Home / Open lecture: The Hachiman engi scrolls: Materiality, Memory and the Role of Colophons


The Hachiman engi scrolls: Materiality, Memory and the Role of Colophons

八幡縁起絵巻 — マテリアリティー・記憶・奥書

Monday, March 14, 2016 from 4:00 PM

The International MA Program (IMAP) in Japanese Humanities, Kyushu University, is pleased to announce this lecture by guest Melanie Trede, Professor, Histories of Japanese Art and Director, Centre for East Asian Studies, Heidelberg University, Institute of East Asian Art History


Since World War II, the Hachiman engi scrolls have been little researched. Although a survey and categorisation of medieval versions was proposed by MIYA Tsugio and select analyses of individual scrolls were offered (KAMEYAMA Noboru, SHIMOHARA Miho, and others), the breadth and depth of Hachiman engi scroll productions and their political implications has been largely overlooked.

This paper offers an introduction to and close case studies of select scrolls from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century focusing on major shifts in their material, visual, and political significance. A multiplicity of approaches underscores the huge significance of these scrolls well beyond the major centers of worship in former Chikuzen, Nagato and Suō, (today’s Northern Kyushu and Yamaguchi Prefecture). Close readings of colophons offer insights into the production, spread and wishes attached to the donation of Hachiman scrolls. Moreover, the approach of Igor Kopytoff’s “the cultural biography of things” helps to trace the multiple cultural spheres into which the Hachiman engi scrolls were adapted and transformed. The first part of the Hachiman engi, which includes the legendary invasion of Korea by mythical Empress Jingū, was thereby turned into a cultural memory, invoked by the Meiji government for their modern objectives.


Kyushu University, Hakozaki Campus

Humanities Building, 4th-floor conference room (文学部会議室)


For further information please contact Cynthea J. Bogel     cjbogel@lit.kyushu-u.ac.jp

You might wish to read about the Hachiman Digital Handscrolls Project here:


Or peruse the fabulous Hachiman Digital Handscrolls website created by Prof. Melanie Trede with her colleagues and students at Heidelberg University:



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