Regular Feature

Greetings from the Outskirts of Kyoto vol.3

INOUE Shōichi (Director-General)
December 23, 2020

Located at the edge of the western suburbs of the city of Kyoto, Nichibunken is a research institute located in the foothills, far from the city center. But it is a perfect environment for devoting oneself entirely to study. Indeed, its architectural structure is reminiscent of a monastery or temple.


Hieizan Enryakuji (Enryakuji Temple): From Heian Kyōto meisho zue [Illustrations of Historic Places in Kyoto] Database. Nichibunken Collection.

Facilities for communication have improved somewhat, but at the time of its founding [in 1987] Nichibunken was really inconvenient to have access to. First director-general, Umehara Takeshi decided on the location. I was then young and so I confronted: “Don’t tell me, Umehara-sensei, that you’ve chosen this place to rival Priest Saichō’s monastery on Mt. Hiei?”

I may have been right, for Umehara-sensei, wearing a serious look, said in response, “Inoue-kun, don’t tell that to others.” It seems that in his mind priest Saichō in the ninth-century and he himself toward the end of the twentieth century formed an east-west pair. A great man like him thinks on a larger scale than us, doesn’t he?