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Society, No.16  Oct. 7, 2013

The English Essays of Minakata Kumagusu – Centering on his Contributions to “Nature”

TAMURA Yoshiya, Academic Trustee of Minakata Kumagusu Archives

Prologue: Minakata Before Contributing to Intellectual Periodicals Minakata Kumagusu (1867–1941) left Japan for the United States in 1886, at the age of nineteen. After living in Michigan and Florida for four years (including a short stay in Cuba), he moved to London in 1892, when he was twenty-five. He remained in the English capital for eight years until September 1900, when he ended his fifteen years abroad, mostly for financial reasons. Minakata’s life overseas appears to have been of a diffuse nature, a feature ultimately characterizing his whole life. His main aims changed several times. Initially he entered a school of finance and accounting in San Francisco, in January 1887. In August that year, however, he left and headed east. After a day’s stay in Lincoln, Nebraska, to visit the University of Nebraska, he traveled on through Chicago to Lansing, Michigan, and enrolled in ... ... [Read more]

Society, No.16  Oct. 7, 2013

Minakata Kumagusu and the British Museum

Minakata in the British Museum According to Minakata Fumie (1911–2000), the daughter of Minakata Kumagusu (1867–1941), her father continued to share his memories of the BritishMuseum late into his life. “When I first entered the Library, I found it to be the very place I had always dreamed of going,” [1] Minakata had said. It was on April 10, 1895 that Minakata applied for readership at the British Library, one the world’s largest libraries, then located inside the BritishMuseum in central London [2]. Minakata had been introduced by Charles Hercules Read (1857–1929), Keeper of the Department of British and Mediaeval Antiquities and Ethnography, to the Museum’s Augustus Wollaston Franks (1826–97), Read’s predecessor as Keeper, on September 22, 1893 as a young, learned Japanese scholar able to advise the Museum on the Department’s Oriental collection. Minakata became acquainted with Robert Douglas (1838–1913), the first Keeper ... ... [Read more]

Society, KUDO_Yasushi, Nos.13-15  Mar. 6, 2013

(JAPAN POLITICS CHANGED?) Change in Civil Society and Change in Politics

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, many people in Japan have given donations and taken part in volunteer activities in the disaster-hit areas, and protests calling for an end to nuclear power are being held outside the prime minister’s office every week. Japanese politics found itself back in the hands of a Liberal Democratic Party administration, but was this change of government driven by changes among citizens and voters? World Vision Japan national director Nobuhiko Katayama, who is well-versed in NPO and NGO activities in Japan and overseas, Tamotsu Sugenami of the Takagi Fund for Citizen Science, a grassroots fund that supports citizen movements opposing nuclear power, and Japan NPO Center adviser Yoshinori Yamaoka, who helps support Japan’s NPO sector, discussed the... [Read more]

Society, Nos.13-15  Mar. 6, 2013

(JAPAN POLITICS CHANGED?) At Crossroads: Japan’s Civil Society and Politics — Has Japanese Society Changed since Great East Japan Earthquake?

1. Introduction Has civil society in Japan been transformed following the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011? And has there been any kind of change in the relationship between the people and national politics? Behind such questions lies this hypothesis: “Having experienced such a catastrophe that affected the whole country, Japanese society must have developed greater fortitude and become stronger. Moreover, in response to this, certainly political thinking too has undergone changes.” Underlying such an optimistic hypothesis are recollections of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995. In that disaster, Japan itself was... [Read more]