|Classes taught during the summer semester 2016|
|Lecture:||Kyoto Visual Culture|
|Seminar:||The Establishment of Japanese Art History in the Modern Era|
|Fieldtrip:||Two-day fieldtrip to Leipzig (Grassi Museums, etc.)|
Prof. Takagi sheds new light on Meiji art from an institutional perspective. It is rewarding to know how the political and economic mechanism behind preferred or suppressed certain kinds of art. Prof. Takagi's critique on the Meiji ideology is very insightful.
Vincent Wang, M.A. student of East Asian art history
I take great pleasure to write this student evaluation and feedback for the overall teaching given by Prof.Takagi Hiroshi during the summer semester of 2016 at the Institute of East Asian Art History, Heidelberg University.
I am currently a second year MA student of Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg University. Last semester I took the lecture class, Kyoto Visual Culture (2hrs/week), and the seminar, The Establishment of Japanese Art History in the Modern Era (2hrs/week) taught by with Prof. Takagi. He was well prepared during the classes and proved his reputable expertise in the subject area through his hand-out documents and lectures. The content was clearly structured with up-to-date information and knowledge included. For example, he was able to clarify and explain in an understandable way the complex relationship and context of the evolvement of Japan’s cultural heritage policy during the modern time under the influence of both Western Europe and East Asia. Many opinions and view points were based on Prof. Takagi’s original research, with new questions raised, that has challenged classical and normative narrative and opinions, hence are of great value for the more advanced study and research into the topics covered. Besides his vast professional knowledge that he provided to the students during the short period of classes, Prof. Takagi had also shown his excellent skills as an experienced teacher. He was very patient with questions raised by students and was tolerant when he was interrupted or requested to repeat. On answering the questions, he expanded on the topic and clarified the opinion through many examples. Moreover, Prof.Takagi was always approachable for consulting and questions after class sessions as well.
As a historian, Prof. Takagi has displayed respectable quality and the spirit of a responsible scholar. He was highly focused and devoted to his research and was open to broad topics. In his lectures and the keynote speech he has made during the international symposium: “New Insights into the Cultural History of Japan's Ancient Capital,” his continued explorations and a critical attitude was strongly visible. Although the time of his sojourn in Heidelberg was short, I have learned that he is an admirable scholar who never stops discovering, learning, thinking and looking for the truth.
Outside classes, Prof.Takagi was approachable and easy to befriend, regardless whether these were colleagues or his students. His modest and cheerful personality made all his students like him, and he was willing to spend time with students for a coffee sometimes after class. I had benefited significantly from the many conversations we had with Prof. Takagi in the university’s student mensa. I noticed that Prof. Takagi listened to every student with great patience and interest. Most surprisingly, he would always come back next time with much more sources to recommend on the student’s interested topic. Upon exchanging opinions with several of my fellow students, we all agreed that Prof. Takagi had greatly helped with our own study and research beyond the content of his teaching here. He has also managed to inspire and encourage the students to explore and think toward productive directions. Thus he had not only perfectly fulfilled his responsibility to teach the classes but also contributed much more as a real mentor to his only temporary students.
WANG Hui, M.A. student of transcultural studies with a focus on Japanese visual culture
Prof. Takagi's lectures for the seminar 'The establishment of Japanese Art history' offer the students a completely new insight into this question. The complicated issue was very well explained with the help of Prof.Takagi's carefully prepared handout. He welcomes all kinds of questions, and his extensive knowledge always brings our discussion beyond the scope of our class. We enjoyed very much the discussion with Prof. Takagi, which sometimes lasted hour long after the class. The language caused a few problems in communication when translation was not available after class, but it motivated me to learn Japanese asap.
YU Xue, PhD student of East-Asian art history
I personally found Prof. Takagi's method of teaching interesting, with numerous details, and the plan of every lecture/seminar with handouts. Almost each paragraph was supported by the visual material of the presentation. Presentations were never the leading line of the class, but instead they provided visual material (portraits, photos of shrines, etc.). I did not get the feeling of “copying” the text from the presentations. It was a kind of conversation between the history of Kyoto and students, as if we personally were engaged in the process of “discovering Kyoto.”
From the class with Professor Takagi, I have learnt a different side of Kyoto, from the perspective of the Japanese professor about Japanese city. There were moments when his opinion was different from the opinion of Western scholars. This differentiation was very helpful, because students do not only follow the opinion of an established institution (in our case, it was a “Western knowledge”), but they also see Japanese history from a Japanese person, for whom history of Kyoto is closer than to any of us. Professor Takagi also mentioned in his classes how the “face” of Kyoto changed in the beginning of the 20th century – “Kyoto in gender,” so-called “feminization of Kyoto.” I think, this last lecture of the “feminization of Kyoto (Japan)” led Professor Melanie Trede to suggest a seminar in WS16/17 about issues of gender in Japan.
I regret that I do not speak Japanese. Sometimes it was difficult to follow the general narrative of Professor. During classes of Professor Takagi, Professor Trede and Professor Stavros translated the speech of Professor Takagi form Japanese into English. Translation was good, but the negative side of this was that the information was repeated twice during the class, which means that lecture hours were two times less in their amount.
If I have an opportunity, I would like to have more such classes with Professors, not only Asian but also European and American, because they represent “another viewpoint” on a subject from different perspective, which in turn allows student to ask/analyze/question material from not-preferred focus.
Ekaterina Kim, M.A. student of transcultural studies with a focus on East Asian art history
In the summer semester, I have taken two classes, Visual Culture of Kyoto, and The Establishment of Japanese history, where Professor Takagi has given lectures. He has brought many insights to the topics from his many years of research on the Japanese emperor system, Kyoto city history and the cultural properties in and before the modern era, and he pointed to the many facts that we had not been able to see without the large amount of first-hand materials that he has been dealing with. For every class, he prepared detailed handouts, including the outlines of his lectures and scans of important materials, and he even brought to class his own collection of old books from the Edo period for us to have a chance to leaf through first-hand historical records.
Professor Takagi is very open to new ideas and keen to share his thoughts with students. Soon after his arrival in Heidelberg, he was already able to point out to me, with his keen sensibility of an urban historian, the many landmarks or remains on the streets of Heidelberg, which bore historical significances and which I had since paid no attention to. In class, he expected feedbacks and questions from the fellow teachers and the students, and would adjust and add to the contents of his teaching accordingly. Once, after hearing about one student's research interests in the author Yanagita Kunio, he then brought into the next class the materials concerning the promotion of "local love" and local tourism in the Toono region, the area made famous by Yanagita's folklore writing.
He is very considerate and pays attention to students' research. After I briefly mentioned to him my research interests in the author Mishima Yukio, for the next time we met he had prepared many advice for my future study, not only telling me all he knew from his specialty on the changing image of Japanese Emperor in the Post-War period, which might help me to contextualize Mishima's obsession and imagination about the Emperor, but also recommending me many Japanese scholars like Nishikawa Nagao, whose theories on the Post-War culture and literature had then served as one of the starting points for my research in Japanese scholarship. In late September, Professor Takagi organized a field trip in Kyoto for the visiting students from Heidelberg, and led us to actually see and feel those famous and hidden historical sites that we had learned in the classroom, just like the title of his book, “Walk through Kyoto's History.” For the excursion, he even prepared an almost 50-page long handout for our references and future reading.
Not only the knowledge that I have acquired from Professor Takagi's lectures is fruitful, but also the learning experience itself is very inspiring.
WANG Fengyu, M.A. student of transcultural studies with a focus on Japanese literature and art history