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Sunday, Dec. 24, 2006

KANSAI: Who & What

Japanese studies in India discussed

The International Research Center for Japanese Studies is hosting a public forum on Japanese studies in India from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 16 at Campus Plaza Kyoto in Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto.

Pullattu Abraham George, an associate professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, will speak on the theme "Indo-Japan relations and Japanese studies in India -- Miyazawa Kenji's vegetarianism." Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933) was a renowned poet-author whose works, such as "The Restaurant of Many Orders" and "Night on the Milky Way Train," are still read widely. He was also a devout Buddhist and vegetarian. George is currently exploring the universality of Miyazawa's works.

The lecture will be in Japanese. Participation is free, but reservations must be made in advance. Reservations will be accepted starting Dec. 25. For reservations and more information, call the organizer at (075) 335-2078.

Big percussion shows in Suita's Banpaku Koen

Percussion instruments from around the world will be played to celebrate the new year from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 7 at Banpaku Koen, or Expo Park, in Suita, Osaka Prefecture.

There will be performances of Japanese taiko drums, Okinawan "eisar" traditional percussion music and dance, Korean "samul nori" instruments and African "djembe" hand drums.

The performances will be held in two venues in the park. The morning show will run 11 a.m. to noon at the central gate of Shizen Bunka-en (Natural and Cultural Gardens), while the afternoon show will be performed from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Special Exhibition Annex Building of National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka.

The performances are free, but admission to Shizen Bunka-en costs 250 yen both for the morning and afternoon shows. The museum is located just beyond the gardens' central gate. Admission to the museum's annex building is not required.

For details, call National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, at (06) 6876-2151.

Shitennoji's treasures shown through Feb. 18

The treasury of Shitennoji Temple in Tennoji Ward, Osaka, will be open to the public from Jan. 1 to Feb. 18.

Shitennoji was founded in 593 by Prince Shotoku, an influential statesman and Imperial regent of the Asuka Period (late sixth century to mid-seventh century).

It is known as the oldest official Buddhist temple in Japan and boasts a wealth of Buddhist art works and other valuable properties related to the prince.

The exhibition features four pieces of Japan's national treasures, including part of a copy of the Lotus Sutra written on fan-shaped, decoratively painted sheets of paper, which was produced during the Heian Period (794-1185). Also, there will be statues of 11-faced Bodhisattva from Kamakura Period (1185-1333) and Mahavairocana Buddha from Nanbokucho Period (1336-1392). Both will be shown at the temple for the first time in 15 years.

Admission is 200 yen. The display will run 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, except for Jan. 15, Jan. 29 and Feb. 5, when the treasure house will be closed.

For more information, call the temple at (06) 6771-0066.

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