Examining faith and creativity

Date and time: Saturday, November 24th, 2:00 p.m.
*Doors open 1:30 p.m.

Location: National Institute of Japanese Literature Main Conference Room, Exhibition Room

In this discussion, held in connection with the National Institute of Japanese Literature’s special exhibition “Medieval Period with Prayer and Salvation,” a panel of modern artists and researchers will explore how the fear of eternal damnation after death has been represented in the arts, and how faith brings about salvation from hell. This event will also feature a reading of the Genji Monogatari Hyohaku (“Confession on the Tale of Genji”), a work that was created for the memorial service for The Tale of Genji author Murasaki Shikibu, and which expresses its own view of eternal damnation.

※After the on-stage portion in the Main Conference Room, the event will move to the Exhibition Room for a segment that will include commentary on the special exhibition. The program is scheduled to conclude at approximately 5:30–6:00 p.m.

*Please note that this event will be conducted in Japanese only. English interpretation will not be available.

Murasaki Shikibu Seizo, Ishiyama-dera Temple


Hiromi Ito (Writer/Poet)
Hiromi Ito was born in Tokyo in 1955. She is a poet and novelist, and currently resides in Kumamoto, Japan. With works such as Wild Grass on the Riverbank and Toge-nuki: Shin Sugamo Jizo engi (“The Thorn-Puller: New Tales of the Sugamo Jizo”), she has sought to build a narrative world that blends modern poetry with traditional sekkyobushi storytelling. Her other works include Yomitoki Hannnya shingyō (“The Heart Sutra Explained”) and Shinyaku sekkyobushi (“New Sekkyobushi Translations”).

Shunsuke Kigoshi (Associate Professor, National Institute of Japanese Literature; PhD, Literature)
Dr. Shunsuke Kigoshi is a researcher specializing in the literature of Japan’s Edo period (1600-1867), and novels in particular. As an author, his works include Edo Osaka no shuppan ryutsu to tokuhon ninjobon (“Publishing, Distribution, Textbooks, and Novels in Edo and Osaka,” 2013, Seibundo) and Buke giri monogatari (“Tales of Samurai Honor,” 2018, Miyaishoten, as co-author).

Tomoko Koida (Associate Professor, National Institute of Japanese Literature; PhD, Literature)
Dr. Tomoko Koida is an expert on medieval Japanese literature and temple documents. She is the author of Hotoke to onna no Muromachi: Monogatari soshi-ron (“The Muromachi of Buddha and Women: On Narrative Texts,” 2008, Kamashoin) and Ikai e izanau onna: Emaki Nara ehon wo himotoku (“The Women Who Beckon You to the Next World: Unraveling Emaki Picture Scrolls and Nara Picture Books,” 2017, Heibonsha).

Tabaimo (Contemporary Artist)
In 1999, Tabaimo presented the animation installation Japanese Kitchen. That same year, she won the Kirin Contemporary Award Grand Prize. Her work has since appeared at numerous international exhibitions. In 2011, she was chosen to present her work in the Japanese Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale. More recently, she has worked on collaborative projects in the realm of live theater. She has also contributed illustrations to Kokuho (“National Treasure”), a novel by Shuichi Yoshida that was serialized in the morning edition of The Asahi Shimbun in 2017 and 2018.

Knob is a musician and student of Noh theater and the Japanese tea ceremony. His performances on instruments created by nature—namely the yidaki, a wooden wind instrument of the indigenous people of Australia, and the iwabue, a stone flute dating back to Japan’s Jomon period (circa 14,000–1000 BCE)—are imbued with prayer and the Japanese spirit.
He is one of the performers in “The Sound of the Void,” a chapter of the documentary film Gaia Symphony No. 6.
He has traveled the world, giving musical performances as offerings in the sacred places of Shinto, Buddhism, and Judeo-Christian scripture.

Akihiko Yamashita (Director)
After giving guidance to the next generation at the Kanagawa Arts Foundation, Akihiko Yamashita began his directorial career at Theatre Project Tokyo, with a production of Five Modern Noh Plays. He has directed numerous plays for the Himawari Theatre Group and the Shimin Zaidan Project. This year, he directed a musical at the World Festival of Children’s Theatre in Germany. Mr. Yamashita studied kyogen comic theater under the late Mannojo Nomura.

Robert Campbell (Director, National Institute of Japanese Literature)
Dr. Robert Campbell is a scholar of Japanese literature and Emeritus Professor of the University of Tokyo. Currently the Director of the National Institute of Japanese Literature, Dr. Campbell’s research focuses primarily on the literature of early modern Japan, and 19th-century sinological literature in particular. Besides literature, his interests extend to Japanese art, media, and thought. His wide-ranging media presence has included appearances in newspapers and magazines, as well as on TV and radio. Dr. Campbell has worked on anthologies such as Tokyo hyaku nen monogatari (“100 Years of Tokyo Stories,” 2018, Iwanami Shoten).


Planning and Public Relations Administrator, National Institute of Japanese Literature
Telephone: 050-5533-2910

National Institute of Japanese Literature

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Agency for Cultural Affairs, National Institute of Japanese Literature, Litstock