“Who can do justice to Japan without sympathy; and how many writers on Japan have a grain of it?… But what a horribly difficult thing it is to write about Japan! The effort in itself dries me up.” – Lafcadio Hearn in a letter to W. B. Mason, 1st of November 1892.
This collection proposes a look at Japan’s spiritual, social, literary, artistic and cultural heritage. Each publication is devoted to a character who, through his brilliant or furtive actions, through his words, frantic or fragile, broke off practices, be they intellectual or sensible, of his time and thus contributed to sculpting the Nippon imagination.
These splitters of erudition want to build a framework in which, since its remote origins, the memory of a country is taking form that for strangers is hidden under a multitude of clichés. Belonging to diverse schools for research or teaching, the authors, both Japanese or westerners, have in common the complicity they share with the subject of their study: not only happy to insert it into the time where it has known its blooming, they clearly show the traces of their memory in the generations that followed up now. This is a possible kind of relationship between manner of thinking of East and West.
Much too often they are still considered being in opposition or worse inconciliatory. Ten titles are already in production. The first one, already on sale, is IKKYÛ, l’impertinence au service de la foi (autumn 2012). It is dedicated to the Zen monk Ikkyû (1394-1481), abbot of Daitoku-ji, temple of Rinzaï Zen in Kyoto, calligrapher, a great but cheeky poet. Written by reverend Sôshô Yamada, abbot of Shinju-an at Daitoku-ji.
Series Director: Jacques Keriguy
Jacques Keriguy is Conservateur général de bibliothèque. Born 1944 at the north coast of Brittany, France, he discovers the Mediterranean and lives in Athens from 1967 to 1974. Back in France, he holds charges in Paris, at the ministry of higher education and at CNRS (National Science Research Centre), then he is the director of École nationale supérieure des sciences de l’information et des bibliothèques’ (National high school of sciences for information and libraries) at Villeurbanne (1985-1995). He accomplishes many missions in Africa, America and Asia for UNESCO and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
On mission at the ‘Maison franco-japonaise of Tokyo’ he starts taking a look on the first Jesuits arrived in Japan in XVI century. Collecting their witnesses gives him matter for two novels at SEUIL publishers: La Jonque cathédrale (2000) as well as L’Agonie(2003).
In 1998 he settles down in Provence, south of France. In charge of documentation and cultural service at the University of Sud Toulon-Var until 2006, he is president of the Académie du Var and founder of the Franco-Japanese Yamato-kai association. He is organizing many events for making better known the classical Japanese culture (music, theatre, stamps and more).