JSPS awards for eminent scientists
 

Report on the JSPS Award for Eminent Scientists FY2009


  1. Host Researcher

    Name: YOSHIKAWA Kazuyoshi
    Professor, Kyoto University


  2. Invited eminent scientist (name, title and affiliation, nationality)

    Antoine Compagnon
    Professor, Collège de France
    France


  3. Duration of the stay

    From April 15, 2009 to May 25, 2009 (41 days)



  4. Schedule during the stay (date, research activities, name of the places to visit, and description of the visits )

    Date Location and Activity
    April 15, 2009 Arrival to Kansai International Airport; Meeting at Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University
    April 16 Travel to Tokyo (Stay at Sanjo Kaikan in Tokyo University until April 26)
    April 17 Courtesy visit to Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
    April 18 - 19 Presentation and Discussion of "Stendhal in the Time of Proust" at the Symposium “Proust and His Era – The Cultural Background of the Birth of His Novel" held at the Maison Franco-Japonaise
    April 20 - 26 Joint research, discussion, and teaching of "Literature and Ethic" mainly at the Department of French Literature, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, Tokyo University
    April 21 Gave the lecture “Proust is an Outrageous Guy" at the Faculty of Letters, Keio University
    April 25 Gave the lecture "Today's Photo Novel" at the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, Tokyo University
    April 27 - 29 Stay in Sendai, Joint research and discussion at the Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University
    April 28 Gave the lecture "Today's Photo Novel" at the Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University
    April 30 – May 7 Stay at Sanjo Kaikan in Tokyo University, Joint research, discussion, and teaching of "Literature and Ethic" at the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, Tokyo University
    May 8 - 20 Stay in Kyoto (Shiran Kajkan in Kyoto University), Joint research, discussion, and teaching of "Literature and Ethic" at the Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University
    May 9 Gave the lecture “Proust is an Outrageous Guy" at the Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University
    May 13 Participated in a discussion at the reading "On Marcel Proust" at the Villa Kujoyama, lnstitut Franco-Japonais du Kansai
    May 19 Gave the lecture “Saint-Loup's Misfortune" at the Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University
    May 21 - 24 Stayed at the Sanjo Kaikan in Tokyo University
    May 23 Gave the lecture "Bloch's Dark Pleasure" at the Proust workshop at the Spring conference (Chuo University) of La Société japonaise de langue et literature françaises
    May 24 Gave the lecture "The Future of French Culture" at the Spring conference (Chuo University) of La Société japonaise de langue et literature françaises
    May 25 Departed Japan from Narita Airport


  5. Description of and results from the invitation

    Professor Compagnon, a forerunner in merging traditional text philology and novel ideas in literary research, was invited to Kyoto University. Joint research sessions and lectures were conducted in Kyoto, Tokyo (Tokyo University, Keio University), and Sendai (Tohoku University). In addition, Professor Compagnon participated in a symposium on Proust at the Maison Franco-Japonaise, and a Proust workshop at the Spring Conference (Chuo University) of La Société japonaise de langue et literature françaises. Through these activities, the invitation aimed to create opportunities for exchanges between Professor Compagnon and a wide range of Japanese literary researchers, and to contribute to the development of literary research in Japan.

    In Kyoto, faculty and graduate students of the French Language and Literature Department of the Kyoto University Graduate School of Letters, made arrangements, but for the activities in other cities, a significant amount of support and cooperation was received as follows: for the stay in Tokyo, Professor Yoshikazu Nakaji of the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, Tokyo University; for the stay in Sendai, Associate Professor Tsutomu Imai of the Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University; for the lecture at Keio University, Professor Akio Ushiba and Associate Professor Suguru Minemura; for the Spring conference of La Société japonaise de langue et literature françaises, Professors Fumio Nagami, Nobutaka Miura, and Ushio Ono of Chuo University. Details of the lectures can be found in the schedule above. Each of the events had a successful turnout, mostly French language and literature researchers, and each session featured lively discussion.

    The first result to be mentioned is that Professor Compagnon raised awareness of the importance of "ethic" in literary research, and many researchers deepened their consideration of this issue. In particular, through his lectures "Proust is an Outrageous Guy" (Keio University, Kyoto University), "Saint-Loup's Misfortune" (Kyoto University), and "Bloch's Dark Pleasure" (Proust workshop at Chuo University), Professor Compagnon analyzed in detail the expressions of conflict between good and evil by Proust himself, the novel's narrative, and the novel's characters. He emphasized the importance of ethical expression in literature, which has been ignored in recent literary research. At each of the research institutes, discussion was held with Professor Compagnon and researchers discussed the problem of how to handle logic represented in literature, and Professor Compagnon offered valuable suggestions for research.

    The second result is the reconfirmation made of the importance of cultural background in an author's creation. Professor Compagnon presented "Stendhal in the Time of Proust" at the Symposium “Proust and His Era – The Cultural Background of the Birth of His Novel" (Maison Franco-Japonaise). In this lecture, he pointed out that during Proust's youth, there was a trend to reevaluate Stendhal following discovery of some biographical works, and Proust was a companion to one of the leaders of the enthusiastic Stendhal Club. Professor Compagnon revealed the fact that these experiences had underlying influences to important themes in Proust's early works. Together with the other presentations at the symposiums, Professor Companon's presentation highlighted the importance of research on the role of cultural background to a novel's birth.

    The third result is the reconsideration made of the significance of the medium of photography in modern literature. In his lecture, "Today's Photo Novel" (Tokyo University, Tohoku University), Professor Compagnon featured the rise of Stories that incorporated French photography from 1980 to the present. He revealed that a great number of these stories aim to express the difficult experience of losing a loved one. Professor Compagnon inspiring lecture focused on the important issues faced by modern novels in France, and modern man's earnest attempt to find answers to self-identity in literature.

    The fourth result to be mentioned is the Round Table (approx.200 in the audience) "The Future of French Literature" held at the Spring Conference of La Société japonaise de langue et literature françaises. A focus was placed on the worldwide decline of French literature's influence. In Japan as well, the number of students choosing to major in French language and literature, and the number of translated French novels have declined markedly. Does this reflect a decline in French culture itself, an eclipse of traditional literature-based education, or the globalization of world economics, or is it a necessity following the dominance of the English language? With host researcher Yoshikawa acting as chairman, society members discussed this theme, following Professor Compagnon's conference summary and Tokyo University Professor Yoshikazu Nakaji's report on the present state of French culture in Japan.

    All of Professor Compagnon's presentations and lectures developed, with thorough document research and text reading, original and convincing arguments to important general themes such as logic in literature, the role of cultural background in creation, modern man's search for self-identity, and the future of culture based on literature. During his stay of over 40 days, Professor Compagnon willingly addressed individual questions and discussions, and his visit definitely proved to be valuable and stimulating to literary researchers in Japan.

  6. Contributions to the Host Institute

    At each of the institutes Professor Compagnon visited –Kyoto University, Tokyo University, Keio University, and Tohoku University- the graduate students and faculty of the French literature departments had the opportunity to discuss and do joint research with Professor Compagnon, as well as receive suggestions on their research. Graduate students at these universities, as well as young researchers from the Kansai, Kanto, and Tohoku regions, studied Professor Compagnon's latest research methods, and by participating in friendly discussion, received important stimuli for each of their own respective institutes.

    Importance was placed on interchange with young researchers, and the following were taken into consideration:

    1)   At the symposium “Proust and His Era – The Cultural background of the Birth of His Novel" held at the Maison Franco-Japonaise attended by Professor Compagnon, many young researchers who had just received their doctorates made presentations, in addition to the experienced researchers. This gave the opportunity to young researches to test their latest studies against the criticism of experts. This symposium was held as part of the Japan-France Joint project to create a transcript revision to the Proust origlnal draft stored in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. By having many young Japanese researchers participate through presentations, the path to future Japan-France joint research was laid.
    2) At the Proust workshop at Chuo University, Professor Compagnon's lecture "Broch's Dark Pleasure," was joined by a lecture by Rikkyo University Associate Professor Hiroya Sakamoto, who had just completed his doctoral thesis under the direction of Professor Compagnon at Paris-Sorbonne University. In this way, consideration was placed on creating a new generation of scientific exchange between Japan and France.
    3) ln making preparations for the lecture at Keio University, much cooperation was received from Associate Professor Suguru Minemura, who had written his doctoral thesis on Genet under Professor Compagnon's guidance. In addition, at each institute visited – Kyoto University, Tokyo University, and Tohoku University- postdocs, graduate students, and young researchers of each of the graduate schools participated in making preparations and arrangements for the lectures and visits. During this process, they were given the opportunity or individual discussions with Professor Compagnon and to receive valuable advice on research.
    4) Although not originally planned, a reading "On Marcel Proust," was prepared at the request of the Villa Kujoyama, lnstitut Franco-Japonais du Kansai. Poet and doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University Nao Yasukawa, read his unpublished poem about Proust and some original Proust text that inspired his poem. Vincent Eggericx, a writer living in Kyoto, also read some Proust text, and Professor Compagnon and other participants made comments. This setting was a valuable venue for exchange between young Kyoto University researchers and French artists living in Kyoto.

    The Société japonaise de langue et literature françaises, which was central to inviting Professor Compagnon, has traditionally had significant research exchange with France. However, most visiting researchers stay between one and two weeks. To have a distinguished researcher such as Professor Compagnon visit for six weeks and panicipate in joint research and lectures at research institutes in various regions proved to be a truly valuable opportunity. A great contribution was made to internationalization of all the institutes involved.

    In the host researcher Yoshikawa's case, concrete plans were made for participating as an examiner for the research teaching qualification exams in Paris (Winter 2009), and joint hosting of the Proust symposium in Kyoto (Autumn 2010), and the Proust symposium in Cerisy-la-SalIe (Summer 2013). It was very profitable for the internationalization of research. Professor Compagnon's visit contributed not only to the Graduate School of Letters at Kyoto University, where transcript revision to the Proust original draft is an important foundation, but also to the University as a whole in the form of internationalization.


 
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