Dr Nicole Rousmaniere honoured for her promotion of Japan and its arts in the UK



On Friday 30 September, Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi conferred on Dr Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere the Foreign Minister’s Commendation for her dedicated and long-standing contribution to Japan-UK exchange.  The ceremony took place at the Ambassador’s Official Residence.

In his introductory remarks, Ambassador Hayashi recounted Dr Rousmaniere’s 20-year involvement with Japan since she spent a year in Yokohama on a Japan Foundation Language Study Fellowship in 1991-92.  Her association with the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) goes back to its establishment in 1999, when she was appointed its Founding Director.  Since then she has engaged in a tremendous amount of cutting-edge research, most recently working  on a manuscript for the British Museum entitled Four Hundred Years of Japanese Porcelain, while also collaborating with the Japanese manga artist Yukinobu Hoshino.  The English version of the manga resulting from this collaboration has just been published in the form of the book Professor Munakata’s Adventures in the British Museum.  Dr Rousmaniere views manga not merely as an end in itself but as a rich and authentic medium for appealing to a wider audience.

Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi and Dr. Nicole Rousmaniere


Meanwhile, she has enriched the lives of many young people through her teaching at the University of East Anglia, at SOAS (London University), and for three years from 2006 to 2009 as a Visiting Professor at Tokyo University Graduate School. 

Citing Dr Rousmaniere’s hard work and enthusiasm in making Japanese art and culture accessible to people in the UK, thus fostering friendship and mutual understanding between the Japanese and British peoples, Ambassador Hayashi presented her with the Commendation to great applause from everyone present.

“Researching Japan and its arts and attempting to introduce them to Britain have been my abiding passion,” Dr Rousmaniere commented as she accepted the award.  She paid tribute to the “wonderful” team with which she worked at SISJAC and to her “insightful and dedicated” mentors, such as Professor Kawai Masatomo, a SISJAC Trustee, and Dame Esteve-Coll.  She thanked Sir Hugh and Lady Cortazzi for their “sustaining moral, intellectual and material” support, Lord and Lady Sainsbury for their belief in the SISJAC project, Robert White of the British Museum for supporting her research into its collection of Japanese ceramics, and the Japanese Embassy and the Japan Foundation for assisting in SISJAC’s outreach.  In conclusion, she saw an   “extremely vibrant” future for UK-Japan art and cultural relations.