“Picturing the Ryūkyūs: Images of Okinawa in Japanese Artworks from the UH Sakamaki/Hawley Collection” drew visitors February 8-22 to the UHM Art Gallery Exhibit. Curator John Szostak displayed the entire length of two handscrolls from 1671 and 1710 showing ambassadors from the Ryūkyū Kingdom on their tributary march toward Edo. The scrolls are on display (in digital format) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library’s Sakamaki/Hawley Collection website: click here.
Talks about “Parades and Processions” helped to interpret these works on Sunday February 10 and Monday, February 11. Professor Hiroshi Kurushima explained how his recent exhibit at the National Museum of Japanese History in Chiba Prefecture incorporated works from the University of Hawaii Library Sakamaki/Hawley Collection, and how towns along the routes of parades prepared for foreign embassies. Professor Manabu Yokoyama from Notre Dame Seishin University in Okayama compared differences seen in the 1671 and 1710 processions, and where these processions fit into the two hundred years of foreign embassies to Edo. Professor Gregory Smits, Pennsylvania State University, discussed the overlapping cultural regions of the East China Sea, the diplomatic orientations of the Ryūkyū toward China, and intentional Japanese framing of the Ryukyuans as “Chinese.” Professor Mark McNally (UHM) discussed the mobility and fluidity characterizing Early Modern Japan. Professor John Szostak (UHM) and co-curator Travis Seifman (UCSB) educated audiences further about the production of the images in the Picturing the Ryūkyūs exhibit. Japanese Collection Librarian Tokiko Bazzell organized these events with help from co-sponsors, aiming to connect the Special Collections to the interdisciplinary curriculum in Okinawan Studies and Japanese Studies at UHM.