JSPS awards for eminent scientists

Report of the JSPS Award for Eminent Scientists in 2007

  1. Foreign invitee: name (affiliation / position / nationality)

    Name: Collège de France Honorary professor
    Title & Affiliation: Pierre Toubert
    Nationality: France

  2. Term

    From May 16th 2007 to May 30th 2007 (15 days)

  3. Condition of reception

    Accommodation: Nagoya Marriott Associa Hotel, etc.

  4. Schedule

    May 16th 2007 Departure from Roissy, Charles de Gaulle Air Port, Paris
    May 17th 2007 Arrival at Narita International Airport
    May 18th 2007 Brief rest in the Westin Hotel in the morning ( Tokyo, Ebisu)
    At 2:00 pm. Courtesy visit to the JSPS. Pleasant talk with the president Mr. Motoyuki ONO. Receiving the certificate of his invitation.
    May 19th 2007 At 10 pm. Journey to Karuizawa by Shinkansen. From 2 pm. to 6:30pm a session in English attended by the inviting scholar and a number of Japanese young medievalists in the meeting room of Hotel Maroad
    May 20th 2007 Visit to foreigners’ cemetery at Karuizawa and to castle town Komoro with the inviting scholar and younger scholars.
    May 21st 2007

    At 11 am. Departure from Karuizawa to go to Nagoya via Tokyo by
                  Shinkansen. Arrived in Nagoya around 3 pm. Visit to Nagoya
                  University at 4 pm.

    May 22nd 2007

    Visit to Nagoya Castle in the morning. Starting from 3 pm, the first Nagoya Seminar whose title was " L’événement et la structure: Unproblème de méthodologie historique. À propos de la "Croisade desenfants" de 1212" began with a handful of contemporary sources at Large Meeting Room of the Graduate School of Letters, Nagoya University

    May 23rd 2007

    Arrived in Kyoto with the inviting scholar around noon. Starting from 2pm, the invitee had a sightseeing on foot in Kyoto’s city area.

    May 24th 2007 At 10 am. Visit to Shugakuin Villa. Exploration of the city area of Kyoto in the afternoon.
    May 25th 2007

    Around at 11 am, arrived at Nagoya station with the inviting scholar. After a brief rest, at 3 o’clock pm, the second seminar was held in the Large Meeting Room of the Graduate School of Letters,Nagoya University with title as follows: "La perception sociale du risqué dans le monde méditerranéen au Moyen Age. Quelques observations preliminaries."

    May 26th 2007 Visit to temples located along the north coast of lac HAMANA and ancient sites related to the clan II, grand vassal of Tokugawa.
    May 27th 2007 Arrived at Tokyo around 11:30. Guided by the inviting scholar’s friend, visit to the city areas of Ueno and Asakusa.
    May 28th 2007 Exploration of Tokyo with the inviting scholar’s friend all day long.
    May 29th 2007

    At 1 pm, move to the Hotel at Narita International Airport with the inviting scolar.

    May 30th 2007

    Departure for Roissy Air Port, Paris around 11 am from Narita. Arrived around 3:30 pm. at Roissy, Charles de Gaulle Air Port.

  5. Outline of reception of the invited scholar and its results

    As I explained in the itinerary above, the invitee and his spouse arrived in Japan as scheduled, and on the following day, they paid a courtesy call to the president of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science ( hereafter JSPS), Mr. Motoyuki ONO. The invitee gave an earnest description to the president about his scientific mission to be accomplished during his stay in Japan, and expressed his sincere gratitude for the invitation and the certificate that the JSPS offered to him.

    On the next day, namely the 19th June, they moved to Karuizawa where the invitee was expected to discuss with and suggest to some of Ph. D candidate’s lectures. The "seminary session with young scholars" was held starting from 2 pm. on the 19th in a meeting room of the "Hotel Maroudo Karuizawa". One of the guest-speakers was Mr. Minoru OZAWA, candidate for Ph.D at the Graduate School in Humanity and Social Sciences of the University of Tokyo. Another was Mr. Shinya MUKAI, who is a doctoral candidate at the same institute.

    Mr. OZAWA gave a lecture titled "From runic stone to charter. Transformation of property confirmation in 11th and 12th Century Denmark". As a specialist of the early medieval history of Scandinavia, especially that of Denmark, he treated the question of why in accelerating pace the number of the Runic stone monuments appeared around 1000 AD, and following B. Sawyer, he underlined the growing consciousness of the proprietary right in the society that realized the erection of Runic stone as the proof for one’s proprietary right. He remarked subsequently that this device of proof would be replaced soon by the use of charter that is introduced in Denmark by the Church.

    On the other hand, Mr. MUKAI discussed "the beginning of royal government in Biterrois: an interpretation based on the records of the 1247 enquête". He carried out a meticulous analysis into the famous historical document that was redacted on the basis of inquiries under the reign of Louis IX in 1247, for searching a strategy of royal government that executed the inquiries, stressing a varying attitude of royal inquirers according to the size of villages.

    The invitee seemed to have been listening to the two lectures during the session with the most scientific interest and he was the first to ask a number of important questions and make valuable comments on them. The apogee of powerful scientific discussion which we immediately this day came down when the invitee tried to read and translate an original text of the king Eric Emune given to the archbishop of Lund, dated 1135, that the lecturer distributed to the participants in photographic copies. To our astonishment, with great ease sentence by sentence he processed the text written in Latin and explained perfectly what this text means as a historical document. It was truly a privileged experience for young scholars as to how far they should go in scientific knowledge and skill. Needless to say, all those lectures and discussion were brought about in English.

    We went out, the following day (the 20th), to visit a neighboring town whose name is KOMORO. It should be noticed that the invitee had placed his special scientific interest on the "incastellamento" which might be originated in fortification and intensification of habited area in medieval Italy. Since KOMORO is the town that medieval lords created at the bend of River Chikuma, he made a comparison between Europe and Japan in birth and development of this sort of agglomeration with his habitual wit. This short trip to the historic town gave us a real delight in visiting the historic site with the first-rate historian.

    On May 22nd and 25th, at Nagoya University, the invitee held a seminar on the subject, " L’événement et la structure: Un problème de méthodologie historique. À propos de la "Croisade des enfants" de 1212" and " La perception sociale du risqué dans le mondeméditerranéen au Moyen Age. Quelques observations préliminaries", respectively. At both of seminar sessions, the invitee explained the topic in English that he chose, after having distributed the French text and its translation into the Japanese to the audience. And he received questions from the audience. Thus, the discussion went on. The audience, about thirty in number, consisted of post-graduate as well as undergraduate students, who all specialized in European history. They took a part eagerly in discussion. That made the meeting very vivified. Among the audience, we found professors of history who came all the way from Tokyo or Hirosaki.

    On the 22nd, under the topic of Children’s Crusade, which might have a characteristic of an eccentric one, the invitee marvelously orchestrated elements under various contexts to prevail on why the incident happened in the times of economic and cultural growth in the thirteenth century. On the 25th, he treated quite a different subject: Risk control in the middle ages. He is one of the pioneer historians who launched the most actual problem under discussion nowadays. All of those attendants received enormous intellectual impetus from the insight that he often formulated during the seminar.

  6. Contribution by the invitee to the institute that received him

    The invitee held two seminars at the Graduate School of Letters of Nagoya University. The audience who attended the meetings consisted of undergraduate and post-graduate students at the department of Western History, except several specialists in European Medieval History who teach at universities in the relevant area and a former professor at the graduate school.

    The first seminar that the invitee gave at Nagoya University on the 22nd May 2007 was an important topic to reveal the relation between event and structure in a frame-work of total history, a subject that he has pursued for many years in the historical methodology.

    On the one hand "event" in which excels in general the accidental factors, and "structure" in which the latter are excluded completely or nearly so, on the other hand, both being the most important concepts for understanding of "History". The quest for answering this methodological topic must be necessarily accompanied by a sort of defiance of extraordinary important issue, which is how we should manage to use those two complementary, seemingly incompatible elements for a better understanding of "History" and to respond to solicitation for the totality of history. The invitee had declared occasionally already that the total history could only be realized by revealing a structure of structures of society, and proposed that the "incastellamento" phenomenon was one of those examples in the medieval Mediterranean world. "Incastellamento" means fortification in Italian, although it would be wrong if you understand that it exclusively contains a military connotation. It involves in itself a nodal concept which expresses the form of habitation, social structure, economic activities, religious devotion, culture and legal praxis etc., namely basic elements which defined all of human activities in Mediterranean world in the Middle Ages.

    On the basis of this theoretical and methodological achievement, he chose "Children’s Crusade in the year 1212" as working hypothesis for the convergence of structures that underpinned the history of continental Europe in the High Middle Ages. Along his seminal lecture, he constantly referred to both "discourses" and "facts" of the historical topic, and showed the pedagogical demonstration so perfectly that all of the audience couldn’t ignore at which point the world first-rate historian could arrive at his scientific and educational performance. In his construction of the discourse, by the solidity of argumentation and proof, and finally by an overwhelming historical knowledge, he displayed the historian’s performance in the zenith in front of mostly younger audience.

    The second one was given on May 25th. The topic that the invitee picked up for the seminar was the social perception of the risk in medieval Europe. It goes without saying that the way that the medieval people perceived the risk was very different from that of ours. We couldn’t doubt that the choice the invitee made for his arguments, preached the young scholars how much they should be sensitive to imminent problem surrounding us, to enlarge their professional perspective and to be a good historian. An awakening, a perception of the outer world couldn’t be effectuated without urgent requirements. In historiographical terms, the Europeans had, especially through the trading activities, taken recognition of Asian world. But it seems that the experience they got about Asia didn’t prevent them from staying to be awakened with sincerity.

    According to the invitee, the condition has completely changed in the fourteenth century when in 1348 an pandemic from Asia, whose name is the black death ravaged terribly all over the European world and provoked cruel death for a third of total population in Europe. Every European government or sovereign had to recognize profoundly the need for the relevant information on what happens in this remote but contiguous world to prevent a propagation of this kind of disease in his country. The invitee’ idea that an imminent requirement for risk control placed in Europeans’ mind a keen consciousness to the necessity of the global way for thinking, must be regarded as a great lesson for every historian who often declines current affaires.

    Since the year 2002, when our School of Letters saw its research project being chosen as one of the 21st Century Center of Excellent programs, we have been making great effort to promote our "Studies for the Integrated Text Science" in the sphere of education as well as in research fields. We held eleven international colloquiums in less than five years to raise our scientific activities to the international level. To our great delight, the seeds we sowed are growing up now. The invitation program of the distinguished scholar by JSPS gave us an excellent occasion to invite a professor who has belonged to the most esteemed institution of the world, which is the Collège de France, and to give chances to younger scholars and students for realizing inside them the scientific values of the world-standard.

  7. Additional remarks

    The invitee has been one of the important members of National Board of Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutions in France. At the outset, I conceived of setting up an occasion to exchange opinions between the invitee and university staffs who have been engaged in assessment programs at our university and other universities in this region, focusing on the assessments of research and education activities. Unfortunately this plan failed to be realized for many reasons. Instead, however, we had an unparalleled chance to obtain advices from the invitee about organization and next project after the 21st Century COE. It was extremely important to us.