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The Japanese Government honours Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll

3 November 2005

Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll

On 3 November 2005, the Japanese Government announced that a decoration was to be bestowed upon Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll DBE in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the promotion of Japanese culture and studies to British people. The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon will be presented to her by Ambassador Yoshiji Nogami later this month.

As Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, Dame Elizabeth dedicated herself to enhancing relations between Japan and the Museum by hosting the Visions of Japan exhibition in the 1991 Japan Festival. She also developed joint projects and organised touring exhibitions of V&A objects all over Japan. Encouragement was also given to building up the Japanese collections displayed in the Toshiba Gallery.

In 1995 Dame Elizabeth was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, where she established teaching posts for Japanese Art History and Japanese Language. She also boosted personnel exchange between Japan and the UK, and facilitated a major international conference that compared the nature of Japanese and European arts.

Her passion for Japanese arts led her to help Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury establish the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts & Cultures (SISJAC) in1999, and oversee its creation and continuing development on a daily basis. She actively supported Lady (Lisa) Sainsbury's vision for the research centre. The Lisa Sainsbury Library, which is currently the leading library in Europe for the study of Japanese arts and archaeology, was opened in 2002 under her guidance.

Dame Elizabeth was appointed to SISJAC's Board of Trustees and the Board of Management. With her considerable discernment and creativity, she devoted herself to promoting and publicising the Institute and its activities, working closely with her counterparts at Japanese research institutions and with the staff at SISJAC.

From the very inception of the Institute, Dame Elizabeth placed an emphasis on making its activities accessible to as many people as possible on many different levels. She has organised a series of highly acclaimed public lectures, given both by SISJAC staff and outside speakers, attracting people interested in Japanese culture from all over the UK.

  • The Japanese Government honours Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll
  • Interview with Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll




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