2012/2013 – John Howes Lecture: Japan and the Culture of the Four Seasons: Nature, Literature, and the Arts

Elegant representations of nature and the four seasons populate a wide range of Japanese genres and media—from poetry and screen paintings to tea ceremony, flower arrangement, and annual observances. Dr. Haruo Shirane will show how, when, and why this practice developed and explicate the richly encoded social, religious, and literary meanings of this imagery.

On November 22, 2012, the Department of Asian Studies welcomed more than 140 alumni, professor emeriti, current students, faculty, and members of the community to the inaugural John Howes Lecture in Japanese Studies. The lecture series was proposed and funded by past students and colleagues of Dr. Howes, an intellectual historian of Japan who contributed to our Department through teaching, research, and development for more than three decades. This year’s speaker was Dr. Haruo Shirane, Shinchō Professor of Japanese Literature and Culture at Columbia University. He offered an in-depth perspective into the seasons as a changing motif woven into Japanese history and culture through his lecture, “Japan and the Culture of the Four Seasons: Nature, Literature, and the Arts.” A lively reception followed in the new foyer of the Asian Center. The Department is grateful to everyone who made this new lecture series possible.