SOAS University of London

Japan Research Centre

Hokusai in the world, then and now

Dr Angus Lockyer (SOAS) & Dr Ryoko Matsuba (SOAS)

Date: 18 October 2017Time: 5:05 PM

Finishes: 18 October 2017Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Seminar


The special exhibition, Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave, attracted 150,000 visitors to the British Museum between May and August this year.  Focusing on Hokusai’s late work, between the ages of 60 and 90, the exhibition underlined the drawing power of Hokusai’s famous print, but also suggested that the public is eager to know more about the life and other work behind the iconic image.

The exhibition was developed in conjunction with an AHRC-funded research project, Late Hokusai: Thought, Technique, Society, which provided the overarching story: how Hokusai’s work
needs to be understood in its time and place; how he was able to move easily not only between different styles and subjects, but also between seen and unseen worlds; and
how he was driven to continue working right until the end of his life.  Finally, by emphasizing his late paintings, as the culmination of what seems to have been a spiritual quest, the exhibition invited the viewer to move beyond the familiar landscape prints, and perhaps to question some of the assumptions we rely on when we first see something like the Great Wave.

The research project will continue for another 18 months, building on the lessons of the exhibition and of an international symposium on its opening weekend. This seminar will outline what we have learnt so far, as reflected in the exhibition, and what we hope to do going forward, at the centre of a global network of scholars, sharing research materials and facilitating collaborations.  It will focus on our plans for an innovative online resource, currently under construction, which we hope will become a key tool for the study of Hokusai, but also suggests the wider possibilities and challenges of digital humanities.

Speaker Biographies

Angus Lockyer

Angus Lockyer teaches Japanese, East Asian, and global history at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London,
where he also convenes the BA in Global Liberal Arts.  He has worked on the history of exhibitions and museums in modern Japan, as well as the history of Japanese golf.  He collaborated with Tim Clark on the reinstallation of the Japanese galleries at the British Museum in 2005-2006 and is a Co-Investigator on the research project Late Hokusai: Thought, Technique, Society.

Ryoko Matsuba

Ryoko Matsuba received her PhD from Ritsumeikan University and works on various aspects of Edo visual culture.  She is coordinating a joint project between the Art Research Center at Ritsumeikan and the Japanese Section of the British Museum to create a comprehensive digital archive of the Japanese paintings, prints, illustrated books, and decorative arts in the Museum's collections. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at SOAS University of London, as a member of the research team, Late Hokusai: Thought, Technique, Society.

Organiser: SOAS Japan Research Centre

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Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4893