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Sweden - Japan 150 years

12 november 2018

On 12th November 2018 the Centre hosted a speciel event, featuring special guest talks on the historical, cultural, and economic exchanges between Sweden and Japan. There was also a performance of the traditional Japanese shakuhachi, a bamboo flute, as well as some Japanese (and Swedish!) refreshments.


13:00-13:15     Welcome and Introduction

13:15-13:35     Ingemar Ottosson (Lund University)
The official relations between Japan and Sweden: a very short history
The Meiji government’s first treaty with a foreign power was concluded with The United Kingdoms (Sweden and Norway) in 1868. How have different global and local conditions affected the relationship between our nations since then, and what characteristic patterns can be observed during one and a half century of Japanese-Swedish interaction?

13:35-13:55     Marie Söderberg (Stockholm School of Economics and European Institute of Japanese Studies)
Early Scientific Contacts between Japan and Sweden; The Adventures voyage by Nordenskiöld through the Northeast Passage in 1878-79
For several 100 years people had been seeking for a sea way north of the Atlantic along the Siberian cost to the Pacific Ocean. Numerous ships had sank and people disappeared in this pursuit. After being stuck in the ice for nine month the Swedish ship Vega succeeded and reached Japan. This lecture will cover both the travel and the experience the Swedish scientists had when reaching Japan in 1879.

13:55-14:15     Ishihara Shunji (Tokyo University)
Why am I interested in the Svenska Fattigvårdsförbundet (The Swedish Association for Poverty Care)?
A comparison of the historical development of poverty relief in Sweden and Japan, with a focus on Svenska fattigvårdsförbundet (The Swedish Association for Poverty Care).

14:15-14:45     Discussion

14:45-15:00     Break

15:00-16:00     Gunnar Jinmei Linder (Stockholm University)
Shakuhachi Presentation and Performance
Shakuhachi is a traditional Japanese flute. Its origins can be traced back to the 7th Century, coming from China via the Korean peninsula. Like many elements borrowed from Chinese culture, it was thoroughly ‘Japanified’ in the subsequent centuries, and has a long and interesting social and musical history in Japan, from its adoption by Zen Buddhist monks to its revival and spread to the West. Today it can even be heard in movie scores, such as Jurassic Park and Braveheart (don’t hold Braveheart against it!). Gunnar Jinmei Linder is an expert on both the history and musicology of the shakuhachi, not to mention a skilled player and teacher. He will provide some background on the instrument, before giving us a performance of both old and new pieces.

16:00-      Drinks and snacks

Gunnar Jinmei Linder playing the Shakuhachi flute