I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the Friends of UTokyo, Inc.-Ito Foundation long-term scholarship, for its most cordial support of my studies at the University of Tokyo Historiographical Institute, as a Foreign Visiting Researcher of early modern Ibero-Japanese interactions. Thanks to the FUTI-Ito Scholarship, my doctoral research and academic experiences have been significantly enhanced, during the first half of 2023.
The Historiographical Institute’s vast collections of Jesuit letters-early modern epistles of the Company of Jesus-greatly contributed to the preliminary realization of my doctoral thesis’ internal chapters, concerning the literary, post-factum, Spanish (re)presentations of the first Jesuit Japan missions. These Jesuit letters-unedited and edited-consist of an important source of historical/epistolary knowledge of the first Jesuit Japan missions, which the authors of Jesuit Japan missions play might have accessed within Spain. Among these letters, the Historiographical Institute’s collection of unedited Spanish epistles especially augmented my doctoral research, given that they are dated beyond those contained in a sixteenth century volume of Jesuit letters published in Spain. As such, studies at the Historiographical Institute enabled me to compare and contrast the historical, epistolary occurrences and depictions of specific individuals and figures involved in the first Jesuit Japan missions, with their theatrical (re)presentations in several Jesuit plays in Spain.
Furthermore, my studies at the Historiographical Institute provided me with an irreplaceable opportunity of interaction with fellow students of Professor Oka Mihoko of the Historiographical Institute. Professor Oka kindly arranged an informal symposium of her graduate-level students and cordially invited my participation. Based upon my studies at the Historiographical Institute, I presented a talk regarding the literary, post-factum (re)presentation of a specific individual involved in the first Jesuit Japan missions. He consists of Bungo warlord Ōtomo Yoshishige’s relative. This relative’s steadfast Catholic faith was famed amongst Jesuits contemporaneous to and succeeding the first Japan missions. Professor Oka and fellow graduate-level colleagues’ kind interventions during the occasion further sophisticated my doctoral research. Additionally, the very investigations of Professor Oka’s graduate-level students, such as the literary presence of Catholicism within non-Catholic texts in Japan, and studies of japan objects created in the context of early modern global interactions, contributed to my acquiring new perspectives upon my own doctoral dissertation theme.
Thanks to the kind support of this scholarship, I was able to realize academic visits to institutions related to my research, in Nagasaki, Ōsaka and Kyōto. In particular, I visited the following museums in Nagasaki: the Museum of the 26 Martyrs of Japan-commemorating the first Catholic martyrdom in Japan, the Ōura Church Christian Museum, the Nagasaki Museum of History & Culture; in Ōsaka: the Gallery Namban. Examining these sites’ historical objects, such as seventeenth century Spanish engravings of some of the 26 Martyrs of Japan seen at Nagasaki, and a contemporaneous hagiography of St. Francis Xavier and Japanese Namban screens held in Ōsaka, enabled me to broaden my knowledge. In addition, considering the contemporary (re)presentation and memorialization of Ibero-Japanese interactions and their legacies within these museums inspired me to fortify my investigations with additional perspectives, since they concern-precisely-the (re)presentation and memorialization of Ibero-Japanese interactions within early modern Spanish and Portuguese contexts. In Kyōto, thanks to Professor Oka’s kind introduction, Professor Cryns of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies cordially arranged an informal meeting with me. During this marvelous occasion, Professor Cryns introduced the research project he is currently leading-concerning the imaginaries of Japan and the Japanese within the West, as well as enabling my usage of some of the texts held at the Research Center’s library.
Once again, I would like to express to the Friends of UTokyo, Inc and the Ito Foundation my utmost gratitude, for its wondrous guidance and support of my research.