities, home to the University’s Centre for Japanese Studies, this MA course is a collaboration of Japan specialists from both the University and the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures. Lecturers with academic focus on Japan from several schools of study at UEA, as well as academic staff of the Sainsbury Institute together have developed an innovative interdisciplinary curriculum for students who want to know about Japan, its place in the world, and its transforming cultural identity.

Based in Norwich, one of the UK’s most rapidly growing research hubs of Japanese Studies, this course will offer students access to resources of several institutions located here.

Since 1999, the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures has been developing and sharing its world-class research with the city and with UEA.

Left: Japanese Garden in Norwich Cathedral. Right: Building of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, Norwich

Located in the city centre on the premises of Norwich Cathedral, the Sainsbury Institute is a unique world-leading centre for the study of Japanese arts and cultures, with an expanded global network of scholars and art professionals, regular events programme, a welcoming community of in-house and visiting scholars, and invaluable Lisa Sainsbury Library, which holds its own special collections of original artworks and primary sources.

Lisa Sainsbury Research Library at the Sainsbury Institute

Students will be encouraged to participate in the Institute’s academic life, and will have a chance to attend the monthly Third Thursday Lectures in Norwich Cathedral, a record-breaking lecture series on Japanese arts by leading experts from across the globe, which celebrated its 200th lecture anniversary in September 2018.

Third Thursday Lecture “The Expression of the Four Seasons in Japanese Paintings” by Tomoko Emura from Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, November 21, 2019

Sainsbury Institute’s academic staff, including Professor Simon Kaner (Director of the Institute and an expert in Japanese archaeology), Dr Eugenia Bogdanova-Kummer (course director for the MA program, and expert in modern Japanese art and calligraphy), Dr Ryoko Matsuba (senior Digital Humanities Officer, and a specialist in Japanese print culture and digital technologies), Professor Toshio Watanabe (expert in modern Japanese art), and Professor Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere (specialist in Japanese ceramics, and globally renowned art curator) are all excited to welcome students to the programme, and to share their knowledge and appreciation for Japanese culture. They will be teaching about Japanese art history, share their experiences of understanding Japan through its visual and material culture, introduce students to the latest developments in the field, and offer guidance to jump-start their professional careers.

The students of this course will additionally benefit from access to UEA’s Centre for Japanese Studies and the wide range of scholarly expertise on Japan that the UEA faculty, who all contribute distinct disciplinary perspectives, have to offer. Japan specialists at UEA currently include Dr Ra Mason (based in the School of Politics, Philosophy and Language and Communication Studies), who is an expert in Japan’s international relations and Okinawan Studies, and has extensive knowledge of Japan’s foreign relations within East Asia; Dr Nadine Willems (UEA’s School of History), a cultural historian on Japan, with multi-year experience of working in Tokyo, works on modern Japanese history and the history of ideas; Dr Hannah Osborne, a newly appointed lecturer in Japanese Literature in the School of Literature and Drama, specialises in modern Japanese literature through the perspectives of gender and body; and Dr Eriko Tomizawa-Kay, based in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies, is an expert in modern Japanese art, diaspora studies, and Okinawan art.  Dr Sherzod Muminov (School of History) specialises in Japanese history, in particular Japan-East Asia and Japan-Russia relations, and Dr Rayna Denison, in the School of Art, Media and American Studies is an expert in Japanese film and anime.

These outstanding offerings will be further enriched by the weekly Research Seminars of UEA’s Centre for Japanese Studies, which bring to Norwich scholars and professionals working on Japan across the UK and Europe, to become a regular part of the course curriculum.

Centre of Japanese Studies Research Seminar “A Tale of Two Cities: Fukuoka and Pusan in the Japanese Empire” by Dr Hannah Shepherd (Camridge University) on December 5, 2019

The intellectual rigour of the programme will be complemented by access to the unique collection of Japanese art at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts located at UEA’s campus. The collection boasts outstanding examples of prehistoric art, Buddhist sculptures, paintings and ceramics. The collection will provide students with a first hand experience of studying Japan’s material culture through artefacts, and learning about Japan’s past and present through art objects. Students will be encouraged to use this collection for their study, and to gather experience in curating, researching, and communicating about Japanese culture.

Left: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, designed by the architect Norman Foster. Right: Permanent display of the art collection of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, which includes Japanese art

We hope that this course will help create a new generation of versatile experts on Japan, who are well equipped to cross geographical, disciplinary, and institutional borders, ready to jump-start their careers in this exciting field.

The call for applications is now open. The application deadline for autumn 2020 is July 31, 2020. For more information on the course, its full-time and part-time options, and the application procedure, please see the UEA MA course profile page.

Selected scholarships for outstanding candidates who enrol in this course will be available. If you wish to be considered for the scholarship, please apply by June 1, 2020. More information on this will be published soon.