Dr. Huey and EALL Scholars Complete Major Collaborative Project, Publish Book

Published 6/12/2024

with excerpts from Dr. Bob Huey, Professor Emeritus, and Former Director of the UH Mānoa Center for Japanese Studies

Dr. Bob Huey, even in retirement, has been diligently working to help complete a major collaborative project that began in 2020. Alongside faculty and graduate students in the East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL) department at UH Mānoa, Dr. Huey collaborated with scholars in Japan and the Honolulu Museum of Art. This multi-year endeavor has culminated in the March 2024 publication of a unique bilingual print-and-online book, “The Heian Cultural Revival in Edo: Reading the Jūban Mushi-awase Scrolls in the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Lane Collection.” The book, with Dr. Huey and Dr. Teiko Morita (Kyoto Sangyo University) credited as co-editors, brings scholarly attention to an 18th-century treasure, Jūban Mushi-awase, from the museum’s Lane Collection.

Jūban Mushi-awase

From Dr. Huey:

The project’s seeds were planted in 2020, when a group of grad students and faculty from EALL and a researcher from Japan independently but simultaneously began to explore a unique two-scroll set held in HoMA’s Lane Collection known as the Jūban Mushi-awase (A Match of Crickets in Ten Rounds of Verse and Image) scrolls.  These scrolls depict in text and painting a literary event in 1782 Edo (Tokyo) that brought together poets and painters to explore the relative virtues of two humble insects – the bell cricket and the pine cricket – that have played an outsized role in East Asian literature for centuries as representatives of the sadness of autumn and the pain of separation felt by lovers kept apart.

A connection through the Honolulu Museum of Art

A snippet from the scroll shows both text and painting
Collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art.
Purchase, Richard Lane Collection, 2003 [TD 2011-23-415]

Kiyoe Minami, Research Assistant at HoMA in charge of the Lane Collection, played a pivotal role in connecting the UH team with Japanese scholars who were also studying the Jūban Mushi-awase. With access to the scrolls in the Lane Collection, the UH team aimed to decipher the challenging cursive script typical of pre-modern Japanese works, while the Japanese scholars saw the scrolls as prime examples of a late 18th-century classical revival in Japan. This collaboration, funded by a generous grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), began in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online format turned out to be advantageous, with monthly Zoom meetings fostering more frequent and effective collaboration than was possible before the pandemic.

Collaborative effort leads to publication of a bilingual book

The publication of “The Heian Cultural Revival in Edo: Reading the Jūban Mushi-awase scrolls in the Honolulu Museum’s Lane Collection” in March 2024 fulfilled a major goal of the project: showcasing distinct scholarly approaches to the same research material by Japanese and American scholars.

Although the UH Mānoa and Japan teams collaborated closely, their commentary and annotations were prepared independently. Additionally, team members wrote essays and research papers related to the work, translated into both languages, further highlighting their unique perspectives.

This bilingual book includes a transcription of the original text, modern Japanese and English translations with extensive annotations, and full-color reproductions of the scroll elements provided by the Honolulu Museum.

From Dr. Huey:

But perhaps the project’s most interesting feature is the open-access online version of the text, which reproduces all the elements of the print book except for the essays and scholarly papers. The online version is also bilingual, and elaborately constructed so that viewers can access various aspects of the text and paintings through links. This level of free access to Japanese and American scholarship was something the funding agency, JSPS, particularly wanted.


Miyabi: Renaissance of Court Culture exhibit at HoMa

The Honolulu Museum of Art will be featuring the scrolls as part of an exhibit called “Miyabi: Renaissance of Court Culture,” running from April 18, 2024 and through July 28, 2024:


Project Contributors

This project would not have been possible without the contributions of many:

From UHM’s Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures

  • Robert Huey (Professor Emeritus)
  • Andre Haag (Associate Professor)
  • Francesca Pizarro (Assistant Professor at Colorado College; UHM Ph.D., 2023)
  • Tanya Barnett, Ph.D. candidate
  • Hilson Reidpath, Ph.D. candidate

From Japan

  • Morita Teiko (Professor, Kyoto Sangyo University)
  • Iikura Yōichi (Professor Emeritus, Osaka University)
  • Matsumoto Ōki (Associate Professor, Kansai University)

Other contributors from Japan

  • Kadowaki Mutsumi
  • Katō Yumie
  • Arisawa Tomoyo
  • Kawarai Yūko
  • Yamamoto Yoshitaka
  • Kiyonori Nagasaki

From the Honolulu Museum of Art

  • Kiyoe Minami

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