Shokan Nishikawa

How would you define yourself?

Director, Kyoto UNESCO Association

Shokan Nishikawa

Why did you become a Companion of the Guild?

I have some relationship with a community called ITTOEN in Kyoto ( - see link below). Influenced by Tolstoy, ITTOEN was established 100 years ago aiming for an ideal community based on collaborative work and communal living, “Utopia”. Even today, 100 years later from then, the community is still active although minimised in scale. I know that the idea of Tolstoy’s ideal community was also in Ruskin’s thoughts. We, Osaka Ruskin Morris Centre are investigating the history of Ruskin and Japan. We understand that Ruskin had a close relationship with Tolstoy. Considerable number of records in the past show that many Japanese had a deep exchange with Tolstoy . A few of them even travelled all the way to Russia to meet Tolstoy. Therefore we suspect that Japanese at that time must have heard a lot about Ruskin from Tolstoy, but there are no records of Japanese at our end who had some contact with Ruskin during his lifetime. This is my lifetime work to research and to find out historical relations of Ruskin and Japan.

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