A bill covering Classics Day was enacted on 5 September, 2012. A symposium commemorating the 1st Classics Day sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs was held on 1 November, 2012.

What is Classics Day?

In a 1 November, 1008 entry in the “Murasaki Shikibu nikki” (The Diary of Lady Murasaki), written by the author of the classic “Genji Monogatari” (The Tale of Genji), there is reference to the masterpiece. Since this is the oldest date on which a reference to a novel has appeared, November 1st was designated as the official day to celebrate Japanese classics.

According to the law, the “classics” that are honored not only include literature, but encompass a wide range of arts such as music, art, traditional performing arts, entertainment, lifestyle art including tea ceremony and flower arrangement and other cultural products.

Even in the fields of academia and philosophy, the classics are a cultural asset which have lived through the ages and continue to be a source of wisdom for the people of today.

The new law also stipulates that necessary measures be taken to make the classics more accessible to people. It urges central and local governments, households, schools, offices and localities to expand opportunities for people to experience the classics and advises schools to introduce and utilize classics teaching in classes.

Symposium Commemorating 1st Classics Day

Following the promulgation of the law, a symposium commemorating the 1st Classics Day organized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs was held on 1 November. Representatives from the arts of go (Japanese chess), noh (classical Japanese musical theater) and rakugo (traditional Japanese comic storytelling) were invited to participate in the event. Chizu Kobayashi opened the symposium with an easy-to-understand introduction on the history of go. Haruhisa Kawamura then gave a performance of the noh play “Kiyotsune” providing supplementary explanations, and Yanagiya Sankyo followed with a rakugo performance of the story “Ido-no-chawan”.

The lively symposium was a great opportunity for the general public and government employees working nearby to experience the fascinating world of classics.

Program

  • Date:
    1 November, 2012
  • Place:
    #2 Lecture room (6th floor of old MEXT building)
  • Time:
     6:30PM-8:50PM
  • Sponsor:
    Agency for Cultural Affairs
  • Performers:
    Haruhisa Kawamura (Noh artist)
    Chizu Kobayashi (Go player)
    Yanagiya Sankyo (Rakugo artist)
  • Coordinator:
    Sumiko Kumakura, Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts
  • Presenter:
    Utaharu Katsura (Rakugo artist)
  • Program:
    Lecture by Chizu Kobayashi (Go player)
    Performance by Haruhisa Kawamura (Noh artist)
    Performance by Yanagiya Sankyo (Rakugo artist)
    Panel discussion by performers
    Q&A session

Lecture by Chizu Kobayashi

Lecture by Chizu Kobayashi

Performance by Haruhisa Kawamura

Performance by Haruhisa Kawamura

Performance by Yanagiya Sankyo

Performance by Yanagiya Sankyo

Panel discussion

Panel discussion

taken from The Monthly Journal of MEXT, DECEMBER 2012 No.157 issue

(Agency for Cultural Affairs, Commissioner’s Secretariat, Policy Planning and Coordination Division)