The Society for the Study of Japonisme International Symposium 2021 Japonisme and Eastern Thoughts (Religion, Philosophy, Aesthetics)

The Society for the Study of Japonisme International Symposium 2021  Japonisme and Eastern Thoughts (Religion, Philosophy, Aesthetics)


Date: 9:30‐17:20, Saturday December 4, 2021    Virtual Symposium
Organizers: The Society for the Study of Japonisme / Ebara Hatakeyama Memorial Foundation
Language: Japanese or English (with simultaneous interpretation)
Number of participants : limited to 200
Free of charge

In the middle of the 19th century, Siebold exhibited Buddhist statues, commenting on Japanese religion and thoughts in his book Japan. In the United States, Pumpelly influenced John La Farge with his detailed accounts of Buddhism and Shintoism. Numerous painters, from Van Gogh and Gauguin to Redon and Klee, were also inspired by the Buddhist ideas. Institutions such as Paris’s Guimet Museum and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts set up special exhibition rooms for the Buddhist statues. At around the same time, Theosophists as well as Edwin Arnold disseminated Eastern philosophy, while the World’s Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago in 1893, put Eastern religious thoughts on the global map.

The reception of Eastern thoughts in Europe and the US continued to develop in the 20th century. Okakura Kakuzō’s The Book of Tea and Suzuki Daisetsu’s Zen propagated Buddhist concepts such as “emptiness” and “nothingness,” as well as key notions of Japanese aesthetic such as “wabi” and “sabi,” paving way for a flowering of international scholarship from Arthur Waley to Eugen Herrigel. In addition, Eastern thought, with its profound spirituality as a counterweight to capitalism and materialism, had a great impact on literature, theater, and architecture in the West.

This symposium seeks to reconsider the relationship between Japonisme and Eastern thoughts and its broader significance by examining specific cases from the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century.



9:30             Greetings and Introduction (moderator: TANAKA Atsuko)

9:30-9:40     Welcome greetings
MIYAZAKI Katsumi, President, Society for the Study of Japonisme
MATSUI Akinori, Executive Director, The Ebara Hatakeyama Memorial Foundation

9:40-10:00   Introduction


Invited Lecture     (moderator: INOUE Hitomi)

10:05-10:45  Hans Martin KRÄMER, Professor, Heidelberg University
“The Academic Reception of Buddhism in Nineteenth-Century Europe: With a Focus on Japanese Buddhism


I. Place of Eastern Thoughts within Japonisme (moderator: FUJIHARA Sadao)

10:50-11:20 HASHIMOTO Yorimitsu, Professor, Graduate School of Letters, Osaka University
“Tasting a Vinegar of Japonisme: Theosophy, Jiujitsu and Noh”

11:26-11-55 INOUE Hitomi, Associate Professor, Aichi Gakuin University
“A Study on the Establishment of ‘Buddhist Room’ at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1909”

Lunch Break

13:00-  Afternoon Sessions


II. Exoticism, or Expression of Spirituality (moderator: FUJIHARA Sadao)

13:00-13:30  KUGIMIYA Takako, Doctoral Research Fellow, Graduate School of Humanities, Nagoya University
“Japanese Spirituality Depicted in the Felix Weingartner’s Opera ‘Die Dorfschule’”

13:35-14:05  TSURUZONO Shikiko, Lecturer, Toho Gakuen School of Music
“Segalen and Debussy, an Essay on Exoticism”


III. Representation of Japanese Aesthetics and Religions  (moderator: INOUE Hitomi)

14:10-14:40  SEONG A Kim-Lee, Associate Professor, Kansai Gaidai University
“Layering Positive and Negative: Notan in Light Screen by Frank Lloyd Wright”

14:45-15:15  Svitlana SHIELLS, independent scholar
“Meoto Iwa: Shinto Rocks That Mesmerised Gustav Klimt”



IV. Diffusion of Zen Philosophy and its Representation (moderator: INOUE Hitomi)

15:30-16:00 TSUCHIKANE Yasuko, Adjunct Associate Professor, The Cooper Union
“Fantasy ‘Zen’ across the East-West Divide: Bokuseki by Dōmoto Inshō (1959) and Art Informel”

16:05-16:35 IWASAKI Tatsuya, independent scholar
“Mark Tobey and Japan: The Influence of Calligraphy on Tobey’s ‘Shifting Alphabets’”


16:40-17:10  Wrap-Up (moderators: HASHIMOTO Yorimitsu, and FUJIHARA Sadao)

17:15-  Closing Remarks  HITOMI Nobuko, Managing Director, Society for the Study of Japonisme

17:20   Symposium Ends


Registration (up to 200 persons)

Register at the URL below with providing details 1 to 4, by 11 pm, Saturday, November 27.

URL (Google Forms):

  1. Name
  2. Institutional affiliation
  3. E-mail address
  4. Are you a member of our Society?

– After you submit the form, a confirmation message will be automatically sent to the e-mail address you provided. If you do not receive it, your e-mail address may have been incorrect.  Fill out the form again or send an e-mail to the Society for the Study of Japonisme:
– The deadline for registration is 11:59 pm, Saturday, November 27, 2021 (Japan Standard Time).
– You will receive the Zoom meeting URL, ID, Password, and Interprefy Token (see below) via e-mail around December 1.

Notices for participating in the symposium on Zoom

– The Symposium will be held on Zoom. In order to listen to the simultaneous translation in Japanese or English, you need to download and install the Interprefy application in advance.
– In addition to the main presentation device such as desktop computer, an additional device (smartphone or tablet ) will be required for simultaneous translation.
– For general instructions concerning Interprefy, see
For general instructions concerning Zoom, see
– The Society of the Study of Japonisme will offer no technical support. It is your responsibility to secure the stability of internet connection, live streaming and any other related computer operations.
– Please note that the order of the presentations is subject to change, and some of them may be cancelled.
– Expenses incurred by the symposium with respect to equipment and internet connection are your responsibility.
– If the limit, i.e. 200 persons is reached, the Society may close the registration.
– Check our website for the updates on the number of registrations.
– Your personal information will be used only in the correspondence regarding this symposium and in no other circumstances.
– Once accepted, you will receive the Zoom meeting URL, ID, Password, Interprefy Token by e-mail around December 1. These details are strictly confidential and never to be transferred to a third party. If you do not hear from us past that date, please contact our office:

For inquiries, e-mail to

Society for the Study of Japonisme website: