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Structure of the IOM — The Department of Far Eastern Studies Print E-mail
28/10/2005

— The Department of Far Eastern Studies —

The Department of Far Eastern Studies acquired its current form in 2003 with the merger of three of the Institute’s units: the Department of Far Eastern Studies headed by K.G. Maranjian, the Department of Historiography of China and Central Asia headed by A.S. Martynov and the Group of Far Eastern Textology headed by L.N. Menshikov. Before 2003, there had been numerous reforms of the Department that are outlined below.

When the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies was established in 1956, all the relevant scholars were enrolled into the Department of Far Eastern Studies with V.M. Stein as its chairman. These scholars were Z.I. Gorbacheva, A.A. Kondratiev, L.N. Menshikov, B.I. Pankratov, N.A. Petrov, D.I. Tikhonov, S.A. Shkoliar and I.T. Zograph. During ten years that followed, the staff was replenished with V.S. Spirin, B.B. Vakhtin, I.S. Gurevich, V.S. Kolokolov, L.I. Chuguevsky, J.L. Kroll, B.L. Smirnov, M.I. Vorobyeva-Desyatovskaya, K.B. Kepping, L.K. Pavlovskaya, P.E. Skachkov, L.G. Kazakova, A.A. Toropov, E.S. Stulova, M.I. Ulman and A.S. Martynov.

In 1962 V.M. Stein was succeeded by B.B. Vakhtin, who ran the Department until 1966 when it was divided into four groups: the Chinese Group headed by O.L. Fishman, the Korean Group, the Japanese Group and the Group of Far Eastern Textology headed by L.N. Menshikov.

Further sub-divisions were later made inside the Department, such as the Group for the Academic Description and Study of the Collection of Chinese Xylographs headed by B.B. Vakhtin, the Group for Linguistic Studies headed by I.T. Zograph and the Group for the Study of Far Eastern Literatures headed by O.L. Fishman. O.L. Fishman was also the head of the entire Department of Far Eastern Studies until 1978.

E.I. Kychanov was its next chairman, from 1978—1983. In 1983, he was succeeded by V.N. Goreglyad. After V.N. Goreglyad’s death in 2002, the Department of Far Eastern Studies was headed by K.G. Maranjian. In 2003, the reorganised Department was headed by A.S. Martynov, who was succeeded by T.A. Pang in 2007.

Scholars of the Department have studied various aspects of the Far Eastern culture. They took an active part in the processing of the Chinese books kept at the Institute’s Academic Library and the Department of Oriental Manuscripts. They also compiled descriptions and catalogues of documents in various Far Eastern languages. In 1958-1962, L.K. Pavlovskaya and her group (S.D. Danilova, A.P. Terentiev-Katansky, partly K.B. Kepping) ran the bibliographic work with the relevant sections of the Institute’s Academic Library. Later L.K. Pavlovskaya started her research into Chinese literature while A.P. Terentiev-Katansky and K.B. Kepping concentrated on processing the Tangut collection.

Some scholars were interested in the archival stock kept at the Institute and they edited a number of valuable works left unpublished by their predecessors.

In 1967, The Description of the Chinese Manuscripts from Dounhuang and The Catalogue of Chinese Xylographs were published. L.N. Menshikov catalogued the Chinese section of the P.K. Kozlov collection.

Among the historical research, we should mention the section on the history of China and ancient Chinese historiography (by Z.I. Gorbacheva, J.L. Kroll, K.B. Vassiliev), on the history of Chinese military science (by S.A. Shkoliar), on Sino-Tibetan relationships in the 17th century (by A.S. Martynov) and on the history of Chinese philosophy (V.S. Spirin).

The Group for Linguistic Studies had two main objects of their research: 1) historical Grammar (I.T. Zograph, I.S. Gurevich), 2) lexicology and lexicography (A.A. Toropov, E.S. Stulova).

Scholars who studied Chinese literature concentrated on its major genres and eras. B.B. Vakhtin studied Yuefu folksongs dating from about the end of the 1st millennium BC, L.N. Menshikov — Xiao Shuo from the Liu Chao period and bienwen literature, O.L.Fishman, L.N.Menshikov, M.E. Kravtsova — T’ang poetry, L.K. Pavlovskaya — folk novels of the Sung period. O.L. Fishman also had a particular interest in Chinese literature from the 17—18th centuries. M.A. Boldyreva studied Indonesian literature (in 2005, this work resulted in a monograph Modern Indonesian Poetry).

In 1956, the Japanese Group at the Department of Far Eastern Studies was headed by O.P. Petrova. Along with V.N. Goreglyad, who had been just admitted as a doctoral student, she started on the systematic academic description of the collection of Japanese manuscripts and xylographs. In 1957, V.N. Goreglyad also began to study a manuscript of Kankai ibun (dated to the beginning of the 19th century), while O.P. Petrova carried on her linguistic studies. In 1959, the Department’s staff was replenished with G.D. Ivanova and in 1960 with Z.J. Khanin.

After the division of the Department of Far Eastern Studies in 1966, the Japanese Department became a separate unit of the Institute with V.N. Goreglyad as its chairman. It existed for 30 years with the following scholars affiliated to it (their principal objects of study are put in brackets): V.N. Goreglyad (Japanese literature, Buddhism, Russian-Japanese relations), G.D. Ivanova (modern literature, Russian-Japanese relations), Z.J. Khanin (problems of discrimination in Japan — burakumin), V.I. Kobets (Fukuzava Yanagi), J.D. Mikhailova (Motoori Norinaga and the National Learning movement), A.V. Vovin (Japanese linguistics), K.G. Maranjan (Confucionism, Ogyu Sorai), V.J. Klimov (the Mediaeval peasant movement), A.M. Kabanov (Japanese literature, poetry, religion), M.V. Toropygina (Japanese literature).

The Korean Group was also organised in 1966. Initially, the group comprised four people, including O.P. Petrova who compiled a description of the Korean manuscript collection, D.D. Eliseev who translated Korean short stories of the 19th century, M.I. Nikitina and A.F. Trotsevich who studied Korean literature and mythology. This group appeared to be the first union of Koreanists who systematically studied Mediaeval Korean literature on the basis of the Institute’s Korean manuscript collection. They published some extremely significant items of the collection and carried on the research project entitled Essays on the History of Mediaeval Korean Literature. Almost all the general reviews on the Ancient and Mediaeval Korean literature published in the Soviet encyclopaedias and reference books were written by the Institute’s fellows.

In 1975, the staff of the Group was replenished with L.V. Zhdanova who studied Classical Korean poetry written in Chinese. In 1998, she published her principal monograph entitled Poetical Works of Ch’oe Ch’iwon.

In 2000-2001, the Korean Group enrolled two doctoral students: J.V. Boltach who has studied the history of Korean Buddhism and A.A. Guryeva who has concentrated on the history of Korean literature and poetry. Along with her supervisor, A.F. Trotsevich, A.A. Guryeva began compiling a new academic catalogue of the Korean manuscript collections of the Institute and St Petersburg State University.

In the 1980s, A.F. Trotsevich was also the supervisor of E.Y. Knorozova, who studied Vietnamese literature and religion.

Tangut studies have always played an important role in the Department’s academic work. First of all, some key papers by the famous pre-war Tangut scholar N.A. Nevsky were published. Among these was his Tangut-Chinese-English dictionary, based upon a bilingual glossary entitled The Tangut-Chinese timely handy pearl. Moreover, N.A. Nevsky was the first person to process the Tangut collection of the Institute. After his untimely death in 1937, this work was carried on by A.A. Dragunov and then by Z.I. Gorbacheva who edited also some papers from the archive of N.A. Nevsky. A post-war generation of Tangut scholars such as K.B. Kepping, E.I. Kychanov and A.P. Terentiev-Katansky continued cataloguing the Institute’s Tangut collection, publishing some of the texts and conducting researching into them. Specifically, E.I. Kychanov studied the Tangut Law documents, K.B. Kepping linguistic problems and A.P. Terentiev-Katansky the material culture of Tanguts. In 2006, E.I. Kychanov published a new Tangut-Russian-English-Chinese dictionary.

In 1963, the Group of Far Eastern Textology was set up. In 1966, it acquired the status of an independent unit and existed until 2003. It grouped together researchers of various disciplines: Sinologists and Dunhuang scholars L.N. Menshikov (chairman) and L.I. Chuguevsky, Tangut scholars A.P. Terentiev-Katansky and K.B. Kepping, Manchu scholars M.P. Volkova and T.A. Pang as well as S.A. Shkolyar, who studied the history of Chinese military science, and O.S. Sorokina, who tried to develop the linguistic theory of time on the basis of ancient Indian philosophy.

In 1983, the highest authorities of the Communist Party of the USSR ordered the reorganisation of the Department of Historiography of China and Central Asia with the assumption that it would study Eastern sources relevant for the history of the border between China and the Soviet Union. The Department had been headed by E.I. Kychanov until 1992. He was succeeded by A.S. Martynov. In 2003, the Department was absorbed by the newly organised Department of Far Eastern Studies. The scholars who were affiliated with the former Department (such as J.L. Kroll, E.A. Torchinov, V.M. Rybakov, A.S. Martynov and Ye. Kozina) translated a number of ancient and mediaeval Chinese texts on the history of front-line territories. Simultaneously, another important project was developed by E.I. Kychanov, I.F. Popova and L.N. Menshikov, who translated the Chinese text of T’ang Shi (T’ang Dynasty History). Moreover, E.I. Kychanov wrote a monograph entitled The Nomadic States: From the Hunnus Till the Manchus.

Following the reorganisation of the Department of Far Eastern Studies in 2003, its total staff was 20 scholars. Since then, their numbers have reduced to 14. They may be divided roughly into two groups: 1) those who study China and Central Asia (I.F. Popova, E.I. Kychanov, I.T. Zograph, R.N. Krapivina, T.A. Pang, J.L. Kroll, I.S. Gurevich, A.S. Martynov, V.M. Rybakov); 2) those who study the neighbours of China such as Japan and Korea (K.G. Maranjan, A.M. Kabanov, J.V. Boltach, A.A. Guryeva).

The Department conducts doctoral programs in history, literature and culture of Far Eastern countries.


Dr T. A. Pang

(Translated by A.Zorin; proofread by J.Young)

Last Updated ( 05/02/2008 )

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