Hoi An in a Japanese research

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(QNO) - Prof. Dr. Kikuchi Seiichi, Deputy Director of International Institute of Cultural Studies (Showa Women’s University, Japan) and Chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists has a strong attachment to Hoi An city, (Quang Nam province) over the past several decades.

 Prof.Dr. Kikuchi Seichi (middle) talks with the delegation of the film “Vietnam’s seas and islands, a long-standing origin” about Japan-Vietnam trade relationship during 12th and 13th centuries at Showa Women’s University.
Prof.Dr. Kikuchi Seichi (middle) talks with the delegation of the film “Vietnam’s seas and islands, a long-standing origin” about Japan-Vietnam trade relationship during the 12th and 13th centuries at Showa Women’s University.

Kikuchi Seiichi firstly came to Vietnam in 1979 and fell in love with Vietnamese culture and history through some Vietnamese leading historians such as Tran Quoc Vuong, Ha Van Tan, Diep Dinh Hoa, Phan Huy Le. He read “Basics of Archaeology” book written by Prof. Tran Quoc Vuong and Prof. Ha Van Tan. Kikuchi Seiichi learned Vietnamese by himself, translated this book into Japanese and published his work in Japan. Kikuchi returned to Vietnam to study Vietnamese at the University of Ha Noi from 1992-1995. During this time he started his journey to research Vietnamese history and culture, in which Hoi An was one of the destinations. Kikuchi along with his colleagues and students regularly came to Hoi An city to investigate the ruins, relics and landscapes here, consisting of the roles of Hoi An trading port related to Japan and regional countries during  the 17th and 18th centuries.

Kikuchi Seiichi is the first person to introduce two Japanese pictures of Japan-Vietnam trade exchange in the 17th and 18th centuries to the Japan-Vietnam learning community. They are Chaya Shinroku Kochi toko zukan kept in Jomyo-ji pagoda, Nagoya city and Shuin-sen Kochi toko zukan kept in Japan’s Kyushu national museum. Some characters in these pictures such as Japanese businessman Araki Sotaro and his wife- princess Ngoc Hoa (Nguyen Phuc Nguyen King’s daughter) have been identified. According to Kikuchi Seiichi, the pictures are very precious documents on Hoi An and Quang Nam in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Since 1993, Kikuchi Seiichi has announced a series of researches relating to Hoi An ancient town at scientific workshops in Vietnam, Japan and other countries. The Vietnamese-Japanese bilingual monographic book “History of Hoi An ancient town” and another “Hoi An ancient town from the views of history and archaeology” (2010) were published. They are the collections of his full and important understanding and research of Hoi An archaeology. Kikuchi Seiichi said to study Hoi An needed to open the vision to the world. He felt Vietnamese people’s rich and warm emotion and a humane country through studying Hoi An. He intended to spend his time equally between Hoi An and Japan for his research. That is also the reason why Hoi An has a special position in this Japanese archaeologist.