Literature as Material for Field Research:
New Potential of Area Studies Explored by Literature (Materials)

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies in Kyoto University (CSEAS) has more than 100 Mahayana Buddhist scriptures discovered in a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Thailand.

08
June 2021

ONLINE MOVIE PROGRAM「INVITATION TO AREA STUDIES」

Literature as Material for Field Research: New Potential of Area Studies Explored by Literature (Materials)

 

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies in Kyoto University (CSEAS) has more than 100 Mahayana Buddhist scriptures discovered in a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Thailand.

If you wonder why Mahayana Buddhist scriptures discovered from a Thai temple, you are very familiar with the religions in Thailand and Southeast Asia. Although Thailand is known a country of Theravada Buddhism, there are some Mahayana Buddhist temples in the country, and they are visited by overseas Chinese, Chinese living in Thailand, overseas Vietnamese, and Thai people.

Some of the materials introduced in this movie are sutras written in Chinese characters. Just as like Japanese people how to read Chinese characters, some sutras in Chinese characters have ruby notations in Thai or Vietnamese for pronouncing in their own languages. Meanwhile, some sutras are written in Vietnamese characters, called Chu Nom, which were originally invested by borrowing from Chinese characters. In addition to Buddhist scriptures, there are also pieces of texts which write Taoist and Feng Shui incantations. It is estimated that these materials were published or transcribed in Vietnam, Thailand and China between the late 19th and mid-20th centuries.

In temples, various materials such as Buddhist statues, paintings, and sutras have been stored over a long history. By studying and researching these materials, we expect that we can understand various things such as when, where, and how Mahayana Buddhism spread from East Asia to Southeast Asia, and who believed in it.

In this movie, the three experts will talk about these materials from their own research perspectives.

 

ONO, Mikiko(CSEAS)

Collaborators:
SHIMIZU, Masaaki (OSAKA UNIVERSITY)
KOJIMA, Hiroyuki (UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO)

 

Time:10:19

Location:Kyoto University Japan

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THE CAST

「Literature As Material For Field Research: New Potential Of Area Studies Explored By Literature (Materials)」

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ONO, Mikiko

Associate Professor

I have been conducting field research in various parts of Vietnam. I usually conduct fieldworks during day and during evening, while sorting through my field notes, I discuss with my fellow researchers and colleagues about what I saw and heard during my fieldwork during the day. It was my first-time experience to participate in a joint research project on literature, but it reminded me, after a long time, of my days having conducted fieldworks. My experience of discussion, how to observe and analyze the materials, together with the participants, was no different whether I conduct fieldwork or literature research, and I strongly felt that documents are also the object of our field research.

https://en.kyoto.cseas.kyoto-u.ac.jp/about/staff-page/ono-mikiko/

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SHIMIZU, Masaaki

Professor

By using the Chu Nom materials, I have been studying the history of the Vietnamese language, especially the history of pronunciation. Most Chu Nom characters have many pronunciations and meanings depending on the context. Therefore, my research, by mobilizing our comprehensive knowledge of Vietnamese language, culture and history, is like a challenge of deciphering. I hope to share with you the classic Vietnamese literary world explored by beyond Chu Nom materials.

https://rd.iai.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/068cb47fd791bf66.html

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KOJIMA, Hiroyuki

Lecturer

I specialize in the study of Chinese history along with the preservation and use of its historical materials. Recently I have been particularly interested in the history of paper and printing. By the time of the Age of Exploration, the paper manufacturing method had spread to Asia, Islamic world, and Europe, and the paper became the world's common information media that connected and networked people and organizations. By researching the paper that had been travelling around the world while analyzing the types of paper and how they were used in the past, we can find great clues about the culture and society behind the materials, and the relationships among the people concerned.

https://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/focus/en/people/people000748.html

The information of affiliation/position is as of the time of taking the movie.

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