“The Eight Views of Ōmi,” Re-viewed

Third Thursday Lectures
Thursday 19 Mar 2015 | 6 pm

Weston Room,
Cathedral Hostry,
Norwich NR1 4DH


Professor Edward Kamens
Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow
Sumitomo Professor of Japanese Studies, Yale University

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. Talks begin at 6pm (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. To book your seat, please go to the booking form or email the Sainsbury Institute

Book seat E-mail Sainsbury Institute

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

Beginning in the late 16th century, a new program or topos for waka composition in conjunction with image production emerged as a favored framework in projects created by aristocratic poets, calligraphers, and the artists they commissioned to work alongside them. This “Eight Views of Ōmi” is especially notable as a naturalization to the Japanese setting of a Chinese topos, “Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers,” merged with the domestic traditions of utamakura and meisho (“famous places”) poesy. This presentation will focus on a scroll version of the “Eight Views” by the late 17th ce. painter Yamamoto Soken and eight court calligraphers in the collection of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, but it will also explore the textual and visual antecedents and sequels to this particular instance of the re-production of this program, which reach back to the earliest stages of waka history and forward to many recapitulations of the “Eight Views” topos in early-modern and modern literary and visual culture.

About the Speaker

Edward Kamens is Sumitomo Professor of Japanese Studies at Yale University. His scholarship focuses on classical Japanese literature, especially classical poetry (waka), Buddhist literature, and the interactions of literary texts in and with visual and material culture.

He was co-editor, with Mikael Adolphson and Stacie Matsumoto, of Heian Japan: Centers and Peripheries(University of Hawai’i Press, 2007). He has published articles on Buddhist poetry in the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies (“Dragon-girl, Maidenflower, Buddha: The Transformation of a Waka Topos,” 1993) and The Journal of Japanese Studies (“Waking the Dead: Fujiwara Teika’s Sotoba kuyō Poems, 2002.)

Kamens is currently at work on a book-length study of classical Japanese poetry and its relationship to material culture, entitled Waka and Things, Waka as Things. It will include close examinations of the production, programming, presentation and reproduction of waka in intimate association with the making of material objects including paintings, landscape models, and illustrated sutras. The book will also propose that waka poems themselves can be understood as “things” produced, presented, and recycled much as are other objects in the material culture of which they are a part, and that this characteristic merits as much attention and appreciation as do their expressive, representational, and other rhetorical functions.

To book your seat, please go to the booking form or email the Sainsbury Institute

Book seat E-mail Sainsbury Institute