The Japan Foundation Cairo Office invited Prof. Koido Moritoshi, a professor at Japanese Language and Literature Department, Faculty of Language and Literature, Otsuma Women’s University and a specialized researcher in war chronicles of medieval literature. Prof. Koido gave 3 successive lectures under the title of “The impact of the Medieval Literature”.
Prof. Koido’s message:
Finishing My Special Lecture Series in Cairo:
This is my first visit to Cairo. My impression at the end of this long journey was that Cairo is a big area full of sand. I felt that it was a completely separate world, remote from Japan’s changing seasons and environment where I grew up surrounded by rivers and tress. So, I was astonished and even delighted to find that there are many researchers who have deep interest in Japanese culture and literature in such a geographically and climatically distant area.
The title of the lecture series this time was “The Impact of Medieval Ages Literature” and I gave three successive lectures about this subject. I presented the historical background of the period when the literature of the Medieval Ages appeared and how it spread like a wave, and then I discussed the necessity of the appearance of such a variety of literary genres during this period. This is where we can take a glimpse at the universal behavioral patterns of human beings which transcend beyond any cultural or environmental barriers.
The panel discussion at the end of the third lecture was extremely stimulating. In the discussion, Ms. Amal Maher, a professor at Cairo University debated Impermanence (a view of life as something transient and empty), which surfaced during the Medieval Ages, from a natural perspective. Another professor, Karam Khalil sees that Impermanence is not limited to the Medieval Ages. Their opinions and statements were of great interest. At the end, Prof. Ahmed Fathy, who is from the same university and was the chairman of the discussion, summarized the argument from a broad perspective. This was a valuable experience for me to “see Japan from the outside”.
Another lecture was held targeting the non-specialists. The lecture was an introduction to the legend of “Yoshitsune” and I could enjoyably talk about this topic thanks to the great interest and enthusiasm of the audience. It was really a short trip but I hope that, through this occasion, many people become interested in Japanese culture and literature in general and the literature of the Medieval Ages in particular.
Last but not least, I would like to thank Japan Foundation Cairo Office for giving me this precious opportunity. Also, I am looking forward to meeting the people I encountered during this visit again, somewhere, sometime.
28th of March 2017