On June 27, 2018, Japan House Los Angeles was proud to present an intimate gallery walkthrough and talk by USC Professor Duncan Williams.
The evening began with a private walkthrough of the “Satoyama: Evolving with the Forest” exhibition in the gallery, led by Professor Williams. “Satoyama: Evolving with the Forest” introduces the culinary creations of Japanese chef Yoshihiro Narisawa. Traveling to old-growth forests in search of local ingredients, Narisawa investigates and upholds traditional practices around food, which have developed in Japan over centuries of humanity living in harmony with nature. Narisawa believes the Japanese relationship to nature is distinct and seeks to educate the world about this through his food.
Following the walkthrough, Professor Williams offered his expertise in Japanese religion, history, and the environment to deliver his unique perspective on what makes the Japanese relationship to nature different from that in the West. By discussing how Japanese agricultural and religious practices have emerged around a non-anthropocentric relationship to nature, Professor Williams explained that the emergence of Satoyama in the 20th century is a uniquely Japanese brand of environmentalism and a natural result of this history, reflected in Japanese national policy and contemporary culture.
The evening successfully expanded participants appreciation of the main themes of the gallery exhibition, as well as illuminating the connection between Satoyama, Japanese national policy, and culture.