Fuyubi Nakamura (中村冬日) is a socio-cultural anthropologist trained at Oxford. She holds a joint position of Curator, Asia at the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) and Assistant Professor in Visual and Material Cultures of Asia in the Department of Asian studies. She is also Associate Member in the Department of Anthropology. Fuyubi specializes in the anthropology of art, museum studies, and material and visual culture studies. She has taught in these fields in the graduate schools at the Australian National University (2007-2010) and University of Tokyo (2012-2013), and curated exhibitions internationally prior to joining UBC in 2014.
Her long-term research of over twenty years is an anthropological study of contemporary Japanese calligraphy. In addition to her fieldwork in Japan, she also carried out a research project that investigated the world of Japanese calligraphy in South American countries with large Japanese immigrant communities such as Argentina and Brazil. She took a leave from academia following the triple disaster in Japan in 2011 or 3.11, and was involved in relief and recovery activities in Miyagi Prefecture, and continues to do research about the aftermath of 3.11.
Fuyubi was an associate researcher with the Institute for Art Anthropology at Tama Art University, Tokyo (2010-2015), a guest curator at the National Museum of Oriental Art in Buenos Aires (2010-11) and the producer/curator of the Tokunoshima island art project, Japan (2013-2014). Outside academia and museums, she has worked as a project coordinator for film festivals organized by NHK (Japan’s public broadcaster) and also in business in Tokyo between her degrees and also as a freelance translator for a number of years. Born in Tokyo, Fuyubi grew up in different parts of Japan and spent a year as an AFS intercultural programs exchange student in New Zealand before moving to England. She has travelled widely, especially in India and Europe and has spent several months in South America (Argentina, Brazil and Peru).
While her primary expertise lies in Japan, Fuyubi has also studied Indian art and worked on collaborations on Himalaya-related projects. Her work as a curator responsible for the entire Asia collection at MOA requires her to continuously expand the breadth of her knowledge of Asian cultures.
Her research interests include material and visual cultures with special interest in Japan and its diasporas in Argentina and Brazil; Indigenous cultures; India and Tibet; contemporary art, photography and the relation between memory and objects, especially within the context of the 3.11 disaster in Japan.
Her recent projects around Indigeneity in Japan
Selected curated exhibitions and museum projects
Currently on view:
A Future for Memory: Art and Life after the Great East Japan Earthquake/記憶のための未来―東日本大震災後のアートと暮らし, Museum of Anthropology at UBC, Canada, February 11– September 19, 2021. Curator.
This article is adapted from the Introduction of the publication that accompanies the exhibition, A Future for Memory: Art and Life after the Great East Japan Earthquake, 2021.
A Future for Memory online programs
- A Future for Memory: A Conversation with Hiroyasu Yamauchi (Facilitated and edited by Fuyubi Nakamura), August 3, 2021.
- A Future for Memory: Conversation with Yuichi Shindo + Munemasa Takahashi (Facilitated and edited by Fuyubi Nakamura), August 3, 2021.
- A Future for Memory: A Conversation with Atsunobu Katagiri and Fumihiko Futakami (Facilitated and edited by Fuyubi Nakamura), July 15, 2021.
- A Future for Memory: A Conversation with the Lost Homes Scale Model Restoration Project Team members (Facilitated and edited by Fuyubi Nakamura), June 29, 2021.
- A Future for Memory: Conversations with Masao Okabe and Chihiro Minato (Facilitated and edited by Fuyubi Nakamura). May 18, 2021
- Online Curator Tour of A Future for Memory/記憶のための未来オンラインツアー (Edited by Rea Saxena and Fuyubi Nakamura), March 11, 2021.
Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia, Museum of Anthropology at UBC, Canada, May 11 – October 9, 2017. Curator.
(In)visible: The Spiritual World of Taiwan through Contemporary Art/形(無)形-台灣當代藝術的靈性世界, Museum of Anthropology at UBC, Canada, November 20, 2015 – April 3, 2016. Curator.
Tokunoshima Island Art Project, Japan, July 2013 – August 2014. Curator/Producer.
Trazos del Tiempo, Trazos de Palabras: Obras de Artistas Japoneses/Traces of Time, Traces of Words: Works by Japanese Artists at the Culture Centre of the National Foundation of Arts of Argentina hosted by the National Museum of Oriental Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1– 30 March 2011. Curator.
Ephemeral but Eternal Words: Traces of Asia, the School of Art Gallery, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 6 April‐1 May 2010. Curator.
I am a Curator, a process-based exhibition project by artist Per Hüttner at Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK. 13 December 2003. Co-curator.
The Tibet Album:British Photography in Central Tibet 1920 -1950, the Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford, the UK, 2004-2006. Research assistant.
Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital 1936-1947, an exhibition at Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, 7 September 2003 – 30 November 2004. Curatorial Assistant.
The Animals and Artefacts: Selections from the Pitt Rivers Museum Collection, an exhibition at the University Museum of Natural History, Oxford, Jan–March 1999. Research assistant.
Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia, Vancouver: Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing and MOA, 2017.
Asia through Art and Anthropology: Cultural Translation across Borders. Edited with Morgan Perkins and Olivier Krischer. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.
A Future for Memory: Art and Life after the Great East Japan Earthquake/記憶のための未来―東日本大震災後のアートと暮らし, Vancouver: The Museum of Anthropology at UBC, 2021.
(In)visible: The Spiritual World of Taiwan through Contemporary Art/形(無)形-台灣當代藝術的靈性世界, Vancouver: The Museum of Anthropology at UBC, 2015.
Trazos del Tiempo, Trazos de Palabras: Obras de Artistas Japoneses/Traces of Time, Traces of Words: Works by Japanese Artists, Buenos Aires: The National Museum of Oriental Art, 2011.
Ephemeral but Eternal Words: Traces of Asia, Canberra: The Australian National University School of Art Gallery, 2010.
Selected journal articles and book chapters
“Hokkaidō 150: Settler Colonialism and Indigeneity in modern Japan and Beyond” with Tristan R. Grunow et al. Critical Asian Studies, Vol. 51, No. 4, 2019.
“The Infinite Possibility of Words in Japanese Calligraphy” in Nakamura, F. (ed.) Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia, Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing and MOA, 2017.
“Memory in the debris: The 3/11 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami.” Anthropology Today, Vol.28, Issue 3, 2012.
“A Brief Introduction to Japanese Calligraphy/Una breve introducción a la Caligrafía Japonesa” in Nakamura, F (ed.) Traces of Time, Traces of Words: Works by Japanese Artists/Trazos del Tiempo, Trazos de Palabras: Obras de Artistas Japoneses, Buenos Aires: National Museum of Oriental Art, 2010.
“Creating or Performing Words?: Observations on Contemporary Japanese Calligraphy” in Ingold, T. and Hallam, E. (eds.) Creativity and Cultural Improvisation (ASA Monographs 44), Oxford: Berg, 2007.
Video publications (online)
“Anti-Asian Racism in the Historical Context: The Dispossession of Japanese Canadian.” A dialogue with Sherri Kajiwara, the Director |Curator of the Nikkei National Museum for the Responsive Dialogues: Racism in Canada series. (Edited by Fuyubi Nakamura), May 3, 2021
Selected blog posts
“Ask MOA: What is This Vase?” about the Chinese vase known as Famille rose and known in Chinese as fencai (粉彩) or ruancai (軟彩 / 软彩), literally meaning “soft colours” or “pale colours,” and later called as yangcai (洋彩) or “foreign colours.” June 24, 2020.
“Ask MOA: What Are These Figures?” about fertility dolls known as babli from Karnataka, South India. May 26, 2020.
“Viruses Have No Nationality: Images of “Asia” during the Pandemic.” May 20, 2020.
“Amabie: A Japanese Spirit Figure for the Pandemic.” April 21, 2020.
Fuyubi has received numerous awards and grants including the SSHRC Connection Grant for her A Future for Memory project, Canadian Museum Association (CMA) Award of Outstanding Achievement in the Research – Art category (2018) for her Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia project (2017), and the Best Anthropology Prize for Asia through Art and Anthropology: Cultural Translation across Borders (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013) from the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand (2014).