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Third Thursday Lecture

SISJAC Third Thursday Lecture

Every Third Thursday of the month, the Sainsbury Institute hosts a lecture on a topic related to the art and culture of Japan. Talks begin at 6pm (50-minute lecture followed by refreshments).

Every Third Thursday of the month, the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures hosts a lecture on a topic related to the art and culture of Japan. Talks begin at 6pm (50-minute lecture followed by refreshments). Speakers are all specialists in their field and the talks are intended to be accessible to those with no prior knowledge of Japanese history.

Admission is free and all are welcome. Booking essential.

To book a seat email us at or fax 01603 625011 up to two days before the lecture stating your name, number of seats required and a contact number. The lecture will be held at the Weston Room, Cathedral Hostry, Norwich NR1 4DH. The Third Thursday Lecture series is funded by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Yakult and the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Charitable Trust.

For more information on the lectures and to book seats:


6 pm | 17 September 2015

Who Killed Yukio Mishima? Time and Destiny in the Life and Work of Japan’s Master Author and Playwright

Dr Damian Flanagan 

Author and translator

About the Lecture

Yukio Mishima (1925-70) was arguably the most internationally famous Japanese celebrity of the last century: an author prodigiously talented and dazzlingly prolific, but also a showman who found time to be a movie actor, martial arts devotee, body builder, political campaigner and world traveler. He was described by Yasunari Kawabata, the first Japanese winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, as the kind of genius who comes along every 300 years.

When Mishima died in the spectacularly dramatic manner possible on November 25 1970, the entire Japanese nation screeched to a halt in jaw-dropping, collective disbelief. The extraordinary circumstances of that death – known as ‘The Mishima Incident’ – would become Japan’s defining JFK event, when every Japanese alive could instantly recall where they were when they heard the shocking news.

Trying to fathom the meaning of ‘The Mishima Incident’ is a subject which has gripped the Japanese nation for the last 45 years. Why did Mishima have to die? Who or what was it that caused his death? And what meaning does his extraordinary life and death still hold for modern Japan?

In his new biography of Mishima, published by Reaktion Books, Damian Flanagan offers a startlingly fresh analyis of the train of events that led Mishima to meet his day of destiny in 1970. In this talk, we will uncover the real story behind the most unforgettable day in modern Japanese history.

About the Speaker

Dr Damian Flanagan is an award-winning author and translator. He wrote his first book, a controversial study of Japan’s greatest modern author Natsume Soseki, in Japanese. His second book (The Tower of London and other Stories, 2005) told the story of Soseki’s experiences in Britain and won the US-Japan Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature. His third book, again in Japanese, was Natsume Soseki: Superstar of World Literature (2007). He has also contributed lengthy critical introductions to recent editions of Soseki’s masterpieces, The Three Cornered World, The Gate and Kokoro as well as to Shusaku Endo’s novel Scandal. He has written widely on Japanese politics, arts and society for publications including Newsweek and the Nihon Keizai Shinbun. His latest book, Yukio Mishima, offers a completely fresh take on an iconic figure.




For more information on all the lectures above and to book seats:

Sainsbury Institute, 64 The Close, Norwich, NR1 4DH
T:  01603 597507 | E: | W:


Future Lectures


16 July 2015 | Professor John Breen | Carmen Blacker Lecture Series

Details coming soon


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