From June 17th to the 21st, 2019, the “2019 Reading Kuzushiji Workshop” was held at The University of Chicago. This year was the sixth time our research division has collaborated with The University of Chicago. This time, Hiroyuki Fujikata made the trip to Chicago and gave a lecture on deciphering classical documents from the Edo to Meiji period. In addition to faculty and graduate students at The University of Chicago, a total of 19 people participated, mainly people who were studying Japanese at universities in the U.S. and Canada. This field of specialization is diverse, and the cohort included many specialists in Japanese art, history, and literature.
The workshop was divided into a beginner and advanced class for the first three days, which then joined together for the last two days as a whole class. Fujikata served as an instructor for the advanced and general classes, and covered texts about samurai marriage and inheritance in the Edo period. Dr. Nobuko Toyosawa, Research Fellow at the Oriental Institute at the Czech Academy of Sciences, oversaw the beginner class. Each participant had different goals, but all attended the workshop with enthusiasm, and we believe that by the end of the workshop, they achieved satisfactory results and discovered new challenges.
On June 22nd, the research symposium was held and after the greetings by the organizer of the workshop, Prof. Susan L. Burns (University of Chicago), Fujikata gave a keynote lecture on the topic of “Inheritance as Seen from the Daimyo Vassal’s ‘ie.’” Following that, there were five research reports from the participants of the workshop, and we were able to have more in-depth discussions on recent Japanese studies in the United States. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Professor Burns, and to the others involved, for giving me this valuable opportunity. (Hiroyuki Fujikata)