Dr Peter Kornicki:  Japan in the1870s: the background to the Skaill House Journals

Published on Sep 16, 2022

Date: Thursday, 13 October

Time: 18:30

Venue: Orkney Distilling Ltd, Ayre Road, Kirkwall

Free public talk

During the Meiji era, Japan experienced an intense period of modernisation and westernisation after a long period of isolation during the Edo period, and Henry Scharbau was one of the foreign experts that contributed to that process.

The Skaill House Journals show how Japan was changing in the 1870s and give us a glimpse of ambitious young Japanese using the knowledge Scharbau and others brought to Japan. This talk will provide a broader historical context and give us a clearer picture of what Scharbau and his colleagues encountered during their time in Japan.

Peter Kornicki retired in 2014 as Professor of Japanese after 30 years at the University of Cambridge. Most of his work has been on the cultural history of Japan, but since 2005 he has also been working on Korea and Vietnam and in 2018 completed a major study of the impact of Chinese textual culture on East Asia. Also in 2018 he published in Japanese a study of the export of Japanese books to Europe up to the 19th century. He was awarded the Japan Foundation Special Prize in 1992 and the Yamagata Banto Prize in 2013, and in 2017 was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun with Gold Rays and Neck Ribbon by the Emperor of Japan. He is an elected member of the Accademia Ambrosiana, Milan, and Academia Europaea. He was President of the European Association for Japanese Studies in 1997-2000. Currently he is editor in chief of the journal East Asian Publishing and Society and is leader of a research group at the National Institute for Japanese Literature. He continues his research and lecturing activities relating to Japan and East Asia.